Introduction: Lockpick 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.

This project is the result of a collaboration we (Fabnik) did with Serepick, with a big thanks to Brian Green of Brian's Backpacking Blog for hooking us up.

It's a wallet that not only holds your cards and cash, but also a set of Serepick's Bogota Pi lockpicks, should you find yourself locked out of your house or challenged to an impromptu locksport battle. The picks are titanium and the wallet is full grain goatskin leather - the whole package makes a nice, minimal wallet with some unexpected functionality.

It comes as an un-assembled kit, and this Instructable shows you how to make it, teaching the traditional saddle stitch in the process.

Matt at Serepick launced these at Def Con 23, and now

You can get them on our website

or get them on Serepick's website.

Step 1: Tools & Materials

Included in the kit:

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

Also needed:


Step 2: Stitching Pin Placement

Stack the leather pieces with the gray piece in front, with both smooth surfaces facing you and with the top three holes lined up. Remove the stoppers from the stitching pins and insert the pins into the top and bottom holes of the three hole set.

Step 3: Stitching Pony Assembly

Stack the two stitching pony bars with the "stitch this side first" and "stitch this side second" marks on the same side, 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 pieces 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 4: Measuring and Cutting the Thread

The kit comes with one 26" piece of thread, and you need to cut approximately eight inches off for the first seam. Fortunately, the stitching pony is just about that long. So measure a piece of thread as long as the stitching pony and cut.

Step 5: Threading the Needles

Note: This is the most complicated part of the process, but it makes sure your needle won't become unthreaded during stitching.

  1. Carefully insert one end of the thread into one of the needles, making sure all three strands of the thread make it through the eye before pulling through.
  2. Pull the thread a couple inches through the needle, long enough for the point of the needle to double back through the thread.
  3. Grab this end of the thread approximately 1/2" from the end and twist it in the opposite direction of the cording, opening up the strands. Don't unravel the ends of the strands.
  4. Pass the point of the needle through these strands and pull the resulting loop back past the head of the needle and on to the thread.
  5. Gently pull on the thread to tighten up the loop. The thread should now be comfortably locked on the needle.
  6. Repeat for the second needle on the other end of the thread.

Step 6: Saddle Stitching - Pulling the Thread Through

We use a traditional hand-stitching technique called the saddle stitch. It creates a robust, attractive seam.

Start by removing the two stitching pins. The stitching pony is now holding the leather pieces in alignment.

Next, insert one of the needles through the bottom of the three holes 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.

Step 7: 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 8: Saddle Stitching - This Side Second and Above the First

Turn the stitching pony so you are facing the "stitch this side second and above the first" 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.

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.

Because this first seam is so short, you only need to repeat this process on the one remaining hole before beginning the lock stitch.

Step 9: 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 10: 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 11: Moving the Stitching Pins and Creasing the Fold

With the short top seam complete, remove the leather from the stitching pony.

Next, fold the bottom part of the wallet in half (the portion with the L-shaped stitching holes) so the stitching hole lines line up. In this orientation, insert the stitching pins into the right-most and left-most holes.

Then turn the wallet on its side and use your fingers to crease the fold of the wallet flat.

Step 12: Starting the Main Seam

Reinsert the leather pieces into the stitching pony with the stitching pins facing away from you.

Follow steps 5-8 to rethread the needles and begin the saddle stitch.

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.

If you follow the "Stitch this side first" and "Stitch this side second and above the first" stitching order, your stitches will all have a nice, slight downward slant to them. This is the hallmark of a professional-quality seam.

Step 13: Continuing the Main Seam

After completing the first line of the main seam, remove the leather from the stitching pony, reinsert one stitching pin in the final hole, and place the leather back in the stitching pony horizontally.

Stitching the rest of the main seam with the saddle stitch and repeat steps 9-10 to perform a lock stitch at the end of the seam.

Step 14: Sealing the Edge

The final 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 the 4-ply 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 15: The Final Product

As you assembled the wallet, you probably noticed four triangular holes in one side of the black inner piece. These hold the lockpicks in place! Insert them into the inner pocket and fill the exterior pockets with up to three cards each and a few bills. The inner pocket can also hold a few bills or cards in a pinch.

Thanks for making! Check out Serepick for more locksport gear and our site Fabnik for more leather stitching kits.


Mat & Devin