Could your summer wardrobe use a little late-season refresh? Here’s our no-fail answer to this common conundrum: a snazzy new accessory you can make at home (perhaps while planted in front of the air conditioner).
In this easy DIY that’s a little bit mermaid and a little bit mod, two of our favorite summer style trends—perky circle bags and festival-ready polychrome finishes—happily collide. Even better, the project is as adaptable as can be: You can craft your pouch in any size that works for you, from lip-balm-and-credit-card size to a roomy clutch large enough for a phone, keys, and a spare pair of sunglasses.
Ready to get started? Then read on.
You will need:
- 2/3 yard iridescent leatherette or lightweight vinyl
- A round object (such as a plate or bowl) to trace a template around
- Cutting mat
- Rotary cutter
- Sewing machine with a leather needle, or a leather needle for hand sewing and some thread
- Hammer or mallet
- Leather hole punch
- Utility knife
- Button-head stud
Step 1: Create a round template
Decide how large you’d like your pouch to be and use a similarly sized round object, such as a dinner plate or a planter, to trace a circle onto a piece of paper or cardboard. (For a larger pouch, use a round dinner plate; for smaller options, a bowl or mug might do the trick.) Cut along the line to create a template.
Step 2: Cut a set of circles
Use a pencil to trace the round template twice onto paper and twice onto the leatherette or vinyl you’ve chosen. Cut out all four circles.
Step 3: Make a template for the bag’s front
Fold down one side of one paper circle to create a flap that’s about one third the width of the full circle, then press down firmly to form a crease. Keep in mind that the fold you make in this step will determine the shape of your completed pouch.
Step 4: Cut out the front of the bag
Unfold the creased paper template and place it on top of one leatherette circle. Position a ruler against the folded crease and use the rotary cutter to slice along the ruler’s edge, removing and discarding the top third of both the paper and leatherette.
Step 5: Tape paper and leatherette together
Now it’s time to prepare your leatherette for sewing. To do this, create a few loops of tape and use them to secure the paper circle (and semicircle) to the shiny sides of their corresponding leatherette shapes. This will make it easier to feed the leatherette through the sewing machine.
Step 6: Tape the front and back of the pouch together
Place the front side of the pouch (the semicircle shape) on top of the back side of the pouch (the full circle), with both paper sides facing out. Use a single tape loop to secure the pieces together. Make sure the rounded edges of both pieces are lined up exactly before proceeding to the next step.
Step 7: Sew
Insert a leather needle into your sewing machine, then stitch around the pouch’s curved edges, ⅛ inch from the edge.
Step 8: Remove the paper pieces
When you’ve finished sewing around the curved edge, tear away the paper pieces from the leatherette. Tip: Use a pair of tweezers to carefully loosen any paper bits that are stuck along the seam.
Step 9: Mark where your closure will go
The final step of making this pouch is adding a closure; we chose a button-head stud for our version. To begin, fold the top flap over the front of the pouch and mark where you want the stud to go. Press firmly with your pencil so the impression goes through to the front of the pouch underneath.
Step 10: Punch a hole for top of the closure
Use a mallet and hole punch to create a hole in the top flap at the place you marked. Then use a utility knife to cut a ¼-inch notch at the top of the flap’s hole. This will help the button-head stud fit through.
Step 11: Add button-head stud
With the pouch’s flap open, slide the edge of the cutting mat between the two layers of the pouch and punch a hole through the front layer at the place you marked. Push the bottom of the button-head stud through the hole and screw on the top. Finally, fold the flap over and fasten the pouch.
Project and photos by Julie O’Boyle and Clare McGibbon.
Valerie Rains is a senior editor at Etsy.