Introduction: Custom IPhone Wallet Kit

About: I like to build neat stuff. So far that's been a lightweight hiking stove, leathercraft kits with great instructions, and even Pittsburgh's largest makerspace.

My friend Mat and I have really gotten into making leather wallet kits. We started with Instructables for a thin wallet, then a thin bifold, and we just finished one for an iPhone 6.

It's made of the same great leather and thread as the others. It's also customizable, but instead of having a set number of pockets for which you chose functions, it starts with a basic body and you can chose the number and kind of pockets to add on. In its simplest form, it's a nice phone sleeve that looks handsome and protects your phone. With the options shown here, it can replace your wallet all together, provided you can pare down to essentials.

You can buy the kit on our website.

If you already own leatherworking tools and have a favorite leather, you can also download the cut files at the bottom of this step to make the simple iPhone sleeve.

We always get such useful feedback that we'll again give a free second kit to the first five people who buy one and publish an "I Made It!" comment with pictures and feedback.

PS - if you have a different phone and would like this kit for it, let us know! If there's enough interest, we can adapt the design for different models.

Step 1: This Version

Each version of the wallet starts with a leather body designed to fit snugly around the phone, with a port at the bottom for the charging cable.

The version we make here also includes two pockets Each pocket can hold up to 4 credit cards, or a combination of cards and cash. A minimalist can use it to replace their wallet all together and just have one thing to carry. That's what Mat did!

Step 2: Tools & Materials

Included in the kit:

  • 1 Stitching pony
  • 2 Stitching pins
  • 1 Beeswax & polishing cloth set
  • 2 English harness needles
  • 2-4 French corded, waxed linen threads
  • 2-4 pieces American vegetable tanned goatskin leather

Also needed:


Step 3: Pocket Prep (if Applicable)

If your kit includes one or more outside pockets, you will go through steps 4-13 on the horizontal seems joining the pockets to the front piece of the body before repeating the steps on the main outer seams with both pieces of the body.

Step 4: Stitching Pin Placement

Stack the leather pieces for one side of the wallet like a sandwich with the smooth faces out and the suede faces in. Then orient the wallet vertically with the long stitching lines on your left and right. Remove the stoppers from the stitching pins and insert the pins into the top left and top right corners of stack, right in the middle of where the corners curve.

Replace the stoppers on the stitching pins so they snugly hold the leather pieces together. The stitching holes for all pieces are now aligned.

Step 5: Stitching Pony Assembly

Stack the two stitching pony bars with the stickers on the same side and the smooth faces out. Line up the rubber band notches on one side, and stretch a rubber band around both parts. The fit will be tight, and it helps to hold your thumb over one side of the band as you stretch the other.

Then stretch the bars open and insert the leather parts with stitching pins in the middle of the two bars, with ends of the stitching pins facing away from you. The pins should be approximate 1/4" above the top of the bars. Hold the bars together and place the second rubber band. Now place the bars in the notches on the stitching pony legs.

Step 6: Threading the Needles

Note: This is the hardest step. The linen thread fits very tightly in the needle eye, so the friction holds it in place during stitching and the stitching holes can be small and clean.

Cut one end of the thread off at an angle, removing 1/4" or less of thread. Carefully insert it into one of the needles, grabbing the thread with the finger tips of your other hand as soon as its through the needle. Pull the end approximately 3/4" past the eye of the needle and bend it back towards the rest of the thread. Repeat for the other needle. If the end of the thread becomes frayed, cut it again at an angle, removing as little thread as possible. Threading the needles may take a few attempts.

Step 7: Saddle Stitching - Pulling the Thread Through

We use a common hand-stitching technique called the saddle stitch. It creates a robust, attractive seam. Start by inserting one of the needles through the right-most hole of the side you're working on (it will only go through the middle piece of leather) and pulling it through with your other hand. The tip of the needle should go in easily, but the eye is larger and may provide some resistance. It may take a quick jerk to pull it all the way through. Once through, pull the two ends of the thread even. Be careful not to pull the thread out of the needle. If the thread does pull out of the needle, you may need to repeat Step 6.

Step 8: Saddle Stitching - This Side First

One of the stitching pony bars should be labeled "stitch this side first." Insert the needle into the second hole on that side and pull it all the way through. You will start on this side for every stitch, which will create a nice, consistent looking seam. The label helps if you lose track.

Step 9: Saddle Stitching - This Side Second and on Top

Turn the stitching pony so you are facing the "stitch this side second and on top" side. Hold the thread you just pulled through down against the stitching pony with one thumb and insert the needle connected to the other thread through the same hole. As the label notes, it should go in and come out above the first thread.

You should notice that the stitch has a slight downward angle to it, and following these labels will keep it consistent and attractive for the entire seam. Once the second thread is through, grab both threads near the seam and pull them taut with a medium amount of pressure. Keeping the pressure consistent at this step will also give you the most consistent seam.

Step 10: Finishing the First Line

Continue stitching the first line of the seam by following these steps:

  1. Stitch this side first,
  2. This side second and on top,
  3. Pull taut,
  4. Repeat.

Pull out remaining stitching pins as you approach them until you reach the end of the first line.

Step 11: Continuing the Seam

At the end of the first line of the seam, you will remove the leather from the stitching pony, place stitching pins in the right and left most holes that go through all the pieces of leather, and return the leather to the stitching pony. Stitch this line to complete one of the main seams.

Step 12: Lock Stitch Thread One

Once you have finished the final stitch, pass one of the needles back through the second-to-last hole. If the thread you are using starts above the other thread in the hole, keep it above that thread. Likewise, keep it on the bottom if it starts on the bottom. This will create two parallel stitches.

Turn to the other side of the stitching pony and now pass the same thread through the next hole going backwards in the same way you did the first. You are finished with this thread.

Step 13: Lock Stitch Thread Two

Take the other thread (the one you haven't used for the lock stitch yet), and pass it backwards through two holes just as you did with the first. These final holes now have several threads going through them, so it make take some wiggling. But the friction created is what helps "lock" the stitch.

Now you will have two parallel stitches on each side of the wallet. Grab both threads and pull them taut one last time. Then use the scissors to cut the threads as close as you can to the seam without nicking the stitches.

Step 14: Stitching the Second Seam

Repeat steps 4-13 for the second main seam of the wallet.

Step 15: Sealing the Edge

The next step is to seal the edge of the leather to protect it and give it a nice burnished look.

Take the beeswax block and run the curved section along seamed edges of the wallet. Then pinch the edge with the polishing cloth and rub it back and forth quickly with light pressure. Pinching it helps keeps the pieces of leather together, and moving it quickly helps melt the wax so it can adhere. Repeat 2-3 times until the edge has a nice polish and the edges of the leather are stuck closely together.

Step 16: The Finished Product

You're done! At the least, you have a beautiful, minimal sleeve for your phone. Maybe you have one pocket for just credit card, cash, and ID for when you go out. Or, if you made the full version like Mat, you've got that phone and wallet thing completely solved with one piece of craft.

We use "naked" leather, which means it doesn't have any coatings or finishes to crack or peel over time. Instead, it will develop a nice patina. We made these projects so anyone could make a nice wallet and have a great time doing it.

Please let us know how it works for you and how we can make it better!


Devin & Mat