Introduction: Leather Bi-fold Wallet
This Instructable will teach you how to construct a men's bi-fold wallet like the one pictured.
Step 1: Materials and Tools
The leather I am using for this wallet is a stoned oil side which is around 4 - 4.5 ounces. It is a nice durable type of leather which resists water and stains and has a nice aged look to it from the tanning process. You can use any type of leather you like for this but I would not recommend using anything thicker than this otherwise your finished wallet will be a bit uncomfortable to have in a pocket for a long period of time.
In addition to the leather, you will need to have the following tools and hardware:
1 Utility knife
2 Waxed Thread
3 Needles (2)
5 Cutting mat (or other surface to cut and punch on)
6 Awl (I prefer awls to punches since the finished stitching is more secure)
7 Line 20 snaps (3 are used in this project but have an extra or two on hand in case one miss sets or you damage it)
8 Line 20 snap setter
9 Beeswax (optional)
10 Burnishing tool (optional)
Step 2: Cutting the Leather
To make this wallet you are going to need the following cuts of leather.
Note: when cutting always measure twice and make sure that your cuts are square otherwise the wallet will look "off" when you've finished and you will have a hard time evening the edges when they have been sewn together.
9 x 3 3/8" (1)
12 x 3 3/8" (1)
4 x 2" (4)
4 x 1 1/2" (1)
4 x 2 1/2" (1)
9 1/2 x 5/8" (1) - cut this piece an inch or two longer than needed, you will trim it later.
2 1/2 x 1/2" (1)
Step 3: Constructing the Interior 1
After you have cut the pieces needed, the first order of businesses is to assemble the interior of the wallet.
Lay out the 9 x 3 3/8" piece of leather in front of you finished side up. This will form the base for the wallet interior since a plastic wallet insert is not used for this wallet.
Take one of the 4 x 2" pieces of leather and align it on the Left side of the 9 x 3 3/8" piece and clamp it 1/2" from the top as shown in the first and second pictures.
Next, you will stitch the 4 x 2" piece onto the 9 x 3 3/8" piece 1/4" from the bottom of the 4 x 2" as shown in picture 3. Use your awl or whatever you tool of choice is to punch holes through both pieces of leather and then sew them together using the hand stitch as shown in pictures 4, 5, and 6.
Lay a second 4 x 2" piece a 1/2" below the top of the first 4 x 2" pieces and sew it to the 9 x 3 3/8" piece across the bottom in the same way as you did with the first.
When tying off your stitches, back-stitch a few holes and pull both ends of the thread through adjacent holes and tie them with a double surgeons knot. See pictures 7, 8, 9.
Next, Do the same again with a third 4 x 2" piece but, make sure it aligns evenly with the bottom of the 9 2 3 3/8" piece. It is more important that the bottom edge be even than the last 4 x 2" piece be perfectly even with the first two. HOWEVER you will not sew this piece in place as you did with the first two instead, clamp it in place and proceed.
Sew along the right edge of the 4 x 2" pieces from the top all the way to the bottom, 1/4" from the edge as shown in pictures 10 and 11.
At this point, the first and second 4 x 2" pieces should be secured to the 9 x 3 3/8" piece at their bottom and right edges and the third 4 x 2" piece should only be secured on its right edge.
Picture 12 is the finished piece inverted so you can see the layered 4 x 2" pieces.
Step 4: Constructing the Interior 2
In the same way that you did in the previous step, stitch the 4th and final 4 x 2" piece to the right edge of the 9 x 3 3/8" piece and only at its bottom. See picture 1.
Now we are going to construct the interior secure pocket. I put this in a a place to keep a spare key in my wallet. If you want to make yours a bit slimmer, omit the pocket and proceed.
Take the 4 x 2 1/2" piece and lay it unfinished side up and lay the 4 x 1 1/2" piece on top of it finished side up. Align the pieces on the sides and bottom and clamp. See pictures 2 and 3 which are inverted.
