Summertime Wallet

My favorite summertime haunt as a child was the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk, a timeworn amusement park about an hour south of San Francisco. It featured a creaky wooden roller coaster (The Giant Dipper!), carnival games, and corn dogs. I loved the relaxed atmosphere and laid back California beach style of the boardwalk. Everyone wore flip flops and puka shell necklaces. Surfers in wetsuits ate ice-cream on the pier, while hawkers sold neon tee-shirts that said “Hang Loose”.

Now that I live in New York the name of the boardwalk may have changed, but I still love going to the beach every chance I get. I relish in the carefree attitude of summertime at the seaside, whichever coast I’m on!

With beach season fast approaching, I wanted to honor this breezy style with a special summer accessory. A canvas wallet seemed like the perfect thing, a simple way to hold some bills and cards in order to pay for all that funnel cake and skee ball! This wallet is durable and quick to make, so you don’t have to be too precious with it or worry about it getting wet. Plus, as a nod to my eco-conscious northern California roots, it’s made from 100% organic Cotton Duck, which comes in a rainbow of pretty colors. --Molly

ps- These would make a great gift for dads and grads!


To make one wallet:

You will also need:

Note: You can make up to five wallets using this amount of fabric.


8 1/2 by 3 3/4-inches



For the natural duck:

  • Cut two rectangles 4-inches by 9 1/4-inches. These are pieces A1 and A2.
  • Cut one rectangle 2 3/4-inches by 9 1/4-inches. This is piece C.

From the contrasting duck:

  • Cut one rectangle 3 3/4-inches by 9 1/4-inches. This is piece B.

Sewing the Inside

Zig zag stitch around all four sides of pieces B and C.

On both piece B and C press and fold the top long edges over once towards the wrong side. Sew these folds down with two lines of stitching, one 1/8-inch from the fold and the next a scant 1/2-inch from the fold, making sure to catch the back side of the fold.

The folds are the tops of these pieces.

Place piece C on top of B, both with their right sides facing up, lining up their bottom and side edges. Using the Hera marker and a ruler measure a vertical line across piece C, perpendicular to the bottom edge, 4 3/4-inches from the left side. Pin C to B along this mark.

Please note that this marking is not at the middle of piece C thus making the section to the left of the marking 1/4-inch larger than the section to the right. Keep the pieces oriented in this same manner, so you can keep track of the left and right sides from now on.

Sew B and C together along this marking, backstitching at the beginning and end of the seam. This is the billfold and credit card section.

Place the sewn together B and C section on top of piece A1, again lining up the bottom and side edges.

Place piece A2 on top of the other pieces.

Pin all of the layers together, leaving the left side un-pinned.

Sewing Together

Using a 1/8-inch seam allowance sew across the three pinned sides, leaving the un-pinned side unsewn. Back stitch at the beginning and end of this seam. Make extra sure that you are sewing through all of the layers of the wallet. If you miss a section go back and re sew it.

Snip off the 4 corners of this newly sewn piece.

Turn the whole thing right sides out, pulling the billfold and credit card pockets towards the front as shown above. pay special attention to poking out the corners as much as possible. Press the wallet flat.

Pieces B and C are now the billfold (B) and credit card pockets (C) while pieces A1 and A2 have created the two layers of the outer wallet.

Peel the billfold and credit card section away from the body of the wallet and mark a vertical line, perpendicular to the bottom edge, 4 3/4-inches from the left raw edge. This marking should match up with the credit card pocket seam.

Pin the two layers of the outer wallet together along this marking.

Sew the two outer wallet layers together along the mark back stitching at the beginning and end of the seam.

Press the wallet along the new seam so that the pockets are on the inside. The top flap, which still has raw seams, will be a bit longer than the back flap.

Working from the front tuck the raw edges of all of the pieces (including pieces B and C) inside the channel inside the outer wallet pieces. Arrange it until this front edge matches the edge on the back flap and then pin the edges into place.

Both the inside and the outside of the wallet should look neat with no raw edges peeking out.

