Friday, May 1, 2009

A Bucketful of Wallets, A Little Orla and a Giveaway!

One of the wonderful things about being a mom of small
kids is the richness of ideas that come from just hanging
out with them. Kids, especially enthusiastic and idealistic
little ones, have the best suggestions, mainly because
they don't know what impossible is. I have so enjoyed
making stuff for kids! But my wallet died on me a
fortnight ago and I thought it was time to make
something for me. True, it was in response to a
wardrobe emergency, but I started having fun making
my new wallet, so I made a few more because - and I
know it's a bad habit - mass-producing is oddly satisfying.

Way before I had kids, I made-and-sold a bunch of stuff
during the summer holidays between years at college. It
was hard work but some of the most fun - and so I had
some old patterns and -gasp!- my archaic catalog
for reference.

Back then, though, velcro wallets were in, particularly
for my young market, but imagine me in church ripping
open a velcro wallet now at offering time! Not cool.

So enter snaps and zippers

and magnetic fasteners

- much better.

But back to my wallet. In spite of making wallets for
all my friends - girls and guys - back then, I strangely
felt drawn to the store-bought black nylon ones myself.
Looking back, almost all my wallets were black and
each time one died on me, I berated myself for not
having the foresight to have bought several identical
ones as backups. We each have our own wallet stories,
so I know some of you are nodding right now and I don't
need to go on. Suffice it to say that this time around I
decided to break away from noir and take some risks
with color. But maybe I could still keep the
identical-to-recently-deceased-wallet idea?

No old pattern in the old velcro archives, so this
was from scratch, with dead GAP wallet as guide. I must
say I was pleased with how it turned out, even if the
outside zipper compartment just about did me in,
just as it did the now-dead wallet. Very fiddly.

Here's the inside. The blue section is hinged at the
base - the other side is a vinyl window for photos, not
that I update mine regularly - I still have pictures of my
now-four-year-old daughter at 11 months, and
no pictures of the other two kids.

I am happy that I get to keep all the compartments and
pockets and hiding-places the same so I needn't figure out
reallocating stuff from the old wallet. Yes, it is sad
when a person becomes this lazy.

But you're wondering about Orla - this fabric was
from Target - the new hip place for fabric shopping,
provided you are into repurposing table linen. My wallet
was from a single placement but I liked her napkins, too,
so I cut those up for another wallet
(the open one in the picture below)

and two others.

In a long ago post, I flippantly referred to something
called 600 denier nylon. This is what I use for my wallets.
It makes them rigid - I don't use interfacing at all - and
you don't need lining unless you want some extra color.
Also you can toss the wallets in the washing machine if
you want to and they won't come out crinkly (not that I
plan to do anything but spot-clean this lovely Orla fabric
on my new wallet, though). Still, this he-man toss-and-
wear thing seemed important to the guys I sewed
billfolds for in the past, although by the time some of
them felt ready to wash their very concave wallets,
well....umm... let's just say why even bother?

Anyway, this is 600 denier polyester/
nylon-backed packcloth:

I bought it by the tens of yards back in Singapore
when I trawled the warehouse districts on foot (and
bus) bulk shopping for bag-making supplies. Couldn't
you just see people's faces when I got on the bus carrying
this bazooka thing on my shoulder? It was a huge roll then,
replenished several times, but this is all that is left.
Fortunately I found at least one other place here in the
US selling something similar so I know
where to go when I run out.

All the edges are bound with an extra thick grosgrain
trim but I don't know where to buy that here yet
when my supply runs out.

So ready for the giveaway?

Unbelievably, this is ikatbag's 100th post so I am
giving away one of these long card wallets! They are
7.5" long and 3.5" wide when closed. There are
six credit-card sized pockets, one long zipper compartment
for coins, and four long pockets for bills, receipts
and other stuff. Leave a comment and your email
address on this post by Friday May 8 bedtime
(that's how clocks work in our house, sorry), just to say
hello. Better still (but not necessary) tell me your ideas
for what you'd like to see on ikatbag in the next 100
posts, or what you think you might like to buy (even if
I haven't made it yet!) if I ever got round to setting up
shop. International readers are welcome, too, as long
as your mailing address can be written in the English
alphabet. I always appreciate a link on your own blog
if you have one, but don't feel obliged to. And if there
are more than 50 comments, I'll pick two winners
and give these both away!

