Friday, July 24, 2009

Wallet Tutorial

In this tutorial, you will learn how to make a cute, thin little wallet with 4 pockets for cards and licenses, a large pocket for bills, and a velcro flap that keeps it closed. These wallets are quick and easy and usually take me less than an hour.

Here are some pictures of the finished product!

You will need:

*Several pieces of lightweight fabric. Unless you have a heavy duty sewing machine, I wouldn't use anything heavier than quilting cotton. I have tried making these with corduroy, linen, wool, etc, and all it gets me is frustrated with about 6 broken sewing machine needles! Also, 2 to 3 different complimentary/contrasting colors and patterns of fabric work best. You can make the wallet with one color fabric, but I think three different ones looks best.



*Sewing machine (with a heavy duty needle, preferably)

*Iron and ironing board

*One large button or several smaller buttons (optional)


*Velcro- I use the 3/4” strips of velcro and cut them to about 1.5” in length.

*A credit card for measuring and double checking your pocket sizes

*Something long and pointy for pushing out the corners of you seams. A crochet needle or a chopstick works great for this. A pencil or pen is not so great as it will poke through your fabric leaving a hole :(

Step 1: Cut out your pieces:

* 4 pieces 3” x 5” for the credit card pockets.

*2 pieces 3” X 5” for the velcro flap.

*2 pieces 5.5” x 8” for the outside of the wallet and the inner lining of the bill pocket.

*2 pieces 5” x 8” for the inside of the wallet and the inner lining of the bill pocket.

(By the way, you can click on any of the pictures and get a zoomed in version)

Step 2: The credit card pockets. Take the 4 credit card pocket pieces and lay them right side down. Iron the top edge down 1/2”. Then fold over 1/2” again and iron once more. This should hide the top raw edge of the fabric and your piece should end up being 2" tall. Do this to all 4 pockets.

Sew across the top edge of the pockets. ALL SEAMS SHOULD BE 3/8 OF AN INCH unless otherwise specified.

Many of your stitches are going to be on the outsides of the wallet, and therefore, visible. You can have a matching color of thread, or a nice contrasting color usually looks good, as long as your stitches are fairly straight :)

2 of the pockets will be partly hidden under the 2 pockets on the outside edges of the wallet. Take these two inside pockets and zig zag the bottom edge:

Step 3: Take one of the 5” x 8” pieces and fold it in half. Iron the fold. This marks the middle of the piece. Take the two card pockets that you just zig zagged and lay them 3/4” from the middle of the piece. Pin them down. Then sew just along the top edge of the zig zag stitches to secure the bottom. This keeps your cards from sliding down.

Then take the other two pockets (the non zig zagged ones) and line their raw edges up with the sides of the larger piece. Pin them down. Then sew (LESS THAN 3/8" of an inch from the edge of the fabric) along the sides of the pockets. This just tacks them down to hold them in place. This is not the final seam.


Step 4: Finish the inside. Take the other 5” x 8” piece and lay it on top of the other pocket piece you just finished. Both right sides should be together. Sew the top edge.

Flip that piece over so that both wrong sides are now together and iron the seam flat. Sew that same top edge again, but this time your stitches will be visible. If you'd like, you can sew once more along the top edge, but between the edge and your last stitches.

Step 5: The velcro flap. Take the two 3” x 5” pieces you cut for the flap and place them right sides together. Sew along 3 edges, leaving one of the smaller edges open. Cut the two corners along the sewn seams.

Turn inside out and iron. Sew once more along the same 3 edges but this time on the right sides of the fabric so the stitches will be visible.

Take your velcro piece (the side with the stiff plastic barbs) and place on the side you want facing down on the finished wallet. Place the velcro 3/8 to 1/2” from the edge of the flap. Sew around all 4 edges of the velcro.

Step 6: Put it all together! Ok, listen carefully! We're going to make a wallet sandwich. Take one of the 5.5” x 8” pieces (the biggest ones that we have done nothing with so far) and lay it right side up. This piece will be the lining for the bill pocket and will be mostly hidden. (I usually sew my GypsyTree tag on this piece as you can see in the picture)

Take the pieces with the credit card pockets and put these on top of the other piece with the pockets facing you. Make sure that the bottom of this piece lines up with the bottom of the other piece. The bigger piece should have about 1” of fabric sticking up above the pocket piece.

Now take the velcro flap piece and line it up with the edge of the other pieces (Heres something cool- for right handed people, put it on the left edge, for left handed people, put it on the right edge, you'll see how it works when it's done). Make sure you lay it more or less in the middle and VELCRO SIDE DOWN!!! That is very important.

Lastly, take the final 5.5” x 8” piece that will be the outside of the wallet and lay it right side down on top of everything else, completing the sandwich. Pin it together, taking care to make sure everything stays lined up and flat.

Step 7: Sew it all together. Start at the bottom edge, about 3” from the middle and start sewing around all edges. Stop when you get back to the bottom edge, about 2” from where you started. This will be the hole where you turn everything right side out. The larger the hole you leave, the easier you will be able to turn the wallet right side out, however, it will be harder to hide the opening once the wallet is finished. I find that about 2” leaves enough room to turn it right side out but will still be easy to close and hide the hole.

Cut all 4 corners off at an angle.

*Carefully* turn the wallet right side out, and don't stretch the fabric or rip your seams. Slow and steady.

Take your crochet hook or chopstick or whatever you have, put in the hole, and poke out the corners of the wallet. Don't poke a hole in your fabric! Also, the bottom corners where the fabric is real thick probably won't get very square. Don't worry too much about that. Iron the edges flat, paying special attention to the hole- make sure the edges are folded under even so that the hole is not obvious.

Take a credit card and put it in one of it's pockets. Slide it up as far as it will go to the top stitch. Make sure that along the bottom edge, there is enough space to sew a 3/8” seam and that the card will still fit in the pockets. If there is, sew along the bottom edge with a normal 3/8" seam. If there is not 3/8” space, then just sew your stitch far enough away to make sure that cards can fit in all 4 pockets. Then sew once again between the edge and your first stitches. This will close up the hole and add a finished look to the wallet.

Then sew along the top edge of the wallet. You can sew this twice like the bottom edge if you'd like.

Step 8: The other velcro. Fold your wallet in half. Bring the flap across the wallet and find out where the second half of the velcro needs to be. Pin it in place. Now this part is tricky. You will have to sew around the velcro, through the two pieces of fabric that form the outer side of the bill pocket. With some machines this can be hard, because it's a tight little place, but it can be done. If you get frustrated, you can sew it on by hand.

Your stitches will be seen on the inside of the bill pocket, but this is usually hidden and doesn't matter. (oops- I sewed through my tag!)

Step 9: Last step! I usually like to take either one large button or several small ones and sew them on the flap on the other side of the velcro. I think it adds a really cute touch and finishes off the wallet.

Now you're all done! These wallets are great because they are nice and thin and you can put them in your back pocket without feeling too bulky.

If you have any questions about this tutorial, or if you notice any mistakes, please email me at and I will get back to you!!

You can view some of my other finished wallets here:

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