Friday, March 20, 2009

Tea Towel Travel Wallet

One of my favorite crafty bloggers, Jill of Homemade by Jill, inspired me (again) recently by turning an adorable set of tea towels into a diaper bag. Although I am not in need of a diaper bag myself, I simply couldn't resist picking up the very same tea towels when I was at Target last week. Here are the towels - I also picked up the brown and green set with pears on them with a Fall bag in mind.

Really - could you resist these? Maybe I'm just yearning for Spring a little too much. At any rate, I was actually working on the tutorial for this tote bag for you...

...but it still needs a little tweaking before it's tutorial-ready.

Instead, I'm bringing you a tutorial for a little travel wallet. Pretty much everything I'm working on these days revolves around the kids and/or our upcoming trip to Ethiopia. I need a little wallet to take with me, but I hate those flesh-colored travel wallets that you wear as a belt because they always slip and slide and hang down in So I decided to make one that hangs around your neck instead and can slide down inside your shirt or jacket if need be.

I think this would also be a great little wallet to take along on walks or bike rides or any other time you need a little bag for ID/credit card/cash but don't want to bother with lugging around a purse or big backpack.

So here we go... You'll need some fabric scraps and about a yard of ribbon.

Step 1: Cut out the front and back of your bag and two pockets. You'll need 2 pieces cut to 5" wide by 7" tall, and 2 pieces cut to 5"x5" square. My small pocket pieces in the photo are not 5" tall because I used the hemmed edge of the tea towel, so there was no need to allow extra room for hemming.

Step 2: Pin the ends of your ribbon to the wrong side of one of the pieces of the inner bag fabric. Position it so that it's long enough to get over your head and hang at a comfortable level. Sew from the bottom of the ribbon up to about 1.5 inches from the top of the fabric. You want to leave the top 1.5 inches of ribbon UNattached.

Step 3: Lay the two big pieces next to each other, right side up. Put the smaller pocket pieces on top, also right side up. Flip one pile over onto the other so that right sides are now facing each other like this:

Then pin and sew the sides (from the ribbon down) and bottom.

Step 4: Sew the remaining 1.5 inches on the sides that we left open. Do not sew the ribbon to it. Leave the ribbon pulled down for now.

Step 5: Turn the top down, then down again, iron and hem to create your finished edge. You can probably tell from the photo that I didn't leave enough room, so I ended up using fray check on the raw edge and only folding it over once before hemming.

Step 6: Clip the corners, turn right side out, and iron.


  1. That fabric is adorable! I too am longing for spring. It has been teasing us, but is almost truly here!

  2. Kellie, this is such a great idea. I agree about those travel waist bags, they can also be a bit uncomfortable if you have a little padding, LOL. Do you think you could add this to "Buddy's" The link is on my blog. I have focused on making gifts this week and these would make great gifts that even a child could manage.


  3. Love the tote can't wait for the tutorial Just adore the flower tea towel for the bag. It is way too cool and springy.


  4. I too love that fabric you used.......well done,

    Gill in Canada

  5. This is so clever! I love this! It's perfect for when we bike and walk into to town!

  6. Very pretty. What a neat idea.

  7. How cute is that?! Too neat!

  8. Wow! nice project, I would like to make this bag for my beloved cousin:).She love all kinds of bags.:)

  9. Great project! This would be great for carrying on the Harley when out also. Not bulky and holds just what you need.

  10. Just now finding this adorable passport holder, me and my son are headed to Chile on a mission trip at the end of this month. Headed up stairs now to throw us both one of these together. Great tutorial!! Super easy to follow.


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