Learn how to make an impressive indigo envelope clutch from scratch. First, dye some plain white fabric using natural indigo dye and an easy tie-dye method. Then, transform it into a clutch with a few stitches. Ready, steady, indigo!
- Thick white cotton fabric (or other natural cloth) 80 x 80 cm (31.5 x 31.5 in)
- Rubber bands
- Sewing machine
- Needle and thread
- Clothes sewing press stud
- Latex gloves
- 20g of pre-reduced indigo, 250g of reducing agent (thiox or hydrosulfate) and 250g of soda ash, which you can find in this indigo dye kit
- 19L (5 gallon) plastic bucket with a lid
- Stick for stirring (make sure it's long enough to reach the bottom of your bucket)
- Small container for the foam/"flower"
- Sheet of plastic to cover the floor
- Shallow pan to hold your fabric
1. Prepare the Indigo Vat
First, you need to set up the indigo vat. Just follow the step-by-step instructions we prepared for you in this Shibori Fundamentals tutorial. If you plan to use fabric dye and not natural indigo, you can follow the instructions in the second part of this Ne‑Maki tutorial.
Once your indigo vat is set, cover the bucket with a lid and let the dye settle from 15 minutes to one hour. During this time you can tie your fabric.
First, place the fabric on your working surface and gather it in a pleated strip.
Now, take a rubber band and place it around the fabric to bind it tightly.
Add more rubber bands along the strip, taking care to keep similar distances between them.
Soak the fabric in cold water. Then, squeeze to remove excess water and air.
Open up the indigo vat, which should be ready by now. With your gloves on, submerge the fabric in the vat and move it around to make sure it is dyed equally on all areas.
Gently remove it from the vat and close the bucket with the lid. Let your fabric oxidize for about 20 minutes till it turns from green to blue.
Once blue, rinse it and remove all rubber bands. Then hand wash it and let it dry in the shade.
Iron it, because you need it unwrinkled for the next steps.
First you need to trim a strip off the fabric. You need a piece of fabric 80 cm (31.5 in) wide and 70 cm (27.6 in) long. Make sure the edges of your fabric are vertical.
Now, fold vertically in the center, bringing the left edge towards the right.
You will add the first part of the stud now, so that the stitches are hidden inside when you are done. Measure the position for placing the press stud. Measure about 5 cm (2 in) from the top edge. Place it almost in the center of the width of the folded fabric but 1 cm to the left (because there will be a stitched edge on the right and the actual width of the clutch will be smaller).
Now place the positive part of the stud (the one with the nose) in the calculated position, and secure it in place by sewing it.
There you go.
Now open up the fabric and fold it again, but this time inside out. The stud should be inwards, and you can consider this as the back side of your fabric from now on.
Using white or blue thread and your sewing machine, run a simple stitch along two of the three open edges, the top one and the one on the left. Cut the top left corner of the fabric off. This will remove the bulk and make it sit better.
Now open up the fabric and iron the seams flat.
Turn your fabric out the right way, using your finger to make sure the corners are pushed out and ironed flat. This is the correct side of the fabric, and you can see the stud hopefully centered.
Now, fold the open edges of your clutch inwards.
Make sure it's nicely folded and that the edge is straight.
Now close the opening using ladder stitches, which is a strong and
invisible way to sew up an opening. Start at the corner of the clutch, from inside the clutch going upwards.
So now your clutch is closed from all sides.
Bring the lower edge upwards, creating a fold of about 25 cm (9.8 in). Make sure that the fold is larger than the remaining part of the clutch above.
Stitch the two side edges vertically to close the clutch. You only need to stitch at the area where the fabric is doubled, meaning along the fold.
Now bring the upper part of the clutch downwards to close it. Calculate at which point your metal stud goes on the lower part of the clutch, once it is closed.
Mark the point. This is where you need to stitch the other part of the stud.
Ta-dah! You clutch is ready to use! Open it up and fill it with all the necessary.
In this tutorial, I first showed you an easy and super-fast method of tie-dye with impressive results. Then you learned how to sew an envelope clutch with this gorgeous indigo fabric.
You could make use of this tie-dye technique for more applications. And now that you've got the hang of it, why not make a clutch using the fabric you dyed while making your sneakers?
Can't get enough of indigo? Check my Shibori for Beginners series of tutorials and learn how to tie-dye with me.