DIY: Easy Foldover Clutch Using Create by the Yard

Did you know? It’s National Sewing Month! It’s been far too long since I’ve tackled a creative project or DIY, so I can’t tell you how excited I am to have had an opportunity to hone my skills and try something completely new! There’s something really special about breaking old the ol’ Singer and, after a few dates with the seam ripper, emerging with a completed project that you feel super proud to have made. I missed that creative energy and knew I needed something to feel revived.

A few months ago, I started working with Kristin from Create by the Yard, a site that sells fabric…by the yard! I was completely blown away by her selection of fabrics. Normally, I feel frustrated by the limited selection of cute patterns when I shop locally,  even at huge craft stores like JoAnn Fabrics. I never find exactly what I’m looking for and end up settling for the next best thing. I had always been somewhat turned off by shopping online for fabric until I came across Create by the Yard. The site itself is fun and refreshing to look at, but the fabric is where it’s really at. You can select from quality and designer fabrics from manufacturers like Moda, Riley Blake, and Birch. The price points are all spot on and there’s almost always a promotion or coupon going on. Check out the coupon code AND giveaway at the bottom of the post!

I knew that working with Create by the Yard would be the perfect motivation (and excuse) to start sewing again. I recruited some of my other creative friends and we all selected some fabric from Create by the Yard with the challenge to sew something with a yard or less. I decided on two half-yard selections in my two most favorite patterns EVER and after much deliberation, I settled on sewing the Nora Clutch from The Glamorous Housewife. I am thrilled with how it turned out and am so glad I tried this tutorial.

DIY Easy Foldover Clutch Tutorial using less than a yard of fabric

You can find the original tutorial here, created by Heidi Staples from Fabric Mutt.

You’ll Need:

  • (2) 11 x 13″ pieces of fabric for the interior lining
  • (2) 9 x 11″ pieces of fabric for the top part of the exterior
  • (2) 4.5 x 11″ pieces of fabric for the bottom part of the exterior
  • (4) 11 x 13″ pieces of fusible interfacing (I used medium interfacing, but could have gone for stronger at least for the exterior)
  • (1) 12 inch zipper or longer
  • Coordinating thread
  • Iron and ironing board
  • Sewing machine
  • Cutting mat
  • Rotary Cutter
  • Grid Ruler
  • Clips or pins
  • Optional: Chop stick or turning tool

Note: All seam allowances should be 1/4 inch. Press all seams open as you work for a smooth finish.

Get Crafty with Fabric from Create by the Yard

I chose two gorgeous fabrics:

I love how they pair together! I decided that the stripes would continue as my interior lining. I thought a pop of pink would be perfect as the zipper.


  1. Cut out your pieces using a rotary cutter and cutting mat. Starting with the exterior, sew a 9 x 11″ exterior piece to a 4.5 x 11″ coordinating piece along the 11″ side right sides together, keeping in mind any directional patterns.  The smaller piece will be at the bottom, since the bag will be folded over. Repeat for the other side of the exterior. Optional: sew a top stitch right above this new seam for a new finish.Create a fun clutch with under a yard of fabric
  2. Iron on the interfacing to all four pieces–2 interior, 2 exterior. Using a cup or other round object, trace and cut out a rounded edge on the bottom two corners of each piece.
  3. Install your zipper by creating a zipper sandwich. Layer with an interior piece facing right side up, place the zipper with the right edge flush with the top edge of the interior piece, then place the exterior piece on top, right side down, matching up with the other edges. Clip together. Sew as close to the zipper teeth as you can, unzipping and unclipping as necessary. Open, fold over, and iron down. Sew a top stitch close to the zipper teeth to keep it nice and secure. Repeat this whole step with the other side of your zipper using the remaining interior and exterior pieces.Make sure you line up your zipper correctly before sewing
  4. The picture below shows the progress up to this point. DO NOT keep the right sides up as the picture displays. Turn so right sides are together and sew around the entire edge, keeping a 6 inch gap on the interior end of the bag. IMPORTANT: Before you start sewing, keep the zipper halfway unzipped to allow for turning. Sew using a 1/4 inch seam allowance, trim the excess (including the zipper), and turn. Using a turning tool, chopstick, or pen for the corners. After zipper is installed face right sides together and stitch leaving a gap for turning
  5. Fold in and sew the 6 inch gap in the interior closed, stitching as close to the edge as possible. Iron everything smooth and then push the interior inside. Fold down about 3.5 inches and press.  You’re all done!

Optional: Add a snap before you sew the perimeter of the bag so it can fold more securely.

