Flourish Sew-a-long, Day 1: Fabric, Frames, and Interfacing

Welcome to the Flourish Clutch Sew-a-Long!  This is Day 1: Fabric, Frames, and Interfacing. Here is the schedule for this week:

November 14th: Fabric, Frames, and Interfacing
November 15th: Cutting out all the fabric and interfacing
November 16th: Sewing the exterior
November 17th: Sewing the interior, sewing them together
November 18th: Gluing or sewing on the frame

So today, we'll start out with Fabric! And if you don't have this pattern yet, here is the link.


I absolutely love using really unique and luxurious fabrics for this clutch pattern.  I've bought fat quarters of super expensive silk and I can get almost 2 Large Flourish clutches from that. I've used leather, fake leather, cotton, dupioni silk, linen, denim, eyelet...  The nice thing is that this clutch doesn't take up much fabric, especially if you make the Small or Medium sizes.  

Things to watch out for--your fabric should be able to be ironed.  Some fabrics you may need to have a light touch with your iron.  The outer fabric is interfaced with woven fusible interfacing (like shape-flex), which adheres quickly.  You may be able to skip the interfacing altogether for leather or vinyl!

Lambskin Flourish Clutch.

Lambskin Flourish Clutch.

Another thing to watch is the thickness of your fabric.  You will end up with multiple types of interfacing inside, plus the inside and outer fabrics, and everything needs to fit in the frame channel!  For your first, I would recommend sticking to cotton or silk or something else thin. The special leather that you've been saving is probably better for once you've become comfortable with the pattern!  

For the inside, I recommend cotton or dupioni silk.  Again, we are watching our overall thickness.


First off, where do you buy frames? Here is a post where I have compiled resources around the world. You are unlikely to find the correct size frames at your local craft store (unless your area is awesome-er than mine!). Craft store frames are generally more flimsy anyway.  

Sew-in or glue-in? Which should you buy?  The difference comes down to preference.  Do you hate hand-sewing with a passion? Then you should probably avoid sew-in frames.  My fingers always hurt after sewing them on. It takes awhile. But they are pretty!   

So while I prefer glue-in, I acknowledge that those frames have some disadvantages too.  First off, the craft glues that are strong enough to glue fabric to frames (I use Amazing Goop, which is a variant of E-6000) are often really smelly.  You'll need to sit near a window or with a fan, especially if you are gluing more than one.  If your purse slips out of the frame while gluing, you may end up smearing it on your fabric.  This really just takes practice.  I'll talk more about tips for this on Friday.

As for frame size, you can use 8" frames for the Large Flourish, and 6" frames for the Medium and Small sizes.  The Small is pretty small.  It's really for essentials only.  The Large is pretty spacious.  My favorite size is the Medium!  After searching around and realizing that there are about equal number of places selling frames that are 3" high as 2.5" high, I wrote the pattern so that you can use either height frame.  There are different lines on the end pattern piece depending on which frame you have. Also, you can use 15cm and 20cm frames, the slight difference in length is not enough to mess up anything.


Now for interfacing.  Do I really recommend FOUR different types of interfacing for these? Yes, I really do.  Can you make do without? Probably! This is just the configuration that I have come up with after making hundreds of these purses.  You can adjust it for your own fabrics and preferences.

First, fleece: I use this on the inside.  I like the extra loft that fleece gives without extra weight. If you are concerned about the thickness of your seams, cut away the edges of it before fusing so that it doesn't extend into the seams.  Or replace it with woven fusible.

Second, woven fusible interfacing. This is my favorite interfacing for bags.  I use it on almost everything!  It strengthens flimsy fabrics and I feel it gives longer life to a bag and makes for stronger seams.  On the Flourish clutch, you will use it on all the outer pieces and the inner end pieces.  If you are using thick outer fabric, you may be able to skip this.  It helps keep fabrics from stretching as well.  In fact, I sometimes use fabric with some stretch when making this pattern, and as long as I've interfaced it with woven fusible, it works.  Can you use a non-woven fusible, which are much cheaper?  Yes, you can.  I just prefer the thickness and quality of the woven.

Third, sew-in medium weight interfacing.  I know a lot of bag-makers use Decor-bond, Craftfuse, and other stiff fusible interfacing.  I find them wrinkly when used in bags.  The best results I've had are using sew-in interfacing.  I combine it with the fleece on the interior, and it helps the bag keep its shape.  It can be basted on, or my favorite, attached with spray adhesive. I have tried lightweight and heavyweight, and I prefer the medium. Can you skip this? If you do, I really would make sure to add a layer of the woven fusible to the main interior piece.  It won't be as stiff, but will have a similar effect.

Fourth, foam interfacing.  I find this essential.  I used to make this pattern without foam, and it makes for a floppy clutch.  I really like having a frame purse that stands up, and this ensures that. Plus, if you squish the purse, the foam helps it bounce back.  In the pattern, I have you insert the foam near the end.  I originally designed this pattern before fusible foam had hit the market.  I have considered trying it out, but that would make it much bulkier when you turn it at the end.  If you do use fusible, 1-sided probably would be best, and you still might want to insert it at the end and then iron it then.

Okay, that's all! Thanks for joining me for this Sew-a-long.  I hope all this info I've poured on you has been helpful.  Tomorrow we'll be cutting out the fabric and interfacing.