Today is the day to finish up our Prima Divas! Just in time for Christmas (it’s only 1 week from today). If you’re like me, you haven’t finished your Christmas sewing. If you’re not like me and you’re actually done then I don’t think we can be friends! Kidding!!
I’m going to skip a few steps for this post; some of the simple things that you can easily complete on your own. You don’t need my help and I can’t offer any additional tips for you when it comes to the open pockets or sewing the band to the outside. At this point should have everything complete – all pockets, wrist strap or loops (optional), outside band sewn on, side panels made etc…
The left picture shows all the inside pieces: side panels, open pockets, zippered pocket, card pocket & of course the lining. The top right are the pieces for the outside: outside panel with band sewn on, wrist strap (optional!) and frame. Not pictured: fleece or Soft and Stable. Bottom right: Open pocket pressed and prepped.
Before adding any of the pockets you will need to draw the registration lines on the zipper pocket and lining piece. These 3 lines (One centered, one to the left and one to the right) will be key to adding the pockets on properly. The picture below of all the pieces for the wallet inside shows the lines drawn on the lining & zippered pocket – sorry it’s not darker.
You will also need to transfer and press the 3 lines on the side panels using your template. There should be a crease in the center as well as 2 creases (one on either side) that are angled out. Press these really well to make the final step easier. What I like to do for my side panels is first sew the outside and lining together. Before turning right sides out I draw the lines from the template and then press really well. Then I turn, press again and topstitch. By doing this it “trains” the interfacing to fold in that same spot making the final steps of the wallet easier.
Next add your open pockets as per Step 10 in your pattern. You can sew 1/8″ to 1/4″ from the edge – it’s your choice!
Your zippered pocket is next, followed by the card pockets. Follow Steps 11 & 12 for details on these. As you can see below there should be a 3/8″ gap on either side of these pockets. Note: It seems redundant, I know, but I like to sew on all 3 lines of the zippered pocket for extra security. It also doesn’t matter if your stitching is perfect for these steps since you won’t see it later on. Your wallet will also be starting to get thick as this point with all the layers. I have found that a Microtex 90/14 needle works best for me. Try a jeans or leather needle too. You are sewing through A LOT of layers but it is possible! Take your time…
Once the pockets are sewn in place you will add the side panels as per Step 14 (I’m skipping Step 13 for now but we’ll go back later). When adding the panels don’t be to concerned with neatness. These are sewn within the seam allowance so neatness doesn’t matter until Step 15 when you add the outside of the wallet.
Before we go any further we will add the wrist strap to the outside of the wallet (right or left side). If you decided to add loops for a chain you will add them to the lining top. If you have decided to skip a strap or loops you can move on to the next step. Sew the strap about 1″ down and stitch several times within the seam allowance.
When adding the outside panel to the lining (Step 15), things will start to get a little tricky due to the thickness. I feel that this is actually the harder part to sew than the side panels. Your sewing machine foot tends to pull away from the bulky pockets and doesn’t always want to sew straight. I find that if I take my time and gently steer the wallet in the right direction under the foot that I can make this work. You will be sewing this seam twice so if the first run isn’t perfect you can sew it again! You want to sew twice since this the main seam of the wallet. This does take a little patience. Once you have the outside added (remember you have NOT added the fleece or Soft and Stable yet!!) you can turn your wallet and give it a good press (with steam preferably).
Let’s talk a bit about faux leather. I have been using it for a while now and love the durability and professional look it adds. I buy mine from Etsy seller Worth Fabrics. I love their selection! I used faux leather on the outside of my wallet for this post. I did add my fusible interfacing just like the pattern states. I found that it was quite easy to sew through and since I was sewing on the backside of it, a Teflon foot wasn’t necessary. These long seams weren’t any more difficult to sew through but what was harder due to the faux leather was 1. Turning right sides out & 2. Pressing. You can’t, or should I say don’t want to, put a hot iron on vinyl of any sort. I used a pressing cloth but I did find that my seams didn’t lay as flat. It’s nearly impossible to completely flatten them because of the thickness and rigidity of the faux leather. Do I still like the results? Yes! Will I use it again? Yes!!! Moving along…
There are only a few final steps to complete your wallet. First, closing the card pockets as per Step 16. Next, sewing the side panels as per Step 17. I think this is the part that seems to scare everyone but it’s not as hard as you might think. In the pattern I mentioned a few of my tricks & tips to try – larger needle, longer stitches, etc… The hardest part of this step is figuring out how your machine best sews through these layers and also not being afraid to bend and smoosh your wallet to get it under the foot. Use your wonder clips for this step (HUGE help and easier than pins) and work through the sides one at a time. Don’t clip all the sides at once – this is more trouble some than helpful. Sew slowly and only sew as far as you can – You don’t have to sew all the way to the bottom. A stiletto helps too! I also find that if I stitch forward and back, forward and back, working my way down, that I’m more successful than if I try to sew all the way down and then back up. I’ve had a lot of success with the Microtex needle too. The tip is sharper than a jeans or leather needle and I feel that it glides through the layers better. Just my opinion!
Once all the sides are sewn in place you will need to add your filler of choice. For this particular wallet I used the fusible fleece since the faux leather outside was already a bit thick. I do love the finished look of Annie’s Soft and Stable when I’m using all quilter’s cotton. It was too thick for this wallet. Add the filler (Step 18) and then the frame (Step 19). Be sure to sew the raw edges closed as close to the edge as possible. This will help when adding the frame.
Congrats! You finished your first (and hopefully not your last) Prima Diva!
As I mentioned, many times, the success of this wallet will depend on how well you and your machine work together. It’s not what I would consider a beginner project but it’s no where near as advanced as some other bag patterns I’ve seen. Confident beginner is the level I assigned it. Someone who can operate their machine, read instructions and sew a straight line. I had a student this past weekend with very limited sewing experience finish one with no issues. I am often asked if I have any secrets I haven’t shared, how do I sew this so easily? Well here it all is, all my “secrets”….
I sew on a Janome 7700 Horizon. I don’t consider this to be a “fancy” machine. It’s large, yes, and red and has extra throat space but it doesn’t offer anything more than other home machines. Same stitches, 1/4″ foot, extension table – everything your machine does. I have been asked if I use an industrial machine for samples – no. I own a Juki 98TL which would probably be better for this project but I’ve never tried it. Do I use my built in walking foot? Not as much as I should and definitely not for the this wallet. Sometimes I use it for the card pockets but only if I’m not being completely lazy! When I sold bags, before I wrote patterns, all my bags were sewn on a Husqvarna Viking Interlude 485 and then an Emerald 183. Smaller machines but they still offered the same features as my Janome. I use Aurifil 50 weight thread for everything, Fil-Tec prewound bobbins and Schmetz needles – Microtex 90/14 for the heavy stuff and Universal 80/12 for regular sewing. I use quilt shop quality fabrics and Pellon brand fusible Decor Bond interfacing (#809) & Thermolam fleece (#971F). I buy plastic zippers (no metal for me) from ZipIt on Etsy. I always use my needle down position and typically watch reruns of Friends & the Walking Dead on Netflix while I sew. That’s everything there is to know about me!