Tutorial: PomPom Placemat Purse

This simple DIY clutch is a great way to add a pop of color to any outfit this summer! I love the pompom trend but I wasn’t sure how to incorporate these adorable little balls of bright hues into my wardrobe. I considered sewing some on to the hem of a dress, or maybe adding a few to a pair of strappy sandals, but once I started to actually play around with these ideas the logistics and aesthetics were somehow at odds – nothing ended up looking right. Or maybe it’s my skillz, they could be 100% lacking in the poofball department who knows.  After a few weeks of failed experiments, I finally figured out that the best way to dip my toes into the warm waters of pom accents would be in the form of a purse – it’s the perfect vehicle for these tiny tufts!

OK. So we’ve established that we love pompoms and we want to put them on a purse. But what type of handbag to use? You can totally sew or glue poms onto ANYTHING, so go for it – tote bag, crossbody, backpack, pouch, duffel, sleeping bag, suitcase, cell phone cover, et al. I wanted to pair my puffs with a natural fiber because I think the contrast of electric colors against straw is perfect for summertime and is very versatile so I can wear it with lots of different outfits! (I also didn’t want to spend a ton of money on a beautiful woven purse that I could then potentially ruin with the application of hot glue and pompoms, lets be honest lol!) I decided to make myself a really easy foldover clutch and set about gathering my materials.

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I was racking my brain trying to figure out where to buy woven straw by the yard when I stumbled upon the perfect solution to my dilemma: an ordinary Ikea woven hyacinth leaf placemat. You heard that right! A placemat is already the perfect shape and size to make a handy little pocketbook, and you can easily find one made of straw, hemp, bamboo, raffia, or wicker for less than a few dollars.

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In total, you will need:

  • straw placemat, approx 14×18
  • fabric for lining,approx same size as your placemat
  • hot glue and gun
  • iron & ironing surface
  • embroidery thread
  • pompoms

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A word about pomspoms: I had intended initially to use neon pompoms that I had made myself, but I didn’t like them very much. They were a little too big and uneven and they didn’t stay fluffy and round. Ugh. So I ended up buying a pack at the dollar store and I liked those a little better. If you’d like to try your hand at puffball making, this tutorial is really useful! But if you’re like me and you just can’t seem to successfully create a perfect poof, there are tons of options as to sizes and colors at any store that has a craft section.

 

Before you start working on gluing or sewing anything, take a minute to prep your material. The Ikea mat I used has a thick seam along each side which made it impossible to fold, so I had to slice off the edges and secure them from falling apart before I could begin with anything else. I also recommend soaking or moistening your natural fibers before you attempt to fold them to help prevent cracking.

Let’s get started!

First, trim your fabric leaving roughly 1/4 inch edge overlap and fold the sides creating hems the exact width of your placemat, then iron the hems flat. This will keep your fabric lining from fraying or coming unraveled.

 

 

Next, use your hot glue gun to secure the fabric to the straw, paying close attention to glue the edges tightly and to wipe away any excess glue AFTER it’s cooled for a second!

 

Then we fold and crease. I went with a simple tri-fold and a straight edge flap, but you could scallop yours or make it triangular, like an envelope opening, or even do a diagonal cut which would look seriously chic. After you’ve trimmed and folded, bring back the iron to help make those creases permanent – just remember to cover your fibers with a pillowcase or bandana first so they don’t get burned! Once your edges are glued together, use embroidery floss to decorate the seams and seal them extra tightly. I used a crappy blanket stitch in pale neon yellow for this. You could also opt to add on a length of chain, ribbon, or braided hemp to create a strap.

 

 

Now we’re ready for the fun part – POMPOMS! After I sewed on my wonky DIY poofs, I realized they were a little bit bigger and more lopsided than I had originally imagined. So I ripped those off and replaced them by hot-gluing teeny tiny store-bought craft puffballs. I think it looks much better that way, but I’ll let you be the judge.

 

Last but not least I added two tiny snaps at each end of the flap so that I could keep the clutch closed and all my shit won’t fall out all over the place, which yes has happened to me more than once lol!

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There it is – a simple DIY pompom purse made out of a placemat! I’ll be using this clutch every single day until it falls apart thankyouverymuch. What do you think, would you rock a pompom placemat purse this summer? What colors would you choose?

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