Maine, United States

Scrap-Busting Series / Minimalist Wallet/ Making No. 3 / DOTS
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Scrap-Busting Series / Minimalist Wallet/ Making No. 3 / DOTS

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This month's scrap-busting project comes from one of our earlier issues Making No. 3 / DOTS, the Minimalist Wallet by Anna Graham of Noodlehead. This project has been on my wishlist for a while now; I've never made a wallet and thought it would be fun. Even though I have my favorite types of things to sew, I love trying new and different kinds of projects because it feels like a little exercise for my brain and also helps my skills to grow. Back in my earlier sewing days, I strictly stuck to clothing, but when I realized there were such fantastic bag patterns available, I began to try them one by one and quickly fell in love. Bag making can be sort of addicting, in my opinion, because they take less fabric, and often come together much more quickly than a clothing item, which makes them a very satisfying sew. 

Making a wallet was new to me, and what attracted me to this one is its shape and size; I love that it's fairly large. I've used various types of wallets throughout the years from small to large, but the ones I like best are those large enough they can almost function like a small clutch, just like the Minimalist Wallet. This type is perfect for when you need to make a quick trip to the store or a friend's house and don't need to bring along everything that usually fills up a bag. Below I'm sharing my sewing notes and tips for this project.  




In addition to fabric and interfacing, this project also requires a zipper and metal snaps. I'll talk more about the metal snaps later, but for the zipper, I purchased it from Anna's shop in the color antique brass/gray. I love that Anna always has what we need for her patterns available in her shop. 

If you're looking to do this project more sustainably, another option for sourcing a zipper is to repurpose one from an older worn out bag or clothing item; jeans zippers work great, which I learned from my grandma. Before tossing something that's too worn out to use and is unrepairable, she scraps the item, whether it be a piece of clothing or a type of bag, for a zipper, buttons, various findings, and salvageable pieces of fabric. My grandma has a collection of salvaged goods, and she can usually always find something within her stash to use on a project. She's definitely the queen, in my book, of repurposing and sewing sustainably, and I'm thankful for her example. If sewing sustainability is important to you, perhaps start a collection of repurposed materials like my grandma's so that when a project comes to mind, you're ready to go!



Since the Minimalist Wallet is a smaller project, it's a wonderful way to use up scraps. You might recognize the two fabrics in this project; they're both from the Making Bag I made a while back. Anna suggests quilting cotton for this project, and after sewing mine with the main from a mid-weight twill and interfaced linen, I'd recommend sticking to cotton. Since it's a smaller project, turning corners and finishing some of the detailing can be more of a challenge, which is what I experienced. However, I was able to make it work with a few tweaks, and I think the result is beautiful. 

Interfacing Linen Pocket 

Because the fabric I used for the interior pocket is very lightweight linen, I decided to apply thin interfacing to those pieces for a little more strength and stability. This did bump up the overall bulk when sewing, making it more of a challenge. I thought about removing the interfacing but ultimately decided to keep it because I could see the linen getting worn down quickly with the use of the zipper and wanted to prolong its life as best possible. 

Bird's Nest 

Have you ever experienced this annoying little situation where you're getting started on a seam, and your machine seems to be having some trouble, but you keep going? Everything seems fine until you flip your project over and notice there's this stringy mess on the bottom? That's called a bird's nest, and I made a couple of those on this project. After I installed the zipper and finished it with edge stitching, I noticed my stitches were a little shaky, so I flipped it over, and there was the bird's nest. After ripping out the stitches, what did the trick of avoiding the bird's nest and getting better stitches was to sew very slowly in the beginning and end where it was bulkier.


Since the fabrics I used created a lot of bulk, I had some trouble with the corners at the bottom of the wallet. I tried trimming away as much material as possible, but still found it didn't give a pleasing look. What I ended up doing was changing the bottom corners of the wallet from a square angle to a curve, and this change is what ultimately led to more ease when turning the corners and a more pleasing look. 

Installing Metal Snaps

This project was the first time I installed metal snaps, and because I didn't have any tools, I ordered Anna's Spring Snap Starter Kit, which includes everything needed to install snaps. I also wasn't sure how to go about installing them, but luckily, Anna has a tutorial on her blog that I followed, making the process very easy. I can't wait to start adding snaps to more of my projects!  

Hand Finishing

When it came to finishing the top portion of the wallet, instead of sewing entirely by machine, I decided to do the last line of stitching by hand. I've always had trouble sewing from the top when also securing something underneath because I can't ever get the line of stitching on the underside to look straight and even, so I often sew the top part with my machine, and then the underside by hand. 

I hope you're feeling inspired to use up more of your scraps on another beautiful little project in the Scrap-Busting series. The Minimalist Wallet by Anna Graham of Noodlehead can be found on pages 30-35 of Making No. 3 / DOTS. Sadly, this edition is currently sold out, but if you don't already have it, you might be able to snatch a copy at one of our stockists! This pattern is also available at Noodlehead 

Happy making! - Emily