I needed a new wallet. I couldn't really justify buying a new one when I have tons of fabric lying around, but I wasn't in the mood to go hemming raw edges and dinking around with patterns this evening, so I just grabbed a bandanna and my iron and went to work. Ten folds, seven seams, and two pieces of Velcro later, I had this simple but functional and (hopefully) sturdy wallet.
It took me a couple of hours to make, partly because I was figuring out the design as I went, and partly because my geriatric sewing machine kept copping an attitude. A competent seamstress with a cooperative sewing machine could probably make this thing in less than 20 minutes. Here's a tutorial, in case anybody needs it:
Lay the bandanna face-down on your work surface, fold up one side about 2 3/4" from the bottom, and press a crease into it.
Lay the bandanna face-up on your work surface, grab the end you folded, and fold it up and press it again to make a 2 3/4" pleat.
Lay the bandanna face-down on your work surface, grab the pleated edge, fold it over about 4", and press a crease into it to make a 4" pleat.
Lay the bandanna face-up on your work surface and fold it and press it two more times to make another 4" pleat. When you get done, it should be folded accordion-style, with two 4" pleats and one 2 3/4" pleat.
Lay the folded bandanna so that the 2 3/4" pleat makes a little pocket at the bottom. Stitch the folded bandanna about 1/4" from the left end. Use a credit card to figure out where to put your second seam. Just stick it in the pocket, flush against the seam, and fold the end of the bandanna over from left to right. Remove the card, press the fold, open it back up, and stitch along the crease. This will give you a pocket about 3 1/2 inches wide.
Fold it back up along the seam, fold it over again, press it, and stitch along the crease as before to make the second pocket, which will be about 3 3/4 inches wide.
Fold it back up along the seams as before. Then fold it over two more times. Press it on the folds. When you unfold it this time, you will see four creases in the fabric (two with stitches running down them). DO NOT stich along the third crease. Instead, skip the third crease and put a stitch along the fourth. This will give you a third pocket about 8 1/4 inches wide. Fold, press, and stitch again to make another pocket (this one about 4 inches wide -- perfect for business cards) and an end flap about 2 inches wide, with a seam about 1/4 inch from the right end.
Open out the wallet and put a stitch from one end to the other, about 1/4 inch from the bottom edge. The action shot above should help you figure out where to fold and stitch if you get lost.
Attach some Velcro to the wallet to keep the flap closed. All I had on hand was the sew-on kind, which I tried to iron on with fusible webbing. It didn't work all that well, so I had to sew it by hand (my sewing machine does not like Velcro). It ended up looking kind of sloppy, but I'll get an iron-on patch next time I'm at Hobby Lobby and use it to hide the stitches. If I were doing this project again, I would use the iron-on kind of Velcro.
You could make this look a little nicer by trimming the edges with a little rickrack, ribbon, or bias tape, but I think it looks OK without it, and for security reasons, I sort of like letting my wallet masquerade as a folded-up snotrag. (I suppose if I really
wanted to theft-proof it, I could smear it with a little bit of lime-green slick pen.