Someone told me the other day that he believed money would soon become completely digital and we'd be trading electronic credits online. It's happening already to a limited extent with Bitcoins, but it still seems so sci-fi to me. I think I'll hold on to a wallet for now, like this pretty version with multiple compartments for cash, coins, and cards. I like having physical money with me; a couple paper dollars and some coins just makes me feel happy. I think it goes back to being a kid, when every hoarded dime and nickel put you that much closer to a giant gum ball from the shiny red dispenser. I still get a little thrill when I find a quarter in my coat pocket, although I worry what a gum ball would do now to my dental work.
Today's wallet features a generous center pocket for bills with four additional smaller slots for credit and ID cards. Plus, there's an exterior zippered pocket for coins and more. An inner layer of extra firm interfacing is pre-stitched prior to assembly, allowing the wallet to easily fold at all the appropriate horizontal points, yet still provide great overall stability for the tri-fold shape.
The fabrics we used for our sample wallet are from the original Eclectic Elements collection by Tim Holtz for Coats Fabrics. With the success of this first collection, Tim added to the 23 debut designs, coming out with Phase Two of Eclectic Elements. The majority of the designs from both collections are still available. We found a nice selection at Fabric.com. Use our exact cuts or experiment with your own selections.
We really like the Ticking Stripe available in several colors within the Eclectic Elements collections. It's a great blending fabric; today we're using the red colorway.
The wallet folds to approximately 8" wide by 5" high.
Sewing Tools You Need
- Sewing machine and standard presser foot
Fabric and Other Supplies
NOTE: For the very best look, all your pieces should be carefully fussy cut. The yardage shown allows extra for this purpose. Also, because this piece folds up, you need to pay particular attention to the direction of your prints so everything is right side up when folded closed.
- ¾ yard of 44-45" wide cotton for the main interior, exterior accent, interior pocket and strap; we used Ticking in Red from the Eclectic Elements Collection by Tim Holtz for Coats
- ⅓ yard of 44-45" wide cotton for the main exterior; we used Butterflight in Red from the Eclectic Elements Collection by Tim Holtz for Coats
- ½ yard of extra firm fusible interfacing; we used a 15" x 9" rectangle of Timtex
- ONE 7" all-purpose zipper; we used a Coats 7" All Purpose Zipper in Black
- ONE 1¼" D-ring; we used a Dritz® D-ring in black
- ONE magnetic purse clasp
- All-purpose thread to match fabrics
- All-purpose thread in a contrasting color for topstitching; we used dark brown
- See-through ruler
- Fabric pen or pencil
- Iron and ironing board
- Scissors or rotary cutter and mat
- Seam gauge
- Seam ripper
- Straight pins
- Download and print out the Wallet Corner Cut Pattern.
IMPORTANT: This pattern is ONE 8½" x 11" sheet. You must print the PDF file at 100%. DO NOT SCALE to fit the page.
- Cut out the pattern piece along the solid line.
- From the fabric for the main interior, exterior accent and strap (Ticking in Red in our sample), cut the following (if using stripes, they should be running vertically on all pieces):
ONE 9" wide x 15¼" high rectangle for the lining
TWO 8" wide x 5½" high rectangles for the credit card pockets
ONE 9" wide x 5" high rectangle for the exterior accent
NOTE: On the above pieces, make sure the striped pattern is centered to match from one piece to another.
ONE 9" wide x 7" high rectangle for the zippered pocket
ONE 16" x 4" strip for the strap
ONE 4" x 4" strip for the D-ring loop
- From the fabric for the main exterior (Butterflight in Red in our sample), cut the following:
ONE 9" wide x 8¼" high rectangle for the upper exterior
ONE 9" wide x 4" high rectangle for the lower exterior
- From the extra firm interfacing, cut ONE 8" x 14¼" rectangle.
At Your Sewing Machine & Ironing Board
Prepare the firm interfacing
- Find the 8" x 14¼" rectangle of the extra firm interfacing. Place it horizontally and flat on your work surface. If possible use a gridded cutting mat to make your marking and measuring easier.
- Trim the corners from one 8" side (this will become the top of the wallet). To create the proper angle, measure 1" in from the corner and mark, then measure and 1" down from the corner and mark. Connect these marks with a diagonal line and trim along the drawn line with a rotary cutter.
