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Saturday, 2 April 2016

Free Pattern/Tutorial: Waxcloth Folders

Waxcloth Folders by eSheep Designs
Two waxcloth folders...
It's time for my favourite piece of waxcloth to make an appearance again!

In the spirit of getting ready for Mother's Day extra early this year, I decided to use a couple of my waxcloth selections to make two different folders. This is my fourth Mom's day project to be featured here, following the first test bag for my Hot Hues Convertible Crossbody Fooler Bag pattern (2014), my first attempt at the origami ribbon coin purse (2015), and the huge bouquet of paper flowers that she's also going to be getting this year.

I take care of my mother's financial statements and stuff like that, so every couple of weeks I see a small stack of mail on her table awaiting my attention. She also has pages of news and scheduled activities at her retirement community that she keeps close by for reference on a monthly basis. I designed the first folder specifically to hold these items.

Waxcloth Correspondence Folder by eSheep Designs
Mom's Correspondence Folder...

This folder consists of three slip pockets. The two large ones are designed to hold regular 8.5" x 11" pages folded in half. The smaller pocket on the right side holds business size envelopes. Dimensions (when open) are just over 14" wide by 10.5" high.

The entire thing is made out of waxcloth and ribbon. I sewed ribbon around the edges as a binding instead of sewing parts together and then turning right side out. The seams are a lot flatter this way and it turns out to be a very easy "sew".

The second folder is — surprise! — a "no sew" folder. I used decorative tape around the edges instead of sewing on ribbon. Super easy to make. (This waxcloth was last seen on my tablet envelope.)

Waxcloth To Do Folder by eSheep Designs
My "To Do" Folder... fussy cut for a pattern match, as you can see!

While this particular folder is sitting on my desk beside me as I type this (and does in fact hold all of my current "to do"s), it was really just a "proof of concept" test that I threw together. At the end of this post, you'll see what I ultimately did with it.

Waxcloth To Do Folder by eSheep Designs
But when is being used and has paper slipped inside,
it hardly matters how nicely the pattern matches!

I'm here to share the process for how I made Mom's folder, so if you want to make one, cut yourself a full width strip of waxcloth 10.5" high and then cut that into the following pieces:
  • 2 pieces each 14" wide
  • 2 pieces each 9.5" wide
  • 1 piece 7" wide
Waxcloth, laminated cotton and the like are usually sold in wider widths than normal quilting cotton. Mine was 54" wide, meaning that the full width strip accommodated all of the required pieces: 14" + 14" + 9.5" + 9.5" + 7" = 54". Make whatever adjustments you need to work with what you have.

Waxcloth Correspondence Folder by eSheep Designs
Cut waxcloth to size...

You will also need a file folder or something similar, some clips (since pins would poke too many holes), some thread, and some ribbon (about 7'). Mine was only 5/8" wide, but the wider the ribbon, the easier it is to do the binding. One inch or 7/8" is probably ideal.

Fold the 7" wide and the two 9.5" wide pieces in half vertically with right sides showing and clip the edges together.

Clip the ribbon around the folded edges as shown.

Waxcloth Correspondence Folder by eSheep Designs
Bind the folded edges with the ribbon...

Sew together. (You might want to just tie the thread ends together instead of backtacking.)

Waxcloth Correspondence Folder by eSheep Designs
Sew ribbon onto folded edges...

Place the two 14" wide pieces wrong sides together. Choose the best side (in terms of the pattern) for the bottom, since that will be the outside of the folder.

Put your other pieces on top, lining up the raw edges on the sides. (I chose to put the staggered pockets to the right, but you can put them on the left if you want.)

Clip ribbon all the way around three edges as shown.

Waxcloth Correspondence Folder by eSheep Designs
Clip a continuous length of ribbon around all but the right edge...

Sew together. (For how to turn a mitred corner, check out my Wet Wipe Tissue Wallet tutorial.)

I had an old presentation folder that I pulled apart for this project. Whatever you use, cut it down to size, about 13.5" x 10" (centered along the original fold, if it has one).

Insert the folder into the free edge, trimming further to fit if required.

Waxcloth Correspondence Folder by eSheep Designs
Insert file folder between the two 14" pieces of waxcloth...

Clip the remainder of the ribbon around the open edge, overlapping at the very end.

Waxcloth Correspondence Folder by eSheep Designs

Sew together and you're done!

You can easily guess that this same project can be done the "no sew" way by using decorative tape to bind the edges.

Like it? Want to keep it? For a copy of this tutorial in PDF format,
download it for free here.

And speaking of the no sew project, I started by using the duct tape I had left over from my bucket bag repair job, but ran out after putting on the top edge!

Waxcloth Folder by eSheep Designs
Ran out of duct tape after putting on this piece...

When I went out to get get more, I came across the flowery decorative tape alternative and decided to try it. It's definitely not as strong as the duct tape, but my issue with it is not so much strength as it is width (of the product, which is the same width as the duct tape). I think it's too wide. I would much prefer the narrower appearance of some ribbon...

So — and this is virtually a last minute redo, since I only did this a couple of days ago — here it is remade with some 5/8" ribbon.

Remade folder with black and white polka dot ribbon...

Yep, after using it for two months, I decided to strip off the tape.

The edges are no longer the most prominent feature of the folder... 

I do prefer this look, as the focus is more on the actual pattern of the waxcloth than the trim. But there's no denying that sometimes, the quickness of a "no sew" project is appealing... in much the same way as a no bake cookie recipe is sometimes appealing! :-)

Here's a thought, though: next time, I'll try some washi tape instead.


  1. Thanks for the tutorial Rochelle. I need to either buy some waxcloth or try making one of these folders in cotton fabric and interfacing. I have made folders with Peltex and fabric before.

  2. I love the ribbon binding idea! What a great project. What is waxcloth? Does it have a special coating on it like a laminated fabric?

    Thanks again!

    1. You're welcome and thanks for the kind words, Domenica. Yes, this waxcloth is coated like a laminate, so it's "wipe off" easy. I would suggest that if you can't find any, take a look through your local discount or dollar store for an outdoor table cloth and use it!

  3. So cute! Needed something like this for my purse! Bookmarking this now!


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