the wallet saga
so I had this wallet that I loved. I bought it in the sales for a tenner.
I think most people are kind of particular about how they like to carry thier money around, we all know what works for us. And this wallet was just right for me – the right number of compartments without anything superflous, not so small it got lost in my complete midden of a handbag, and large enough that I could shove my mobile phone inside and dispense with the handbag entirely in security concious museums and galleries.
I even liked the plasticyness. I know I love natural fibres and handmade things, but sometimes there is also a childsih joy to be found in the kitsch and tacky (and also, kitties!!!). But then the plastic has it flaws, and as you can see it started to split.
I saw a wallet I really liked two years ago but couldn’t afford it because it was £90, it had cut out panels of gilded leather. I almost stretched to it, but then didn’t because although I liked the idea, I didn’t love the actual designs that were cut out.
I’ve been meaning to have a go at my own version for months now, and that crack was getting really bad, so I allowed myself one day to do something that was actaully for me.
However, this meant sacrificing my old wallet and dismembering it so I had a template. That proved to be quite tough and difficult to neatly dissect – especially for something that appeared to be falling apart!
I was looking for a new supplier of gilded leather, so I ordered a scrap packet. They had red metallic leather and I have a complete perve for all sorts of red leather (seriously, my ex once almost lifted me up and dragged me out of fenwick in newcastle cos I was getting a bit too excited on a big red leather sofa) I didn’t use the red yet, but I decided it would be fun to use all the different colours and textures for the inside of the wallet. Gareth rolled his eyes and said it was very me in that disparagng way he has that implies he thinks I have the taste of a toddler (I may have blown a big raspberry in his general direction).
I did all the stitching in red because nothing was going to match everything. This may have been a mistake because my stitching wasn’t that neat. The reallly big mistake was buying topstitching thread adn not realising that it was polyester. All polyester thread is the work of beelzebub.
however I got both sides done and they didn’t look too bad
Then I glued the cardboard onto the interior. I recently discovered gluedots and I’m converted. I used them a lot on this in place of pins – you can’t really pin leather because it scars, but with this needing a fair amount of precision I needed to hold things still.
Next came the central change pocket – it was at this point I was really glad for the ritual sacrifice of the old wallet, otherwise I would never have realised the flappy bits are actaully asymetrical in order to make the pocket sit neatly inside the zip
The outer too a lot of thought. I considered dragons, but in the end decided to stick with tradition and go for kitties. Then is took me all afternoon to draw kitty silhouettes – an operation complicated because opbviously they had to be recogniseably maine coon kitty otherwise branny would be deeply hurt.
So I eventually cut them out and sewed the gold leather underneath – again using gluedots to hold the leather together whilst sewing
Then I spent what felt like forever carefully glueing the zip around the edge, making sure it worked ok, and glueing the outer over the zip.
Then I machine sewed the whole thing together.
It was a total mess, the stitching was all over the place and had scarred the leather horribly. I had to discard the whole outer layer with it’s carefully cut and sewn kitties and start all over again.
I was pretty pissed off.
Also I didn’t have time to do it all again right there and then, so I carried everything around in a pencil case for a week.
Last night O got back to it, and this time I handsewed the last stage
Ok, so it’s a long way from perfect- the stitching is all over the place (leather is hard, even soft leather), and I wouldn’t be happy to give this one as a gift, but I finally have a functional wallet again.
I want to have another go, but I think I’ll be asking santa for a better machine for Christmas (am using an ikea one at the moment due to long indecision over what I want to replace the big machine with. poor little thing is a tropper but I dont think it was quite up to this). I also really want to have a go at a metallic leather/tweed version.