NOTE: If you have a gridded cutting mat, you can align the corners against a one inch square on the grid and cut through the middle of the square on the diagonal.
- Measure and mark three vertical lines on the interfacing. Starting from the opposite 8" side from the side on which you cut the corners (this opposite side will become the bottom of the wallet), measure and mark one line 5" up from the bottom edge, a second line 10" up from the edge, and a third line 10¼" up from the edge.
- Shorten your stitch length; we used 1.80 mm. Stitch along each of the three drawn lines. This stitching helps "break" the firm fusible, which will allow the wallet to more easily fold into its finished shape.
Wallet interior and pockets
- Find the 9" x 15¼" lining panel and the two 8" x 5½" pocket panels.
- Place the lining panel on your work surface, right side up and flat.
- Align the Wallet Corner Cut Pattern along the top of the panel and trim the corners to the pattern.
- From the bottom edge of the panel, measure and mark two horizontal lines. The first line should be 6" up from the bottom edge and the second line should be 6¾" up from the bottom edge.
- Fold each of the two pocket panels in half, right sides together, so they are now 8" x 2¾". Pin along both 2¾" ends.
- If necessary, re-set your seam to a standard stitch length.
- Using a ¼" seam allowance, stitch both ends on both pieces. Clip the corners.
- Turn the pockets right side out and gently push out the corners with a long, blunt end tool, such as a knitting needle or chopstick. Press flat.
- Place the raw edges of one pocket along the 6¾" drawn line, centering the ends of the pocket side to side. Because we carefully fussy cut, the stripes on the pocket perfectly match the stripes on the base panel. Pin along the raw edges only.
- Using a ¼" seam allowance, stitch across the raw edge only. Use a generous back tack to lock the seam at the beginning and end.
- Fold up the pocket, using the ¼" seam as the folding point. Pin the sides of the pocket to the panel.
- In the same manner, place the second pocket below the first along the 6" drawn line and stitch it in position.
- Fold up the second pocket into position, overlapping the first. Pin the edges of the second pocket through all the layers.
- Using a ¼" seam allowance, stitch along both sides of the pocket pair through all the layers. Again, use a generous back tack at the beginning and end of the seam for extra security at these pocket stress points.
- Measure to find the exact vertical center of the pocket pair. Draw a line through this center point.
- Stitch along the drawn line to create four, perfectly sized credit card pockets.
Exterior panel and zippered pocket
- Find the 9" x 8¼" large exterior rectangle (Butterflight in our sample). If using a directional fabric as we did, orient it so the motif is upside down. The fabric should be right side up, vertical, and flat on your work surface.
- Align the Wallet Corner Cut Pattern along the top of the panel (the top as you are looking at it with the upside down motif) and trim the corners to the pattern.
- Find the 9" x 5" accent panel (Ticking in our sample) and the 9" x 4" small exterior rectangle (Butterflight in our sample).
- Place the accent panel right sides together with the bottom edge of the large exterior rectangle. Pin in place. Stitch together, using a ½" seam allowance.
- Place the small exterior rectangle right sides together with the remaining raw edge of the accent panel. Make sure your directional motif on the small exterior rectangle is also upside down just like the large exterior rectangle. Pin in place. Stitch together, using a ½" seam allowance. Press the two seams open and flat.
- Find the 9" x 7" zippered pocket panel and the 7" zipper.
- Place the fabric pocket panel wrong side up on your work surface.
- With a fabric pen or pencil, draw a 7" x ½" narrow box. This narrow box should be centered side to side on the pocket panel and ½" down from the upper raw edge.
- Find the sewn 3-part exterior panel. Place it right side up and flat on your work surface. Within the large exterior panel (the panel with the clipped corners), measure 2" up from its seam line with the accent panel and place a pin at each outside raw edge.
- Place the pocket panel with the drawn box right sides together with the exterior panel, aligning the top edge of the pocket panel (the edge ½" from the drawn box) with the two pin marks. Pin the layers together through the drawn box.
- Stitch along the drawn box (all four sides), using a shortened stitch length (we used 1.80 mm again).
- Cut through the center of the box, then clip into each corner. You are cutting through both layers.
