Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Back to Bags: The Necessary Clutch

 I have pretty specific needs needs when it comes to a wallet. I need it to be small enough to fit in a diaper bag, but large enough to carry on it's own when I'm out without the kiddos. So, it needs to fit my cards (only 3 are money related, but insurance cards for 5 people adds up fast), my iPhone (decked out with an Otterbox), and my car keys. I've searched. For months I've searched to no avail. Then I started poking around for wallet patterns. I started considering designing my own. Thank goodness I found The Necessary Wallet Pattern; it's much better than anything I could have come up with on my own.
Image courtesy of Emmalinebags
I bought the pattern right away (how great are instant downloads?!) and set about fabric shopping. I wanted something floral & summery, but decided on this fabric since the black background meant it would transition easily into the cooler months.

This pattern is nothing short of brilliant. It had everything I wanted: removable straps, credit card slots, zipper pockets (I added the one on the outside). And the twist lock hardware really pulls it all together (aesthetically & literally, I suppose)  I'm still in awe of how well this came together. It really is one of the best thought out designs that I've used. The instructions were crystal clear. Not once did I find myself confused or bewildered (which really is saying something!) The tone of the tutorial was very conversational, pointing out helpful tips & hints making it easy to see potential roadblocks.  I almost feel as though Janelle (the talent behind Emmaline Bags) and I are sewing BFFs now.

 Credit card slots at both the front & back of the wallet, with slip pocket behind them.
 Between the zippered pocket & the divider is about a 1" space, perfect for holding my iPhone & my car keys, and the sides gusseted sides of the wallet keep everything safe from falling out.

Adding the twist lock on the front was nerve-wracking just because of the fact that you're cutting a HOLE in your beautiful wallet (that you tried uber hard to match the print on). Speaking of print matching, here's how I did it:

I traced the print of my flap onto tissue paper and then matched it up against fabric for the flap border. This fabric (Hello Gorgeous Tossed Flowers on Black) had very little repeats. I had 1/2 yard and struggled to find 2 sets of identical flower clusters.
One other tip I have for sewing thick fabrics (this wallet is well interfaced, which is key to a professional end product) is to use paper clips or bobby pins to hold your fabric together. I've seen
seamstresses use handy looking clips, but I've been unable to find any locally, so my in progress projects often look like this:

Next I'm looking forward to stitching up The Emmaline Bag (as soon as I decide on what fabrics to use).  Just one more picture for the road....


  1. Thank you so much for the very generous review, Jenna! I clicked over from your stunning wallet on the flickr group and you have made my day. Great work! Looking forward to seeing more on your blog.... Janelle

  2. It looks amazing and a great pattern to try out myself - I can get into a real pickle sometimes reading and re-reading and deciphering pattern lingo but this sounds perfect and you've done a beautiful job!

  3. Your wallet looks amazing! I've got this on my to do list. I made myself an Emmaline bag and I love it! When it eventually dies, I'll just make another one.

  4. You've done a GREAT job Jenna! It's a great wallet design for sure....I have made one too! :) I hope you will share it on my new Bag Brag Tuesday linking party on my blog? It runs all week so you still have time to add it there! :)
    ChrisW Designs

  5. Wow! This is GORGEOUS! I've seen this pattern before, but after buying a different one that I instantly knew was wrong, this one keeps popping up. I love your fabric choices! I, too, being a Mom, look for things that will fit in the ol' bag, but not look like mommy fabric when baby's not along.

    Keep up the great blog!

  6. I would like to follow your blog but I do not know how to use the feed-app. Why don't you put a subscribe bu email gagdet on your blog? If you set it to send only the title and a few lines of the posting we will cometo your site. Thank you, Carmen

  7. Please explain how to do the outside zipper as the original pattern doesn't show this.
    I'm kinda a new sewer.


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