Finally, here's something else - I enjoyed making
these wallets so much that I thought I'd do 2 other things:

One, I'm offering this fourth wallet for sale, if anyone
wants it. It is 5" x 4" when closed and has loads of
compartments. In addition to the visible pockets in
this picture, it also has two sections for bills (or one
for bills and the other for receipts)

and a hidden outside pocket that's useful for an
entry key-card or bus pass - that's the vertical
black line three flower columns from the left
- can you see it?

Two, and this was the way my wallet orders went
back then, I can customize a wallet for you with
your own fabric. So you pick a wallet style you like,
and send me your fabric in the post, and I will
sew it for you. If you have special requests for
variations, we could work those in, too, My brother
always had interesting things he wanted his wallets
to have - a special hidden-velcro pocket for his guitar
picks, some curved edges here, some special shade of
denim there, for instance. So email me if you are 
interested and we can talk about details like 
cost and designs. Don't forget to comment for a 
chance to win the long wallet(s) - I'll do a random 
drawing on Saturday May 9th. Good luck!

* edited to add the last bit about the random drawing - duh. 
Sorry about that. Can you tell I haven't done enough giveaways?


  1. Oh my word - I just love your wallets!!!
    I don't think I deserve to go in your giveaway as I've been an occasional lurker and I'm not sure I've commented before.
    Have you got plans to sell patterns for your wallets? I think they'd do really well as it's so hard to find a decent wallet pattern.
    Great way to use those Orla placemats. I can't imagine how we can live without Target here in the UK!

    Congratulations on your 100th post :-)

    Lesley xxx

  2. Those are amazing! How are you so productive with three little ones? I haven't even been able to look at my sewing stuff for so long now and I only have two!

  3. congrats on the 100th post and on those wallets - very cute and well thought out.

  4. OMG! I'm in total awe! I make so many things, but I don't think I would tackle these... so many little nooks and crannies. Anyway, I'm absolutely loving these and would be thrilled to win one. I must admit this is my first visit, via sweetie Rachel at One Pretty Thing. No suggestions until I have time to rummage through your 99 previous blogs! Thanks for the chance to win!

  5. These are wonderful wallets and I love the fabrics!

  6. I just discovered your blog through a link to your play garden at One Pretty Thing. Love your stuff, and the wallets are gorgeous! You're very talented.

  7. I also just discovered your blog via oneprettything...and am adding it to my favorites! Love your wallets!

  8. Congratulations on your 100th post!

    I just discovered your blog too and am so glad I did. Such gorgeous stuff and the wallets are pretty and practical.

    I would be so honoured to win and use one of them.

  9. A friend just showed me your site... love it! You're so crafty! I can't wait to see if you open an etsy shop down the line- I'd definitely add you to my "favorites". :)

    Love the wallets. :)

  10. Congrats - the details on the wallet are AMAZING. They're beautiful

  11. hi lorraine i still have your wallet AND haversack bag from when i was 13 and you were 19!
    must take a pic of them one day and show you.
    (they are still in good condition, so your workmanship must have been v good!)


  12. Your wallets are beautiful! I was eyeing the Orla fabric at Target the other day trying to figure out what I could do with it! I didn't see the brown flowered pattern, though. Love that.

  13. I love your blog and your projects. For your next project, can you explain how you find the time, energy and creativity to do it all, while being a mom to your girls? Oh, and in your pictures, your house is always so neat!

  14. Those wallets! What a flood of memories this post brought back :) I still have that travel wallet you made me back when I was travelling a whole lot...

    But I could do with a new one :D

    And I'm thrilled that you are 'back in business' so to speak! I can certainly vouch for the quality of your work because every single bag/wallet/bucket/whatever you've ever made for me is still in use today, and none the worse for wear!

    What I'd like to see on future posts? Why, MORE of your genius, of course!

    (btw, I will be going to sg next thu for a week. Email me your shopping list if you want).

