I've been on a quest to find the perfect wallet for quite some time now, and I think I might have found it!! Of course, I had to make it myself, but that just makes it all that more special ;)
I've only tried a few wallets in my lifetime, and they've all come with their faults. The one I had for the longest time was one I got from my parents from their trip to Italy. It was very nice and sturdy, made of orange leather, but the configuration was very problematic. I could not access both my bills and my coins at the same time.
Here in Canada we have the looney and twoney which are coins, unlike the 1 and 2 dollar bills in the US, so there's a lot more coins to handle. I had to close the flaps of the wallet, flip it around, and unzip the coin compartment every time I wanted coins, and then had to put my coins in, zip up the pocket, flip the wallet open to put the bills in their place. Let's just say sometimes I was trying to go too fast and the coins fell on the ground cuz I didn't zip it up.
What I wanted was a wallet that I would have easy access to both the compartments at once, side by side. Those are not that easy to find, and much less at an affordable price! The ones I did find had other useless to me compartments.
So I set out to make my own. I looked at many wallets in the store, and searched for some nice tutorials online. I found this tutorial at All Wrapped Up (CLICK HERE FOR ORIGINAL TUTORIAL) and thought it was pretty nice, but I wasn't completely sure it would be the best wallet. But since I am a beginner sewer, I thought it would be wisest of me to follow a pattern/tutorial for my first wallet, instead of winging it. So that's what I did.
Here are the supplies I used, and the cost breakdown:
~ 3 fat quarters, 2$ each at Wal-Mart; you'll only need all of the one for the card slots, the other 2 FQ will have half leftover so you could use 1/8ths if you have some
~ 7" zipper, 1.35$, FabricVille
~ Button, 2.50$ for 2 so 1 for 1.25$, FabricVille
~ Interface, 1$ for 1m, Fabricland
~ Coordinating thread, 3.50$, FabricVille
~ Hair elastic, 1$ for a pack of 20, dollar store (Note: Do not buy cheap hair elastics!! I really regret this decision as it's kinda disintegrating now. I highly recommend Goody brand hair elastics, they hold their shape and elasticness very well, unlike the cheapo ones, which I did try to use in my hair and they just broke within a couple of uses)
All in all it took me 6 hours to make: cutting the fabric, pinning in place, folding the slots, repinning better, basting interface, sewing pieces together, figuring out how to put the zipper foot on, ripping the zipper cuz it was too much to one side, resewing the elastic cuz I sewed it on wrong, trying to get the interface to not bubble, trying to figure out how exactly you sew the last edge closed, etc. Basically, I lost a lot of time figure it all out. A more experienced sewer, with a rotary cutter, might whip this out in 3-4 hours I'd say.
I did do a few modifications, though, to better suit my needs. The first was to change the snap closure for a button/elastic closure, and adding a little flap. I didn't like the idea of the open end, nor did I want to figure out the snap closure.
For the flap, I added 5cm to the wallet (so the pieces would be 27cm x 20cm instead of 22x20). I would recommend going to 30-32cm even (so 32cm x 20cm), and I'll show you why later. The added part is the exposed pink on the right. I then measured 2cm from the edge, found the center of the width (or length of the wallet) and drew a line from the edge to the middle to have a triangular flap and not a square one. The picture shows it better.
While sewing the triangular flap, I inserted the elastic right at the tip, half on the inside, half on the outside, and back-stitched over it a few times, making sure the needle went through the elastic.
I snipped the elastic that would be on the inside while turning it inside out.
You'll want to sew the button on right before the very last step, which is to sew the last edge close. Make sure you sew it on real nice because it would be a pain to have to go back inside to sew it back in place if it ever falls off.
I think the button and elastic add a little flair to the wallet, don't you?
The second change, very minor, was to add an extra layer to the zipper pocket so that when you looked inside you wouldn't see the interface there (the pink side of the inner pocket below; cut 2 pieces of the pocket piece instead of 1). I just sewed an other pink layer on top of the interface before sewing the zipper.
I can't remember exactly how I managed for that seam at the bottom of the pocket to be inside out, but I did... So just think ahead when you sew this thing together!
