Yesterday I was given the task of trying out one of the new sewing kits in the shop from Caro London. I'm doing GCSE textiles in school at the moment so i thought this would be good practice for me.
Caro London do a card wallet making kit in a few colours and patterns that require pretty basic knowledge of a sewing machine. Making the wallet, I found that you also need a bit of time and patience with the instructions. It actually gets easier the further along you get with the wallet!
Here's the process:
The kit includes the patterned outside fabric and lining and a layer of padding to go between the two fabrics. There's a length of bias binding that covers up the seams along the outside of the wallet once everything's sewn together and also has the wallet pattern. You will definitely need to have your own sewing machine with a zipper foot, fabric scissors and pins. Nothing really fancy!
The first few instructions were quite difficult to understand for me. Lots of measuring and cutting! It asks you to first of all trace the wallet pattern onto paper. It's probably easier if you use tracing paper. once you have this template, you draw round it onto some thin card (I cut up the box that it came in and used the bottom panel). Make sure you draw in all the markings including the vertical lines. The card is used for the little pockets in the wallet and the tracing paper is used for the main body of the wallet.
The next step is to lay it all out on the inside of the fabric with a section folded underneath the pocket templates. Marking out 3cm round the tracing paper and 2cm round the pockets was quite fiddly. I suggest pinning it all down first and then measuring around the templates.
Once it was all cut out into rectangles I pinned the outer fabric to the padding and the lining. Don't make the mistake of pinning the outer fabric with the nice side facing inwards!!! I nearly sewed it down the wrong way! You then draw around the tracing paper with pencil. Hopefully none of the lines you draw will be seen in the end but use pencil just in case.
I sewed around the line I had drawn with a normal foot on the sewing machine. Easy! sewing up the pockets was a bit trickier. luckily the instructions were getting a bit clearer. Tuck the card into its fabric tightly and sew as close as possible to the card using the zip foot. It didn't turn out so well for me... Just do it really slowly paying attention to the curved corners. I haven't been using sewing machines for that long and I had never used a zipper foot before. Oh well. If your sewing goes a bit wonky at this point don't worry because you can cover it with the red binding at the end.
Now you have to sew the pockets to the lining still using the zipper foot.
Try to keep the lines that you sew as close together as possible so that its easier to cover it all up with the binding at the end.
By this stage I started feeling a bit more confident in what I was doing.
It all starts to make sense at this point. Trim the excess fabric as close as possible to the stitches
Sewing on the binding was a bit fiddly. I had to read the instructions over a few times. The edges are folded inwards. The instructions weren't all that clear for this bit. What I did was I opened up the end of the strip and folded it under. Then lay the binding with the folded edges facing up along one length of the outside of the wallet. I sewed it down the groove that was nearest to the edge about 0.5cm from the edge of the wallet. When you go round the corners, ease the tension of the binding so that it bends round the curves and sticks up a bit. I had to trim quite a lot of bulk off the edge of the wallet so that when I stretched the loose edge of the binding over to the outside, it would cover my first stitches. To finish off you sew the edge you've pulled over from the inside to the outside!
It turned out a bit wonky and a few of the stitches were showing from under the binding but that was
purely down to my inexperience with controlling sewing machines! For me, making this wallet wasn't a breeze but it wasn't hard either.
I have a credit card and a few membership cards so this is really good for me. For adults who tend to have a lot more, this wallet wouldn't organize it that well as there are only two compartments. I'm thinking of decorating mine for a friends birthday with a bit of hand embroidery and applique (we do lots of this in textiles so I tend to avoid the machines). The fabric on the outside of the wallet is fairly loose so you could stitch a friends name on it with nice embroidery thread.
I think this kit would be a really good idea for teenagers who know how to control sewing machines. Even though I did struggle a bit it took me just over an hour. So if you have an evening, this is pretty good entertainment!
I'll give it a 7/10