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Lately I’ve been playing with wallets. And by “playing”, I mean I’ve been making a bunch of them, trying to figure out the best way to do it: sizes, layers, ways to not kill my sewing machine, that kind of thing.

I started by following directions from a variety of websites, including the card wallet on the Warehouse Fabrics Inc. site. There were a couple other sites as well. I jotted down notes from them all and made a wallet.

wallet first attempt

First attempt at a wallet, inside.

First attempt, outside, orange fabric.

First attempt, outside.

Um, okay. Outside works. Inside is not great. Everything was really super loose and floppy. Adapt!

I reduced some of the cutting sizes and added lightweight fusible interfacing. Here’s the second one I made:black and white inside fabrics for second wallet

The first wallet had the card pockets turned 90 degrees and my cards kept falling out. Not good. So I figured out how to re-do it with the cards this way. Very scrappy, kind of fun, not as floppy, … but killer to tackle on my basic domestic sewing machine. I’m still using this wallet, so it is functional, but it definitely needed to evolve. Adapt!

But someone really liked it, and asked if I could make one for her. This photo shows the inside of the wallet I made:

Inside of third wallet

Inside of wallet showing long scrappy card pockets. Black hook tape on the left side waiting to be cut to size.

Hmm, we’re really getting somewhere now. The cards stay put in the card pockets. Heavier interfacing adds a good level of stiffness. But my machine almost cried every time I made one like this (and I made at least five this way, so I was really pushing it). Adapt!

And, finally, I think I have a wallet design I like, that doesn’t threaten my sewing machine’s existence, that is kind of fun to make. It’s not as scrappy, because those extra double layers in the card pockets made a huge difference to my sewing machine and needle. I also widened the tab. The heavyweight interfacing is cut smaller so I don’t catch it in the initial stitch-around. And I figured out where to stitch down the hook tape on the outside piece, so I can do it on the sewing machine instead of by hand (after the wallet was fully assembled). I think this is the design I’m sticking with:

Inside of two wallets showing orange patterned fabric and reddish orange fabric.

New wallets, with inside colors swapped.

Unless, of course, I need to change it again. Which I did. My sewing student expressed interest in making a small wallet next, and at 12 or 13 she really doesn’t need space for that many cards or a checkbook register. Adapt!

Inside of narrower wallet showing card pockets.

“Half pint” wallet, for someone with less stuff to carry.

I thought this came out rather well. I had just enough of this cat fabric left from some small purses I had made earlier. It’s slightly more than half the width of the standard wallet. Someone could carry a few cards, and cash or receipts or other flat things in the pocket on the right.

Another possible future adaptation is using magnetic snaps instead of hook and loop tape. I’ve ordered some and am awaiting their arrival, and I have a wallet mostly done that just needs those closures to complete. Then I’ll decide which type of closure I prefer, and go from there. Or maybe I’ll just use both. We’ll see. That’s the wonderful thing about sewing, you can keep adapting as the need and desire requires. 🙂