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The design for this wallet came out of frustration with how many different things I had to carry to go anywhere. As a human, I tend to fill the allotted space in my purse or wallet to max capacity. The idea here is that by minimizing the available space in a wallet, it forces you to prioritize what you need so that you only carry the bare essentials to leave your house: keys, ID, and currency. No keychains, no forgotten membership cards, no overstuffed coin pocket full of pennies. Cell phone is optional.

I made this key/card holder, honestly, as an afterthought for a fashion collection about 3 years ago, but it turned out to be the most useful thing I made that year. I’ve used it daily and it’s still as good as day one.

Reason #1 that I love working with leather: It ages so gracefully!

3 yr pics4


Materials Needed

Thick Leather

Getting leather for this project might take some creativity if you don’t have cowhide laying around. (Suppliers usually only sell full hides.)

The material used in this project was from a scrap bin that I had access to through my school, but another cheap way to source leather is a thrift store. Leather purses and motorcycle jackets are a great way to get pieces for a small project. For this project, make sure the material is thick enough that you can’t fully pinch it.

If you’re really ambitious, buy a used leather couch and strip it to stock up for the future! It’s still cheaper than buying a full hide.

Waxed Lacing

You can really use anything here. Find a thick thread, double it up if you want, chip off a piece of a candle, and rub the wax across the thread. Don’t skip the waxing step, it’s so important for durability!

If you work with leather often, I highly recommend this waxed lacing. It’s a very strong, corded thread that doesn’t fray like linen thread.

Hardware

I found the key holder hardware from a thrift store wallet, cut it from the glittery neon blue pleather to salvage it for this project. If you can’t find a used one, you can buy it here.

Snap fasteners are a good thing to have on hand. The one I used is a standard heavy duty 0.5″ size fastener. You can get a set here.

 

Pocket wallet pattern sideways-03


Assemble

Print the downloadable pattern here using the “actual size” on letter paper.

1. Cut shapes 1 and 2 out of leather

2. Attach key holder hardware to the unfinished side of piece 1

3. Lay piece 1 unfinished* side down. Place piece 2 unfinished* side down so that the pieces are bottom and center aligned, clamp in place

4. Using an awl or sharp object, pierce holes through both layers simultaneously at marked lacing holes

5. Saddle stitch together using waxed lacing (stitching tutorial here)

6. Punch appropriate holes and attach snap fasteners to each side

*Leather has two sides. Finished side is smooth and often stained. Unfinished side is raw.

After the wallet is done, it will likely take 2-3 days of use before the leather relaxes into shape.

Malory Johnson

Malory Johnson

I'm a designer currently on mission to make everything I use in my daily life! When these projects don't fail miserably, I publish the tutorials on my maker blog: www.malory-johnson.com/blog/


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  • Rick

    Troll craigslist for free worn out leather furniture. The backs and sides s are usually in great shape. If you’re in a hurry there are usually $25 pieces. If you’re picky on color or thickness you may have to wait a whole week…

  • Amazonite

    Can’t imagine going through all of this just to get this “wallet”. If I’m going to thrift stores to look for old purses to cut up, why wouldn’t I just buy a used wallet?