Liberty clamshell pouch

I am guilty of buying Liberty fabrics and just looking at them. Guilty, guilty, guilty! I have been slowly buying small pieces for a future, yet unstarted project. I know that I have to start using them sometime, but the weight of deciding which quilt pattern to make is too great. I cannot choose!

I might not yet be able to decide on a quilt pattern, but it is time to stop hoarding, petting and admiring and to start cutting and sewing. A recent blue scrap-pack acquisition from The Strawberry Thief inspired me to finally start cutting into my Liberty stash. Finally!

I had been wanting to make Mary Dugan’s clamshell pouch since I saw her blog post in August. I even travelled all the way to the UK in September to buy a copy of her pattern in Mollie Makes, issue 57, from Waitrose. (OK, so I was in the UK anyway.)

My pouch has a few variations from Mary’s pattern:

  • As I was basting, I realised that I did not want to cut the bottom of the clamshells off, so I added a piece of linen to make the pouch a bit deeper and save the lovely scallops on the bottom.
  • I decided to box the corners of the base so it can stand upright.
  • I added some fusible fleece to give it rigidity.
  • I used the clamshell papers I already had, so they might be a slightly different size from Mary’s.
  • I did not add the topstitching of Mary’s pattern. I had intended to as I thought it was really pretty on hers, but my Liberty fabrics were so busy I felt that they did need more.
Clamshell pouch made with Liberty fabrics

My pouch is deeper than Mary’s because I had cut out all the clamshells before I thought to add a linen base, and I was not letting a single clamshell go to waste.

I chose blue as the main colour because I already had the navy blue lace zipper, bought in Japan last year.

Clamshell pouch made with Liberty fabrics

I used all of my blue Liberty fabrics, starting with the scraps.

I placed the clamshells randomly, except for on the edges of each panel. I wanted the front and back pieces to line up.

Clamshell pouch made with Liberty fabrics

I carefully placed the clamshells so that the ends of the bag would finish neatly.

I lined the pouch with a light voile, a scrap of fabric given to me by a friend. I think it is the offcut of a top she made.

Clamshell pouch made with Liberty fabrics

The lining is a lightweight cotton, similar to a voile.

I have always admired clamshell quilts, but I might stick to admiring them. I can imagine many more small clamshell projects in my future – cushions and bags and the like – but the idea of appliquéing a whole quilt like this is still a little frightening. How does one keep them aligned and straight over such a big area?

Do you have a favourite fabric line that you are hoarding and not sewing?


32 thoughts on “Liberty clamshell pouch

  1. That is a very gorgeous pouch! Beautiful Liberty fabrics….
    If you are interested, there’s a Sue Daley YouTube tutorial on how to keep clamshells straight, and it uses a glue pen instead of stitching the fabric to the papers:
    Traditionally, I think, clamshell quilts were made up in diamonds which were then pieced together, rather than across, row by row.

    • Funnily enough, I used my Sue Daley clamshells papers and a glue stick, exactly as you suggest.

      Diamonds, eh? That makes sense. I can see how it would make sections more manageable. Maybe I could one day make a clamshell quilt!

  2. Oh such a sweet and lovely little pouch. I think it is perfect for those fresh, blue Liberties. The zipper is a wonderful touch. I saw one issue of Mollie Makes and had forgotten about it. I might just need to subscribe…I wouldn’t say Liberty or clamshells are my cup of tea, but that pouch is adorable. I have a small collection of Kaffe prints that have been hard to cut into. I have been working on overcoming my notion of saving my favorite prints for “something special.” If not now, when?

  3. It’s beautiful Carla. Well done with the clam shells. I know they aren’t easy. I don’t quite have the same attachment to fabric that some people do. I’m not afraid to use mine, although it does help to know I still have another fat quarter in reserve.

    • In a small piece like this, clamshells are not hard at all – they are just appliqué. A bigger piece would be tricky to manage.

      I am a bit odd. I will happily use a favourite fat quarter in a bee block to give to someone else, but when I gather or buy a collection of fabric together, I start to become foolishly precious about it.

  4. What a delightful project. I love your changes, very practical without having to sacrifice any clams. I try not to horde fabric, use it while I love it, but I am waiting to fall in love with a new range!

  5. I love the linen and boxed corners addition to your pouch! I have been slowly gathering some Denyse Schmidt fabrics, and really hope to add Katie Jump Rope to that, at least in part…not too original and I am a little late to that game, but there it is 🙂

  6. Beautiful finish, Carla. That lacy zipper seems like it was made to coordinate with that bundle of Liberty fabrics. I definitely have fabric I have not yet cut into, but less from a wanting to horde it perspective and more due to I can only work on so many projects at once! 🙂

    • It was not that well planned, Yvonne. I simply grabbed every blue scrap and piece I had. If they had all been light blue and none dark, I would have been in trouble!

      I really can relate to the problem of only being able to work on and complete so many things in any given time. We are only human, but my head is buzzing with more ideas than I could ever possibly finish.

  7. Beautiful Carla! I have a store of Liberty waiting for the perfect pattern too! I’m thinking that it needs something simple, like the clamshells! I also have a small stash of Heather Ross fabrics which I use sparingly!

  8. Clamshells scare me … I bought the magazine too after I saw you were going to make one … I keep staring at the pattern and that’s as far as I get! No pressure though, it can wait. Love the way you lined up the sides – very clever 🙂

    • Do not let clamshells scare you, Serena. They are just appliqué or EPP, depending on the method you choose. I am only a little bit daunted by the idea of a whole bed quilt of them. Start small, and you will be fine.

  9. Ohhhhh! I love it! What a brilliant idea to make it deeper and preserve those clams 😉 Thank you for the email too! I have been so busy lately and I would have not wanted to miss this! Fabulous! Carla!

    • I see this as a warm-up or starter project to get me used to the idea of cutting into my Liberty fabrics without fear. Breaking the ice, so to speak. I am still struggling with the real quilty deal, but I have a plan to start something. If it doesn’t work, it will grow as big as a cushion cover and then stop.

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