All in all, I am SO excited about this clutch and am proud of myself for tackling it. It ended up being really easy (except when I accidentally measured a little too short with my interior pieces and when I sewed the zipper incorrectly at first–easy fixes!), started and finished it in an afternoon, and I would definitely make it again. I’d say this is an intermediate beginner pattern.

And now…to style and use!

Add a fun striped clutch to any outfit

Stripes and mini polka dots are perfect for pattern mixing

What would YOU create with a yard of fabric or less?

Create by the Yard is generously offering a 30% discount to all readers with the code: bloghop0914! Even if you’re not ready to create now, stock up on fabric for all of your holiday crafting and gifting now at a great price.

Be sure to stop by the rest of the blogs this week to see their tutorials!

Monday: Heidi from Literate & Stylish
Tuesday: Lizzie from October June
Wednesday: Marissa from The Modern Austen
Thursday: Angelica from Syntaxx Errorrr
Friday: Sara from Sincerely, Sara

Lastly, enter to win a $30 giftcard to Create by the Yard! It’s open to ALL because she will ship internationally! We’ll be announcing the winner on Tuesday, September 30th. Good luck :)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

*Disclaimer: I received fabric in exchange for a review, but I will certainly be purchasing from Create by the Yard and I wholeheartedly support this fantastic business! Thank you for supporting the businesses that make The Modern Austen possible.

DIY: From Dress to Peplum

My “crafting style” is all about practicality. I can appreciate the craftsmanship and hard work that goes into decorative crafts (and occasionally I will dabble in them when it comes to home decor), but I much prefer to make things that are functional, especially wearable DIYs. That’s why I end up sewing infinity scarves; not only are they incredibly easy and quick to make, but I can wear them year-round and feel proud of my “craftiness.”

I don’t usually take risks when it comes to thrift store refashions, but I recently stumbled across an incredibly easy fix that has, upon transformation, become a staple in my wardrobe.

During one of my many trips to Goodwill, I came across this striped Forever 21 cotton dress. I immediately saw its babydoll empire waist and incredibly short skirt and almost pushed past it on the rack. I took one more glance at the horizontal stripes and the waist placement and thought, “What the heck?” and scurried off to the dressing rooms with it.

Transform a too short cotton dress into a flattering peplumAre my eyes even open?  Ohh the beauty of “before” pictures.

I was absolutely spot on about it’s inappropriate length and fit, but I was also correct in thinking it would be an easy refashion into a peplum top. For under $5 and in less than 20 minutes, I managed to DIY a great new top.

It may seem just as easy as cutting the bottom and calling it a day, but here are a few tips when it comes to shortening any top, especially into a peplum.

Tips for Refashioning a Dress into a Peplum

  • Try it on first and mark where you want your ideal length to be. Give yourself several inches longer than that as an amble starting place. Seriously. You can always cut more, but you can’t get the length back.
  • Before you cut, decide how you want to finish your hem. I knew I wanted to roll the hem once and sew it down, so I had to factor this into my overall length.
  • If your top has stripes or a pattern, use that as a guide when you are cutting, but remember to keep it straight across, unless you want to achieve an asymmetrical style. Consider how your peplum may have gathers or pleats.
  • Cut your length in sections; don’t cut it all off at once. In between each cut, try it on again. Peplums that are on the short side can lay funny and gravitate toward the “maternity top” style rather than the “look at my tiny waist” style. Err on the side of caution and take your time.
  • If you don’t have a serger, consider using a double-sided bonding tape to secure your folded hem before sewing a basic stitch across the hem. If you aren’t a sewer, the tape might be a great temporary solution if you’re anxious to wear it right away.
  • Be sure to keep things like pockets, zippers, and other details in mind before taking on the project. This may deter you from refashioning the vision you have in your head. You can certainly work around them, but be prepared to put in a little extra work.

Even though I took the time to cut my dress section by section, trying it on in between, I still felt like I cut it a hair too short, especially when you look at it from the back. Luckily, with a skinny belt, I don’t have to worry about continually tugging it down and I love it!

Wear a skinny belt with a peplum to emphasize the waist even more

I paired this peplum with a pop of red and basic skinny jeans, rolled into ankle length. I loved this look because it incorporated all of my favorite things AND I felt awesome when I could tell people I “made” the top after I got a few compliments!

If you are not too confident about your crafting skills, try a quick refashion like this dress to peplum DIY and you’ll feel confident in no time. (And don’t worry if you have a few fails along the way. Just check out the last peplum I tried to make . . .)