Which btw was the first time I sewed a zipper! Sure it took me 15 minutes to figure out how to change the zipper foot (which takes all of 5 seconds when you know it!), but once that was done sewing a zipper is super easy! In hindsight, I should've sewed on the extra layer like you would sew a lining, but I didn't know better this time, so you see the raw edge.
The rest I followed the instructions from the original tutorial. I love my wallet! I am so glad I decided to finally tackle this project!
Oh, and instead of the patchwork strip, I just added a solid strip on the back. The main fabric of the wallet was busy enough, but I did want to add an extra little touch.
All in all, I think this wallet is pretty awesome.
There's plenty of space for all your cards: 6 slots that can fit 3 cards each (not that I have that many). I don't know if you'd be able to put 3 cards in every slot, though I wonder if anyone really has that many cards (6x3=18 cards, that's a whole lot of cards!).
3 cards in one slot isn't even that snug!
There's 2 big slots, one I use for bills and the other for receipts.
The bill slot I got right next to the coin pocket.
Now, the actual coin pocket is very roomy, maybe too much so, cuz my coins get lost in the corners which are a little harder to access, as you can see in the picture below. If I would've known this I would've done a seam across the corners, so the pocket would be kinda funnel like and wouldn't get anything stuck in the corners.
The one big(ish) problem I do have with the wallet is with its construction. As I mentioned, I'm a beginner sewer, though I do think I did very well thank you very much. And the problem mostly lies with the supplies I had, more specifically the interfacing. I could not find iron on interface (though I did not look super hard, but I didn't have much options anyway...) so I used sew in interface. Again, my first time using interface. The interface and the fabric did not become one and made a sort of bubble (right in the crease when it's folded open).
ETA: I would recommend going with a heavy to heavy-medium interfacing. I believe I only used medium, or maybe even light, with cotton fabric, and the wallet does not hold it's shape that well. Usually wallets are made with heavy/thick fabric anyway, which I realize now really helps with keeping the shape and being able to unzip the zipper easily. Just make sure to get a needle that is able to pierce through all the layers. And also change for a new needle!
I didn't think it would cause problems, but I think that's why the end product is a little wonky and bubbly. Not a huge deal, but does not look professionally made. It's just for myself, so it doesn't matter so much, but just so you are aware if you attempt to make it.
It's a pretty big wallet, to be honest, but it packs a lot of features, too. It gets pretty bulky once it's all sewed together and filled up. If I could've foreseen this, I could've made the flap a bit longer, as mentioned previously, because the corners of the flap flip up, if you can see from the picture below. But I'm still happy with the triangular shape I made instead of a simple square.
I've been using it for 3-4 months now and can say I really like it. I realize now that no matter which wallet I have, I will always hold the line at the cash register as I put things back in their spot and grab my bags. At least my coins never fall on the ground anymore, even if I forget to zip the pouch, and it's easy to take out my receipts while leaving the bills inside since they have their own compartment.
ETA: I've now been using it for over a year, and I still love it. BUT I added some notes throughout for more changes I would make and recommend. If you missed them they are:
1) A good hair elastic! Cheapo dollar store ones will loose their elasticity very quickly and make breaks in the elastics that are just not pretty.
2) Use heavy or medium-heavy interface, it will keep the shape better and be easier to unzip.
3)When doing the card slots, do test with actual cards. Mine are quite loose, and the cards don't stay in their slot, I constantly have to push them back down to access the ones on top. While it is great that I can fit 3 cards in one slot, it's just good to know that too loose is not good either. I'm not afraid of losing any cards, though, as the flap I added ensures that none can slip out.
I just want to end with this. If there's a sewing project you'd like to do, but are intimidated because you're a beginner, give it a try anyway. This was my 4th ever sewing project. Two of the previous ones can be seen on this blog, and the 3rd is hemming pants (yes, I count that as a project, I did 5 in 2 days ;) ). Sure my wallet might not be perfect, but that's what learning is all about. Plus, no matter how wonky it is, you'll still love your finished project, because YOU made it! So just give it a try!
Are you also picky when it comes to choosing a wallet? Have you ever considered making your own?
Here are other who have been making this wallet:
Jen @ Lea and Lars
If you enjoyed this post, consider following: RSS Feed, Facebook, email, or Pinterest. There's also the Project Gallery, recently revamped, for your viewing pleasure :)
I party at these parties.