CitizenKate

Photo Demo: Making a Biker Wallet

62 posts in this topic

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.

billfold_Bikers.pdf

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.

will_wip_03.jpg

Here's a view of the cover. Note the snaps fasten to the front of the coin pouch.

will_wip_04.jpg

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

Kate

billfold_Bikers.pdf

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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.

biker-wallet-01_600.jpg

This shows the back-side of parts 3, 4, and 5, where I have marked the stitching lines.

biker-wallet-02_600.jpg

This shows the order the parts will go together, and which way they will face when assembled.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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This shows the ziper slot with stitching holes marked.

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Glue the zipper to the slot as shown here, and sew it in.

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Here's how the zipper looks after being sewn. (This doesn't sew up quite as nice as with calf skin.)

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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.

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Here's what we have so far.

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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.

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Mark stitching holes around 3 sides of the pocket, as shown here:

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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.

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Stitch it down, and this is what you should have so far.

biker-wallet-17_600.jpg

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

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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.

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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

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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.

biker-wallet-18_600.jpg

Then, turn it over and mark stitching holes around the bottom and side edges. This is for later.

biker-wallet-19_600.jpg

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:

biker-wallet-20_600.jpg

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.

biker-wallet-21_600.jpg

Now take part #4, and mark stitching holes for its card pocket on the flesh side.

biker-wallet-22_600.jpg

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.

biker-wallet-23_600.jpg

Stitch them together, and you now have two partial assemblies.

biker-wallet-24_600.jpg

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:

biker-wallet-25_600.jpg

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:

biker-wallet-26_600.jpg biker-wallet-27_600.jpg

Here's what you should have at this point. It's finally starting to take shape!

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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.

biker-wallet-30_600.jpg

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.

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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.

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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.

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

Kate

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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

MDH

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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

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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.

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thank you for doing this

helped me a lot

thanks

David

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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.)

Kate

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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.

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You Rock Kate.

Josh

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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!

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Thanks, Kate! Great tutorial. thumbsup.gif

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

Crystal

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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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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.

Hi Red, it is my preference for the insides. Anything heavier (like regular veg-tan that I've split down to 3-4oz) creates a pretty thick wallet unloaded. (I think azrider also made that observation earlier in this topic.) The calfskin is pretty strong and has held up well on all the wallets I've made so far.

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.

I do all of my stitching by hand as well. For one thing, I adjust the tension on my stitches depending on the material I'm stitching. If I'm stitching something very thick and firm, I really pull those stitches tight. But if I'm stitching something very thin or soft, I don't pull the stitches as tight. I just snug them down to the point just before they start to bunch the edges.

It also occurs to me that you might want to consider a slightly lighter thread to stitch all the inside parts.

Kate

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Got one of them "biker" wallets in my pocket.....for more then 10 years....store bought but I like the style....it is falling apart now it is time for a new one.....so I looked your pattern up which is a tad bigger, good for all my junk I carry.

Now my wallet goes together just as ur PDF pattern....exept there is a large part that I can't figger out...I dig the zipper pouch, the little pocket in front....the three pieces for the interior and the large part as cover ( has no stitching lines ) but with holes marked for snaps...now what is the second largest piece,,,almost as big as the cover but with stitching holes and snap buttons? marked....is this the liner for the cover??? I know I sound stupid, made some simular wallets befor....but that pattern dassels me...!!?? And it is not shown what it is for in your picture tutorial...

First I thought it is a additional compartment folded and then also sewn in on the outer cover....but that seems almost to much interior...

OK, I give up...can you shed some light in my brain...

Thanks for the effort to show us and tnx fer helping me out!!

Greetings

James

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Hello James,

Sorry for the slow reply - didn't see this until just now, and the lack of explanation about that. The tutorial mainly focused on making the interior of the wallet.

Yes, that is the liner for the cover. It's slightly smaller, because it is attached to the cover on the inside while it is folded. The smaller turning radius for the lining at the spine of the cover results in a smaller piece required to cover the inside. Hope this makes sense... if not, fire one back and we'll figger it out.

Kate

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Hello James,

Sorry for the slow reply - didn't see this until just now, and the lack of explanation about that. The tutorial mainly focused on making the interior of the wallet.

Yes, that is the liner for the cover. It's slightly smaller, because it is attached to the cover on the inside while it is folded. The smaller turning radius for the lining at the spine of the cover results in a smaller piece required to cover the inside. Hope this makes sense... if not, fire one back and we'll figger it out.

Kate

Ok.....thanks Kate

That makes sense now why it is smaller....matter a fact I made one wallet and put a liner in without realizing that the otber part sbowing is actually a liner....haha....must be the age....:) thanks for straitening me out....and thanks for the tutorial!!

Greetings

James

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Hello James,

Sorry for the slow reply - didn't see this until just now, and the lack of explanation about that. The tutorial mainly focused on making the interior of the wallet.

Yes, that is the liner for the cover. It's slightly smaller, because it is attached to the cover on the inside while it is folded. The smaller turning radius for the lining at the spine of the cover results in a smaller piece required to cover the inside. Hope this makes sense... if not, fire one back and we'll figger it out.

Kate

Here is a second wallet I made with your PDF/tutorial....it is for a friend in Germany, he is a pro airbrusher and will put all his money he makes with his great art work.

Hope you like it!

If you ever need anything, let me know....I have some "connections" to Germany, haha....

Greetings

James

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Looks like that came together pretty well, James. That is a heckuva zipper! Thanks for posting it.

Kate

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Hi Kate-- Question: Whay type of adhesive/glue do you use on these?

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Hi Kate-- Question: Whay type of adhesive/glue do you use on these?

Flyscot...

Since Kate must be busy I let you know what I did use...as a adhesive/glue....

Barge leather cement works best, it will be still flexible but also lets you attach the liner to the outside part permanently!!

There are people using the almighty 3M spray glue out of the can....there are different numbers, I think what you need is 44, 74 or 77 is for foam....this stuff is expensive too.

If you order from STleather, you get the Barger fairly cheap!!

Good to know that there are people out there liking Italien bikes....me tooo!!!! Bella Italia!! I can just picture these Laverda's, Ducati's, Moto Guzzi's and all the MV Augustas...ohhhhh these Italiens....!!! haha....had some of them and still dream of most of them.....!! And of course an old Beemer been in my garage several times too....I guess I like em all!! I'll drink a dark beer to you....a Bavarian dark beer!!!

Ok, back to the leather work.....if you need any help, info or just plain BS....shoot me a mail!

James

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Heheh! Sorry, I was on the site yesterday doing admin stuff but didn't see your question until just now...

I use either rubber cement or contact cement (which is what Barge's is).

Kate

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