Make it Yourself - Travel Wallet

This is an oldie but still a good little DIY Project. I made this before we set off to Canada as I needed somewhere to stow all our tickets and other assorted travel paperwork as we traveled around. Given that I'm unprepared for today as we have relatives from the Great White North staying, it seemed the time to refresh this old post and give it some fresh love. It really is still useful and I still dig it out when we fly, as it keeps my stuff together when I pop it all in my tote bag for flying.

A travel wallet is a useful little thing, and I sewed this up originally as I wanted something that could carry everything that isn't a big enough to be noticed if it falls out of my bag onto the floor, or in my clear plastic liquids bag. Having a bulky bag at my feet all flight isn't great, and you don't want to put all your papers in the overhead. Like I said, great to just be able to pop in a bag and keep it all together. It's also, not being stiffened too much, really easy to squish into any space you do have in your suitcase when you don't need it during the trip itself. Some of those big ones you can buy are great, but honestly for me they take up too much room once you have no need for all your printed confirmations!

Supplies wise, this is also great project for using up bits and bobs you might have. I used 2 fat quarters I had that were nicely contrasting, but you can use any suitable scraps for this really, and I can imagine it would look FAB in proper patchwork greatness.

What you will need

Two pieces 13in x 10.5in (A)
Two pieces 10.5in x 5.5in (B)
One piece 10.5in x 5in (C)
One piece 5.5in x 6in (D)
A zip
scraps for tabs
Interfacing to strengthen - I used iron on
scrap of 1cm elastic, 
keychain ring or lobster clasp (optional)
A button and string elastic, or other way to hold closed

Constructing the Travel Wallet

Prep all your pieces. I interfaced everything to stiffen the fabric. Double fold and press, as if hemming, one of the 10.5in sides of B. Stitch in place. I used a double line of stitches and really bright thread for all my stitching to make it a feature. Mark a stitch line along the middle of the piece B to create two pockets from the one. I used pins to mark a channel for the sewing machine foot to travel along, but you could just as easily use chalk or dressmaker's pen

Cut an angle to the top edge of D, double fold, press, and stitch the two sides marked, then sew the short side to the hemmed edge of one of the B pieces as shown (B1). Line up the unhemmed long sides of of the constructed piece to the the similar edge of piece A1. Stitch the long edge only. This is the start of your inner wallet.

To make your zip pocket, first sew small tabs of fabric over the edges of your zip, making the length of the zip up to 10.5in if needed. Double fold and press one long side of piece C, then sew this to one side of the zip as shown.

Pin the pocket piece and B2 together as shown, and sew along the other side of the zip to create the pocket.

Line up the unhemmed long sides of of this piece to the other edge of piece A1, and stitch as you did before. When done it should look like this

Lastly, make a small tab to hold your lobster clasp/ring if you are making one. Tack into place above piece D. Your inside should now be mostly constructed. The only thing now is to sew in an elastic loop for pens. Make a large loop, big enough for two pens, and pin. Sew down the middle to secure, then sew to the middle of your inner piece. It really is that simple to make one. I actually forgot to put it in before the next step (whoops!!) so hand sewed in later. I'm AWFUL at hand sewing and it still looks good.

Pin the right sides of both A's together and stitch around 3 sides. Leave open the one you want to attach the the elastic for closing to. Trim the seams on those 3 sides, snip the corners and turn right side out. Press.

I like using a two stands of elastic string so the strain in shares (it can be a bitch to replace). However you like to do it, fold in and press the open side ready to stitch, then pin the elastic in place.

Start top-stitching over the elastic and go all the way around until you finish over the elastic. If you need to, stop part way (leaving the needle in to keep your seamless line) and trim any excess elastic that might be "inside". Don' t forget to go back and forth for a few stitches at the beginning and end to secure your stitches - I did this over the elastic to secure it a bit better. Hand sew your button in place. Done.

One after the fact tweek was to put in a couple of small stitches just to keep the passports from wiggling - only a few as I wanted to keep the option of taking them out of I decide to put a cover on my wallet, or but two in one slot - there's enough room for that if you are making one for your family trip. Theres only us two at the moment - but I can easily unpick that stitch when I need to. Its not essential, just one thing I've added. Also, adding the small purple button to cover some dodgy stitching and look pretty.


  1. It looks great - Perfect for your trip!

  2. I like it. Very pretty and practical too!