How to Make a Zippered Wallet Out of Fabric
In this tutorial we’ll explain to you all the steps needed to make this cute fabric wallet with a zipper. This little pouch is just the right size to hold your cards and some coins. With this little fabric wallet you will no longer lose your loose change or cards in your purse or bag. It’s a fun and practical sewing project you can tackle this week!
My zippered wallet has a separator in the middle and opens comfortably because the zipper opens along two sides of the wallet. When finished, the wallet is 4 ½ by 3 inches. It can hold up to 25 plastic cards (similar to credit cards) and more if you have thinner cardboard or paper cards.
I made this wallet tutorial with Lucia, who’s a friend of my son. She is 14 years old, loves to sew and is really good at it. For school they had to choose a profession that they were interested in for a mini internship. She picked my job and spent four days in my sewing room to see what it’s about and worked along with me. We made the video and images for this blog post together. In most pictures you will see her hands! I also learned a lot from her, about Tik Tok for example. We made some Tik Tok videos together. If you are curious, you can watch them on our Madam Sew Tik Tok Channel.
In this tutorial we’ll walk you through each step of creating a very compact, stylish and functional wallet that can hold all your essential cards, money and coins. From choosing the fabric and zipper to sewing everything together, we’ve got you covered. With some basic sewing skills, this project is easy enough to follow along with and will leave you with a beautiful finished pouch.
So grab your sewing tools, some fabric pieces, a zipper, some bias tape, a piece of interfacing and your sewing machine and let's get started on this fun and useful DIY project!
The fabric pieces and notions for the wallet
Choose fabrics that aren’t too heavy. Medium weight fabric, like quilting cotton, is perfect for this card holder. You can use fabric leftovers from other projects. The biggest piece you’ll need is only 5 ¼ by 5 ¼ inches.
The divider pocket in the wallet should be reinforced with some interfacing if the fabric is a little floppy.
Cut the fabric pieces you need to make the wallet
Start by cutting the following fabric pieces for the wallet
- 2 pieces of cotton fabric of 5 ¼” by 3 ¾” for the outside of the wallet
- 2 pieces of cotton fabric of 5 ¼” by 3 ¾” for the lining of the wallet
- 2 pieces of cotton fabric of 1 ¾” by 2 ¾” for the gusset
- 1 piece of cotton fabric 5 ¼” by 5 ¼” for the divider in the wallet
If you plan to make more than one wallet, cut the 3 pattern pieces out of paper or cardboard so you can easily copy and cut the fabric pieces without measuring and marking. You can just cut around the pieces with your rotary cutter. In the video I’m cutting on a rotating cutting mat. Have you ever tried one of these? They're really handy when you need to cut a lot of small fabric pieces.
Get an 8 inch zipper
When choosing the zipper, make sure it is not too heavy. I prefer to use a synthetic zipper. It needs to be a minimum of 8 inches. This means the coil should be 8 inch long, the tape is 9 ½ inches. If your zipper is longer, this is no problem at all. You can cut it shorter in the process of installing it.
At MadamSew.com we have a nice zipper set with 44 colorful zippers that you can use for different little sewing projects. I love to have a stack to make project like this one without having to run to the store, especially at such a low price 🙂
Twill tape or bias tape for the binding
To finish the interior of the wallet neatly in the end, I used a 10 inch piece of bias tape, but you can also use twill tape to cover the raw edge.
Make a fabric wallet in seven steps
1. Make the divider
- Fuse the piece of interfacing (5 ¼ x 2 ⅝ inch) to half of the divider piece (5 ¼ x 5 ¼ inch) with a hot iron.
- Fold the divider piece in half, wrong sides facing. Don’t fold the interfacing. Topstitch on the right side, on edge of the fold.
- Turn right side out. Top stitch on the top and bottom edge
2. Prepare the side gusset
- Place the 2 pieces for the gusset right sides facing each other. Sew top and bottom - these are the two short sides - together with ¼” seam allowance.
