To begin, of course, you’ll need a source of leather. For this tutorial, I’m using an old purse bought from a thrift store. When you are looking for a bag, there are a couple of things to think about. First, pay attention to the thickness of the leather. You don’t want something too thick or rigid and you don’t want anything too flimsy, either. Try to find something that feels like it has some flexibility, but is also sturdy. Second, for a bifold wallet, try to find a purse with some seaming detail in the middle of the bag, rather than on the sides. For example, the bag below has some seams, but they are too close to the sides.
This bag has a great seam right down the middle with plenty of leather on each side.
This is what we’re looking for. We will use this seam for the outer fold of the wallet.
I use a bill and a credit card to give me an idea of the dimensions I need to cut the leather. Take care to keep the seam right down the middle of the panel. I’m making this bifold wallet about 8 inches across and 3 1/2 inches deep.
Next, cut the inside panel of the bill pocket from a solid piece of leather just slightly narrower than the outside. Also, cut two smaller panels for the credit card pockets. I made these approximately 3 3/4 inches across by 2 inches deep. You should have four pieces of leather now and that’s all you need! Woo-hoo!
We’re ready to sew!! It’s best to use a leather needle in your sewing machine, but I’ve forgotten to change my needle before, and it worked pretty well. You don’t want to use pins in leather, but I’ve found that mini binder clips work great to hold all of your pieces together while you sew.
First, sew the card pocket pieces onto the inner bill pocket panel just a the two inner seams.
Next, lay the inner bill panel with the two card pockets on the top of the outer panel and stitch all the way around the entire outside panel sewing over the outer and bottom edges of the card pockets.
Tie off and trim your threads and you are done!!! Hooray! Now, go grab a bunch of money and fill it up!
There are lots of ways to personalize this wallet. Before you sew the outer panel to the inner pockets, you can applique a design or image with some contrasting leather or fabric, or hand stitch a design, name, or initials.
I hope you enjoyed this tutorial! After I made my first one, I started looking at old bags in a totally new way. I bet you will, too!