The metal clasp frames used to make little purses and clutch bags come in all shapes and sizes! When done right you can end up with a really professional looking make and once you know how, it really isn't that complicated to use them.
Some are sew in ones and have lots of little holes for you to stitch though but its difficult to get the clean sharp line between the metal and fabric.
My favorite type are the glue in ones. There is a trough that you pop a bit of glue into, then place your constructed purse or bag into it and hey presto!
Figuring out what size and dimension to make your purse or bag can be tricky....I've had a lot of trial and error myself.
So, I'm going to show you an easy way to draft your own pattern piece so that no matter what size your frame is you can have a purse that fits in it perfectly.
If you have a quilting ruler it will make life a little easier, but a regular one will be just fine...you might want to have a hunt for grided paper though.
Once you have your pattern piece, I'd still recommend running one up in some calico or scrap fabric to make sure its fits and looks how you want it too.
Draw around the top of your frame and mark the centre point.
Pivot your frame around the corner point so that it sits about 1" out from the vertical line that you drew before, and mark where the very bottom of the hinge sits. The reason you do this step is so that you end up with that little fold that will cover the bottom of your hinges and make it nice and easy to open the purse without putting too much tension on the fabric. If you are using a frame smaller that 4" you might want to make the amount that you pivot out a little less, if a bigger frame, then a little more.
Now extend the diagonal line you just drew by 3/8" to allow for seam allowance and ease.
Fold your paper in half down the center line of the purse and cut out the outline you have just drawn.
Fold in half and trace the diagonal line onto the other side of your pattern to ensure that they are symmetrical.
Next measure the depth of the purse down the centre line. For this 4" frame I made it 41/2" but think about how much you want to be able to put in the purse....a credit card, loose change, travel card etc. Just make sure you add on an extra 1/2" or so to allow the purse to have depth.
Measure the distance between the ends of the two diagonal lines that form the top of the pattern piece.
Take 1/2" off this distance to give you the width of the purse along the bottom edge. Then using the centre line draw in the bottom length of the purse.
You will notice that the purse tapers in slightly towards the bottom, this is supposed to happen and helps that purse have a more balanced look when completed.
This gives you the block pattern piece, including seam allowance, that you can now use as a template to construct the purse. I used the same size for the lining but take a slightly larger seam allowance so that the lining doesn't end up too baggy.
Stay tuned for the second part of this purse frame series and I'll show you how to put together the purse section, ready to glue into the frame.