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Saturday, 13 June 2015

Quasi-Tutorial: Ribbon Wallet

ribbon wallet project crafted by eSheep Designs
My matching ribbon wallet and coin purse set...
A while back, I posted about this ribbon origami coin purse that I found via Sew4Home. You may recall that I balked at first about not wanting to make it with ribbons because it seemed so dang tedious to do so.

Well, after an attitude adjustment, I did manage to make it with the ribbons. No only that, but by the end of the project, I had convinced myself that the process produced an elegant enough result that I wanted to make a matching wallet, to replace one that I had previously made for myself two years ago.

My old wallet was/is still doing fine; the exterior just needs to be cleaned. But after two years, I deserve a new wallet... especially if I'm the one making it!

At the time, I had just finished proofing ChrisW Designs' Penny Inn wallet pattern, and was considering if I wanted to make a different style of wallet altogether, with loads of features, etc. After careful thought, I determined that — apart from adding a fancy twist lock closure — I was just going to remake the old wallet in different fabrics. Because that wallet really works for me. And why change what works, right?

ribbon wallet project crafted by eSheep Designs
Step 1: Cut ribbons and sew onto wrong side of fusible interfacing...

The link to the original pattern/tutorial that I'm more or less following can be found in this original wallet post from January 2014.

The Decor Bond that you see above was cut to 12.5" x 8-3/8", therefore I used a width of 8-3/8" for all of the other pieces required. (The card slots on my old wallet were just a bit tight, so I expanded the overall width slightly, up from the original 20cm measurement.) Generally, I used a 3/8" seam allowance.

The two card slot pieces were cut 20" long (which is more or less the equivalent of the original 51cm), out of fabric that I received from Jake's "care package".

ribbon wallet project crafted by eSheep Designs
Step 2: Cut card slot fabric and create the card slot folds...

I used the "trial and error fan fold" method to form my card slots, using a couple of cards to help me along the way. (It's easier than trying to figure out what measurements apply to which front and back fold.) As long as you end up with sufficient fabric at the top and bottom, the rest of it is not important.

ribbon wallet project crafted by eSheep Designs
Step 3: Interface, topstitch and divide card slots...

I used strips (they were all just scraps, so as long as they were roughly 1.5" in height and 7" wide, I used 'em) of Decor Bond to provide structure just under the top fold of each card slot.

ribbon wallet project crafted by eSheep Designs
Step 4: Create and attach simple zippered pocket...

The original wallet features very simple construction, which is precisely why I was drawn to it two years ago. It's a pattern that beginners can have success with "as is", but I like that it can be easily adjusted. As a simple example, the original zippered pocket was made using just one piece of fabric; I went with two to create both a lining and an exterior. (My lining fabric used to be a bed sheet.)

ribbon wallet project crafted by eSheep Designs
Zippered pocket and card slot assembly done...
(btw, I finished both assemblies to about 4" in height)

I don't recall what the original tutorial gave as instructions for what to do with the two ends of the card slot assemblies, but I sewed them together. Then it was a matter of deciding how the components should be laid out in the finished wallet.

My preference is to have access to the zippered pocket as soon as I open up the flap, so that part needs to be at the top. The other set of card slots is then placed along the bottom.

ribbon wallet project crafted by eSheep Designs
Step 5: Baste slot pocket assemblies to lining and press well...

I secured the bottom seam of the zippered pocket assembly to the lining — after doing some tucking and folding to ensure that the raw edges are hidden — before basting both card slot assemblies to the sides. Then I pinned the exterior "ribbon fabric" to it so that I could determine where to install the twist lock. (Since this option is not part of the original pattern/tutorial, the process is a matter of careful consideration and estimation.)

ribbon wallet project crafted by eSheep Designs
Step 6: Install bottom part of twist lock, sew lining and exterior pieces together,
clip corners and cut back seams, turn right side out and tuck lining inside around the flap...

Once the bottom part of the lock is installed, the lining and exterior can be sewn together. The top part that forms the flap is left open for turning, so the extra fabric is trimmed and then tucked into the interior to create a seam that will be closed by topstitching.

I pressed it at this point, activating the fusible interfacing so that the exterior ribbon fabric now "sticks" to the lining fabric.

ribbon wallet project crafted by eSheep Designs
Step 7: Press well and install remaining part of the twist lock to the flap...
(I got these twist locks on eBay; a set of ten for $4.75, shipping included — which is a bargain beyond words!)

Afterwards, all that was left was to install the top part of the twist lock to the flap.

Anything I would do differently? How about paying attention to measurements! I came up with a set of custom dimensions for this and ended up being a bit cavalier with the ribbons; I actually cut them too short, with the result that the bottom seam had to be greater than my planned 3/8". The adjustment forced the flap to be shallower than I wanted it to be.

I would also install the twist lock about a quarter of an inch lower on the flap the next time, since right now there is just enough of the exposed open edge for it to catch on something and bend when I shove it into my purse.

But I was planning on making another one, anyway, as soon as I find some elegant black and white ribbon.

In the meantime, my next project using this same ribbon will be a recycled key case.


  1. Your wallet is beautiful! I would love for you to link up to the Stitch It, Blog It, Share It Link Party going on now at BehindtheSeamsSewing.com.

    1. Thanks for the kind words, Bonnie. (Let me look around first and I'll see what I can do.)


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