Learn. Make. Sell. All about clutches.

Etsy shop update

I wanted to update all of you on what’s happening with the shop, the inventory, and the overall shop transition.

The shop and transition:

As all of you have known, Y has been training with me to take over the packaging and shipping of your orders.  She was here in New Jersey for 3 weeks learning and working. She has been back to her home in Florida for the past 3 weeks getting her office space set up to ship your orders.  Here’s a pic of her studio!

Yes, even our cubbies are green and brown!

With the shop transition happening, I’ve been drawing down on the inventory and shipping orders as per usual from my home in New Jersey while Y has been setting up her office.  This helps in 2 ways:

1.  ZERO disruption to shipping your orders.  There is no OFF day when we do not ship.  We maintain the same Monday – Saturday noon schedule to ship out your orders.  🙂

2.  It minimizes the shipping cost of transferring my inventory to Florida.  Shipping heavy frames is extremely costly!

In addition, many of you took advantage of the great “make good” sale when I ran out of antique brass frames so that helped to draw down some inventory as well.  (It was the one with free nickel-free chains with the same order of frames with loops.)  I am sorry that I cannot extend that offer past the 2 weeks it was on sale.  I hope you all take advantage of sales when they happen.  You are always the first to know here on my blog.

Which leads me to fill you in about the antique brass frames.

First, thank you for your patience.  Those of you who have come to love my antique brass frames and depend on the quality, I hate to say that I have been unable to have a manufacturer who can provide a good finish that I need and prefer.

Y worked with 3 companies in Florida in the past several weeks, and unfortunately, they were charging more than what I can (or want) to sell them for.  They were charging 4 times what my guy in the Mid West was charging!

My antique brass coating is a very labor-intensive process.  It is not just one coat but contains 2 different coats whose application takes longer to perfect.  The second coat gives it some “antiquing” in spots.  And if it’s not done right … it can look really bad.

So I am having samples made by 2 more manufacturers right now and hopefully their batches will be what I’m looking for.  They will be made with the same Perfect Fit 6(TM) u-channel that I designed and the kisslock balls will be solid like before.

Antique br*ss has become a pain in the *ss ... 🙂 haha

So thank you, wholeheartedly, for those who sent convos letting me know that you’ll “wait for (my) frames”.  I urge you to do what is best for your customers, though I truly appreciate your loyalty.  This unfortunate set of circumstances has been beyond my control and both Y and I have been working really hard (and logging miles) to find the right manufacturing partner.

Another update:  Gutermann glue is in!!  My importing costs on this doubled so I will need to raise the prices.  That’s why they have not been re-listed.

I do want to let you know that the price of it will also increase in May — by the manufacturer. So the price of it worldwide will increase.  But I feel they can command the price since it’s such an integral part of making clutches.  It’s d*mn good glue!

However, I’ve been asked to test a new glue made my another manufacturer and submit my feedback.  This glue costs less than Gutermann glue but I’ve not worked with it.  The only reason I would switch is if this new adhesive has better adhesion properties.  That’s the utmost importance!

I’ll keep you guys in the loop as I experiment with it next week.

BUT if you buy glue with my fine frames the price of the glue will be cheaper than buying the glue alone.  I will offer a bundled listing of glue and frames.  These new listings will go up by this weekend so look for it.

1 tube of glue will come bundled with 5 frames.

Well, it’s almost midnight.  I hope you all had a wonderful President’s Day!


February 22, 2011 Posted by | WhileBabyNaps General Updates | , | 5 Comments

The importance of the bottom seam!

Do it right the first time:  make your clutch with a bottom seam.

I am following up on my previous post about squaring off your corners.

For non-directional fabric, it’s easy enough to make your clutch without a seam on the bottom.  How?  Trace your pattern as normal.  Then double up the pattern (the 2 trapezoids) with the bottom edge abutting each other.  (*”Hey Beavis, she said “aBUTTing”  – hehe*”)  🙂

Your new pattern will look like a hexagon.  I’ll make a quick drawing of what I mean:

You are essentially making one big piece of fabric that is hexagonal in shape and revising step #7 and not sewing the bottom seam.

You would then square off your corners just the same as before.
This is a nice shortcut if you have non-directional fabric – those patterns that do not have an upright direction.  Please refer to my previous post to see examples.

However, and it’s a big however, I am a believer in doing things right the first time.  All my clutches are made as per the PDF tutorial:  they are all made with a bottom seam.


1. structural stability:  it will not roll over and flop over.  The bottom seam anchors the clutch.

2. structural integrity is not compromised by having a bottom seam.  Every handbag makers double stitches or even triple stitches the seams.  These are handbags that you use daily to get your goodies in and out all day.  You sit your clutch on the table while eating lunch, in the passenger seat as you drive, on your closet shelf in a dustbag… you are not using these as punching bags so having a seam does not and will not degrade its structure over time.

