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Saturday, 16 March 2019

Quasi-Tutorial: Travel Document Folder

Travel Document Folder by eSheep Designs
Travel folder features the Leaning Tower of Pisa on the front cover...
I'm no further ahead in my quest for the perfect passport holder than I was four years ago. When hubby and I travel afar these days, I still carry that hot pink zipped portfolio that I bought on eBay.

Recently, he had the opportunity to go to Mexico (not accompanied by me) and for the first time, he had to carry his own trip documentation. Knowing that the pink portfolio would not be an option for him, I made this.

It measures just short of 5.75" (14.5cm) wide and 9.25" (just over 23cm) high when closed. Meant to accommodate 8.5" wide sheets of paper (folded) in two long pockets and passports 5" (13cm) high x 3.5" (9cm) wide.

Travel Document Folder by eSheep Designs
Two vinyl pockets on top for passports and boarding passes...

The top pockets on both sides are made out of clear vinyl; the one for the passports is divided into two.

It's a variant of the folder that I made for Mom a few years back to organize her mail, using the same "waxcloth" that I used for my tablet envelope and some 5/8" wide ribbon.

Recycle an old presentation folder to add firmness...

An old presentation folder was taken apart to provide support for the finished item, trimmed to 1/4" less than the other materials to keep it out of the stitching. (The two smaller pieces are used to add support to the document pockets.)

If you don't have one of these folders handy, you can try a file folder or a piece of poster board (or similar weight card stock).

All supplies can be sourced from discount or dollar stores, so this is a cheap make.


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What You Need to Cut

To make this travel document folder, you'll need 4 pieces of patterned vinyl (the so-called waxcloth; dollar store table cloths and placemats will also do the job) and two pieces of clear vinyl.
  • Piece A is the outside cover of the folder, 9" (23cm) high x 11.5" (29cm) wide
  • Piece B is the folder lining, also 9" (23cm) high x 11.5" (29cm) wide (You'll only be able to see a narrow strip of this when the folder is complete; it's the part where you see Lady Liberty in mine.)
  • Piece C, 9" (23cm) high x 10" (25cm) wide, is folded to create the left document pocket
  • Piece D, 9" (23cm) high x 10" (25cm) wide, is also folded to create the right document pocket
  • Piece E is the double passport pocket in clear vinyl, 9" (23cm) high x 4" (10cm) wide
  • Piece F is the boarding pass pocket in clear vinyl, 9" (23cm) high x 3" (7.5cm) wide
For the ribbon, you'll need four strips to wrap the outside edge of each pocket (9" or 23cm long), one strip to divide the passport pocket (4" or 10cm long) and enough to go around the perimeter of the entire folder. (Ideally you'll need about 44" or 112cm, but I was able to complete this whole project with a brand new two metre roll of ribbon... with nothing left over!)

If your materials feature large patterns or prints like mine, you may want to fussy cut your pieces.

Some small sticky notes are helpful to keep your pieces properly identified.

Travel Document Folder by eSheep Designs
Front and back exterior cover view...

NOTE: The 5/8" wide ribbon is narrow and therefore trickier to sew than a wider ribbon, but — and this is a significant "but" — if you want to use wider ribbon, you'll have to increase the height of the component pieces to ensure that standard 8.5" wide paper can fit in the document pockets (if you use A4 paper it may not be an issue). It's a snug fit with the current measurements using 5/8" ribbon. If you change the folder's dimensions, however, you'll also need more ribbon to go around the perimeter.

Basic Instructions

Since I've already covered the "how to" of this kind of project before, I'll just highlight what needs to be done, in what order.

#1... Bind ribbon around outside edge of all four pockets. Specifically, this means wrapping (and then sewing) the ribbon around the folded edges of pieces C and D, the left and right document pockets. For the clear pieces E and F, it doesn't matter which (long) edge you choose, as long as you stack them properly later.

Use plenty of clips and take your time sewing.

#2... Create divided passport pocket. Open up the folded piece C (left document pocket) so that the underside of it is out of the way. Using clips, place clear vinyl piece E (double passport pocket) on top of piece C, aligning the left edges. Position the 4" strip of ribbon at the midpoint of the vinyl and secure with a clip. Sew it down, through piece E and the single layer of piece C; this is now your passport pocket assembly.

Refold piece C and slip one of the smaller pieces of card stock from the presentation folder in between the layers. Put the other piece between the layers of the right document pocket piece D.

Travel Document Folder by eSheep Designs
Creating a plan of attack with the various pieces...

#3... Stack the pieces and attach perimeter binding. You now have all of the components ready to stack up in the proper order: outside cover piece A right side down, the recycled presentation folder (cut to correct size), folder lining piece B right side up, the passport pocket assembly (i.e., connected pieces C & E) aligned on the left, document pocket D aligned on the right, and boarding pass pocket F on top of piece D, aligned also on the right. Clip everything in place.

Use more clips to attach the ribbon all the way around the perimeter, mitering the corners as you go. (For a brief discussion on how to create mitered corners on the fly, check out my wet wipe wallet tutorial.)

Sew it up and you're done.


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I like the "easy to clean" properties of using the vinyl/waxcloth. It was also my intention to try it out this way so that I can see if I'd like it done in fabric at a future date.

Travel Document Folder by eSheep Designs
Two pockets underneath vinyl pockets for paper documents...

Just more to ponder on the road to building a better passport holder.

As if on cue, several days after completing this project and preparing this post, I got another — arguably better — idea in a similar vein.

So I'm changing my tune from what I said at the top of this post. I am making progress after all, and you should see those results soon.


1 comment:

  1. The fabric is perfect for a travel document folder, Rochelle, and I just love the black / white / red combo.

    ReplyDelete

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