27 September, 2016

Sewing Ideas On The Passport Wallet - Final Post

Travel Set of Purses

If you are one of my regular readers, this post is super heavy on sewing stuff. I wanted a place to put all my hacks so I can remember how to do them again.

My dd is traveling to Sweden and Finland and I decided I would sew her this set of travel purses so I could avoid looking at photos. She needs the photos because she is visiting some of the relatives from there and it's helpful to carry photos.

Photo avoidance is my middle name. Even though I take a million photos a year, I hide from them. The ones that get into the blog are the lucky ones, the others go onto obscurity and forgotten place names. It's embarrassing - but I will say, when I procrastinate, it might be my super power - look what I made!

First make was a Two Zip Hipster, a pattern by Dog Under My Desk (Dumd). I love this pattern. It's so easy to switch it up. I made a Pendleton one for my Japan trip and widened it out a wee bit. Just over an inch.
The Pendleton Wool was thick and adding a little over an inch to the sides gave me the extra room I wanted. I felt the depth was perfect.

For this version in Cork, which isn't as thick as wool, I think I could have gone back to the original size. And I get a chance to do so. I have an order to make another - woot!

For the strap, I used one from a garage sale purse. Well - I used it first on my pendleton. It's beefy webbed strap that perfectly offsets the pendleton and the cork. Not sure what I'll do for the next one.

For all my two zip hipsters, I add a zippered pocket to the inside making this a very secure traveling bag with the cross-body strap. I don't put the slip pocket inside anymore.

Otherwise, I make as directed with Erin's excellent directions.

 2nd; The Coin Purse.
This came in handy in Japan. I didn't have one with vinyl though. In Japan, you see a lot of coinage. You want to move the lower denominations on as quick as you can or you can easily weigh five pounds more.

I started with some rough cut 5 x 6 inch pieces for the back and quilted them. This gives the coin bag some substance if it does get full of coins. Alternatively - you could interface but I like the diagonal quilting lines. I've done this little bag a couple of ways and totally forget each time how to hide the seam.

This is what I did this time with an exposed seam.  Make the quilt backing. Cut vinyl roughly to 4 x 6 inches.   I butted the vinyl up to the lower teeth of the lace zipper and top-stitched the zip in place. On the top side, I used an inch wide scrap of cork and top-stitched the zip in place.

I trimmed everything down to 4 1/2 x 5 1/2- or so. Then I sewed around the entire outer edge. Then I zipzagged to finish that seam. Turn and top-stitch. Whenever I was sewing on vinyl, I just laid the thin paper that comes with (or tissue paper) and then ripped it off once seam was finished.

Neither my daughter nor I are super frilly girls. I think this lace zip gives this small bag a feminine vibe without going over the top.

Oh - and I forgot to add a d-ring. I took another scrap of cork and just sewed it on top of everything and I love it.  I'm in love with cork now - almost obsessed. It doesn't fray, it's strong but lightweight. The texture is amazing. And you can add a strap attachment on afterwards.

And Finally - The Passport Wallet.
Up, Up & Away
This is a pattern by Liz of Moments blog and this is her pattern design name. She's tested a lot of bags and learned a bunch of tricks.
You can find her pattern on Craftsy.

This is a big Family passport wallet holding 4 -6 passports.
I just wanted one for my single daughter.

I've made a passport wallet for me. This one went to Sweden, Aland Islands, Finland, Estonia, & Japan.
This one went to Ireland and
Schiphol Airport.

When I designed mine, I wanted something small for airport screening. It would hold my passport, 2 -3 credit cards/drivers license and some EURO cash. And this worked out very well for my needs. But it doesn't hold Japanese Yen flat nor American dollars flat.

Fast forward 4 years; I would have to find my notes on my passport from then or open the PDF file on my computer with Liz's Passport Wallet as a starting point.

I thought about this new pattern for a good three weeks before I started cutting. First of all at 9 inches tall, it's big. I wanted it a tad shorter. Liz offers a zippered pocket alternative for the right hand side - this was all good, but I had to size down on every little pattern piece.

80% solution: I printed my pdf out at 80%. 

I wish I had known this before I started but I'll say it here. This design has you make the pocket pieces, then have you sew them to the lining, then you sew right sides together and turn.
Make your pockets but don't cut the lining and main fabric yet. More on this later.

For my zippered pocket, I wanted to be able to put my iphone inside the back slip pocket so the pocket needed to extend to the edges to accommodate my phone. More calculations. Did you know there are websites that will figure out what is 80% of 7.2"?

The left hand pocket will hold three passports plus one business card slot. In the pattern this is repeated onto the right hand side. For a total of six passport sized slots and two business card slots (driver's license).
Right now is good time to go into the problems in this pattern.  If you have aspirations of becoming a pattern designer; things to reflect upon.

