Hello, my crafty friends! How are you doing?
I am sitting in my kitchen writing this post because it is such a gloomy and wet day in London and, I cannot imagine cutting and interfacing a new sewing project. To stay productive, I decided to show you how easy and quick it is to draft a pattern to make what I like to call a Simple wristlet. It has a rectangle shape that features a top zipper closure with a zipper tab on one end. When opened, you can access the main compartment which, is also fully lined. There are no internal or external pockets, but you can add a zipper or a slip pocket to the lining if you know how to. I have a zipper pocket and cargo pocket tutorials that you can try. There is also a side connector with a D-ring for a detachable wrist strap. With no gussets or box corners, this project is relatively quick to make. A perfect beginner-friendly pattern to draft and sew!
The simplicity of this pattern will entirely depend on your imagination, but I will show you how to begin! Are you ready?
Drafting the pattern
Before we begin, let’s have a look at the individual pieces that are needed to complete this project. First of all, we need one front panel and one back panel. They are the same size and shape, so we can draft a single pattern piece, let’s call it a “Main panel”. To simplify the process, we will use the same pattern piece to cut front and back panels from the external and lining fabrics. Since the project is to make a wristlet, the next obvious pattern piece would be a “Wrist strap”. There are many different styles of wrist straps, but for this tutorial, I decided to make a removable one-piece wrist strap, hence we need to draft a “Connector” so we can clip on the wrist strap. Lastly, a “Zipper tab” is needed to finish the edge of the zipper tape, especially if like me you prefer to use continuous zipper tape.
To summarised, we need to draft the following pattern pieces:
- Main panel
- Wrist strap
- Zipper tab
You can make the Simple wristlet in any size you want.
Grab a pencil, a ruler and some clear paper and draw a rectangle for the “Main panel” mine is 25 cm / 17 cm ( 10″ / 6 3/4″) – grey rectangle, then add a 1 cm (3/8″) seam allowance around all four sides (green area). I would also advise adding an arrow that indicates a fabric grainline, plus middle points along each side. You have to label each pattern piece so you know what it is and to avoid cutting mistakes. There is nothing worse when you are ready to sew the project, just to find out you’ve cut the wrong pattern piece and there is no fabric left to re-cut it 😟. I’ve been there, so trust me on that and write a detailed label!!! I like to include the name of the pattern (Simple wristlet), the name of the pattern piece (Main panel) and how many times I need to cut it from the external fabric, lining fabric, interfacing or stabilizer.
Next, draw a rectangle for the “Wrist strap”.Next, draw a rectangle for the “Wrist strap”. The width of the strap is 4x the size of the swivel hook hardware. I mainly use 2.5 cm (1″) hardware, so the width of the strap is 10 cm (4″). The length of the strap depends on your preference. Whatever you choose, always add 2 cm (3/4″) for the seam allowance. FYI, my pattern piece for the wrist strap is 10 cm (4″) / 40 cm (15 3/4″). Yet again, remember to add a label with all necessary information.
To draft the “Connector” piece, draw a rectangle twice the width of the D-ring hardware you will use by 6 cm tall. The seam allowance is included so only add a label. My connector is 5 cm (2″) by 6 cm (2 3/8″).
And lastly, draw a rectangle for the “Zipper tab” 4 cm by 5 cm (1 5/8 by 2″).
Once you have all pattern pieces drafted you can cut them out!
Hacking the pattern
You have drafted the basic pattern for the Simple wristlet, so now is the time to get your creative juices going! Let the fun begin!
You can “hack” the pattern and create as many variations and styles as you can think of! To start, trace the “Main panel” on a seperate piece of paper (without the seam allowance), draw some vertical or horizontal lines, cut it along the lines and add a seam allowance! That is ALL!!! Simple and effective!