Using a walking foot sew around all four sides of the wallet, with a 1/8-inch seam allowance, including the pinned edge. Back stitch at the beginning and end of this seam. Go slowly and if you make a mistake pull the seam out and start again.

Press the wallet closed and you're all done!

13 Responses to Summertime Wallet

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  1. Melissa K says:

    I think I have some little boys that NEED these wallets this summer! They will be perfect for ice cream money at the pool. I might have to add a zippered pocket along the outside for their change, though. Great inspiration!

    I am confused, though, as to why you need double of the contrasting blue (1/2 yard) compared to the neutral (1/4 yard) fabric. What am I missing?

  2. sarahsewer says:

    What a great summer project for a group of Girl Scouts. Thanks for the suggestion.

  3. jen says:

    I love the wallet and the Santa Cruz Boardwalk too. I lived in San Jose in the mid 80″s now I am in MA- quite a different scene.

  4. Jenny says:

    Molly, I really want to amke one of these for my husband for his birthday! What a fantastic wallet. However, I am hoping that you can clarify a few steps for me?

    Beginning here: I understand the steps that say to make a crease and pin the two outer layers (where the crease is where the seam is on the other layers), but I'm lost when you say “Sew the two outer wallet layers together along the mark back stitching at the beginning and end of the seam.” The pictures aren't much help for this either.

    I mean, I know I don't sew down over the blue part, since bills go behind it, but I'm not sure how long to make the seam on the two outer layers – halfway down? All the way down? If I sew all the way down, how is it possible, since the other layers are already sewn at the bottom?

    Maybe I'm maknig this too hard on myself and overthinking it, but I can't get past that step whtout becoming thoroughly confused! Please help!

    Thank you so much!

  5. purl bee says:

    Hi Jenny-

    You will be sewing along the entire marking. The “two outer layers” refer to the A1 and A2 pieces (not the blue piece.) This seam is where the wallet will fold in half.

    You might want to just go ahead and get started. Things that seem confusing when you're reading them often make sense when you're actually sewing.

    Please let us know if you have any more questions. We're happy to help you through this!



  6. Alicia C. says:

    Wow. How odd! My grandma used to take me to the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk every summer when I visited. She passed away two years ago and my mom recently brought her fabric stash back with her after a visit with my grandpa. Among the stash were old canvas curtains my grandma had sewn for the Suburban van she'd drive to the Boardwalk (it had rubber floors & vinyl seats that easily stood up to sand & water & kids). My mom had really been missing my grandma lately so I used some of the curtain fabric to sew her a coin purse. I still have lots of the fabric left & was thinking of sewing myself a small purse, but now I think I'll sew this first!

  7. Blessie V. says:


    Pretty interesting product here. This is going to be my first project for this summer and maybe give some to my brother. This looks cool. Do you have a video of this tutorial?


  8. purl bee says:

    Hi Blessie-

    We don't have a video for this pattern at this time but if you have any questions about the process please let us know.

    Thanks for your question!


  9. Lauren says:

    Why do you need twice as much fabric (1/2 yd) in the contrasting color as in the main color (1/4 yd)?

    Love the pattern!

  10. purl bee says:

    Lauren! Great catch! This is a typo. Our apologies. You do in fact only need 1/4 yard of each fabric. I have fixed the pattern! Thanks for commenting. -Laura

  11. Lianne says:

    I just made 3 of these. Made the girls their wallets but until I saw this I wasn't sure what to do for the boys. Thank you for an easy to follow tutorial!

  12. Nessy says:

    will be giving this a go, should save a little bit of money on having to keep replacing the boys' wallets all the time! great tutorial, thanks

  13. Kathy says:

    Thanks for a great tutorial. I was looking for a project for a "stamp" bloghop from over at, and thought this would be a great project. I just finished mine today. It will be posted on my blog on June 28. I had a little trouble deciding how to layer the pieces since the front of my wallet had a stamp on it. I will be giving you credit for the tutorial on my blog. Thanks again!

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