- Turn the pocket right side out through the opening, smoothing the corners of the box. Press flat.
- Flip the panel to the right side. Place the opening over the zipper, centering the coil. Pin in place.
- Re-set the stitch length to standard.
- Edgestitch the zipper in place.
- Go around all four sides, opening and closing the zipper as necessary to keep the pull out of the way of the needle.
- Flip back to the wrong side again. Fold just the pocket layer in half, bringing up the lower edge of the pocket so it aligns with the upper edge. The two layers are right sides together and the zipper is sandwiched in between. Pin in place.
- Flip over yet again to the right side. From the right side, edgestitch through all the layers from one end of the zipper to the other, running your seam directly over the top of the zipper edgestitching farthest from the seam. In other words, you are stitching just one seam here and it is directly on top of one side of the zipper's existing edgestitching. Start and stop this seam at the corners of the "zipper box"; do not stitch beyond the box.
- Place the exterior and lining panels right side up and flat on your work surface with the corner cut ends at the top.
- Mark each piece for the placement for the two halves of the magnetic snap.
- The first half is placed on the exterior panel ½" above the accent panel/lower panel seam and centered side to side.
- The second half is placed on the lining panel 1" down from the top raw edge of the flap and centered side to side. (The drawings below have the best image of this snap position if you are unsure.)
- Following manufacturer's instructions, insert each half of the snap.
NOTE: We also have a magnetic snap insertion tutorial if you are new to the technique.
- We also added our Sew4Home label within the accent panel just above the fold line.
Assemble front to back
- Place the lining panel right side up and flat on your work surface.
- Place the exterior panel right side down on top of the lining, matching all edges.
- Center the extra firm interfacing on top of the wrong side of the exterior panel and pin in place through all the layers. Leave a 4" opening along the bottom straight edge.
- Sew around the entire perimeter with a ½" seam allowance, which should just catch the interfacing. Remember to lock your seam at either side of the 4" opening at the bottom of the wallet. Clip the corners.
- Turn right side out through the bottom opening. The stiff interfacing isn't happy about having to turn, but just fold and pull gently to work it through the opening. Push out all the corners with a long, blunt-end tool so they are nice and sharp. Press well, pressing in the raw edges of the 4" opening so they are flush with the sewn seam. Pin the opening closed.
- Edgestitch across the bottom only, starting and stopping at the sides. This closes the opening used for turning.
Strap and loop
- Find the 4" x 16" strap strip, the 4" x 4" loop strip and the D-ring.
- Fold the strap strip in half lengthwise and press to form a center crease.
- Open the strip wrong side up so the crease line is visible. Fold in each raw edge so they meet one another at the center crease line. Press well.
- Fold the strip in half along the original crease line, aligning the folded-in edges.
- Edgestitch along both long sides. The ends remain raw.
- Repeat to create the loop strip.
- Place the wallet lining side up and flat on your work surface.
- Slip the loop through the D-ring. Align the raw ends of the loop. Place the D-ring and loop just above the credit card pockets. Pin in place so the D-ring extends just beyond the edge of the wallet.
- Fold up the lower section of the wallet. It should easily fold 5" from the end thanks to those stitching lines previously sewn into the interfacing. Pin the folded section in place, sandwiching the loop ends between the layers.
- Edgestitch through all layers starting at the outer corner of the bottom fold. Go up one side, around the entire flap, then back down the opposite side (again through all those layers... go slowly!), ending at the opposite corner of the bottom fold. You may need to lift up the presser foot slightly to stitch around the magnetic snap at the top.
- The D-ring and loop are now secured within this edgestitching. Reach inside and remove the pins that were holding the loop. Trim the ends of the loop back to about ¼" so they are not in the way above the credit card pockets.
- Fold the strap in half, aligning the raw ends to form a loop. Insert the raw ends of the strap through the D-ring. Pull the ends through about 1½". Tuck under the ends to hide the raw edges. Pin in place.
- Stitch a ¾" "X-box" through all the layers to secure the strap.
NOTE: We have a good tutorial on how to make a perfect X-box.
- Fold the flap and fasten with the magnetic snap. The flap should fold easily, again thanks to those inner lines of stitching on the interfacing.
Project Design: Alicia Thommas
Sample Creation and Instructional Outline: Michele Mishler