Clutch Wallet

finished closed

finished open

finished back

To some extent this was my most ambitious project so far because of the potential for many mistakes, as well as the hours spent obsessing over the steps (for once I was actually spending more time on the procedural aspect of the item rather than the design!). But more significantly, I like this project because it was a way to push myself out of a malaise, and was a good way to benchmark my progress (especially regarding gussets: more on that later!)


The usual 5 aspects come to play here:

  1. Zipper pocket
  2. Cork lined
  3. Saddle stitched by hand
  4. Cardholder
  5. Expandable main pocket


1) Cutting the sheet

The roll of leather. Obligatory drum kit in the background, ba-dum-tss.
The roll of leather. Obligatory drum kit in the background, ba-dum-tss.

The leather I used for this project was a side of Italian crazy horse belly. Although its a little thinner than the leathers I usually like, it’s got a great pull up colour that resembles tortoiseshell.

tortoise cow.
tortoise cow.

If it was not already readily apparent, here it is: I love tortoiseshell. Watch the video below for an excellent application of tortoiseshell, or leave it in the background for its excellent music.

2) Components


There’s the main body, the zippered pocket and two rows of leather to hold cards in.

inside zip pouch

First comes the zip pouch. Straightforward, despite being the first time I had to use pliers on a zip as part of the process to cut it down to size.

zip pouch

Next up were the card flaps.

3) Lining


Gridded cork lines the main body.


The snaps were then hammered in, and the edges burned to get rid of stray cork or fibre strands. I like the burned edge look; it reminds me of those old treasure maps placed in wine bottles before they get tossed out to sea.

4) Gussets


The gussets are then cut out, and ready to be attached.

5) Putting everything together

This was the hardest part of the process. As the leather gets thicker, the harder it was to stitch together (bearing in mind that there was no glue involved for 99% of the leather!) and I came close to bending my needle several times. Perhaps I should invest in a curved needle…

Try penetrating a thick, solid wall of leather.
Try penetrating a thick, solid wall of leather.

I forgot to mention that I edged and burnished each of the pieces before sewing them together, and in some cases re-burnishing them after they have been stitched.

Side note: Improvements

I’m happy with how the end result turned out. The gussets in particular were a huge improvement over the last time I tried to make them, and there’s nothing quite as satisfying as tangible proof of improvement.

terribad gusset.
terribad gusset.
current wallet gusset
current wallet gusset.

Final Product

So here it is, a cork lined clutch wallet, ready for the Christmas season! All in all, I’m pleased with the project. The only thing I would have done otherwise is got rid of the extra 1cm error allowance on the left hand side, which i left in just in case something went horribly wrong during the stitching process and I had to cut off an entire side.

finished closed outer side finished back finished closed back fininshed close top finished open finished top

I think my favourite bit is how the snap button sits on the edging line.


3 thoughts on “Clutch Wallet

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