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Photo Demo: Making a Biker Wallet


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#1 CitizenKate

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Posted 21 November 2009 - 09:06 PM

A while back I had posted my biker wallet pattern, and a few people have asked me for more detailed information on how these wallets are put together, as it is not intuitively obvious from just looking at the pattern pieces. It took me a few tries to figure out the construction sequence; the pieces have to go together just right, or you paint yourself into a proverbial corner!

I usually cut the interior pieces from some very light calf skin. But I'm out of that, and I really wanted to do this demo this weekend, so instead I used some light-weight chap/upholstery leather I had laying around. It does not sew up as nicely, and it's a little heavier than I normally like to use for this, but it's good enough for demonstration purposes. I'll probably update this later, when I've got more calf skin to work with.

To start off, here is the pattern, and a couple of photos to give you an idea of what the wallet looks like when completed. If you print out the attached PDF file with no scaling, this will give you all your pattern parts in actual size.

Attached File  billfold_Bikers.pdf   10.2KB   3932 downloads

Here's a view of just a fully-assembled interior, with the cover not yet attached. It's got a zippered coin/key pouch, two bill/receipt pockets, and 3 id/cc pockets. It's a little hard to see here, but there is an eyelet through one corner of the first bill pocket that you can attach a chain to.
Attached File  will_wip_03.jpg   18.88KB   4729 downloads

Here's a view of the cover. Note the snaps fasten to the front of the coin pouch.
Attached File  will_wip_04.jpg   26.56KB   4160 downloads

On my next post, we'll get started making one of these.


Kate

#2 CitizenKate

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Posted 21 November 2009 - 09:40 PM

I'm going to start with the interior. Here is pictured all the parts for the interior, all cut out. If you use any veg-tan leather to make these (which I normally do), you will want to apply any color and sealer to all the parts before starting. I numbered the parts for easy referral throughout the procedure.
Attached File  biker-wallet-01_600.jpg   92.57KB   3705 downloads

This shows the back-side of parts 3, 4, and 5, where I have marked the stitching lines.
Attached File  biker-wallet-02_600.jpg   106.98KB   4102 downloads

This shows the order the parts will go together, and which way they will face when assembled.
Attached File  biker-wallet-03_600.jpg   87.65KB   3767 downloads

First, we're going to work on the zipper pouch, part #2. Start by dying and slicking the edge of the slot in the middle, where the zipper will go.
Attached File  biker-wallet-04_600.jpg   104.97KB   3620 downloads

I usually install the zipper using a hand-sewn saddle stitch, but it's perfectly okay to use a machine if you've got one to do this part. Using a pair of dividers, scratch a 1/8" stitching line around the zipper slot.
Attached File  biker-wallet-05_600.jpg   106.98KB   3345 downloads

Mark the stitching holes along the line, going all the way around the entire slot. My own preference is to use the punch only to mark the hole, not to punch it. Then I use a very sharp awl to slice the holes into the leather.
Attached File  biker-wallet-06_600.jpg   108.02KB   3185 downloads

This shows the ziper slot with stitching holes marked.
Attached File  biker-wallet-07_600.jpg   47.87KB   3182 downloads

Glue the zipper to the slot as shown here, and sew it in.
Attached File  biker-wallet-08_600.jpg   56KB   3289 downloads Attached File  biker-wallet-09_600.jpg   63.74KB   3395 downloads

Here's how the zipper looks after being sewn. (This doesn't sew up quite as nice as with calf skin.)
Attached File  biker-wallet-10_600.jpg   58.93KB   3419 downloads

The snaps need to be installed on the zipper pouch before you sew the two halves together, as it is nearly impossible to do so afterward. So we might as well do that now.
Attached File  biker-wallet-11_600.jpg   93.58KB   3298 downloads

Here's what we have so far.
Attached File  biker-wallet-12_600.jpg   80.88KB   3230 downloads

The front pocket also needs to be sewn on before the zipper pouch is sewn together. That's part #1, so take it, and dye and slick its edges all the way around.
Attached File  biker-wallet-13_600.jpg   70.36KB   3106 downloads