You all know I am a believer in taking shortcuts when you can, but I cannot stress enough about the structural function that the bottom seam plays in clutches.

Look at all the top sellers on Etsy.

Janine King Designs is the #1 seller in the Bags & Purses category.  I have one of her bags and her work is top notch.  Even her bags that carry heavy items have a bottom seam.

These sturdy cross-body bags made in cotton are wonderful for leaving you hands-free!

Let’s look at a well-known and well-respected clutch handbag maker, one who is known for her peacock clutches and one-of-a-kind silk clutches.  Red Ruby Rose commands top price for her clutches and you can tell in the craftsmanship, the original silk fabrics, and the loyalty that she has with her customers.

All directional fabrics are made with a bottom seam! These clutches will stand the test of time.

All her clutches are handmade using a wide variety of finishes such as sumptuous cotton velvets!

So, make your shortcuts where needed.  You can now do my shortcut with no seam, but please do not worry about the bottom seam for the integrity of your clutch!

February 17, 2011 Posted by | Helpful Tips | , , , , | 3 Comments

Save time: Shortcut for inserting your fabric into your purse frame!

Though my PDF tutorial shows you the tried-and-true way to finish your purse and making a clutch, I have a shortcut that has worked very well for me.  It saves me time from having to pre-press the clutch prior to inserting it into the purse frame.

Now, I have to admit that I’m not a big ironing person.  In fact, I am quite embarrassed to say that 8 or 9 years ago, I had to ask my husband “Papi, how do you turn the iron on?”  🙂

Yes, for someone who can whip up a Homecoming dress in high school without a pattern, I didn’t always know how to use the iron.  A pre-requisite when shopping for my clothes is:  will it need to be ironed?  Oh, Stacy London and Clinton Kelly would have a field day with me, I’m sure!

So here’s the shortcut.  (BTW, this coordinates with step #13 of my tutorial).

For step #13, I only sew about 1 inch from point E and then stop.  I do not go to the middle of the clutch.

The rest is left unfinished.

See how the 1st inch is nicely sewn as per step #13?  I’ll save the rest unfinished and after I turn it right-side out, I then finish it with a zig-zag stitch.

This helps me in 2 ways:

1) Skips the dreaded ironing step, but more importantly …

2) By sewing it shut in this way, it actually does a better job of compressing the layers thereby allowing the fabric to be inserted into the purse frame really easily.

You will notice that the 1st inch is required because that hinge area is so crucial.  However, the areas above that and around that is hidden when you insert and glue it into the frame.

I am able to make upholstery weight fabric + 4 layers of heavy fusible interface fit into the frame without any problem.  For me, it also saves me time as it’s quicker to sew then it is to fire up the iron and press.

The second tip is the top edge.  Since I only sew 1 inch from point E and S (or the starting points of the hinge area), I leave the rest of the clutch unfinished.

This makes it easier to invert and pull both layers the right-side out.  To finish the top, I use a straight stitch straight across.  You can use zig-zag stitch as well.

The benefit here is the same as the ones above:  it saves me time and it makes inserting bulky fabrics into the purse frame a breeze.

Don't sew too low below the edge or it will be seen.

When I insert this into the frame, you will not see the stitches as I’ve kept it close to the edge.

And by using Gutermann glue for the fabric and frame, you can be assured of its adhesive integrity.

Enjoy your sewing!

February 16, 2011 Posted by | Helpful Tips | , , , , | 1 Comment

Clutches for the lucky one on Valentine’s Day!

Everyone please check out the Facebook fan page!

I just added an album of clutches that are amazing and available for purchase from various artisans for Valentine’s Day.  Spread the love and “like”!  🙂

See the amazing creativity.  I stayed with the tried-and-true reds but these artisans have many more clutches made from my fine purse frames available for sale:  for you, your sweetie, or best gf.

Here’s a small screen capture:

Click on the pic to go directly and see the album.

See what you like?  Each clutch has a direct link to the shop!  These are all lovingly handmade.

And they are one-of-a-kind — just like you!

Happy, happy Valentine’s Day!


February 14, 2011 Posted by | SALES and PROMOTIONS, WhileBabyNaps General Updates | , , , | Leave a comment

More FREE templates for Clutch PDF tutorial

For those who had purchased my $8 PDF tutorial, please use your password to access 3 new templates for FREE:  8×3 Classic Day Clutch(TM), 10×3 Cross-and-Carrry Clutch(TM), and 6×3 TeaTime(TM) clutch.

I made minor additions to the tutorial, which will further enhance the learning for novices.   In addition, since most of you have easy access to quilting cotton, I’ve revised the instruction to add fusible interface to the inner fabric.  If you are using heavier fabrics, you may opt from doing that.  You just have to get a feel for what feels right to you.

