Hello Sewists,

How are you? Life is good here at SewAndrew – since packing in my job a couple of months ago, I’ve been really busy. I won’t lay all my cards on the table just yet, but I’ve got an exciting hairdressing thing coming up soon, potentially a new weekly tap dance class to teach and I’m seriously thinking about where I can take my sewing to make that a part of my future income. However, I’m finding myself with less sewing time than before and am getting into the habit of just sewing for an hour or two, here and there. This is a refreshing change to my old idea of rushing to finish a project in a day, and achieving nothing else (… unwashed, undressed, un-fed… but I’ve got a new shirt!!)

I had a couple of hours to myself the other afternoon and decided it was time to get my washable paper out again. I’ve made washable paper wallets before, the last time I sewed with it I was so enthused I thought I was going to carry on to sew a million wallets… but I soon ran out of paper! I ordered more and decided to prewash this batch a couple of times before using it. This was a good idea, and I highly recommend it – the more you wash it, the softer and more worn in it becomes. I can’t remember exactly, but I think I washed this batch four times. 30º with no detergent.

The difficulty with this is that I can rarely find time to do the laundry as it is, and you can’t really wash the paper in with your regular load (imagine what happens when you leave one small receipt or tissue in the wash by mistake… times that by 1000!) So by the time the prewashing was done, I was well and truly on to the next project, washable paper was a distant memory! But now it’s back – I cleared the table and laid out my big cutting mat, pencil, rulers and rotary cutter.


Using the wallet pattern from Vanessa Mooncie’s book The Gentleman’s Wardrobe I retraced the pattern, cut off all the seam allowances then cut out one piece each from my washable paper. Apart from the closing tab which I cut two of. Next I fold and position all the pieces to make sure they fit together.

When you’re making something this small the focus is totally on precision. If you want it to look immaculate (Ha! What’s that?!) you need everything lined up perfectly, with neat and even edgestitching. I would seriously consider tying off your threads instead of backstitching and keep your machine at a low speed setting (if you have that option). Or you could do what I did and just enjoy making it in a crafty couple of hours.

The ‘concertina’ card holder on the left was pretty bulky. I could have wet it and pressed it to take some bulk, but I decided to cut off the ‘fold-back’ pieces and stitch the flaps together.

The order of sewing was quite specific – you don’t want to unpick this stuff! In case you try it, I’ll list it here:

  • Cut everything out!
  • Make the cardholder (photograph above): Topstitch the cardholder pieces at 5mm.
  • Sew the back piece to the next piece at the bottom.
  • Sew the next piece to that (also at the bottom)
  • Sew a label onto the front piece and position it on top of the card holder. Position the whole thing on the left side of the Note-Flap and stitch down the right hand side (the inside). Leave the other sides for now.
Coin Purse
  • Make the coin purse: Fold the pouch and make sure it fits with the flap, on the pouch-lining. Topstitch the flap.
  • Sew the flap in place.
  • Check placement for the tab loop and zigzag into place.
  • Sew one side of the pouch, fold the excess over and sew the other side. Leave the bottom for now.
  • Position the coin pouch and lining onto the note-flap and sew just the top, leave the other seams for now.
Outer decoration.
Hide the backstitching under the flap.
  • Make the outer: Cut and position any decoration and sew it on to the outer piece.
  • Cut two pieces for the closure and edgestitch them together.
  • Make a slit in the back of the Outer and stitch the closure tab in place (fold it over to stitch behind it)
  • Mark and line up your snaps and apply to the tab and front side of the outer.
  • Assemble wallet: Carefully stitch the assembled note-flap to the outer around three sides, catching all layers.
Extreme close up!

Right at the end, if you wanted to shave off any tatty edges, I’m sure that’s totally fine… I know I did! I suppose it looks a little rough-and -ready, but I’m looking through my rose-coloured-glasses and I think it’s charming! As luck would have it, just a day or so after making it, a friend mentioned he was looking for a new wallet but having trouble finding one he liked that also had a coin section. erm… serendipity…! … so it was immediately sent off to it’s new owner – I love it when a plan comes together!

Until next time,

Happy sewing!

Notes to self;

  • You still need that cycling jacket… just saying..
  • I’ve left myself with no time to make anything new for my USA trip… next week!
  • Important note: the paper does not in fact shed like a tissue in the washing machine!
  • Keep the paper damp to make it easier to work with.