Mark stitching holes around 3 sides of the pocket, as shown here:
Attached File  biker-wallet-14_600.jpg   102.07KB   3167 downloads

Glue the pocket onto the front of the zipper pouch as shown. Remember that there will be stitching 1/8" along the bottom edge, so make sure the pocket clears that.
Attached File  biker-wallet-16_600.jpg   61.73KB   3398 downloads

Stitch it down, and this is what you should have so far.
Attached File  biker-wallet-17_600.jpg   95.77KB   2991 downloads


In my next post, we'll add part #3 to the zipper pouch to make the second card pocket and half of the first bill pocket. I hope to finish posting this tomorrow.


Kate

#3 Timd

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Posted 22 November 2009 - 12:46 PM

Dang, Kate, you rock! I just printed your pattern last night, and was scratchin' my head on some of it. I sign on today and there's the tutorial!!! Looks like it's going to be a good day, lol.

#4 McJeep

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Posted 22 November 2009 - 02:29 PM

You rock! I've got a few buddies bugging me to start making these - guess I caint plead ig'nant no mo ;0) Looking forward to the rest of the thread
"I gotta have more cowbell!" Cristopher Walken - SNL

#5 CitizenKate

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Posted 22 November 2009 - 09:01 PM

Thanks for the comments, guys. Glad to know you're finding this useful!

Okay, next thing we're going to do is take part #3 and mark stitching holes where the lines are for the small pocket on the flesh side.
Attached File  biker-wallet-18_600.jpg   89.09KB   1987 downloads

Then, turn it over and mark stitching holes around the bottom and side edges. This is for later.
Attached File  biker-wallet-19_600.jpg   73.5KB   2646 downloads

Stain and slick the top edge. Apply adhesive along the smaller pocket lines (NOT around the edges), on the grain side. Then lay it grain side down on top of the zipper pocket so that all the edges line up as shown here:
Attached File  biker-wallet-20_600.jpg   78.78KB   2967 downloads

Stitch along the smaller pocket line, and this is what you end up with. Be careful not to cut through the thread in the zipper's seam when you punch holes for the pocket seam. Also, note in the photo that the stitching holes have also been marked on the zipper pouch. You can do that at just about any point in the process.
Attached File  biker-wallet-21_600.jpg   80.11KB   2836 downloads

Now take part #4, and mark stitching holes for its card pocket on the flesh side.
Attached File  biker-wallet-22_600.jpg   80.44KB   2497 downloads

Dye and slick the top edges of parts 4 and 5.

Apply adhesive along the stitch line, on the grain side of part 4, and glue parts 4 and 5 together, with their grain sides facing each other, with all the edges lining up.
Attached File  biker-wallet-23_600.jpg   102.72KB   2519 downloads

Stitch them together, and you now have two partial assemblies.
Attached File  biker-wallet-24_600.jpg   97.47KB   2754 downloads

Now we're going to put the two partial assemblies together to form a bill pocket. Apply adhesive around the bottom and side edges on the flesh side of either part 3 or 4. Then lay 4 on top of 3 with their flesh sides facing each other, like this:
Attached File  biker-wallet-25_600.jpg   81.39KB   2837 downloads

You already have stitching holes marked for this seam on part 3, around the bottom and side edges. Stitch parts 3 and 4 together along that line. This shows which two parts are getting stitched in this step:
Attached File  biker-wallet-26_600.jpg   76.33KB   2713 downloads Attached File  biker-wallet-27_600.jpg   78.44KB   2657 downloads

Here's what you should have at this point. It's finally starting to take shape!
Attached File  biker-wallet-28_600.jpg   87.54KB   2935 downloads Attached File  biker-wallet-29_600.jpg   85.91KB   3076 downloads

The last major step is to sew together the two halves of the zipper pouch. Just apply your adhesive to either half (or both, I guess, if you're using rubber cement), press them together with the edges lined up as best as possible, and stitch them together.
Attached File  biker-wallet-30_600.jpg   76.25KB   2913 downloads