- Place the divider on one of the lining pieces, match the raw edges and sew the raw edges of the divider on the lining piece.
- Fold the gusset in half vertically, with the two long sides together and topstitch along the fold. Leave the raw edge and the two sides open. You now have a sewn crease line along the center of the gusset. You can still fold this piece open.
3. Attach the Gusset to the Lining
Clip the gusset in the middle of the short sides of the lining pieces. The sewn pleat should be facing the right side of the lining fabric and the divider/pocket you’ve sewn onto one of the lining pieces. Sew each sides of the gusset to one of the lining pieces.
4. Install the zipper: attach one side
Change your presser foot to a zipper foot. If you don’t have a good one, check out this universal adjustable zipper foot we have in our collection on MadamSew.com.
Pin the zipper, wrong side up, to the right side of the outer fabric. Sew the zipper to this fabric piece but don’t sew all the way to the end of the fabric piece. Stop at ¾ inches away from the edge. In the image below I marked where you should sew and where to stop with a white chalk line.
The next step might be a little complicated. Just take it slowly and maybe check the video if my explanation is not clear enough for you.
Grab the lining piece. Fold side A (lining + gusset) over side B (lining with pocket), right sides together. Make sure the pocket is facing down before you start folding. In my first wallet version, I sewed the pocket upside down ☺️
Now flip the entire folded lining piece and the outer fabric toward you and place it over the outer fabric piece where the zipper is attached.
Pin the lining part that is on top (side A) to the right zipper tape (right side) and sew it onto the zipper tape. Again, don’t sew the top ¾ inch of the lining piece to the zipper. I always add a temporary mark. If not, I just sew until the end and have to unpick afterwards. It is stronger than me 🙂
Now grab the other outer fabric piece (green) that is not yet attached to the zipper. The zipper is still with its right side facing you. Place the outer fabric piece, right side facing on the zipper and pin to the coil, and make sure you also pin the lining piece with gusset to the zipper on the wrong side. The zipper has to be sandwiched in between the lining piece and the outer piece. Sew on the edge with a zipper foot and leave the top part open ¾ inches, like you did with the other parts.
Both lining and outer fabric are now attached to half of the zipper as you can see in the picture below. The gusset sits in between.
5. Install the zipper: attach the top part
Fold the zipper around the outer fabric, the top side of the wallet, and pin together, right sides facing. Sew together and repeat the same step for the other side. Make sure you don’t grab the lining by accident.
Now, attach the first part of the lining, right side, to the wrong side of the zipper. For the second part you’ll have to fold the lining and zipper over the first part. Clip or pin this part out of the way. Sew this last zipper part together.
6. Sew the wallet closed
Fold the wallet with the right sides facing each other. Align the raw edges and pin and sew the side and bottom of the pouch.
Clip the corners and cut off excess fabric.
7. Finish the edges with bias or twill tape
You need a strip of about 10 inches long to attach the binding around the two edges of the wallet (bottom and side edge without the zipper). Pin or clip the bias tape to the seam allowance with ½ inch excess at the end. Fold the tape nicely at the corner and then fold the tape end down to the other side; do this for both ends.
Using fabric clips for holding multiple layers of fabric in place is a lot easier than using pins.
If you want to make bias tape out of your favorite fabric, you can use bias tape makers. You just need to cut a fabric strip, iron it with a bias tape maker and you have your bias tape.
Topstitch through all layers on the bias tape along the bottom and side edge of your wallet.
And there you have it, your very own handmade wallet with a zipper. Not only is this wallet functional and practical, it is also unique and has a personal touch that you won’t find in store-bought wallets!
We hope you enjoyed this tutorial,the process of making the card holder and that you’re proud of your finished project. Don’t forget to show off your new wallet to friends and family and maybe even make a few more to give as gifts.
Thank you for joining us on this sewing adventure, we can’t wait to see what other fun and creative projects you’ll tackle in the future! Join our lively Facebook community and inspire others!
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