This Ribbon Wallet is so beautiful, you'll want to carry it by itself – not hide it away in a handbag. We've used the technique of assembling a number of ribbons side-by-side to create our own "ribbon fabric." The ribbons used in our sample are some of the breathtaking Jacquard ribbons for which Renaissance Ribbons is famous. They are intricately woven with brilliant color. Because of this detail in the weaving, the ribbons have wonderful substance that makes them gorgeous to work with.
For a multi-layer project like today's wallet, which needs to fold flat, we came up with an interesting solution to address the thickness of the ribbons. As you'll see in the instructions below, the ribbons are stitched to the non-fusible side of a layer of fusible interfacing. When the front and back are assembled and pressed, it activates the fusing and creates a tight, smooth bond. Stability is increased and layers are decreased.
As with many of our projects that feature a variety of multi-colored ribbons, we recommend invisible thread the stitching. This is not mandatory, but is a nicer look against the ribbon since it disappears into the weave and there's no distraction for the gorgeous motifs.
For best results, you may need to loosen your upper tension slightly. It's also a good idea to lengthen your stitch and sew at a slow and even pace. This type of thread does not stretch as well as regular thread and can break more easily under pressure, especially if it accidentally slides off the spool and wraps around the spool pin. Using a spool cap against the spool helps hold the thread in place on the pin, and again, going slowly and evenly helps it feed correctly off the spool. Finally, always sew in the same direction along both sides of the ribbon. This will help prevent any shifting and puckering. If you'd prefer not to use invisible thread, that is perfectly acceptable. But we do suggest you choose colors that very closely match your ribbon, and that you take the time to re-thread as often as needed to maintain that perfect match.
You'll notice we used pins to hold our ribbons in place. Another option would be to apply a little basting glue or strips of lightweight fusible seam tape to the wrong side of the ribbon. Read and follow the manufacturer’s instructions and test to make sure the ribbon can be easily stitched without the adhesive gumming up the needle. Some adhesives are not meant to be sewn through.
Just like fabric collections, the designer ribbon collections from Renaissance Ribbons are always changing; as new ribbons come out, older ones are no longer available. Below an alternative combination featuring ribbons from the current French General collection. You can use one designer or multiple designers to achieve the look you want and end up with a width of 9¼" of ribbons -- or close.
The wallet finishes at approximately 9¼" x 4½" when closed.
Sewing Tools You Need
- Sewing Machine and standard presser foot
- Satin Stitch foot; optional, but helpful for ribbon stitching; it's what we used
- Clear View Quilting Foot and Guide Set; optional, another choice to keep your ribbon stitching precise
Fabric and Other Supplies
NOTE: We used FOUR beautiful jacquard ribbons from Renaissance Ribbons. Yardage and cuts provided below are for these specific ribbons we chose and we will refer to their widths throughout the instructions. If you choose ribbons of different widths, you will need to measure each of your ribbon stacks to insure the width of your fabric and interfacing cuts are still correct. Our ribbon panel finished at 9⅜", which accounts for the 10⅜" width of the interfacing cut. You need ½" extending to either side of the ribbons for the precise side seams. The center width, for the tab that wraps around, finished at 3¼" on our sample. Your ribbon lengths should stay as indicated no matter the width.
- 1 yard of 1½" ribbon, we used Amy Butler's Pink Alchemy Blossom
- 1 yard of 2" ribbon, we used Amy Butler's Pale Green on Olive Brocade
- 2 yards of ⅞" ribbon, we used Amy Butler's Brown/Pink/Green Mosaic
- 2 yards of ⅝" ribbon, we used Amy Butler's Cream on Green Sari Petal
- ONE Fat Quarter (what we used) or ½ yard of 44"+ wide quilting weight cotton for the wallet interior; we used Spots in Teal by Kaffe Fasset
- ½ yard of 45" wide medium weight fusible interfacing; we used Pellon 809 Décor Bond®
- ONE magnetic purse snap; we used a ½" Dritz snap in nickel
- All purpose thread to match both fabric and ribbons and/or Invisible Thread in Clear for the ribbon stitching
- See-through ruler
- Fabric pen or pencil
- Iron and ironing board
- Scissors or rotary cutter and mat
- Tape measure
- Seam gauge
- Seam ripper
- Straight pins
- Hand sewing needle
- Pressing cloth; optional for ironing on the ribbons
- Cut the 2" ribbon into ONE 15" length for the center.
- Cut the ⅝" ribbon into TWO 15" lengths for the center and TWO 10" lengths for the sides.
- Cut the 1½" ribbon into TWO 10" lengths for the sides.
- Cut the ⅞" ribbon into THREE 10" lengths: two for the sides and one for the interior cash pocket, and then cut ONE 10¼" length for the top highlight ribbon on the interior.