Now all the parts are attached, and all the pockets are "functional", except for the second bill pocket, whose other half is the wallet cover.
Attached File  biker-wallet-31_600.jpg   94.5KB   2749 downloads Attached File  biker-wallet-32_600.jpg   107.5KB   2653 downloads

Finally, spiff up your edges by sanding them to get them evened up, dye, and slick them. No need to finish the edges on part 5 until you attach it to the cover. It probably goes without saying that the better job you do of cutting them out and lining them up, the less work you'll have to do at this point.
Attached File  biker-wallet-33_600.jpg   90.76KB   2644 downloads Attached File  biker-wallet-34_600.jpg   105.39KB   2775 downloads

And here's the completed interior of your biker wallet! I pointed out a couple of minor boo-boo's I made, so you might possibly avoid them.
Attached File  biker-wallet-35_600.jpg   91.53KB   3178 downloads Attached File  biker-wallet-36_600.jpg   127.6KB   3547 downloads Attached File  biker-wallet-37_600.jpg   85.91KB   3583 downloads Attached File  biker-wallet-38_600.jpg   104.15KB   2836 downloads

In my next post, I gotta figure out something interesting to do for the cover... hmmm....



Kate

#6 roadking07

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Posted 22 November 2009 - 09:28 PM

Great pics and tutorial Kate! I can't wait to see how you finish the wallet up.

What type of pen are you using on the edges?

Thanks

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#7 CitizenKate

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Posted 22 November 2009 - 10:51 PM

What type of pen are you using on the edges?

It's a new product from MinWax. It contains a spirit-based wood stain, and is designed for touch-ups in wood work, but as you can see, it also makes a great edge dye! You can buy it anywhere you find wood stain products.

Click here to see product info.


Kate

#8 ClayB

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Posted 23 November 2009 - 01:07 AM

Very nicely done Kate. Thanks for taking the time to write that up and take all the pictures. When you said you were going to use some upholstery leather you had laying around, I was looking forward to seeing something in an awful shade of pink ;) but this probably was a better choice.

#9 dscott

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Posted 23 November 2009 - 07:07 AM

thank you for doing this
helped me a lot
thanks
David
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#10 CitizenKate

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Posted 23 November 2009 - 10:05 AM

When you said you were going to use some upholstery leather you had laying around, I was looking forward to seeing something in an awful shade of pink ;) but this probably was a better choice.

Heheh! I almost used the pink stuff, just as an inside joke. I don't know if you recognize the stuff I did use, but that is also some of the leather you shipped to me along with the pink stuff. (I like to think of it as more of a "mauve". I'm saving it for something special.)


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#11 ClayB

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Posted 23 November 2009 - 08:14 PM

I didn't recognize it. The reason I sent it all to you was in hopes I'd forget leather in some of those colors ever existed! I'm glad you found a use for it that actually makes it look pretty good.

#12 jbird

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Posted 23 November 2009 - 08:43 PM

You Rock Kate.
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#13 bigorange

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Posted 27 November 2009 - 07:06 PM

Kate that a bunch! I hope you all can find the humor in what I am about to tell ya'll,, I make what some call pretty nice stuff I am proud of what I have been able to produce!, THanks to everyone here on this forum who offers great advice and help!now for the funny,, the wallet in my hip pocket is one I bought along time ago for about $7.00 at a swap meet!and now I think ist time for a one of my own!

#14 Crystal

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Posted 27 November 2009 - 08:18 PM

Thanks, Kate! Great tutorial. Posted Image

Only complaint is that now there is ANOTHER thing on my "need to make" list ...Posted Image


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#15 reddevil76

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Posted 21 December 2010 - 12:52 PM

Hi Kate, I just bought some 2.5 oz calf skin off Tandy. This is my first time looking at calf skin, and it seems pretty thin to use on a biker wallet. You mention it's your preference.

I saddled stitch almost everything, as I do not have a sewing machine. Previously, I used 4-5oz veg tan for my biker wallets, and even then, the tension of the saddle stitch "crumples" the edges a bit.

How is this thin calf skin going to take the saddle stitch? Hope you can share some experience.





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