Introduction: Sew a Snazzy Oilcloth Wallet

I really liked my old leather wallet but the model has been taken out of production so I had to make my own. Since I didn't had any good piece of leather at home I decided to make it out of oilcloth since I had some at home.

NOTE: The wallet will only hold cards and bills. I don't like coins.

NOTE: Make sure that the bills in your country fit in the wallet before you start making it. It is easy to make it wider if you just consider it before you start.

Below is a picture of what my new snazzy wallet look like. The fabric is made by Tom Hedqvist one of the members in the Swedish design group 10-gruppen. I picked a red thread that stands out and is a part of the design rather than just something to keep the thing together.

Step 1: Materials

The materials you need is:

- A piece of oil cloth
- Some thread
- Textile scissors
- Any normal tape (not too sticky)
- Standard scissors (for the tape)
- A sewing machine
- A ruler or similar
- A pen to mark where to cut the cloth (I used a ballpoint pen)
- Stiff paper to make templates for the parts (optional)

Tape is used in stead of needles. Needles will make nasty wholes in the oil cloth. Just remember to remove the tape before sewing through it. It might get messy...

My sewing machine happens to be a very advanced one but I only use straight stitches so any sewing machine will do. A feature that will help though is a presser foot with some non-stick surface (like a frying pan) since the oil cloth has high friction. There are "glide plates" you can attach to any presser foot as an option to this special presser foot.

Step 2: A Few Words About Sewing

This is basic knowledge for anyone familiar with sewing but I will write it down anyway!

- To make the seams to hold you need to fix the beginning and end of each seam
- Try to use a fixed distance between the edge of the fabric and the seam - it looks nice
- Be accurate!
- Make sure to keep the parts in the correct place (use lots of tape)
- Cut all loose thread neatly

Step 3: Cut the Parts

The wallet is made of four parts. I made templates out of paper and then draw a line around them with a standard ballpoint pen - but you can mark and cut any way you like!

The outside
This part of the wallet that will be the only visible part when the wallet is closed. This piece should later be folded for increased stability of the wallet. The dimensions of this part is 165x200mm.

The inside
This part will form the inside of the wallet. Most of it will be covered by the pockets. It is a bit narrower than the outside to make it possible to close the wallet when it is stuffed with cards and bills. The dimension of this part is 155x200mm.

The pockets
Two pockets will hold the plastic cards. The top of the pocket will be folded to increase the friction between the pocket and the cards so they don't slip out. It will also make a nice edge. The final pocket should be 71x74mm but add about 20mm to fold. Then cut the corners, as in the picture, to decrease the number of layers you need to sew through later on.

Step 4: Fold and Sew the Pockets

The pockets should be folded so that they get their final size. Use tape to hold everything in place while sewing. Sew some straight stitches to make the fold permanent.

Step 5: Attach the Pockets

Now you should attach the pockets to the inside. Remember that the inside is the smaller piece of cloth!

First attach the pockes in the lower corners of the inside part using tape. Don't put tape where you are about to sew.

Then sew seams as show below to attach the pockets to the inside.

To make the plastic cards stay in the pockets you will have to make the pockets tight. I made a template of the pocket in paper and put a plastic card on it and marked the sides of the card on the paper. I used a few straight stitches (sew a little bit back and forth to make it strong) to tighten up the pockets.

Don't make it too tight you need some margin to be able to have more than one card. I would say that you need about 2mm extra on each side.

Look at the photos how I did it and how it turned out.

Step 6: Prepare the Inside

Now you should prepare the inside for beeing mounted on the outside.

Fold the inside part and use tape to keep it folded. Make sure to fit the corners accurately - if not, the final result will be bad. Then stitch over the edge of the fold to make it permanent.

The inside and outside part have different width. This will make it possible to close the wallet when it is stuffed with bills and cards. To handle the different with the big pocket for bills will have a small whole in the middle. Since the inside is made out of two layers of cloth you need to prepare the inside by sewing a few stitches in the bottom.

Sew about 20mm at the bottom of the inside part.

The inside is now ready, lets prepare the outside part.

Step 7: Prepare the Outside

Now you should do pretty much the same to the outside part as you did with the inside part in the previous step.

Fold it and use tape to keep it in place. Then sew over the fold to make it permanent.

The sew about 30mm at the bottom of the outside part. Use tape to mark where to start and where to end. The part without stitches on both sides should be equally long as the corresponding distance on the inside part.

That was all you need to do with the outside of the wallet.

Step 8: Put It Together

You should now mount the inside to the outside. Since the parts have different width you will have to do one side at a time.

I started with the right side, seen from the inside. Use tape to keep the pieces in place. Look at the second photo for instructions on where to start sewing etc.

Then continue with the other side, look at the third photo for instructions.

You have a new wallet!