Sew Loving Life

My adventures in "making" – mostly sewing & quilting – and in traveling.

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The Walkabout Wallet, My Way

UPDATE: July 2, 2017:

I’ve been using this wallet for some time now, and I wanted to update my review of the Kraft-Tek “paper fabric”. In longer term use, I have to say this is terrific material for the card slots for the wallet. Four layers is still much too thick for sewing, but in terms of sliding the cards in and out and in and out and on and on, this stuff works very well. It is stiff enough to hold the cards firmly in place in the wallet, but flexible enough to get the cards out and shove them back in again. I’d make the card slots so that I’d never sew through more than 3 layers at once, and I’d arrange the overall size of the wallet so that the Kraft-Tex was never in the edge seams of the main wallet piece, but bottom line, this is pretty handy stuff.

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Original Post: April 16, 2017:

The Walkabout Wallet is a StudioKat Design that is, in a word, terrific! I’ve been using this wallet for a couple of months now, and I’m really glad I made this wallet. The dimensions are such that it fits quite comfortably in my hand, and the outer phone pocket (shown below, without phone) makes accessing the phone quick and easy. It is deep enough to contain the electronic key to my car, and small enough that I don’t mind carrying it. It holds all of my credit cards (that isn’t hard) and all of the various identity cards that I need at various

Wallet exterior, phone pocket side

points in time and space (that is the challenging bit). It can be used with either a wrist strap or a long strap as a stand-alone purse, but I generally prefer to just carry it in my hand. It fits easily into a medium size purse or small backpack for times when I need it and other things besides. If you are at all interested in sewing your own purses, totes and wallets, you should check out StudioKat Designs, and this pattern.

I’ve showed this purse to several of my girlfriends, and they are generally impressed with it finish and functionality. Otherwise reactions vary quite a bit. The other “sewists” (as opposed to “sewers”, which sounds fine, but reads like plumbing) have generally been quite positive in their reactions, doing a wonderful job of pumping up my ego. In contrast, the first non-sewist I showed it to said “You know you can buy those now, right?” Yes, I do. So why make my own wallet when there is Target and TJ Maxx and Marshalls and, let us not forget, Walmart, and more, all willing to take my money for any number of ready-made wallets gracing their shelves?

Because I want what I want, that’s why. Yep, I’m really pig-headed that way. I’ve found phone wallets that were small enough, but couldn’t carry all my cards, or any cash. Nor did they have a space for my electronic key. Thus, I either had to carry a few extra loose bits in addition to my phone wallet, or a full purse, often with an additional wallet. Neither option is particularly handy.

The inability to carry all of the personal plastic bits all of the time may seem trivial, but it is surprising how many times one is out running errands and ends up at an unplanned establishment without the related ID card.


Wristlet, electronic keys & a “Tile” attached

Sometimes this is easily overcome, sometimes it is not. (One does rather wonder about using a phone number as a personal identifier; but that’s a different post.) Of course, there are bigger wallets that carry more plastic, but most still cannot accommodate an electronic key. Once one finds a “wallet” big enough for all of my essentials, one is really looking at a small purse, which is considerably larger than this Walkabout Wallet.

To be honest, even the Walkabout Wallet pattern doesn’t meet all of my requirements. In particular, it does not include as many card slots as I’d like. Also, it is designed to carry a pen, which takes up the space now used by my electronic car keys. Therein lies the true beauty of sewing my own wallet: I can select a pattern that is as close as possible to what I really want, and then customize it for myself! Yes, the ability to alter the design and then construct something especially for me gives me great pleasure. No, I can’t explain it, even to myself, and I’ve given up trying.

The Alterations

What I changed in the pattern:

  • Used some non-recommended materials: outdoor quality nylon taffeta for the lining and Kraft-Tex, a sewable, leather-look paper;
  • Removed the pen holding elastics and the ID slot to replace them with more card slots;
  • Added a ring to clip my keys into the wallet;
  • I turned the card slots 90º, which allowed me to squeeze one extra card slot on each side of the wallet;

A word about the materials

Outdoor quality nylon taffeta:

  • Pros:
    • Very light weight; significantly lighter than quilting cotton;
    • More abrasion resistant than quilting cotton;
    • I have lots of pieces of it on hand;
  • Cons:
    • Once cut, it frays like crazy; if it tears, the lining is toast;

I dealt with the fraying issue by running a small bead of Fray Check fabric glue along the cut edge. This worked beautifully to stabilize the lining pieces, although it did wick into
the nylon. That changed both the color and the texture slightly. However, the light bead only wicked in about ¼”, which is the seam allowance for this project, so the changes weren’t an issue for this application. Of course, this won’t be a bit help if the lining tears, but in this application, that is unlikely to be an issue.


Honestly, I used this just because I wanted a chance to experiment with this material, and I thought a bit of “leather look” next to the denim would be fun.

The denim and the quilting cotton binding are typical materials for this wallet, and no particular problems were anticipated or encountered. I chose the denim for the outside partly because I have a lot of old jeans in my scrap fabric heap, and partly

Final Assessment

I’ve already made it clear that I’m really liking the outcome of this pattern hack. It meets my needs quite well. Some notes on what I would do again, and what I won’t do again:

Materials Choice:

Yes, I’d definitely use these materials again. The nylon taffeta lining was easy to use, once the Fray-check way applied. It is standing up to use well. I’d also use the Kraft-Tex again, but differently.

In particular, I would not make all of those card slots out of this material. It sews easily enough, but it is thick. The slots stack on top of each other, and the Kraft-Tex is 4 layers

Walkabout Wallet: Interior

Card Slots, Zippered Coin Pocket & Cash Slot

thick in some places. It worked, but it was challenging. Also, you can really one stitch the Kraft-Tex once. The needle holes are permanent, so ripping out stitching “leaves a mark”. If necessary, a new Kraft-Tex piece should be cut. Overall, the Kraft-Tex is proving to be durable, and good looking.

The old jeans on the outside is also quite successful. The denim is warm and comfortable in hand, and is standing up to use as expected.

Design Modifications:

I am happy with the number of card slots I have in this version of the wallet. However, I would not make the slots in exactly this way in the future. Instead, I think I would simply make the slots as they are in the pattern, with the top facing the long edge of the wallet, and put the slots on both sides of the wallet. That would be a much easier modification anyway, as it only means creating a mirror of the original card slots on the opposite side of the purse.