In the make-your-own kits, I’ve also included 2 more pre-cut fusible interface for those using quilting cotton as this will help to add more structure to the clutch.

Here are pictures of all the clutches that can be made using my 6 patterns included in this PDF tutorial.  Everything is still the same price of $8 — a bargain!

3 x 1.5 frame for coin purse

4.5 x 3 wallet

NEW 6×3 pattern!

6 x 3 TeaTime Clutch(TM) in Blue Birdies fabric on the right

Baguette Clutch(TM) using my 8x3 EleganceLock(TM) frame and chain with Robin's Egg Blue ribbon

NEW Classic Day Clutch(TM) pattern

Classic Day Clutch(TM) using my 8x3 nickel-free frame(TM) in kisslock with loops and matching nickel-free chain

NEW 10×3 pattern

Cross-and-Carry Clutch(TM) with my 10x3 nickel-free frame(TM) kisslock with loops and nickel-free chain

February 5, 2011 Posted by | WhileBabyNaps General Updates | , , | 2 Comments

New clutches to show off my fine purse frames!

Snow days … guess what I’ve been doing?

I'm totally pimpin' my dog Pax!

I’ve got new clutches made with my fine nickel-free purse frames(TM).  These are not for sale. But I’m using them to model my frames.  So for those who’ve wanted to know what the 10×3 with loops with chains look like when done …. ta-da!

This clutch will also be coming out as a complete make-your-own kit.  Using my classic PDF tutorial, I made a new template for my 10×3 nickel-free frame(TM) with loops!  This is shown with the coordinating 45.5″ nickel-free chain with lobster claws.

Oh, I got that Michael Kors trench coat at Costco!  Go get yours!!!  I’ve been looking for a single-breasted, belted, classic trench coat for 4 years.  And this one even has a detachable hood.  It also has faux tortoise shell buttons.  And it’s only $39.99.  Fully lined.

Here’s another super cute clutch I made using my 8×3 nickel-free EleganceLock(TM) with loops and chain.  I have the ribbon weaved in for an extra somein’ special!  I used my Robin’s Egg Blue ribbon.  Yes, the chain with ribbon is for sale at my shop.

I'm in the mood for Spring!

Look what Etsy is choosing for their front page Treasury.   Looks like they are promoting Spring looks, already.

Start making clutches for spring ... and make your own Treasury!

February 3, 2011 Posted by | WhileBabyNaps General Updates | , , , , , | 2 Comments

Quick tip for “squaring off” the bottom corners of your clutch

To improve my time and hone my skills, I make my clutches in batches.  I never make just one from start to finish.

This tip is for all handbag makers, but especially for those who bought my PDF tutorial.

The essential bottom seam allows your clutch to work for both non-directional and directional patterns.

This is an example of a non-directional pattern:

Any which way is up!

This is an example of a directional pattern.  We wouldn’t want an upside bird on the other side!

Cute birdie! Using my 6x3 nickel-free frame(TM) with loops.

But for it to have stability, you need to “square off” the corners.  Since I do it in batches, I save time by pre-marking my sewing machine.

Pre-measured and pre-marked!

Instead of getting out the measuring tape and measuring every corner, I pre-measured and marked those measurements on my sewing machine with a Sharpie.

(This coincides with Step #9, pg. 11 of the PDF main tutorial.)

Start from the needle and measure out in 1/4″ increments.  And use as needed for the size clutch that you are making.  Voila!

Those various measurements above cover me from the small coin purses that uses my 3×1.5 nickel-free frames(TM), the 4.5×3 wallets, the 6×3 mid-size, the popular 8×3 and the biggest of 10×3.

Enjoy your sewing!

February 2, 2011 Posted by | Helpful Tips | , , , | 2 Comments

Follow me on Twitter @PurseFrames

With Y helping me in the business, I finally crossed another item off my list!

I started a Twitter account to promote my handbag makers!  Please follow me @PurseFrames and PLEASE RETWEET!

My goal is also to bring more exposure for handbag makers who support me by using the finest purse frames in their clutches.  I hope to bring more people to the Facebook fan page and the SELLERS page on this blog where fans can go directly to their shops!

Listed sellers on this blog and those who posted their clutches on the Facebook fan page have seen their views go up and sales, too!  That’s the hope!  If you are successful, then I’m successful!

Take a look:

Screen capture of one of the clutches made using my fine metal purse frames posted on my Twitter @PurseFrames

Please follow me on Twitter!  And please retweet!!!

I will be trying my best to have each post be a pic of one of the clutches made by handbag makers.  Twitpic provides a great forum to post this, and with the new design of Twitter, you can see how well the clutches will be seen!





February 1, 2011 Posted by | WhileBabyNaps General Updates | 1 Comment


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