  15. keep up the amazing ideas! Beautiful work.

  16. Theses are so very lovely!! Orla stuff is just so RETRO. What a super job you've done with the whole repurposing of placemats! No Target for us in the UK!! Boo, hoo!! Will have 2 go mad and bring an extra suitcase for fabric next time I'm in the States!! Congrats on reaching 100 posts. Am about to "go live" myself!! Think I may be late to the party, but what the hay!!
    Keep up the good work!

  17. this is just gorgeous!
    i just discovered your amazing blog via ohdeedoh for your incredible handmade garden! oh how i wish i had the patience and the time to make one too! you are truly inspiring and must be one fun mum to have around! i'm sticking to pencils, pens, paint & paper at the moment with my 3 year old - he loves it and i love his artworks :)

  18. So I've now read two posts! Thanks for coming into my crafty/sewing/inspiration world.

  19. love your wallets, I have thought about making one but why when someone else does such a beautiful job. did you make one for me? hee hee, we'll see.

  20. Hi L,
    Just want to say I've enjoyed reading your blog - I'm amazed at your creativity ! I was so inspired to start sewing again that I actually finished a dress I started 4 years ago.
    How about making some tote bags ? I saw some cute ones with cupcake fabric (not available in S'pore) on Etsy - I would love to buy one.


  21. L -- so so great! You are a true whiz! And congratulations on going beyond black for yourself! : )

  22. I just found your blog and I love it! Your skills are amazing! (I'm thinking of the plantable dirt but your skill at recreating the wallets is impressive too.) Love the wallet, thanks for the chance to win it.

    mmedlyn2004 (at) yahoo (dot) come

  23. I thought I recognized that fabric when I saw the picture at the top of your post. How fun! I never thought about target as a place for fabric. :)

    I would love love love one of those wallets.

    I wish I had some suggestions for your next 100 posts, but my friend just introduced me to your site so I haven't been around very long. But you have definitely been added to my google reader subscriptions.

  24. Wow these are just incredible. I wish I had as much patients as you do to make such beautiful wallets. I found you through One Pretty Thing. Thanks for such a fun site. :)

  25. Wow! Those wallets are amazing - your attention to detail is terrific! I'm sure I can't begin to say what I'd like to see in the next 100 posts as I'm blown away by the few I've just read on my first visit!

  26. I love your blog and was especially surprised and intrigued by the foam series. Honestly, I couldn't have thought to ask for something like that, so really I'd just love for you to carry on as you have been. I do admit, however, that everything I try to sew turns out wonky. I tried the oven mitts last week and they looked deformed and I could not figure out the bias tape, so they ended up really sad looking. Is there any progression of projects from easier to harder that you could recommend to sharpen my skills? How did you learn? Any suggestions would be appreciated!

  27. Just found your blog.
    Your wallets are soooo great. My one is just falling apart, but I am not brave enough trying to make one myself.

  28. I LOVE the flower material--I need to check out Target's fabric/table linens!

  29. I also love the Orla fabric! I have made a reuseable lunch bag out of it.
    The wallets are cute!
    THis blog is so cool!

  30. Those are so great -- I can't believe you MADE those! Blown away, as usual. I'm creeping up on post 100 too...argh! Thanks for your comment; I'm so glad you enjoyed the tops! I think you could sell ANY of your amazing creations (maybe kits for making stuff out of cardboard for kids? felt?). I'm sure the wallets would be a hit as professional looking.

  31. Just found your blog and I am in love. The infatuation might wear off when the reality of my limited capabilities comes crashing down, but for now, I am loving your ideas. I want to make a foam garden! I like your wallets and will head to the Target tableware section for inspiration!

  32. I so wish I was as crafy as you!


    bevjane24 at hotmail dot com

  33. I love those. I find your blog through One Pretty Thing. I love your tutorials!!!!

  34. This is one of the coolest wallets I've ever seen. Who wouldn't want one?!
    Your blog and products are great - keep it up!
    dawnnewsome at

  35. I love the wallets! So generous. You must come and enter my coneflower giveaway too. Thanks for the opportunity to win. BTW, I found you on One Pretty Thing.

