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Needle-Felted Vintage Clutch

Source: Martha Stewart Living, September 2009


This Japanese-made purse kit, available at, includes a vintage-style purse frame and the necessary templates.

The kit's accompanying instructions are in Japanese, but the store's blog has a detailed tutorial with plenty of helpful photos on how to make the smaller coin purse. The how-to is the same for the larger purse we made, although you'll want a half yard each of the lining fabric and the wool-woven fabric.

In order to needle-felt the purse, there is one adjustment: In the "Cutting" section of the tutorial, after you've cut out the paper pieces and the lining pieces, don't cut out the two outer-fabric pieces. Wait until after you needle-felt the design to cut out these pieces, as the wool-woven fabric may stretch and change size during the needle-felting process. 

Follow these instructions for tracing, needle-felting, and cutting the outer fabric:


  • Purse frame

  • Felting-needle mat

  • Felting needles (36- or 38-gauge)


  1. Trace purse templates onto fabric: Lay the outer fabric (in this case, wool-woven fabric) flat. A few inches from one end of the fabric, lay the template for the outer fabric. Using a disappearing-ink pen, trace template. Flip template at the dotted line, and trace again; this will make one side of the purse. Repeat to trace second side of the purse.

  2. Needle-felt design onto fabric: Cut out 3/4-inch circles from felt, so that you have enough to decorate both sides of purse. Arrange felt cutouts on both of the traced purse shapes. With a felting-needle mat underneath, use a single felting needle to tack down the center and border of each cutout; continue punching until the fibers transfer evenly to the reverse side. (With practice, a dot will take about 30 seconds.) Finish both sides by spritzing with water and pressing with an iron on the wool setting.

  3. Retrace templates and cut out fabric: Retrace the outer-fabric template (flipping it, as in step 1) over both of the needle-felted areas. Cut out both purse sides.

  4. Continue with the rest of the tutorial, gluing the paper piece to the lining, and so forth.

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