embroidered denim clutch

This is one of my favorite things I’ve made. I love the way the bright colors stand out on the denim.

This was the first time I’ve used embroidery floss for anything other than cross-stitch or making friendship bracelets. I don’t know anything about embroidery, though I recently found out both my mother and grandmother do.

This “embroidery” was inspired by me seeing this coin purse on Etsy. I couldn’t stop thinking about it. When I found a dark blue denim remnant at the thrift store, I knew this pouch was going to happen.

I got a jeans zipper to go with the denim, some super colorful embroidery thread, and a pack of tapestry needles from Hobby Lobby and looked back at the pouch to figure out how to go about making it. Then I realized my dream pouch was made of wool, which I assume is way easier to embroider. I had a moment of panic and though, I can’t embroider denim! That must be impossible. (Which obviously it isn’t.)

I had a conversation with my grandma about embroidery at our family Christmas after she asked if I embroidered this dress for Emma. I didn’t, and can’t even begin to fathom the amount of work involved in something like that. I asked her about embroidering denim and she said sure, why not?

I got to work soon after I returned home. I eliminated the gathered part of the gathered clutch tutorial from Noodlehead (and skipped the interfacing) to make my basic pouch. I wanted my end tabs to be exactly right, which involved me ripping out a TON of stitching when I was nearly completed because it didn’t line up the way I wanted.

check out those reworked end tabs!

I also tried adding a wristlet strap. I’m happy with the way I made the strap, using the strap part of this tutorial, and sewing lines 1/4″ apart the whole way down the strap, but it wasn’t working for me on this pouch so I had to tear that out too. I was frustrated after realizing I had to redo most of the pouch so I tabled it for awhile. Later, after lots of ripping and resewing and ripping out the resewing and re-resewing, I was finally satisfied with the finished pouch.

the stitching adds structure and stability to the strap (alliteration alert!)

Then it was time to embroider. I left the hole in the lining open and worked through that to embroider the front. I really enjoyed this part. I liked the way the colors showed up and the stitches were art instead of something to be hidden.

I started off sewing straight lines like the original inspiration, but they looked boring on my pouch and didn’t have the impact I wanted. Then I tried circles and loved them. Doing the circles freeform was a bit of a challenge for an exacting perfectionist who likes symmetry. I did mark some of them with soap so they would be circular, and I ripped out any number of stitches that looked too angular.

back view. no embroidery = boring.

I really liked the lining fabric I used. It was a remnant from the local fabric store in town and complimented the bright colors of the embroidery floss.

After I was done (and kept staring at my finished pouch and smiling), I vaguely recalled an embroidered pouch with circles on it that I’d seen somewhere. I combed my Pinterest board and Etsy favorites to no avail. Then I searched “embroidered circle pouch” on Etsy and this pouch popped up. Lo and behold, it’s from the same seller as my original.

I’m thinking about learning more real embroidery. I recently found some vintage embroidery transfers at the thrift store. What couple doesn’t want matching embroidered denim shirts? Especially when you can choose from designs like a radish or a snail! I’d totally wear that island sunset shirt though.

I’d like the mustache man on the right to mix me a drink in his fancy outfit (check out the shoes!) and striped apron with lime slice embroidery.

I’ve been finding lots of embroidery in my blog reading these days too (1, 2, 3). And as I now know, embroidery is a family tradition!

Every time I look at my beautiful, colorful pouch I get a big grin on my face. It’s so nice to take something you envisioned from your mind out into the real world.


8 thoughts on “embroidered denim clutch

  1. That pouch is just beautiful. I love that you stuck with it and didn’t give up. I think the denim really showcased the stitches. Thanks for this.

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