A basic little wallet (with tutorial!)

I honestly needed a new wallet pretty badly. My mom gave me this nice expensive leather one about 2 years ago for Christmas–but the cost definitely didn’t reflect the quality. The colorful print on the leather started wearing off almost immediately! Fast-forward to the beginning of this year–the pocket on the outside was rather stretched out of shape, due to the wallet having nowhere else to put my cards (and this wasn’t even counting rewards cards, this was just my basic credit/debit/drivers’ license type stuff!), and half of the wallet was floral print and half was worn-off grey. It was a mess. So, since the Stashbusting Sewalong theme for this month is “Itty Bits” anyway, I decided to make myself this new one. And since I was having trouble finding patterns online for basic, everyday wallets without coin purses (which I didn’t need, since I already had a separate one that my grandmother made for me several years ago), I decided to photograph the process as I went, in case anyone else wants something similar.

(Sorry the photo lighting isn’t better–this is the best I could fix it to, the fabric has a yellowish tint to it anyway, and I was making this in the evening while watching tv with my husband.)

IMG_1007What you’ll need: 
1. Fabric, cut to the following dimensions:

  • 4″x8″, for the wallet body- cut 4 (shown in tan Celtic print)
  • 4″x4.25″, for the card pockets- cut 6 (shown in tan music print)
  • strips for the binding, 1″ wide- you’ll need 2 that are 8″ long, and a third that’s at least 16″ long. (I didn’t measure this one, and just trimmed off the excess later. Shown in dark brown Celtic print)
  • 4.25″x4.5″, for the tab – cut 1. I cut mine to more of a triangular shape at the bottom to accommodate the print, so this is the longest length. (shown in tan Celtic print)

2. Interfacing- cut 2 4″x8″ pieces, and one that’s half the width of your tab.
3. Closure of your choice– I used a largeish snap, but a button, velcro or magnetic closures would also work.

Sewing note: All seam allowances are 1/4″.

Step 1:
Fuse the interfacing onto the back of two body pieces, and half of the tab.

IMG_1010 Step 2:

Fold the card pockets in half, wrong sides together and so you’re folding the longer side, and press. (Pockets will be about 2.25″x4″)

Step 3:
Lay the pockets out on one interfaced body piece, folded sides pointing towards middle. I placed the innermost pockets with the raw edge 1″ away from the short edge of the wallet body, the second one 1/2″ away, and the third lined up with the raw edge. As you lay each piece out, starting with the innermost one, baste the raw edge down. Only the stitching on the lowest pocket should show when all three are on. Repeat this with the other side.

IMG_1011This is what your pockets should look like!

Step 4: 
Take one un-interfaced body piece, lay it on the side without the pockets (wrong sides together), and baste around the raw edges.

IMG_1013Step 5: 
Fold tab in half, right sides together, and stitch around the long edge, stopping 1/4″ from the short edge, and whichever short edge you’re using as the closure end (here, it’s the pointed one). Trim/clip as necessary, turn, and press. Also tuck the raw end inside the open end so that it gives a nice clean edge, as shown.

*Note: I don’t have this illustrated, since I used a sew-on snap closure. But if you’re planning on using a magnetic closure, you’ll want to add that to the tab between steps 4 and 5, or if you’re planning on sewing on velcro, you’ll want to stitch that to the tab end before proceeding. If you use this method, also add the other side of the magnet/velcro to the remaining interfaced body piece in the appropriate spot after the following step.
IMG_1014Step 6:
Take the remaining interfaced body piece, center the tab on one shorter edge, with the folded-in end about 1.5″ from the edge. Stitch the folded end down, leaving the rest of the tab free. (I did a little box to give it more stability. Also, if you’re doing the velcro/magnet, make sure that the side you sewed it on is facing towards the body!)

Step 7 (not pictured):
Baste the remaining uninterfaced body piece to the back of the tab piece like you did in step 4, wrong sides together, folding tab out of the way to keep the end free.


Step 8:
Take one of the 1″x8″ strips, and line up a longer raw edge with one longer edge of the pocket piece, right sides together. Stitch. Repeat with tab piece. (Make sure you use the 1/4″ seam allowance, or you won’t have enough room for cards later!)


Step 9: 
Press the edging strips up away from body. Press raw edge under 1/4″. Repeat with tab piece.

IMG_1018 Step 10: 
Turn this folded edge to the inside so that it barely overlaps the stitching. Turn back to pocket side and “stitch in the ditch” (right on the seamline between the edging and other piece). Repeat with tab piece.

Step 11 (not illustrated):
Take the two body pieces and stack them on top of each other so that the tab and pocket sides are on the outside, and both finished edges are at the top. Baste around 3 edges, leaving the finished edge open and the tab free.

IMG_1019Step 12: 
Take the remaining longer strip, line up the edges with the raw edges on the tab side, and fold under any excess at the finished edges to make a nice clean edge. For the corners, I folded it at these 45-degree angles so that it looks square on the top. Stitch, breaking the stitching at the corners and refolding as necessary to keep the corners moving freely.
(Note: I found it helpful to pin the tab back out of the way so it wouldn’t get caught in this.)

IMG_1021Step 13: 
Press the raw edge of the strip away from the body, and the raw edge under, like you did in step 9. Fold this to the pocket side, turning over and stitching in the ditch on these 3 edges (see step 10). When done, the pocket side should look like this.

Step 14 (not illustrated):
If you did not already add a magnetic or velcro closure, sew a snap onto the tab side, fold the wallet in half and mark where the snap lands on the outside of the wallet, and sew the other half there. (Note: the snap is already attached in the picture in step 14.  You could also do a buttonhole (on the tab) and button here, but I’m lazy and don’t want to fumble with that every time I open my wallet!

And that’s it! It’s been working out well for me so far as far as function goes, and it was a nice, quick little scrapbusting project. I kind of wish it was more colorful, but I had more brown stuff that actually went together, so you work with what you have, right? This used less than a fat quarter for each of the 3 pieces, so it would be great for quilting cotton leftovers.

If you use this tutorial to make a wallet, please tell me in the comments! I’d love to see how yours turns out!


12 thoughts on “A basic little wallet (with tutorial!)

  1. Thank you very much for sharing!
    I don't need a wallet yet – my old leather one actually proved to be very durable and I've had it for over ten years now, I think… Plus I would need a coin compartment. But it always helps to have a visual guide even if you are making just something similar, and who know, one day I might!


  2. I did actually find quite a few patterns for little wallets with a zipper section for coins on Etsy, so if you do ever need a new wallet, that's probably a great place to look! And that's great that your leather one held up so well. I was honestly disappointed that mine started getting worn-looking so fast, especially because the fabric one I'd made before that from an old skirt held up well for years. I'd just needed something smaller for the occasions that I want to carry a smaller purse, and that wallet was pretty bulky.


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