Cleopatra’s Fan Clutch

As I got comfortable doing the foundation paper piecing, I was looking for something more challenging, perhaps utilizing the same technique, but in combination with some other strategy. What drew my attention was a quilt block called Mariner’s Compass. This patchwork design wasn’t as easy to figure out how to do from the first glance, and while I searched for images, I ran into a step by step how-to on Bernina blog. The really intriguing part was the middle section, where octagonal shape needs to be stitched to the rest – and luckily, the post on Bernina blog shows exactly how that is done, and how the design is divided into individual repeating FPP blocks. OK, great, I’d love to do that, but what should I use it for? And then I notice that this block is just one part in the whole series of Old Block Quilt-Along posts on Bernina blog, and when I browsed around, the block that caught my eye was the one called Cleopatra’s Fan. Before rushing into patchwork, I had to resolve the quandary: what am I going to use this for? I already have a few patchwork blocks sitting around, and I didn’t want to just make another block for practice – I wanted to make something useful with it. Something small sounded better than a whole blanket, so I opted for a pouch. Not just an ordinary pouch, but something like a little purse called clutch – and that’s how the funny cover image of Cleopatra holding a fan clutch came to mind. Instead of using a provided pattern, I made a similar design in Illustrator and turned it into a pattern for a pouch – just a very simple design with round edges, like so:

Then, I added letters to each shape in first quarter of the design, and copied those into a new page to create the patterns. I added quarter inch seam allowance with offset path command, and resulting curves were set to be dashed lines. All the pieces fit into a single letter size page. If you’d like to give this a try, download the printable PDF here. The first page can be used for coloring, the second is for reference on cutting fabric and piecing it together, and the third page contains the patterns. Print it and cut out the shapes around dashed lines, then take a needle and make a hole at each corner, where the seams will join. This is very useful when pinning pieces together before stitching the curved seam. The first thing I’d do is run a pin through the corner dots on two pieces of fabric to be stitched, and then insert another pin perpendicular to the seam line that goes close to these dots, and repeat for the other side. Then I would line up the remaining fabric so that the edges meet, and add few more pins to keep that in place. Also, I’ll make evenly spaced cuts to alleviate tension as the curved seam is made. But to backtrack a bit, a note about cutting fabric: the pattern pieces could be pinned onto the fabric that’s folded and folded again – that way you get two shapes on right side and two on the wrong side, which is what you’ll need. However, to improve the accuracy, I drew the outline of the pattern on the wrong side of fabric along with corner dots twice, and flipped the pattern and repeated two more times to get the mirrored copies. The reason for this is to better utilize the fabric by leaving smaller scraps, and also for potentially better accuracy, as each cut is made with scissors, following the line precisely. For lighter fabric I used 0.5 2B mechanical pencil, and for darker I used white gel pen (Sakura’s gelly roll). If you need more detailed instructions, check out Bernina blog, as it explains clearly how piecing is done. And here are some pictures of my process:

The last image shows completed patchwork as it is pinned to the fusible fleece, with fusible side facing away from the patchwork. I will later fuse it to the lining fabric, but I’ll quilt first and do some hand embroidery and add beads. After that was done, the result looked like this:

At this point, I fused the lining fabric (costume satin) to the fusible fleece, and cut a 2.5″ binding strip, then pressed it folded in half. Here’s what the front and back looked like after binding strip got attached with clips:

As you can see, the quilting loosely shows through the fused lining, but the thread ends and stitching from embroidery and bead additions are well hidden. Once the binding strip is stitched with a machine, I will flip it over and hand stitch the inside, just like I do with quilted blankets. After that was done, it was time to add a zipper, which was also stitched in by hand. If this process is unfamiliar, check out this video by Red Quilt (it’s in Korean, but you can clearly see the process) for a video tutorial on how these kinds of pouches are sewn. The only thing at this point that I used machine for again was stitching the corners together. I used a lighter to melt the edges of the satin fabric to prevent fraying. Finally, I wanted to make the zipper a bit fancier, so I came up with idea to attach a 3D print to the zipper puller. I measured it and and made a model of it, then imported the lines from the design of the pouch and turned them into 3D model, with extrusions that will allow me to print it in three different filaments, each one being seen f, then used Boolean subtraction to make a hole for the zipper puller, where I’ll glue it when print is done. The model looked like this:

I used dual color (magenta gold) silk PLA for base, matte pink PLA for middle and silk rose PLA for top layer. Finally, the assembled clutch looks like this:

I had fun making this pouch, so I went ahead and made one more. This time, instead of embellishments, I went with printed fabrics and plain color fabrics for background. The filaments I used for printing zipper puller were silk PLA in three shades of brown.

And that’s it! Have fun sewing 🙂

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