A couple weeks ago I promised a fabric envelope system tutorial…and here it is!
In an effort to get our budget back under control (umm, meaning actually STICK to it), I’ve gone back to using cash in envelopes for the budget items I spend. Hubby, who thinks carrying around cash is archaic, is sticking to his debit card and tracking his spending online. Yes, it’s the same account, we just both have different categories we’re “in charge” of. I’m thinking there needs to be a friendly wager to see whose method works better for sticking within our budgeted amounts.
Anyway, I figure if I’m going to carry around envelopes, they should be cute and sturdy, and fit into an equally cute clutch. The clutch then fits neatly in my purse.
To make this tutorial you will need:
- Fabric of your choice for outside and lining of clutch and envelopes (I used 7 different prints, and white solid)
- Light weight interfacing for envelopes
- Vinyl for category tabs
- Fusible fleece (or similar) for clutch
- Button for clutch
- Matching thread, etc.
First we will tackle the clutch. From your outer fabric, lining fabric, and fusible fleece you will cut a 10″ x 10″ square and a 4″ x 10″ rectangle.
Iron your outer fabric to your fusible fleece. In this photo, the fusible side of my fleece is up, then my outer fabric is also right side up. So I’m ironing it to the wrong side of my fabric. I cut my fleece a little bit big and trimmed it afterwards on this one, but it’s actually easier to just cut them all the same size to begin with.
Do the same with your rectangle. Since my fleece was bigger, I used a scrap of interfacing to keep it from sticking to my iron.
Now take your lining and your outer fabric-fused-to-fleece…
And fold them up in half, right sides together. The fold is at the bottom of each piece. Pin sides. Sew the outer fabric down both sides with a 1/4″ seam allowance. Stitch the lining the same way, except leave a 2.5″ opening in the middle of one side.
Once they are sewn, you will need to open them up, pushing a side seam down along the bottom fold…
And flattening it out. It should look like this:
Measuring from the tip of the triangle/end of the seam, mark a line 1″ in from the corner. Your line will be 2″ wide, as you can see by the arrows at the 12 and 14 marks on the ruler in this photo.
Pin down the corner, then stitch across your line.
Do the same on both sides. It will look like this:
Trim off the corners, leaving about 1/4″…
Do the same with your lining. You should now have 2 pieces that look like this:
Next take your 4″ x 10″ rectangle, which will be the flap/closure of your clutch. I measured in 2″ from each corner and cut. You could also just round the corners if you prefer.
Do this to both your lining piece and your top fabric/fused fleece piece:
Pin your 2 pieces right sides together and sew a 1/4″ seam starting at a short side, going around the cut/curved front, and up the other short side.
Clip the corners close to the stitching:
And turn the whole thing right side out.
Push out your corners, press, and top-stitch about 1/8″ in from the edge.
Next we will attach the flap to the body of the clutch. Take the outer part of the body of the clutch and turn it right side out.
Fold the flap in half and mark the center with a pin. Fold the front of your clutch body in half and mark the middle with another pin.
Pin the middle of the flap edge to the middle of the body edge, matching the pins. Remove the pin that is underneath/in the body of the clutch.
Finish pinning along the upper edge, and sew with a 1/4″ seam.
Now we will attach the lining. Your outer clutch body should be right side out. Your liner should be wrong side out. Place the outer clutch inside the lining, matching up the side seams.
Pin at each side seam…
Then pin all the way around, carefully lining up the raw edges.
Stitch with a 1/4″ seam.
Now find the opening you left in the lining, and carefully pull everything out through that hole. Your clutch is now right side out, with the lining sticking out the top of it.
With the seam allowance folded to the inside, line up the edges of the hole, pin, and stitch it closed. I just stitched mine close to the edge on my machine. You could hand stitch if you want it to be more invisible.
Push the lining down into the clutch, and press around the upper edge. Then carefully top stitch about 1/8″ along the upper edge. Make sure the flap is folded open, so you can stitch just below it without catching it.
Next we will add a button and button hole. Fold your flap in half and mark the center for your button hole. Sew in your button hole. I won’t go into detail on this step, since this will vary by sewing machine.
Finally you will stitch on your button on the front of your clutch.
**Note** If you do not want to do a button and button hole, you could sew a small piece of velcro on the underside of the upper flap and the outside of the lower front of the clutch. You might want to sew them on before you assemble everything, so that your stitching doesn’t show on the outside. You could also add a small loop of elastic when you sew the outer flap to the flap lining. You would just pin the loop on the inside of those 2 pieces, so that when you flip it right side out, the loop would come out from the center edge of the flap. Then sew a button on the front of the clutch to loop the elastic around.
Yay! Your clutch is done! Now we’ll move on to the envelopes. For each envelope, you will need a 6.5″ x 7.5″ rectangle out of your outer fabric, light weight interfacing, and your lining.
Sandwich your 3 pieces together as follows: Lining right side up on the bottom, outer fabric right side down in the middle, then your light weight interfacing on top. The 6.5″ length will be the SIDES of your envelope, and the 7.5″ will go across the top and bottom.
Pin and sew 1/4″ all around the edges, leaving a 2″ opening on one side. (NOT the top or bottom) You will want to stop 1/4″ from the edge and pivot at each corner, so you can clip the corners off later.
Clip off the corners close to the stitching.
Find your side opening, and turn it right side out between the outer fabric and the lining. Your interfacing will end up in the middle. (The photo below is confusing…what looks like a fabric edge under the opening is actually a fraying string. The interfacing is above the outer (pink dot) fabric, and the lining is at the bottom of the opening.)
It should look like this:
Carefully push out your corners (I’m using a skinny paint brush handle)…
Then press the whole thing flat, while making sure the edges of your opening are folded in and lined up. We’ll take care of that opening in a bit.
Next, cut a piece of vinyl 1.25″ x 2″ and round the edges.
You do not want to pin on the vinyl, as any holes you make will show up afterwards. I put my envelope rectangle under my presser foot, then slipped the vinyl into place and held it while stitching about 1/8″ from the edge along both short sides and the bottom. You will want to line up your vinyl about half an inch in from the side and 1/4″ or so from the upper edge of the envelope.
I back-stitched a couple times starting and ending for extra durability.
Now fold your envelope in half with the lining on the inside. The opening you turned it through should be at the lower end of one of your sides at this point. Make sure the raw edges stay tucked in neatly on your opening when you fold it. We will be sealing up that opening when we top stitch the envelope. Pin the sides, and top stitch 1/8″ in on both sides, back stitching a couple times at the top and bottom.
Your envelope should look like this:
Repeat those steps to make the rest of your envelopes. Cut a small strip of paper a bit smaller than the vinyl window for each envelope, and label with your budget category. Add cash. 😀
Then place all your stuffed envelopes into your clutch…
And you’re ready to go shopping, while sticking to your budget. Yay!
As always, you can use this however you want…make ’em for yourself, gift ’em to friends, or sell ’em…it’s all good! If you have any questions, or just want share that you made some, please leave a comment. Thanks… and enjoy!