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Learn how to Hack the Stargazer Tote into a Clutch Styled Handbag!

2018 bag of the month blue calla clutch hack handbag mini pattern stargazer stargazer clutch

So, you want to make the Stargazer Clutch?

This is Michelle from Barabooboo Designs, here with a fun twist on a fantastic pattern.  When I made my regular sized tester I loved the pattern so much and I couldn't wait to try this version!! It's 3/4 size of the original Tote, and it features these grommet styled handles for carrying.

Follow along with my tutorial on how I did my hack on Celine's Bag of the Month Club pattern: The Stargazer Tote.

For this Hack you will need:

*Printed at 80%:  The Stargazer Tote pattern by Blue Calla 

*You will need to download this Modified Top Panel pattern piece for the top panel and firm interfacing pieces. (this is already at 80%, but has been modified to accommodate the handle size) 

*A set of Metal Oval Screw in Handles, like the ones I have from Emmaline Bags. Or if you are in the UK at Sew Hot  These come in 5 finishes: Nickel, Copper, Gold, Gunmetal and Antique Brass.

*An 11" zipper will be used instead of the 14" one in the full sized pattern for the bag's main opening.

*A 7" zipper for the interior pocket instead of a 9". 

Cutting Changes:

You will need to cut 4 Zipper Panels at 9.5" W X 1.25" H instead of the measurement stated in the regular sized pattern, as the zipper is shorter.

Cut 1 zipper facing that is 9" W instead of the 11" from the pattern.

Cut the 2 interior pocket lining pieces at 9" W x 6" H instead of 11" x 8" from the pattern

For this Hack you will NOT need:

Please toss these pattern pieces:Top Panel D, Top Panel Firm Interfacing, and Handle Connector H pieces that printed at 80%, you will not need them for this tutorial.

You will also NOT need:

Magnetic snaps for the pockets, Rectangle rings/ Diamond connectors, D rings, Adjustable slide, or Swivel hooks, 

You will NOT cut out Handles, Adjustable Strap, D ring connectors, or Strap Connector H as shown in the cutting list in the pattern.

Here we go then.....

Applying and trimming interfacing follows along with the original pattern for Steps 1-6

Skip Steps 7-33    There's no D ring connector, or magnetic snaps in this version.

Follow along with the pattern for steps 34-46 for Pocket and Main panel construction. (yours will look slightly different than in the pattern as your Top Panel piece is modified to accommodate the handle, and you have no magnetic snaps installed)

At STEP 47:  you need to transfer Pleat Marks onto the main panels.  Use the measurements I have here in my photo instead of the ones on the pattern piece.  There will be only 2 pleats on each side of both of the main panels, not 3.  Just mark a single line for the pleat as shown in my photo. The top mark is 3 1/4" away and the lower one is 1 7/8" away from the bottom of the main panel.



Repeat to make second panel as the pattern states in Step 48.

Skip Steps 49-67 (we are not making handles, or connectors or using Diamond hardware)

Follow Steps 68-70

Skip Steps 71 and 72, pleats will be formed later as you are sewing the gusset to the main panels later.

Follow Step 73 to find centres on bottoms.

Follow Steps 74 and 75 to attach piping.

Skip Steps 76 and 77.  

Next, I Clipped the Side Gusset C to the Main Panels starting at the top of each side. I clipped down approx 6" and stopped.  Then I clipped the centre of the bottom panel to the centre of the curve on the Side Gusset C.  I clipped around the curves, matching the tiny marks on the gusset to the seam where the bottom piece meets the main panel.  I stopped just ever so slightly past that point..  There will be an unclipped gap on either side of the gusset now.  That's where the pleats are going.

I do my pleats slightly differently than others do them, here's how I do them.  (keep in mind this is NOT a Scottish Kilt and does not have to be pleated with absolute precision, just do your best to eyeball them).

At each of the 2 pleat marks on the Main Panel, fold it there and clip it.  So you will have 2 clips in a row.


Next, I simply fold over my clips so they are now sideways...  I add a clip onto the side/main panel join to keep it there.  Then, I add how ever many additional clips I need to finish clipping the side to the main panel.  It really is THIS easy.  Make sure you lay your clips down so that they are facing the TOP of the bag.  Adjust as necessary,  You will be able to see how much fabric is in each fold just by viewing them from the side.  


After I have my pleats laid down and have clipped them down tight, I remove the original 2 that were clipped onto the line marks that were folded in the first step regarding the pleats, above.  ( this photo is showing the opposite side of the gusset, the pleat folds are still aimed toward the top of the bag)

Next, I just sew the Side Gusset to the Main panels as instructed in the pattern in Step #78....Make sure you sew with the side gusset facing up so you can get very close to the original basting line from when you applied your piping.  Take care that the pleats are nicely flattened when you sew over them. 

Follow Steps 79-80.

Skip steps 81, 82 and 83.


Follow steps 84-87 

IMPORTANT!  Please add some pleat marks to your lining pieces on the sides at the exact same measurements as you did for the exterior pleat marks. *** In the original pattern the lining is NOT pleated. BUT in this smaller version it is. (this is because I haven't increased the height of the Side Gusset piece even though the Top panel was made taller, so this means that the inside needs to be pleated as well)*** Carry on with the lining instructions.

Follow Step 88 to draw your rectangle box onto the pocket facing, your rectangle box will be 7" x 3/8" long NOT 9"x 3/8" long though since your zipper is shorter.  You can still just measure in 1" from all sides of the facing to get your zipper box situated properly.

 Follow Step 89, BUT your drawn zipper box should be 1 5/8" from the top of the Lining panel. (not 2" as shown in pattern).  Centre the  Zipper Facing onto the lining with equal distances on each side of the facing.  (Yours will not be 2 1/4" from each side as it states in the pattern). Sew the box as described in this step.

Follow Steps 90-102.  

Follow Steps 103-118

NEXT, Do NOT follow Step 119 in the pattern..... 

Instead, apply your side gusset pieces to your Main Lining Panels in the same way as you did the exterior main panels.  Clip 6" down from the top, around the bottom and lastly clip the pleats as I instructed before.  These pleats will be slightly smaller than the exterior ones.,  After clipping is complete, go ahead and sew the Side Gussets to the Main Panels.


Follow Steps 120-126

We just need to add the Metal Handles now.

Take the screws out of the handles so you have 2 separate pieces for each handle.. 

Then using the BACK portion of the handle (with the screw holes) place it onto the exterior of the finished top panel on one side of your bag. Centre it.  I Eyeball this completely.  I Never measure.  I like it situated between the topstitching on the top and bottom of the Top Panel.  Then take a pencil or whatever you use to draw on fabric/vinyl and trace it on the inside.  Then mark the 4 tiny screw holes.  

This next step can be annoying to do but will save you some aggravation later...Sew/baste a line of stitching on the outside of your traced oval.  Not too far outside the line as you don't want it to show when it's done.  I am not able to get the entire oval stitched around but I do as much as I can.  

Then, carefully cut out on your line... and punch your holes. You can Fray-Chek on these cut edges if you used fabric for your Top Panel, it's not necessary for vinyl or cork.

Audition your handle in your cut out.  Adjust as necessary.

I add a teeny bit of glue into the holes and then screw the handle on tight.

Now you're done!  Thanks for following along, and I hope you love your mini version of the Stargazer Tote!



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