Last month, the lovely Katy at Sweet Verbena posted a fantastic tutorial on making a laptop case. I made two of them, one for my brother, and one for me. Katy's design is awesome, and her instructions are great. I altered her design a little bit, just by adding a blanket stitch on three sides instead of just the top. It gets a little wonky at the corners where the stitches meets, but I like the look of having it on all sides.
Katy's design got me thinking, though. I had a lot of the vinyl left, and I realized I could adapt her design a little bit to also make a work clutch to carry files. So without further ado, here's my Verbena Work Clutch tutorial!
What you need:
-A piece of leather/vinyl (mine was 15.5" wide by 25 3/4" long, and I'll explain how I got measurement that in a sec).
-A smaller piece of leather/vinyl for a pocket if you want one (mine was 11 1/8" wide by 3 3/4" high, but the size of the pocket is up to you!)
-Embroidery or darning needle (you need a big, thick needle to go through the vinyl)
I knew I wanted my clutch to be able to hold several file folders that were full, plus pens and a usb drive. The first thing I did was to measure a file folder I had (11 5/8" wide x 9 7/16" high). Then, I piled up several full file folders and laid them out on my vinyl. I ended up making my clutch 15.5" wide to accommodate for the depth of lots of full folders.
To determine the length, I played with the length of vinyl until I found a one that accommodated the folder with a flap that came down a little more than half-way over the pocket. The final dimensions of my clutch are 15.5" wide by 25 3/4" long.
Now that your vinyl is cut, feel free to line it. I did not, but you could use the felt method that Katy described in her laptop clutch tutorial, or you could do something else. I did not line it, so I moved right on to blanket stitching the two long edges. (If you don't know about blanket stitching, it's super easy. Katy's tutorial includes a wonderful video, and that's how I learned to do it.)
Once you have blanket stitched both edges, you can add a pocket if you want. Mine is 11 1/8" wide by 3 3/4" high, and I added blanket stitching to the top of this as well. I also divided my pocket into two sides, one being small for a usb drive. I stitched my pocket on with two seams for extra strength. You can make your pocket as large or as small as you want it, or you can just eliminate it.
Once your pocket it on, it is time to make the big pocket for your file folders, which will be 15.5" wide by 9.5" high. Fold the pocket side up 9.5", wrong sides together, and sew with a 1/2" seam allowance on each side. Move your needle over 1/8" to the outside of your first seam, and stitch again to reinforce your sides.
At this point, you are done! You could, of course, go back and add a closure of some kind. I might add a center button and some leather cord to the flap to wrap around the button, but I have been using it this way, and it works great.
Just one little note, mine is extra roomy. If you don't need to carry as much, you probably want to cut down on the width. I just know that once this school year gets up and running, I'll have a lot of grading to take back and forth between home and work!
One other note, my sewing machine had a lot of trouble with the vinyl, and even my mom's had some difficulty with it. We found that the stickier/tackier the vinyl it is, the more trouble the machine had. We ended up altering the pressure on the foot, but sometimes, that made it hard to sew in a straight line (at least, it did for Impatient Jess!)