  36. This is my first visit, which probably counts me out of the giveaway, but I couldn't pass by without commenting on your wonderful wallets - truly lovely.
    I have bookmarked you now so will be popping back!
    Chris x

  37. I think you should continue your blog as it is. I love the tutorials and patterns!

  38. Wow, what a generous and historic giveaway! Those wallets are amazing and I love that you used Orla's fabric! I for one would LOVE to see more tutorials. The ones you have posted absolutely blow me away. I have a feeling we'll all be seeing more of them in the future, but more likely on Martha or in an upcoming book. Your creativity is amazing and I am totally in awe!

  39. I'm so impressed by your wallets, I love the idea of hidden pockets!!

  40. WOW! the detail that you put into these things amazes me! I too favor the simplest, albeit holds the most kind of wallet. the one I carry now I got at target, it has a hinged coin purse that pops open when dropped ( often). I've been thinking I should switch to a separate change purse but that seems like even more to carry!
    Love the cakes too!

  41. well done. it's been a great read. i love orla but could never afford one, I would feel very proud to use this wallet. i am a crafter and agree you rarely make things for yourself, i am usually making a birthday present one after the other.... but always keep a journal of special projects for "when i have spare time!". wish we had the orla stuff in target here in australia. p.s. the zip broke on my well loved (target!) wallet last week and haven't got a new one yet. fate me thinks :)

  42. I am so impressed at your level of detail with projects while parenting. Love the wallets! I just found you, so will look forward to going back to the past hundred posts.

    Thanks for the inspiration.


  43. your wallets are amazing! you are so creative. who would have ever thought to make wallet!?

  44. Your wallets are so nice! I would love to win one! I just recently found your blog and have been so impressed with all your ideas. I am mentally filing them away for when my little boy gets older (he's only 6 months old now). I hope to see more great ideas in the future!


  45. I would love one of these wallets orginal!!!

  46. oh, how gorgeous!

  47. I'm so glad you won my fatquarters you are so talented!!!

  48. Those are so lovely! I would love to win for my birthday (the 9th)!

    I found my way here from Ohdeedoh and their link to the felt food projects. The donut vendors are so cute!

    I'm just looking around and I love the projects for the kids -- I've sent more than one to Grandma. I would much rather have fun fabric toys than another plastic bit around our house.

  49. Oh, your wallets are fabulous! I just stumbled into your site via Ohdeedoh!!! LOVE it!! Love the donut shop from December, too. I am now going to subscribe to see what else you are up to! As for what to see, as a toddler mom, I'd just like to see whatever you do related to your kids!!!

  50. Thanks for the fantastic giveaway. Congratulations on your 100th post!

  51. I'm playing catch up as my computer died a couple weeks ago. So glad I didn't miss this opportunity to enter your giveaway for those fabulous wallets!

    Congrats on 100!

  52. This is brilliant, was here looking at the wonderful cake you make using felt (via one pretty thing).

  53. Michelle (Wee, I think you know me. :>)May 7, 2009 at 9:24 PM

    WOw, I didn't know you are so crafty! Otherwise, I would have asked you to teach me when I was still in MN!! I do want to enter to your give away. :)

  54. ooh - I love your wallets! I'm also a fan of repurposing the orla kiely line. :)

  55. thot i would pop by before we leave. not sure how long it would take before we get internet access.

    55 comments? how am i going to win one of these? maybe some going home luck & SG sunshine that we would be basking in soon? :)

    u must tuck in a buck in the wallet if i win ok? so my wallet will always be full.

    see u in winter!

    grins, abby

  56. I love your wallets... so much nicer than what you can buy. And I like your choice of colors, as well. You sew beautifully. My seams are not always so straight!


  57. Don't know if you still need the nylon or not but the sells coated denier nylon along with just about any other tech fabric you can think of. They are a great shop here in my hometown but they do sell online also. :) BTW i loooove the wallets.

  58. Are u selling them?? How can we buy them???

  59. Hi Anonymous (who left the most recent comment) - I just opened an etsy shop yesterday and there are two wallets in stock there.


Thank you for talking to me! If you have a question, I might reply to it here in the comments or in an email.