You can go as minimal or as crazy as you want! To show you what I mean, draw two vertical lines equally distanced from each side edge (Version 1). Next, you can cut it along the lines to divide the panel into 3 separate sections, then add seam allowance around all sides. Since there are two same-sizes narrower pieces, you can keep one, and discard the other piece. As an example, I will only use this hack on the front of my Simple wristlet hence I need to make a note on the pattern piece that it needs to be cut twice (from the external fabric and interfacing). If I was to use also on the back, then the label should say cut x 4. The middle panel is cut once (from external fabric and interfacing) for the front panel or twice for the front and back. To ensure I know what those pieces are, I like to differentiate each pattern piece with a letter e.g. A, B, C. You can be more detailed by giving them a completely different name altogether, such as “Side front panel” and “Middle front panel”.
As a rule of thumb, I use the alphabet to remind myself which pattern pieces go together in a sequence; A is the first, then B is the second piece, which means they must be stitched together. In this particular example, I would have to cut two pieces A from the external fabric. To understand the layout, I would draw a simple illustration on the back of the pattern piece, or perhaps add a note on the pattern; “Piece A goes on each side of piece B”. There is no wrong or right way to do it. It depends on your preference and what will work for you. For more complex patterns, I use a journal where I draw a front, back and a side view of the project, note any specific details or features of the project, write the name of the pattern pieces and their size (whenever applicable), basic sewing steps, fabric and hardware requirements and other tips or key points that I need to remember. If you don’t have already, in time you will develop your system or personal preference to mark and label the pattern.
NOTE: Do not forget to mark a fabric grainline on each individual pattern piece.
When drawing both horizontal and vertical lines the process looks the same. The only difference here is the order of how the pieces are stitched together. Looking at the below example (Version 2), we have to cut two pieces A and one piece B, however this time the sewing sequence is A + A, then B. Again, make a note of this step on your pattern label, or draw the front panel layout.
If you want to experiment, even more, draw some lines at an angle (Version 3). It doesn’t matter how many lines you draw or what angle they are. Use a pencil and eraser till you find the most aesthetically pleasing (for you) layout. Once you find what you like, follow the same steps to create and mark individual pattern pieces. Those pieces are oddly shaped, so remember to draw the fabric grainline and label them correctly.
TIP: When you are ready to sew, cut the pieces from the external fabric. The right side of the fabric facing up lay them flat on the table the same way they will be once constructed. This way is less likely to make mistakes.
These are just basic suggestions on how to adapt the pattern, but whatever you design, always remember to add the seam allowance and label individual pattern pieces.
Free pattern for you
I know most of you have a limited amount of free time, and you would rather sit at the sewing machine instead. If you still want to make the Simple wristlet, I have created a PDF file of the design seen below. The pattern is available to download on the Allsewpetite – makers group on Facebook. Bear in mind there are no sewing instructions for this pattern, but there is a video tutorial available on my YouTube channel.
Supplies needed to sew the Simple wristlet
- External fabric; the amount of fabric required will depend on the size of your wristlet and the length of the wrist strap. To find out how much I need, I would usually lay all the pattern pieces the way I would need to cut them out and measure the area they cover. Obviously, it will be different if you decide to mix different fabrics, but at least it gives you a general idea of how much is needed.
- Lining fabric; see above
- Woven interfacing; if you are working with lightweight fabric, such as quilting cotton, or your fabric has a tendency to stretch, I would recommend fusing some woven interfacing (Stayflex, SF101, Wovenfuse, G700 etc.) to the wrong side of the fabric first. This will stabilize the fabric and add a little bit of structure.
- Stabilizer (optional); depending on the fabric you are working with it might be necessary to use additional stabilizers such as fusible fleece, foam interfacing or Decovil light to give your wristlet a body and structure.
- #5 zipper; the zipper length will be determined by the width of your Simple wristlet. Just measure the width of the “Main panel” piece and cut the zipper to this size., this way you will have some room for an error.
- 1 x swivel hook & 1 x D-ring
- Rivets (optional)
- Name tag or care label (optional)
I hope you found this tutorial helpful. If you have any questions, write them in the comments section below, and always remember to have fun.
I would love to see your creations, so please tag me on Instagram @allsewpetiteusing #AllsewpetiteTutorials and join my Facebook group, where you can find inspiration, share your makes and meet like-minded people.