I had time last weekend to play with an idea that had been bumping around in my head for a while - a freeform slipstitch fabric, folded in three to make a little clutch purse. If you read this blog regularly you'll know that I am a stickler for precision, organisation, structure, patterns... all of which I had to pretty much ignore in order to get this idea out of my head.
It went bananas on Instagram and Facebook as I posted project pictures over the weekend. So, by request, here is the "pattern" to make your very own Fiesta Clutch :)
Please keep in mind that this is an inherently random and personalised pattern - no two (even made by the same person) will be exactly alike. So, consider the following a set of guidelines and supports to help you rather than a strict pattern!
Queue or Favourite this pattern on Ravelry here:
PATTERN: FIESTA CLUTCH
- base colour 4 ply cotton - ~50g (I used Red Heart Miami in White)
- mixed coloured 4 ply cottons - ~50-80g all up (I used Red Hear Miami in blue, purple, pink, orange, yellow and green - use as many or as few as you like).
- Vilene or other iron on interfacing
- 2.75mm hook and 3 or 3.25mm hook
- yarn needle
- iron (with a steam setting) and ironing board
- press studs
- sewing needle and thread
This pattern uses all US terminology
ch - chain stitch
sc - single crochet
slst - slip stitch
- Use 100% cotton or bamboo yarn! The surface slip stitching will stretch and warp your fabric base, and you need to be able to apply heat and steam with an iron to get it flat again, as well as ironing on the interfacing. If you use acrylic, the fabric will go really strange and droopy when you iron it.
Part 1 - Base Fabric
Use 2.75mm hook
The first thing to do is decide how big you want your Fiesta to be - coin purse? clutch? laptop cover? The height of the base fabric should be 3 times the height of your finished bag, but you can play around with how long each fold is.
For example, my white Fiesta Clutch fabric pictured above is 19cm wide and 33cm high, which was 40sc and 72 rows for me. Your tension may be different.
Once you have your measurements, make a chain a bit longer than you want the width of the bag. The length will depend on your tension; if you want to be 100% sure of a snug fit, a tension swatch is helpful.
ch1 extra at the end, and turn. sc into the second chain from your hook, and sc in each ch to the end.
*ch1, turn, sc in each sc to end of row*
Repeat * to * until your base fabric is the height you want. Next, we will do an sc border around with an extra sc in each corner to give a clean edge for joining later.
ch1, turn, 2sc first sc, then sc in each stitch to end of row, 2sc in last stitch. Turn your fabric 90 degrees, sc in the end of the last row (this is probably the same space that you did the 2sc in). Continue sc in the side of each row until you reach the next corner. Turn your fabric 90 degrees, 2sc in the first ch of starting chain (same space as the last sc of the side edge). sc in each ch to the end of the row, 2sc in the last ch. Turn your fabric 90 degrees, and sc in the first row of sc. sc in each row to the end, slst join to first sc. Finish off.
(for the first Fiesta I made, I did the sc border after the freeform slip stitching and it was much more difficult at that stage!)
Part 2 - Free Form Slip Stitch
Use 3 or 3.25mm hook.
This is the part where you get to make your own artwork!
Start a thread by pulling a loop through from back to front with your hook. Don't tie a knot, just keep a long starting tail and we'll sort those out later.
To finish a thread, cut a long-ish tail and pull through your last loop, then pull the little knot and tail to the back of your fabric.
Some guidelines for your crochet drawing:
1. Don't cross the stitches over - it'll make the fabric lumpy and it won't sit nicely at the end.
2. Don't make your slipstitching too dense. Making spirals and circles and diagonals will tug your base fabric in all sorts of strange directions, and if the decoration is too dense then we won't be able to make it sit flat at the end.
You can see in this first picture that I had wayyy too many stitches in the space, and it was stretching the base fabric completely out of shape. Your fabric will get a bit lumpy and bumpy, but you should be able to mostly flatten it out with your fingers.
3. Don't be afraid of letting the base fabric show! It's part of the art!
4. Let your creative spirit fly! There is no right or wrong way to do this :D
Part 3 - The Ends
Once you've created your one-of-a-kind masterpiece, it's time to deal with all those ends.
With a yarn needle, run each end under 4 or 5 stitches at the back, away from the edges, then snip off leaving a 1cm-ish tail.
The next task is to iron your fabric flat. With a fairly hot iron and the maximum steam setting, gently press the fabric. You might need to do a bit of tugging and stretching to get the piece back to rectangular and deal with the edges. Take your time ironing, and don't forget to iron both the front and back.
To secure all those ends and make a workable bag, we are going to cheat!! Get yourself some Vilene (iron-on interfacing, usually used in dressmaking and applique to give structure and firmness), and cut out a rectangle that is the same size as your fabric INSIDE THE SC BORDER. It's really important that you can still access the sc border as you'll need it to join up your bag.
Place your Vilene piece on the back of your fabric (sticky side down please) and iron on gently. It will take about 5 minutes of ironing for everything to glue together, so be patient. It's still faster than figuring out how to secure all those ends separately! Give it some time to cool down and set the glue - maybe 10-15 minutes - before you move onto assembly.
Part 4 - Assembly
Now let's make your flat fabric into a bag!
First step is to play around, folding your fabric until you're happy with the overlap on the front and the pocket inside. Turn it over so you're looking at the front and back, and the pocket is on the underside.
Pick up your larger hook (3 or 3.25mm) and pull a loop of your favourite colour through the sc border at the bottom right corner (marked with a green arrow on the picture above). slipstitch the two layers of fabric together. Once you run out of pocket, continue slipstitching around the sc border until you come back to the other side of the pocket. Then, slipstitch together the final section, finish off, and use your yarn needle to poke the ends in between the fabric and Vilene. You might want to give it another quick iron to make sure everything is solidly glued down!
Sew your press studs on securely with a sewing needle and thread (I put mine in the corners of the front flap to give extra protection to the Vilene corners).
Ta-dah! Your very own one-of-a-kind, useful artwork :D