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How to make a wallet out of leather?

This guide will show how you can make a wallet out of leather. This guide assumes that you have a sewing machine, and are competent using it. If you want a customised leather wallet for a fraction of the price of those available in shops, then this guide is for you.

Examine an existing design

Start by examining a few existing wallets in shops or online. Think about the design of the wallet. How many card slots do you want? Do you need an internal pocket? Will you have an identity window? Take note, and make some preliminary sketches.

Model the wallet

If you have ever made a duct tape wallet, then you will be familiar with wallet design. If not, it is a good place to start. Search online to find out how to make a duct tape wallet. This will help you visualise the separate components of the wallet. Next, use paper to model the wallet so you can gauge sizes and the sections you'll need. You may end up producing many folded paper wallets as you develop your design, but this is OK because scrap paper is free!

Choose your leather

You can either buy leather from a haberdashery, or recycle it from old products. Look in charity shops for second hand coats and jackets from which you may be able to salvage material for your D.I.Y wallet.

Customise the leather

If you wish to dye or emboss the leather, do this at this stage. It is much easier to treat the raw material before you begin to stitch it together. If you are going to dye or paint the leather, you will need to thoroughly clean the material first. Use some watered down leather bleach to prepare the material. When you are applying leather dye, remember to apply it in stages, letting each coat dry for at least two hours. Keep flexing the material to prevent it from becoming stiff. You may also consider embroidery or pre-produced patches or motifs.

Sew the wallet together

Using a sewing machine, sew your pieces together. Start with the largest pieces first and wind your machine with an appropriate thread colour. Lower the presser foot and stitch each section sequentially. Remember to reverse stich each join to give the wallet extra strength. Finally, apply any fasteners to the wallet. You may need to use a leather punch if you wish to add an eyelet and chain. These items can be purchased from most hardware stores. If you find that you have a talent for producing customised leather wallets, try selling your wares at a local craft fair or on an online auction site.

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