Here’s a little before and after action:

From Dress to Peplum DIY refashion


Don’t forget: you can enter for a chance to win an ENTIRE new summer wardrobe thanks to a $250 LOFT giftcard I’m giving away to one lucky reader, thanks to some wonderful ladies. Read all about it here! Only a few days left to enter.

Linking up to: What I Wore WednesdayI Feel PrettyRandom WednesdaysYour Whims WednesdayWhatcha Wearing WednesdayWhat I Wore WednesdaysBeautiful YouColor Brigade

Coppertop’s Crocheted Creations GIVEAWAY

My amazing friend Sarah is a crocheting fiend. She is probably the fastest crafter I’ve ever met and her finished products are always stunning. I’m amazed and impressed by her ability to master a new pattern with ease and crank out dozens of items in what feels like a matter of hours. For Christmas, she gifted Ashlie and I with our own crocheted headbands, perfect for surviving the negative temperatures this winter (check mine out on Instagram!). Recently, she decided to put her talents and efforts into her brand new shop, Coppertop’s Crocheted Creations. Her Facebook page showcases the diverse options she can make, but she’ll even take custom requests!

Sarah has been a big supporter of The Modern Austen and generously agreed to giveaway THREE of her incredible items to one lucky reader! I know I just had a giveaway, but I don’t think anyone will be turning away the opportunity to stay WARM!

Check out these beauties:



What You’ll Win:

  • A beautiful crocheted headband with flower and button clasp
  • An awesome spiral patterned crocheted hat
  • A warm crocheted infinity scarf

No need to settle on either a hat OR a headband; you’ll get both to go along with the scarf! That way you can choose based on your hairstyle ;)

You’ll have one week to get your entries in, so be sure to act fast! Go ahead and say hello to Sarah! Good luck :) I’ll be back to regular blogging tomorrow!

**Giveaway is open to continental U.S. residents only**

a Rafflecopter giveaway

How to Wear Your Ugly Christmas Sweater in Public

Festive Ugly Reindeer Christmas Sweater 1
Festive Ugly Reindeer Christmas Sweater_How to Wear it in Public

Sweatshirt: Handmade by me (Crewneck from Walmart)
Blouse: LOFT Outlet
Jeans: LOFT
Scarf: CozyCatCrafts (made by Laura from Forever Above Me!)
Moccasins: c/o Ashlie (store in Lewistown)

Last year I posted a tutorial for how to make an Alternative Ugly Christmas Sweater–you know, one that’s actually kind of cute but can also be made as tacky as the occasion allows. It’s an incredibly easy DIY and uses the same technique as Ashlie and my personalized dollar stockings. Be sure to check the sweatshirt tutorial out–I finally updated the terrible quality picture from last year! (Can’t really recreate the process pictures, however, sorry!)

Anyway, we all wear our ugly Christmas sweaters to parties (well, except me since I wasn’t invited to any :P), but here’s how you can have the courage to wear yours out in public, especially around the holidays when it’s still socially acceptable to be super festive.

Five Do’s and Don’ts for Wearing Your Ugly Christmas Sweater . . . in Public

1. Do pair it with jeans or cords. I know you’ve worn yours with bright colored leggings or some crazy sequined pants, but save that for the party. I promise you, you’ll still look great. You hear me? PUT DOWN THE LED LIGHT-UP PANTS WITH BATTERY PACK SEWN IN.

2. Don’t be tempted to sport the patterned turtleneck (circa 1994) you so wonderfully coordinated with your sweater. Stick to a solid tee in a nice contrasting color. I assure you this is a good life decision. Did you SEE the JC Penney catalogue from 1990 circulating around Facebook? (Pure gold.)

3. Do use accessories sparingly. Here I’m wearing a simple knit scarf that makes it cozy; you may be tempted to wear your fuzzy patterned scarf or jingle bell earrings (and girl, I know you can rock them), but let your sweatshirt be the focal point. Stick to solids if you’re not sure.

4. Do walk with confidence. Think Beyonce.

5. Don’t apologize for being festive. There is a very small window of opportunity to look this cool and you must own it.

Anyone else have any good tips? Anyone think you just shouldn’t wear them at all? HAHA just kidding I know that was a silly question to ask ;)

I plan on sporting this off and on all of Christmas break until it is time to pack it away for next year! Can’t believe Christmas is in TWO days! What are your plans? Today I work my LAST day of 2013 and then I’m off to Pittsburgh to be with my family up until New Year’s Eve. I can’t wait. I feel like it’s going to absolutely fly by, so here’s to hoping we can all treasure every moment.