- From the fabric for the interior, cut the following:
ONE 10¼" wide x 10" high rectangle for the main panel
ONE 7" high x 9" wide rectangle for the cash pocket
TWO 4½" high x 9" wide rectangles for the credit card pockets
- From the interfacing, cut the following:
ONE 15" x 10⅜" wide rectangle
ONE 3½" x 9" rectangle
TWO 2¼" x 9" rectangles
At Your Sewing Machine & Ironing Board
The ribbon exterior
- Find the large rectangle of interfacing. Place it FUSING SIDE DOWN and flat on your work surface, positioning it so it sits on the surface in the correct postion: 15" high x 10⅜" wide. You are going to be stitching directly on to the interfacing, so you need to make sure you are working on the non-fusing side.
- Along each 15" side, measure in ½" and draw a parallel line. These lines indicate your side seam allowances.
- From each marked ½" line, measure in an additional 3" and draw another set of parallel lines. These are your center ribbon guidelines. The center ribbons are the three 15" ribbons (one 2" length in the center and two ⅝" lengths to either side.
- Starting with one of the ⅝" lengths, place its outer edge along the 3" guideline.
- Place the other two center 15" ribbons to check position.
- Thread the machine with invisible thread in the top and bobbin or carefully select all-purpose thread to match each ribbon, re-threading as necessary as you move from ribbon to ribbon.
- Starting with the one ⅝" ribbon, pin it in place, carefully aligning the ribbon to the guideline. Edgestitch in place along both sides of the ribbon.
- Butt the cetner 2" ribbon up against the sewn ribbon and pin it in place.
NOTE: Take the time to carefully place your ribbons. It's very important the ribbons butt together so there is no interfacing showing between the ribbons. They should not overlap.
- Edgestitch the center ribbon in place.
- Repeat to place and stitch the remaining ⅝" ribbon.
NOTE: Remember, as mentioned above, if you'd rather not use pins to hold your ribbons in place, you can keep them from shifting by applying a little basting glue or strips of lightweight fusible seam tape to the wrong side of the ribbon lengths.
- Using your ruler, measure 10" up from the bottom of the interfacing and draw a horizontal line to either side of the center ribbons. This will be the top guideline for the remaining exterior ribbons.
- Find the SIX 10" lengths of ribbon. Separate them into two sets of three and place them to either side of the center ribbons, using the same pattern on each side. Align the top of each ribbon with the horizontal guideline and pin in place.
- As above, edgestitch each ribbon in place along both sides.
- Work from the inside out. You should end up aligning each outer ribbon to the original ½" drawn guidelines, which means you should have ½" of interfacing extending beyond the ribbon to either side.
- Here's what all those neat parallel edgestitching lines look like from the fusing side of the interfacing.
- Double check your seam allowance measurement to make sure you have exactly ½". We were off by just under ⅛" and so used a see-through ruler and rotary cutter to cleanly trim away the excess.
- Use your scissors to trim away the interfacing from the top edges and the snap flap, cutting away a rectangle from each side.
- The ribbons can shift and even stretch a bit during stitching, so make sure your bottom ribbon edge is flush with the interfacing. We again used a see-through ruler and rotary cutter to trim away the excess.
Place the top magnetic snap
- From the raw top end of the snap flap, measure 2" down along the exact center of the middle ribbon. Following the manufacturer's instructions, mark the placement for the snap's prongs.
- Carefully cut tiny openings in the ribbon at these placement points and push the prongs through from the front to the back. You are inserting the "stud" half of the magnetic snap.
- Here's the view from the front.
- As directed on the package instructions, slip the back disc in place and bend back the prongs to secure.
NOTE: You can also review our step-by-step tutorial on inserting magnetic snaps for tips and techniques.
- Set aside the pretty ribbon-covered exterior.
- Find the 7" x 9" cash pocket fabric panel, the 10" length of ⅞" ribbon, and the 3½" x 9" interfacing piece.
- Fold the pocket in half, wrong sides together, so it now measures 3½" x 9". Press to set a crease.
- Unfold, wrong side up so the crease line is visible, and align one edge of the interfacing with the center crease line – the reaming three sides of the interfacing should be flush with the fabric panel. Following manufacturer's instructions, fuse the interfacing in place.
- Flip the pocket to the right side. The crease line should still be clearly visible.
- Place the ribbon across the pocket, aligning the upper edge of the ribbon with the crease line. Pin in place. Edgestitch in place along both sides.
- Fold the pocket along the original crease line right sides together, sandwiching the ribbon between the layers. Pin in place along both sides and across the bottom. Leave an approximate 3" opening along the bottom for turning.
- Using a ½" seam allowance, stitch along both sides and across the bottom, pivoting at the corners. Lock your seam on either side of the 3" opening. Clip the corners and press open the seam allowance.
- Repeat these steps (but without the ribbon accent) with the two 4½" x 9" rectangles and the two 2¼" x 9" pieces of interfacing to create the two narrow credit card pockets.
- Turn all the pockets right side out and press flat, pressing in the raw edges of the openings so they are flush with the sewn seams.
Placing the interior pockets and ribbon highlight
- Find the 10¼" wide x 10" high main interior fabric panel. Place it right side up and flat on your work surface.
