Make your own metal frame clutch pattern: A Tutorial

By now I’ve, hopefully, talked you all into making your own Love Letter Clutch. (If not, head over to the blog post and email me for the free pattern. It’s so easy, I promise!).

But that pattern is for use with 5″ metal frames. What if you have hardware of a different size and shape? What if you head to the local craft store and they have something different, but awesome? What if you don’t want to order specific hardware from the other side of the country and–heaven forbid–WAIT A WHOLE WEEK for it to arrive? Obviously, you should learn how to make a pattern from any metal frame. Right?

Well, that’s what we’re doing today. Believe me, you can take any metal frame, trace around it, draw some lines and come up with an adorable clutch. You really can.

So today I’m taking the time to show you how I made my clutch patterns.

I’m sorry, but my instructions probably aren’t 100% perfect. I wrote them in the living room while feeding Stryder breakfast and watching Curious George with Abby. If the words “crazy monkey” don’t show up in this post somewhere, I’ll consider it a success.

JUST TO BE CLEAR: These pictures take you through the general steps for creating your own pattern. The measurements will be different if you choose a frame different from the one I’m using here. My best suggestion to you–and this is extremely important–is to practice with some muslin first. Don’t be afraid, just make up a pattern, cut it out of muslin and sew it up. See how it works. If it doesn’t go great the first time, try again. I think I made 3 or 4 muslins for each of these clutch patterns before I was satisfied. MUSLIN IS YOUR BEST FRIEND.

OK, let’s get started.

Whenever I’m drafting a pattern I like to use plain ole’ computer paper for small things, and tracing paper for garments and such. For this, I used computer paper, pencil, eraser, ruler, and some muslin scraps.

Oh, and I used one of these totally HOT metal frames, of course. Don’t they look delicious all lined up like that? I want to eat them for desert. You can purchase them here.

Here is a picture of what your pattern will look like when we’re done, if you use one of these frames:

Keep in mind, if you use a different frame, the top half of your pattern will be shaped differently. 

Place your hardware on the paper and mark the spots I specify in the picture below. FYI, the height of my clutch in the pattern is 4 1/4″ from frame to bottom edge. I did not include a boxed bottom on this clutch. If you want to add a boxed (flat) bottom (like this clutch), add at least 3/4″ to the bottom of your pattern.

At this point, you need to do a couple of things:

  1. Add 1/2″ to the top of your height line for the seam allowance. OH LOOK, I misspelled “height” in the photo. I swer i went to colege.
  2. Add 1/2″ to the bottom of your height line for seam allowance. The depth of your clutch will depend on the frame you’ve chosen, but don’t worry, you don’t need to draw any more lines for that. I just wanted to point out that your pattern may be deeper than mine, or the other way around, depending on your hardware. If you have a wider frame, your clutch needs to be deeper than mine to compensate, so make that line longer. 


We are only going to draft the RIGHT SIDE of a pattern from here on out.

Trace the curved line of your metal frame, and let it extend 1/4″ to 1/2″ down from where the frame ends. Here, draw a line that extends 1″ out from the edge of the frame. I call this the corner line. See the picture below for reference. The corner line I’m talking about has 1″ written below it.

At the very bottom, draw a line from your center point that stops short of the corner line by 3/4″ or 1″.  Again, see the picture for reference.

I hope this is making sense. 

Connect the lines so they look like this:

Now, trace a copy of your pattern on a clean sheet of paper.

Fold the paper in half along the center line and cut out your pattern.

LOOK AT THAT, you’re very own clutch pattern. Hooray!

Here’s a refresher of my dimensions, just in case. Remember, yours may be different if using a different frame.

Now, head to this post for instructions on how to turn your self-drafted pattern into an adorable clutch!

GOOD LUCK with pattern-making! You can totally do this! If you have any questions, and you probably will after those sketchy directions, please don’t hesitate to ask in the comments below or shoot me an email.

If you decide pattern drafting just isn’t your cup of tea, and want someone to do it for you, I already have! I’m giving my clutch pattern away to followers of CailaMade. Just email me a request for the pattern and I’ll send it out within 24 hours. (The pattern is for use with 5″ metal frames. I purchased mine here).

I’d also like to know if this would be helpful as a video? I thought about working up a short video tutorial, but I’d like to gauge interest first. You’d get to see my silly facial expressions and a little bit of my house. Plus my chewed up finger nails. What do you say? Would a video tutorial be helpful?

Thanks for reading and visiting CailaMade! If you make a clutch using these instructions, I’d love to see your pictures in the CailaMade Flickr pool. Thanks, you guys! 


  1. Anonymous says

    i’ve tried to make the pattern but it just doesn’t look that great. would you mind sending me a copy of the pattern as you mentioned above. Thanks so much! nancy

    camelheights at msn dot com

  2. Elaine says

    Please send a copy of your free pattern for little snap purse. Mine I a 8.5cm/ 3.3 so nice of you to make a pattern available.