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A place to find hints, tips, techniques and guides on common and not-so-common sewing tasks as well as advice from my own experience selling online.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Project 1 - Wallet Repair

A friend sent me her wallet, wondering if I could repair it or do anything to save it.

It was obvious it had seen a lot of wear, and had a number of frayed spots.  The edge binding was almost entirely worn away, and it had several holes in the loosely woven fabric on the outside.

So step one was to remove all of the remaining edge binding and clean up the loose threads there.  I did this with my little snips, carefully clipping the seam that had held the binding on.

Step two was to separate the outer layer from the inside so it could be repaired.  This was also done with my little snips, carefully cutting only the threads that remained holding the two edges together.

As you can see, there was some damage at the top on both parts, this would have to be repaired as well. First, however, I went to work on the outer part. It would have been easy to slap some patches on and just said "that's all I could do", but my friend obviously liked her wallet how it was, so I wanted to preserve as much of the original appearance as I could. I used a zig zag stitch, set narrow length, to repair the worn and frayed areas.

I matched my thread colors as closely as I could to the colors in each section of the wallet.  Because this is a fairly loose weave fabric, and not stiff at all, I didn't want to reinforce the back with anything too heavy or stiff.  I used some pieces of dark teal microsuede that I had leftover as scraps from something else.  It didn't match exactly, but it was close enough if any peaked through, it wouldn't be obvious.

Next came reinforcing the top section.  My friend wanted another buttonhole in it so she could clip things to her wallet.  I wanted to make sure it was sturdy, so I used another piece of the dark teal microsuede.

I marked the center top section and stitched it there, using a zig zag stitch once more so the edges would be secure for any amount of wear and holding the weight of other things.  Next, it was on to the inside part of the wallet.

This one didn't need much work, just a patch on the top section and a repair on a little hole on the inside (no pictures of that one).  To fix the hole, I just used some black broadcloth reinforced with interfacing, then folded it in half and used the same zig zag pattern I used on the outside, then trimmed away the excess.  For the top, I used another piece of broadcloth reinforced with interfacing.  This was going to be hidden, so it didn't need to be pretty or lined up exactly.  It just needed to fill that gap and reinforce it for the new buttonhole.

Now that I had the repairs done, the next step was to put the two pieces back together, then edge stitch them to hold them in place.

Just two more steps left, put new seam binding on the outer edge and the buttonhole.  I used double fold bias tape for the binding.  Since the original had been black, that's the color I used.  The best way to put this on is to open out one edge, line it up with the edge of the fabric, then machine stitch it in the crease all the way around.  Then trim off any extra fabric from the corners and edges, fold the bias tape to the inside and hand stitch it down on that side.  That way you get a nice finished edge on the outside, without running the risk of seams wandering all over or being uneven.

Then I added the buttonhole, putting it off center like the last one was.  I put this one on the opposite side, though, because I wanted to be sure it caught some of the original fabric in it, too, to help secure it to the wallet.

So that's how I took this wallet from beginning to end.

Total time from start to end:  Approximately 4 hours.
Items used:  Fabric scraps, thread, sewing machine, bias tape, interfacing, hand sewing needle

Feel free to contact me if you have any questions.

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