- Find the 10¼" length of ⅞" ribbon. Measure ½" down from the top raw edge of the fabric panel and draw a horizontal line or simply use your ruler as a guideline. Place the ribbon across the panel with its top edge along the guideline. Pin in place.
- As with the other ribbons, stitch in place along both sides with invisible thread (what we used and our recommendation for the cleanest look) or color-matched all-purpose thread.
- Find one of the narrow credit card pockets. Place it on the main panel so it's centered side to side (1⅛" in from each side) and the top folded edge is ½" below the bottom edge of the highlight ribbon. Pin in place.
- Re-thread with all-purpose thread to match the fabric in the top and bobbin.
- Edgestitch across the bottom edge of the pocket only to partially secure. This edgestitching closes the opening used for turning
- Find the second narrow pocket. Overlap onto the first pocket. There should be 1" from the top of the first pocket to the top of the second pocket and the side edges of both pockets should be flush. Pin in place.
- Edgestitch the pockets in place, along the sides and across the bottom, pivoting at the corners. You are stitching the sides of BOTH pockets with this final seam; go slowly through the thick layers at the overlap. We also recommend a generous backstitch at the beginning and end of the seam, ie. at the pocket top. This is a stress point for the pockets and it's smart to secure the seam well. This edgestitching also closes the opening in the bottom pocket.
- Measure to find the center of the pockets. Draw a vertical line or run a line of pins to follow. This marks where you'll stitch your pocket dividing seam.
- Stitch along the marked center line to create the pocket division. If possible, use a lock stitch to start and end your seam or leave your thread tails long and knot at the back to secure.
- Find the cash pocket. Center it directly below the credit card pockets and 1" up from the bottom raw edge of the fabric panel. Pin in place, then edgestitch in place along both sides and across the bottom.
Final assembly of the main body of the wallet
- Place the exterior and interior pieces right sides together, sandwiching the pockets between the layers. The sides and bottom edges of both layers should be flush (fabric flush with interfacing along the sides); the snap flap will extend above. Pin in place along both sides and across the bottom, leaving a 6" opening at the center along the bottom. The entire top is also open.
- Using a ½" seam allowance, stitch along both sides and across the bottom, pivoting at the corners and locking your seam at either side of the 6" opening.
NOTE: These side seams are particularly critical because you want the seam to run right along the ribbon, but the ribbon should not be caught in the seam. Stitch with the interfacing side up so you can see the original ribbon edgestitching lines. Make sure your ½" seam stays consistent and that you are always outside of the edgestitching.
- Clip the corners.
- Turn right side out through the bottom opening.
- To place the second half of the magnetic snap, first find the exact center of the middle ribbon and measure 1½" up from the bottom raw edge of the opening. Mark the placement for the snap's prongs. Double check your measurement by gently folding the wallet in half to make sure the upper half of the snap aligns with your new bottom half marks.
- Carefully cut through the ribbon and insert the snap, as above, following manufacturer's directions or our own S4H tutorial.
- Secure from the inside. Remember, that original opening is still there allowing you to work between the layers.
- Turn the piece WRONG side out again and flatten. Stitch across the bottom edge to close the opening.
- Turn right side out again (remember, the entire top edge is still open). Push out the bottom corners so they are nice and square. A long knitting needle, chopstick or point turner works well for this.
Final assembly of the snap flap
- Along both sides of the snap flap, measure and carefully snip down into the main panel ½".
- Fold down the top raw edge ½" all around (those snips allow you to fold down the raw edge to either side of the snap flap). Lightly press in place... just around this top folded edge.
NOTE: The ribbons don't like high heat on the iron, use a delicate setting and/or a pressing cloth.
- Fold down the snap flap and insert it into the top opening. Pin the raw edge of the flap against the interior fabric so it aligns with the folded down edge to either side. Check the fold on the flap. The raw edge should be inserted about ¼" so there is 2½" of ribbon showing from the top of the wallet of the top of the flap.
- Re-thread the machine with invisible thread in the top and bobbin or with all-purpose thread to best match the interior's top highlight ribbon.
- Pull apart the two layers so you can slip the piece under the presser foot. You are stitching across on the inside, which means you have to be careful with your stitching line as you won't be able to see the ribbon. Use the folded down edge of the fabric as your guide instead. You can also watch the visible top edge to either side of the flap.
- Stitch across just the flap.
- Flatten the interior and exterior layers and carefully align the top folded edges. They should be flush with one another. Pin in place on either side of the snap flap.
- Lightly press the snap flap. This will activate the fusing and the two layers will fuse to one another. The fusing itself is likely enough to hold the layers together, but we recommend also running a line of edgestitching down each side for extra security.
- Thread a hand sewing needle and slip stitch the top edges together on either side of the flap.
- Press the wallet from both the front and back. This final firm pressing fully activates the fusible interfacing between the layers, creating a firm, smooth bond.
Project Design: Alicia Thommas
Sample Creation: Debbie Guild