While the pieces are clamped together, fold the top of the larger piece over the smaller one to see how it folds and where a good place would be to set the snaps to ensure that the flap is as secure as possible. For me, this was an inch in on each side and a half inch from the top on the lager piece. Once you have punched the holes in the larger piece, fold it over again and mark through the holes on the smaller piece where you need to punch. I am not putting in a measurement for this since each will be different and different leather are more pliable than others.
Once you have punched the holes, set your snaps in them as shown in pictures 3 and 4.
Clamp the pieces in the same way as before but this time clamp them together to the right side of the 9 x 3 3/8" aligned with the right side and the bottom. See picture 6.
Stitch down the left side of the 4 x 2" piece and the pocket pieces securing them to the 9 x 3 3/8" piece. Leave the right side and bottom open for now.
Step 5: Attaching the Back 1
At this point, the unfinished side of the 9 x 3 3/8" piece should look like picture 1. It is a bit blurry but you can see the stitching.
Now, lay the 12 x 3 3/8" piece finished side down and lay the 9 x 3 3/8" piece over it, finished side up. Align the pieces on the left edge and the bottom. The left edge should look like picture 2.
Stitch all the pieces together down the left side so the result is similar to picture 3. Finish off your stitches in the same way as before with a double surgeons knot. See pictures 4 and 5.
Next is the tricky part. For a wallet to close nicely, the back has to be longer than the front since it wraps around a greater distance.
Using a ruler, mark on the unfinished side of the 12 x 3 3/8" piece 1/2" from where the 9 x 3 3/8" piece rests or, 9 1/2" from the left edge of the 12 3 3/8" piece. See pictures 6 and 7.
Clamp the leather in place so that the 12 3 3/8" piece is bowed out and the 9 3 3/8" piece stops at the 9 1/2" mark on the 12 3 3/8" piece. Stitch along the right side of the 9 3 3/8" piece attaching it, the 4 x 2" piece and the pocket to the 12 x 3 3/8" piece. See pictures 8 and 9.
Step 6: Attaching the Back 2
Flatten the now partially assembled wallet on the left side and clamp it in the center so that the 12 x 3 3/8" piece and the 9 x 3 3/8" piece are flat on the left side of the clamp and bowed on the right. See picture 1.
Stitch the pieces together on the bottom left side. See picture 2.
Repeat on the right side but first adjust the clamp so the bow is in the middle. See picture 3.
When both sides are stitched, it should, from the bottom, look like picture 4 with a bow in the middle when open and no stitches holding the front and back of the wallet together at the middle inch.
Step 7: Attaching the Securing Strap
Make a loop with the 1/2 x 2 1/2" piece of leather so that 7/8" is folded over. Place this in the center of the finished side of the excess flap on the right side of the wallet.
Take the 9 1/2 x 5/8" leather strap you cut and attach it to the excess flap on the right side of the wallet in the center so that it If the wallet is face down in front of you with the bottom facing you, this will be on the left side with the strap running towards you perpendicular to the bottom edge of the wallet. This strap will also be laying on top of the unfinished part of the loop you created. It should look like picture 4. Note, the strap is running from the center of the wallet down past the bottom edge. Sew the strap and the loop to the flap of the wallet.
Note: The strap might not be exactly 9 1/2" long depending on the thickness of the leather you use and what you plan on keeping in your wallet. Cut it a bit long and trim to fit.
In the end, it should look like picture 7.
Step 8: Last Snap
Now you are going to attach a snap to the right side flap of the wallet and the strap so the strap can wrap around the back of the wallet, come down over the top and secure the flap.
To do this, you will fold over the last 5/8" of the strap and put the top half of the snap through it and then put the bottom half of the snap where it will attack to the flap on the wallet. See picture 4 which is inverted again, sorry.
Step 9: Finished
That's it. You now have a wallet which if taken care of should last you for your entire life. Pictures 5 -8 show how the strap secures the flap and the wallet if there was any confusion. the final picture shows the card slots and cash pockets in use.
Thanks for viewing, if you have any questions leave a comment. If you decide to make this wallet, please upload a picture, I would love to see your work. Finally, please consider voting for me in the Tandy Leather Contest. Thanks.