Monday, 26 January 2015


I can't remember when or where I saw the idea to use raw-edge circles to make clamshells (Pinterest no doubt) but using circles last week to decorate the bunting and cups reminded me of it and so I decided to give it a try.

I wanted to use very small circles to make a 'stripe' of teeny-tiny clamshells to embellish a small project and as my youngest son has been wanting a coin purse for a while, that seemed like the obvious project choice. I backed some fabric scraps with iron-on adhesive (fusible web) and from them cut a little pile of crisp circles using my Circles, 3/4in die.

Cutting all of the circles with a Big Shot and keeping the edges raw so there's no tricky hem-folding must be the easiest way to make clamshells ever (okay, maybe this size of circle is too small and fiddly to be classed as 'easy' but with larger circles it's definitely a piece of cake). Using iron-on adhesive makes securing the circles for sewing simpler and also bonds the fibres on the raw edges to limit fraying.

I cut 2 rectangles (measuring 6in x 4 1/4in) from upholstery weight fabric to make the exterior of the purse. Having peeled away the backing paper I laid a row of circles side by side across the front piece of the purse, using a ruler to keep them level and even. Once they were pressed in place with a dry iron, I sewed around the top halves of the circles in one continuous line from one side to the other.

The next row was laid out so that the centre of each circle lined up with the joins between circles in the first row and a ruler used once again keep them all level. The circles were pressed and stitched in place as before. I repeated this for row 3 and 4 but as row 4 was the last row, after sewing along the top half of the circles I then sewed around the bottom halves in the same way so they were fully secured in place.

After that it was just a case of making up the rest of the coin purse - the circles are penny-sized!

I love clamshells and am really pleased with how this turned out but wish I'd been bolder with colour and gone for more contrasting fabrics so that each clamshell was more defined and stood out more. The little red car does stand out nicely though!

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