I fell in love with this ‘Juliet’ Rifle Paper Co. English Garden cotton canvas from Miss Matatabi as soon as I saw it and I just had to have some of the Amalfi sun girls quilting cotton as well. The only problem was that I have been solely making clothes this year and neither of these fabrics were really that suitable for any of the clothes I was planning to make. Soon after I was looking at my Instagram feed and I saw loads of versions of Kylie and the Machine’s Ida Clutch – and I knew that this would be the perfect project for the fabric. Amazingly the Ida Clutch is a free PDF pattern, and Kylie has some amazing step by step tutorials about constructing it.
I decided to make the Ida Clutch for my friend for her upcoming birthday (happy birthday!) and ordered the fabric. Shipping from Japan to NZ was very reasonable and pretty quick and Miss Matatabi sent it so beautifully tied with a fabric bow. Once my fabric arrived I quickly made the bag. Truthfully, I was entirely underwhelmed by my version of the Ida Clutch, and I felt like I’d just butchered this stunning fabric. My three reasons for this were that I’d used a cheap looking and barely coordinating zipper, my top stitching was below par, and the worst part was that I hadn’t considered my pattern placement when cutting out my outer bag pieces and it just didn’t look good enough to give as a gift. Grrrrr! I felt a bit sad about it for a few days, then I decided that I was going to make a fresh version.
For version two I purchased a much nicer blue metallic gold zipper and a coordinating gold magnetic closure from two local craft stores. The big change for version two was that I waxed the outer pieces of the bag with my newly acquired Otter Wax that I found locally at Cactus Outdoor after a bit of Googling. Using the Otter Wax was both an exciting and scary process! I tried to read up lots online about how to work with it and procrastinated for a few days before giving it a go. First, I cut my two outer bag pieces out, and then I rubbed them relentlessly with the bar of wax until they seemed waxy all over. I have no idea if I used too much, not enough, or just the right amount of wax as I’m just not sure how to judge that…but it seems ok. My cotton canvas got a bit warped during the vigorous waxing process and at the time I felt gutted that I hadn’t used fusible interfacing before waxing it. Following the online tips about working with self-waxed fabric there is no way I’m ever ironing these pieces of fabric! I left the fabric to ‘cure’ for a day as per the Otter Wax instructions, and in this time bought some sew-in interfacing from my local Spotlight store.
For constructing version two I again followed tips I’d seen about working with self-waxed fabric and used wonder clips (instead of pins that would cause permanent holes) to hold my sew-in interfacing to the reverse side of my waxed outer pieces. I then proceeded to baste these together using a long stitch on my sewing machine. Oh my goodness, what can I say…..yuck! What a mess! Even when I changed to a Teflon foot, the bottom of the foot got so gunked up and I’d clean it off every five or so stitches as it would refuse to feed because of the gunk coming off the waxed side of the fabric. In the meantime the waxed fabric was stretching and warping and the interfacing wasn’t, and it was turning into a distorted mess. In the end I did sets of basting stitches in several key places around the edges, to prevent my fabric being destroyed. A walking foot would no doubt help here, but I don’t have one of these yet. I somehow never thought about attaching the outer fabric to the interfacing by hand tacking (oops). Again, I felt a bit disappointed that version two wasn’t turning out perfectly, but I decided to continue on.
I mostly followed each of the Ida Clutch sewing tutorial steps and I carefully studied the tutorial pictures to avoid sewing the waxed fabric incorrectly, as the stitch holes would be permanent. Given my gunky experience when basting the waxed outer to the interfacing I decided to avoid top-stitching the darts and alongside the zip. As a lovely bonus this meant no wonky top-stitching lines like version one, yay! As I was nervous about sewing my zipper wonky on my unforgiving fabric, I used Wonder Clips to hold the pieces in place, then I used tacking thread to carefully hand tack one piece of the bag to the zip at a time; then machine stitched and removed my tacking stitches and attached the next piece. Tacking (or actually hand sewing of any variety) isn’t usually my thing as I find it so slow going, but since this tacking method gave me so much more control when attaching my bag pieces to the zip I decided to also use hand tacking to hold the right sides of the lining and the outer in place when sewing the bag together. This gave me the opportunity to even out the slight warping/stretching that had happened earlier in the construction process and it also held everything together just perfectly while I sewed. Suddenly I was feeling a whole lot better about version two. It’s amazing how a bit of hand tacking revitalised the quality (and my enthusiasm) for this project.
Verdict / Conclusion
In the end I love the way that version two turned out and I can’t wait to give it to my friend. Although it is a fun summery clutch bag I intended this to be a pretty make up bag for my friend. I hope that the waxing will make it somewhat water resistant and a bit more durable as a make up bag on wet bathroom counters. Coincidentally I have also got my friend a coordinating Rifle Paper Co. enamel pin for her birthday, although the garden is brimming with coordinating camelias at the moment too.
I am definitely going to make the Ida Clutch pattern again and I have already started planning a version for me. I am also keen to use the Otter Wax again in the future, but I’ll try interfacing the pieces prior to waxing them next time. Most importantly though – I think my friend will like her bag. What do you think?
Thanks for reading about my sewing adventures!
P.S. As a side note …..can you believe I made two versions of the Ida Clutch using a single fat quarter of cotton canvas for the outside?! How economical is that!