The clutch bag is a small, flat handbag. The handbag is usually without handles or straps. Sometimes the larger clutch do have handles or detachable straps. The clutch is made a some sort of envelop and designed to be handheld or carried under your arm.The Clutch is compact and is usually used for evening occasions to carry minimal essentials like a phone, credit cards, or cosmetic items.
Clutch bags are very old!
Bags and purses are known from very old paintings and tapestries. But just a few survived history and are shown in musea. The materials were often not good enough to save the clutch bags for centuries.
A seven hundred year of bag owned by the Courtauld Gallery in London may well be the oldest surviving example of a clutch bag. The bag is originally from the city of Mosul in Northern Iraq and is a clear indication that such accessories were, from the outset, signifies of wealth and status. Extraordinarily modern in design, the bag has a solid brass body and is inlaid with scenes of courtly life in gold and silver. A front flap is fastened with a catch, just like a contemporary ‘envelope clutch’.
In Medieval Europe, women wore small bags attached to a belt. Bags and purses were mainly concealed for reasons of security but a change in fashion led to the purse/bag becoming a beloved object.
Last centuries clutch bags were mostly a combination of some sort of jewellery and bag. Metals, exquisite gems and fabrics were used to create clutches. More recently the clutch is mainstream. Cheap, comfortable or very exclusive and expensive.
How to wear a clutch bag?
One of the attractions of the clutch is its theatricality. A clutch bag means you do not have to carry your own stuff, you only need to worry about your lipstick, a small mirror or whatever. Somebody else is probably carrying your other stuff. A P.A. (= personal assistance)? Yes, you are probably a star and it shows because you only need to wear a clutch.
Clutches are designed to focus on your middle-waist, your hands and the clutch itself. They are mostly small jewels, carrying under your arms or with both hands. Wearing them with both hands also indicates, you are not going to shake hands. That's looks very upper-class, and nowadays (2020) also very Corona-safe.
Nowadays clutches are also more handy than ever; you can wear a face-mask in it and be prepared if it is necessary to wear a face-mask for your own safety or somebody else safety.
Modern clutches are not jewels anymore, and not only exclusively made for the rich and famous. Clutch bags are mainstream and sometimes even very sustainable because they are made of fabric leftovers. Or recycled plastics, paper or environmentally friendly materials.
Chanel clutch bags:
Chanel has been making clutch bags for some time. Often these are very similar to the famous bag the 2.55. But with fewer compartments, lighter weight, even more handy and with or without a chain. Some larger wallets are also called clutch bags because they can easily pass for a graceful evening bag.
The real authentic vintage Clutch bags are worth gold and very beautiful. These are often more 'jewels' than bags.
The leather variant is no longer alone. The clutch is also increasingly made in tweed fabrics and even in plastic and other futuristic fabrics. Characteristic: the perfect finish, the symbols and the logo. And the hefty price for an authentic or vintage Chanel Clutch bag.
How to make a clutch bag?
It is not that difficult to make a perfect clutch bag. Certainly not for an 'advanced' seamstress, but it is also fine for a beginner seamstress. If you only work step-by-step, take the time for it and ensure a nice finish. Take a good look at google and tutorials and even better: an example of a clutch nearby in sight, to study and copy.
Which materials do you need?
The outside fabric: a nice tweed, Bouclé or something more easy to sew: goblin or another sturdy fabric. The lining: go for a real silk fabric, taffeta silk or a fabric that folds nicely and is not too flexible. Inner lining: flannel fabric or thinly padded fleece liner. In addition, you need a larger press stud, a metal closure or a decoration.
Do you have a nice piece of gobelin, Bouclé, tweed or jacquard fabric? And a silk lining or regular lining fabric? Make a nice clutch to give away during the holidays or make one for yourself. A clutch is always chic, handy and you really can't have enough clutches...
If you also make them from fabric leftovers, or 'upcycling' a curtain, jacket or tablecloth; then you are completely good and creative!