Sew a Simple Oilcloth Wallet




About: I work at instructables by day, and turn into a stitch witch by night. follow me on instagram @jessyratfink to see what i'm working on! ^_^

 This is a really easy project - it should take less than an hour for even beginning sewers!

This is a bi-fold wallet that will hold cash and up to six cards. :D

It can be made out of oilcloth, old coated tablecloths, pet food bags, etc. 

Step 1: What You'll Need...

I would highly recommend a sewing machine - sewing oilcloth by hand is time consuming and painful in my experience. Lots of sore fingertips!
  • sewing machine
  • denim needle
  • oilcloth (a 12x12 inch square will be enough, you need very little!)
  • thread that matches, can be cotton or poly
  • ruler
  • cutting tools (I use a mat and rotary cutter because the edges come out cleaner)
  • tape for securing while sewing (can't pin oilcloth!)

Step 2: Cut Out Your Pieces!

 This wallet is only two pieces, hooray!

Cut out a 6x8 inch piece, and one 2.5x8 inch piece.

Step 3: Start Creasing.

 Fold the 6x8 piece in half lengthwise, right sides touching. Crease down the middle with your fingernails so that it stays.

Then, at the edges opposite the fold, fold over a 1/4 inch strip of the right side onto the wrong side and crease again. You'll do this for both edges. 

For the 2.5x8 inch strip, you're simply creasing a 1/4 inch strip of the right side on the wrong side at top and bottom. :)

(The pictures should clear up any confusion!)

Step 4: Sewing!

 The first thing you want to do is sew all your 1/4 inch "hems" down. 

Use the longest straight stitch on your machine and don't worry about backstitching these - we'll be sewing over them again later!

Sew them with the wrong side up. It's easier and it'll help you make sure you're getting the folded over bit in the stitches. :D

(TIps for sewing oilcloth can be found here:

Step 5: Sew in the Inner Pockets.

 Place the 2.5 inch piece along the crease you made in the center of the wallet. Line up the bottom of the 2.5 inch piece with the crease and tape down the sides so it stays in place. 

Stitch right side up a little lower than your original line of stitching. 

Step 6: Sew a Fold Line.

 Measure on the wrong side. Mark the exact middle of the wallet all the way down.

Sew this starting on the single layer side without the credit card pockets so that you seal the top of the credit card pocket as you sew. :)

Make sure to backstitch!

Step 7: Sew the Sides Together.

 Crease the wallet again, right sides together. Tape the top sides of the wallet together to keep them from moving about. 

Then, take your ruler and mark 1/2 inch in on both sides. (If you carry A LOT of cash and cards, make 1/4 inch marks for extra room.)

Sew from the fold to the top of the wallet, making sure to backstitch! :D

Step 8: Trim Off the Ends and Turn Right Side Out.

 Cut very close to the sewn line and be as neat as you can. :)

Now, turn the wallet right side out, using something small and rounded to poke the corners out. I'm using a crochet hook. Be gentle when poking out the corners, you can poke right through the oilcloth!

Step 9: Insert Card, Cash, Etc. and Sit on It.

 The longer you use it, the flatter and more manageable it'll become. It'll start staying closed on its own and the cards will be easier to get in and out. :D



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    29 Discussions


    2 years ago

    Where can you buy "Oilcloth" these days? Haven't seen it in years.


    2 years ago

    "Then, at the edges opposite the fold, fold over a 1/4 inch strip of the right side onto the wrong side and crease again. You'll do this for both edges."

    This part was confusing, so I ended up hemming down the wrong side, so my wallet came out too small. :/

    You might want to clarify for future reference... I am a novice sewer, i've sewn together many zippered bags, and this was far more confusing to follow. The photos are not exactly clear as to which side is being sewn on the larger 6x8" piece.


    6 years ago on Introduction

    I have just made this, and I am a total novice on the sewing machine and this was a total breeze and took no time at all. Thank you!

    I think it will be perfect for a wallet to shove in a little clutch bag on a night out as you can fit your money, ID and cards in which is really all you need not some giant wallet to lug around!


    7 years ago on Introduction

    I'm coming really late to this project, but it's a great instructable. I make my own oilcloth out of a fabric with Iron on Vinyl. That way you can make a wallet, coin purse and handbag all match. And if you are very Vera, you can make clothes to match as well..

    1 reply

    8 years ago on Introduction

    I have been making great market bags out of all kinds of animal food bags. They sew up rather nicely and hold up real well if you bind the inside bottom seams w/old scrap fabric. "so, thats where those old raggedy sleep pants got off to..." said the hubby upon checking out the inside of a bag!


    9 years ago on Introduction

    Very, very nice Miss Jessy!!!!!! Now I know what to do w/the oil cloth I bought in Albuquequer 2 years ago. Been mulling over it cause I've only got 1yd!

    1 reply


    You can also make a lunch bag:

    I made one of those and it was dead easy. :D


    9 years ago on Introduction

    Thanks very much! :D

    Also, those are awesome - great idea for a wallet!


    9 years ago on Introduction

    Because I've always got too much change in my wallet I'd have to add a bit for change if I were to make one.

    You astound me with your sewing skills time after time!

    6 replies

     You could always add an additional flap to one of the inner pockets and a small clasp. :)

    I thought about doing that for the tutorial, but I never carry change and I got lazy!


    Fair enough, I was planning on customizing your wallet for my needs, should go well if I get the time!


    Reply 9 years ago on Introduction

    I used to carry change in my wallet too, but I thew out SOOO many wallets due to the change pouch wearing out, that I simply carry a "change purse", not one of those feminine things, one like illustrated - they spit in the middle, cost MUCH less, and so are easy and inexpensive to replace.  :-)    A win all around ! 


    Reply 9 years ago on Introduction

    You can still buy those?! Wow. My grandpa used to have one, and I haven't seen them for ages.


    Reply 9 years ago on Introduction

    Very nice. I plan on making a sticky tape wallet this afternoon, so far it's going alright.