Eye Spy A Holiday Gift Idea to Try: How to Sew a DIY Eye Clutch and Makeup Bag

By Brittni • posted on 02/14/2024

How to sew a DIY eye shaped clutch + makeup bag

I love giving DIY gifts for the holidays, especially when it comes to my friends. But what to make is always the tough part. Obviously, I’ve done the tote bag gift thing before (who hasn’t?!). But let’s face it, everyone and their mother has a zillion totes in their closet. No need for another.

I do love the idea of gifting some kind of functional bag that can then house other smaller gifts, etc though. So, I partnered with Q-tips to come up with a creative (and functional) gift idea that the ladies in your life will actually enjoy AND use on a regular basis. PLUS, I’m fairly confident that no one on your gift list owns something similar already… it’s a DIY eye clutch and makeup bag!

Now, I don’t want to get too excited here, but I truly love this little guy. I’ve been calling him my lazy eye clutch because the drooping eyelid makes him look sleepy / lazy. It’s the little things, people.

Here’s how to make your own DIY eye clutch / makeup bag…

DIY eye clutch. Click through for the sewing tutorial.


– sewing machine
– thread that matches your fabric
– mid-weight (semi sturdy) fabrics in 4 colors (or paint your own colors onto one large piece of fabric, like we did for a totally custom look)
– white fabric paint
– Q-tips Precision Tips
– scissors
– designer’s chalk to mark fabric
– straight pins
– zipper

How To:

1. Start by sketching out the eye shape, iris, pupil, and eyelid that you want for you clutch. *It must be at least 2 inches in diameter smaller than the zipper you’ve selected. Then add another 1/2 inch all the way around for seam allowance.

2. Transfer the sketch (that now has the seam allowance) to the fabric. And then cut out the pieces.

3. Now, center the pupil on the iris (right side up) and place onto the large eye shape (also right side up). Straight pin it together.

4. Then sew the pupil and iris to the large eye shape. Try to stay as close to the edge as possible. Quick tip: Use the hand/balance wheel to control the speed of the needle to get a more accurate circle shape.

5. Next, attach the bottom portion of the eyelid to the piece that you just finished sewing using the same process (you can use the foot pedal instead if you prefer).

6. Next up is the zipper…With the zipper right side up and the clutch front right side up, fold the top edges of the eyelid (that hasn’t been sewn down) and pin that onto the zipper. Then top stitch the eyelid (and zipper at the same time). Then use the same process for the backside of the clutch.

7. Next, making sure the zipper is open, turn the clutch inside out so that the right sides are facing one another on the inside. Then sew the bottom of the eye to attach the back of the clutch to the front.

8. Cut vents on the bottom to make it more round, then turn it right side out again.

9. Now it’s time for the finishing touches. To add a catchlight to the eye, add a little bit of white fabric paint to Q-tips Precision Tips and use it just as you would a paintbrush. The pointed end is perfect for creating the small circle catchlights in the pupil area. AND you can throw the Q-tip away when you’re done using it (instead of having to wash out a brush, etc). Let the paint dry and it’s ready to use.

How to sew a DIY eye shaped clutch + makeup bag

This size clutch is perfect for small beauty essentials (like Q-tips travel pack) and other makeup items, like lipgloss, nail polish, etc. You could even use it as a mini wallet, etc.

DIY eye clutch and makeup bag

DIY eye clutch and makeup bag

How to sew a DIY eye shaped clutch + makeup bag. Click through for the sewing tutorial.

Concept, photography and styling by Brittni Mehlhoff
Sewing by Melissa Issa-Boube

Think you’ll give this clutch a try?

This post is in partnership with Q-tips. Thank you for supporting the brands that help keep Paper & Stitch running.

11 comments | Click here to reply

I love it!


This is such a cool tutorial, might have to try this 🙂


Oh I love this! I think I’m gonna sew one for myself 😀


This is such a fun clutch! Love the idea!


Definitely! Highly recommend giving this project a try, Melanie.


I have a sewing machine that is actually mine just sitting unused in my mother’s house…I need to break that baby out and try this cutie bag!! =)

Melanie@Toots + Dill

Thanks Paige. Melissa did a great job sewing everything up, didn’t she?


That bag is so cute! You did a great job! As usual.



[…] I mean, speaking of my birthday, none of the dudes in my life will do this for me! Why not?!?! LISA FRANK! THE PERSON! Swimming with pigs? AND NURSE SHARKS? Sign me up! Stumbled across this pin on one of my boards. It’s genius. A gift guide for people who fucking love stationery. I couldn’t have said it better myself. (And coincidentally, there’s a guide for people who fucking love to say fuck…) File under “If only I could sew” this eye clutch! […]


Thanks Michelle. I agree on the gift thing, especially if you added a couple of your favorite nail polishes or lip glosses, etc.


That is such an amazing idea, I need to craft this! Would make an awesome gift as well!

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