#1. Take good photographs with high contrast fabrics and contrast top-stitching. The left hand pocket is made from five pattern pieces that look identical with similar sounding names and all in blue on the pattern. Was I confused?
#2. Use photoshop or something to name things in your photo.
#3. For similar sized pattern pieces, using the alphabet might have  saved me some time.

 Liz's written directions are excellent. Just her photos need some work. If you cannot figure out how to place each of the five similar sized pieces then just trust the directions. Erin from Dumb patterns labels each photo with step # so you know where you are. (#4. Link steps to photos)

After figuring out the left side pocket 'bag', I tackled the zipper compartment. This is constructed to enfold the raw edges so this seam allowance isn't cluttering up your outer seams. I thought it was genius on how to attach the slip pocket behind the zip pocket. And there's two behind the zip - one for your phone, one for bills.

My iphone measures 7" high so I needed that slip pocket to be 7 1/2" or so. It's all on me making this way more difficult but I wanted the option.
I also wanted some credit card slots on the front of the zipper bag. This was easy to do when installing the zipper -- when it's still all flat.

Before you cut your main and your lining, lay your pocket "bags' in place.
I found I needed to add 3/8" in height to accommodate the "bags".
Your goal is to be able to sew  RST together without hitting the "Bags". With the exception of the left hand side of the the passport pocket which is sewn into the seam.  You also need some room to top-stitch. Using your needle in the far left position will help keep the top-stitching even - the pocket "bags" are vying for room and they push back.

I like her hint of trimming 1/4" off the lining and easing it in when sewing RST. It helped keep the lining from getting baggy.

This is the time to put in your magnetic snap on the outer piece and also on the inner lining.
Do you need to embellish the outside? This wasn't covered in depth as the original pattern uses velcro. She has you go elsewhere to get directions for magnetic snaps. No problem for me.

This wallet finished up about 8 inches high. Enough to easily hold my iphone. It's more typical wallet size than the original patterned one at 9 inches.

Overall, I liked the pattern. It had some genius tips and if you're keen on reading directions, this pattern is an A+. The photos don't give you visual clues on the multi-layers parts and make this pattern an Intermediate sewing pattern.

I had this discussion with one of my FB sewing groups about where to put alternative construction ideas. Place them with the pattern. For the zippered bag on the right, I had to go somewhere else and print them and try to segue them into the general directions. None of her pages had numbers making this a fun project if the wind got to them. It's not like it's a paper pattern. Its a PDF file which can be updated. There could have been page numbers on the directions but my computer did not print them. #5 Number your pages prominently.

I nearly went crazy with trying to figure out where I was in the pattern because I was doing some sewing hacks. Part of this is my fault (for not sewing things as written. )

"...If you have chosen the zipper pocket version.. attach your zipper pocket to the right side now as described in the Double Up Passport (page 9)...."
Gah - where's page 9?

If you only want one side for the passports, you go to her Upgrade pattern, but you don't cut out all the pieces and since they all look alike, I would add
#6 add cutting diagrams like on old commercial patterns. A pen and ink drawing.
Cross-hatching to indicate the main, the lining, the coordinating fabrics. Cutting diagrams for each variation of the wallet would have been fab.

 I wanted my pocket on the left (passports) to have an second fabric in the middle but I was unable to replicate. I tried. She gives written directions on how to do it. But the photos were no help. I did manage to get my third fabric (coordinating lining - running short of my two main fabrics) in the correct no-show place though.

This hacked wallet will hold three passports, one piece of ID, two credit cards, Coins in zippered compartment, paper bills and smart phone. It's gorgeous in cork.

I just noticed in researching info for this post that Liz has another Big Pocket version here. This version is more like mine to accommodate the big phone and extends the entire height of the wallet.

This would put those seams into the sides seams of the finished wallet, adding  some bulk. It would have been easier...
Some of these notes are here just to make my life easier if I make this again.

****update -- Dear Daughter just received them up in Alaska and loves them. Be still my heart.
This is the last post on these travel purses. Thank you for bearing with me and reading so far.

I've had guests all week from Finland with no time to blog but I did take another million photos so I will try to share some soon.

All photos for dd have been put in the Shutterfly queue. Sigh of relief.


  1. Your travelling purses are just beautiful - you do such lovely work, and you have a real eye for fabrics and embellishments! I love looking at your pictures, and I'm glad your daughter was so pleased with them!

    It's always a good idea to keep track of our results/changes/hacks etc. when we work from patterns or tutorials - especially ones we may do again. Letting the pattern designer know about problems or good spots, is a very good idea as well ... as is using a label in the post (sewing notes, in your case) to make it easier to revisit the information at a later date :)

    I hope you've been having fun with your guests from Finland!

    1. Busy. Awesome trip on instagram. Will try to fo a couple of blog posts soon.

  2. I knew DD would love the bag set! But it is so nice that you posted that she did!
    Congratulations on tackling your photos!


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