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Tutorial: Travel Wallet

Version 1

In preparation and anticipation for an upcoming trip, I decided to make a travel wallet to hold my boarding pass, hotel reservation confirmation, and other miscellaneous papers (letter size and A4); a moleskine notebook; pen; passport; and frequent flier card so that everything is in one place and I don't have to fumble around in my purse or backpack.

Version 1 of the travel wallet ended up being too wide for my tastes, so I altered it. What follows below is the tutorial for the original version (Version 1) and the edited version (Version 2).

Feel free to email me at serendipitijoy at gmail dot com if you have any questions or if some of the directions are unclear.

The travel wallet is not limited for just travel, but can be made for every day use as well.

Tutorial: Travel Wallet
Version 1 Finished Size: 10" x 10" (when closed)
Version 2 Finished Size: 7" x 10" (when closed)
Version 2

To start:
Cut out all your pieces. To provide some additional stability, I fused Pellon Shir Tailor interfacing to each cut fabric piece. You will also need a small piece of elastic (I used a hair tie) and a decorative button.

Left Side of the Travel Wallet: Moleskine Pocket and Passport Pocket

Passport Pocket:
Take your piece and fold it in half right sides together on the long side so that you end up with a square.  Starting on one side perependicular to the folded edge, stitch a 1/4" along three sides of the pocket, but be sure to leave an opening wide enough to allow you to turn your square inside out. Clip the corners for clean, crisp corners.

Turn your square inside out. Press. Topstich 1/4" from the top of the square. Set aside and make your moleskine pocket.

Moleskine Pocket:

Take your piece that is 13" x 14" and fold it wrong sides together so that you end up with a piece that is 13" x 7". Topstitch 1/4" from the folded edge.

Take your passport pocket and place it .75" from the topstitched edge and 3" from the bottom. In the picture above, the topstitched edge of the moleskine pocket is facing downward.

Edgestitch as close as you can to the edge of the passport pocket's sides and bottom and sew the pocket into place on top of the moleskine pocket.

Line up the short edges of the moleskine lining to the interior lining and baste in place.  The finished edge of the moleskine pocket should face inward to the lining.

The width of the moleskine pocket is longer than the width of the lining piece so that there is an allowance to create a pocket large enough to handle the extra width of the moleskine notebook.

What your moleskine pocket should like once basted into place.
Note that the pleats face away from the short edges of the pocket.
When you have basted the short edges, you will have a large bubble.

Manipulate the pocket to create a pleat on each of the short end.

Baste the bottom edge into place, but be sure that the pleats will not get caught in the 1/2" seam allowance when you sew the lining with the exterior cover.

Right Side of the Travel Wallet: Pockets for Papers

Frequent Flier Card Pocket:

Following the same steps as for the passport pocket, make the pocket for the frequent flier card. Leave an opening on the long side of the piece to give you enough room to turn the pocket inside out. Press flat. Topstitch 1/4" from the top edge. Set aside.

Paper Pockets:

Following the same steps as for the moleskine pocket, fold each piece wrong sides together and topstitch 1/4" from the folded edge. For fun, I used twill tape to label each pocket: flight, transport and lodging.
Take your frequent flier card pocket and position it on top of the bottom pocket. I placed mine .75" from the folded edge and 2" from the left side of the pocket. Edgestitch the frequent flier card pocket into place on top of just the bottom pocket.

Baste the three pockets together on their short sides to create a single unit. The paper pockets are slightly longer than the width of the interior lining to create some give to accommodate multiple sheets of paper.

Just as you did with the moleskine pocket, baste the pockets onto the interior lining.
Close up of one of the short sides.
Note the slight bubble created after basting the sides and bottom into place.

Pen Pocket:

Get your fabric and fold it in half to create a middle crease. Fold each side of the fabric to meet at the middle crease. You should have a piece that is now 1.75" x 5". Fold it in half the long way so that you end up with a piece that is 1.75" x 2.5". Topstitch 1/4" from the folded top edge.

Fold your interior lining in half to create a middle crease. With the moleskine pocket to the left and the paper pockets to the right, place your pen pocket directly in the middle. Be sure that the unfinished edge of the pen pocket is aligned with the bottom of your lining.
Edgestitch your pen pocket into place along the sides and bottom.

Exterior Cover: Button and Elastic
On the left side of the cover, baste your elastic into place.

On the right side of the cover, sew your button into place. I sewed mine approximately 3" from the edge.
In hindsight, I wouldn't choose such a pointy button. Ouch.

Place your cover onto the lining, right sides together. Stitch a 1/2" seam allowance all the way around your fabric sandwich, but leave an opening large enough to allow you to turn your travel wallet inside out.

After you've sewn your seam allowance and before you turn the wallet inside out, if you can, use pinking shears to reduce some of the bulk and cut the corners on the diagonals to create crisper corners.

Note that the pockets add significant bulk.

Turn your wallet inside out and press the edges as flat as you can.

Measure the dimensions of your wallet and cut out a piece of heavyweight interfacing to lend some heft to the wallet. If you don't have Peltex or something similar, you can also cut out a piece of cardboard. For example, my finished wallet dimensions were 22" x 10" so I cut out a piece of interfacing 21.5" x 9.5". Through the opening in the wallet, stuff and smooth out the interfacing as best you can. Press the wallet again.

Slipstitch the opening closed. Your wallet is now ready to use.
Bon voyage!

Version 2
The problem with Version 1 was that the finished wallet was significantly larger than I wanted.

Rather than make a new one, I simply cut out the middle of the wallet and restitched the now narrower pieces together using a zig zag stitch.

To cover up the unsightly seam, I stitched 1" webbing in place onto the cover and the interior.
The cover
And then I sewed the pen pocket on top of the webbing.
The interior
An unintended benefit is that the webbing creates a natural spine for the wallet.

An additional alteration: The moleskine pocket was also much floppier than I liked, so I tacked the edges of the pocket opening create a smaller pocket mouth and also stitched some velcro to prevent the notebook from accidentally falling out when I open up the wallet.

I can't wait to put my travel wallet into action.


  1. that's pretty darn cool that you can just make something like that.


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