Learn how to sew with cork using this project designed by Esther Pickard.
Make this useful bill-fold wallet from cork fabric – a durable fabric, great as an alternative to leather and perfect for this project! Read our guide on Sewing with Cork here.
You will need…
Cork leather – 35cm x 35cm (0.65mm thick)
Lining – 0.2m of 150cm wide fabric
Hook and loop fastener tape – 2.5cm x 8cm
Pattern pieces – lay out your pattern pieces so the stripes of the cork fabric are all running horizontal across the widest parts of each pattern piece. Press your lining fabric before cutting.
Sew seams together with a 1cm seam allowance, back tacking at each end and trimming off loose threads, unless otherwise stated.
Pins perpendicular to the seam line can be sewn over.
The ideal sewing machine needle size is heavy duty 100 (16).
You can mark the cork WS with pen or pencil.
Back tacking = stitching a few stitches backwards at the start and end of a seam to secure the stitch.
Topstitch = a row of stitches sewn on the material RS.
RS = right side of material (shiny side for the lining).
RST = right sides of material together.
WS = wrong side of material.
WST = wrong sides of material together.
Outer cork (A)
Take piece A and on the WS mark lines at 11cm, 12cm, 22cm & 23cm along from one of the short edges. Stitch along these marks. These are the centre fold of the wallet and the flap fold line.
Soft loop fastener
Pin the soft, loop fastener onto A RS left short edge, in the centre vertically and 2cm from short edge. The fastener needs to be at the opposite end to the flap fold line. Secure by stitching around outer edges.
Back & front pockets (B & C)
Pin the back pocket (B) material & lining RST along one of the long edges. Stitch this long edge. Turn inside out and pin the folded edge WST from the lining side.
Topstitch on RS of lining.
TIP: When topstitching, use the right edge of your machine foot as a stitch width guide, unless otherwise indicated.
Repeat these steps for the front pocket (C).
Middle pocket (D)
Take the middle pocket material (D) and iron in half lengthways WST. Topstitch along the fold line.
Joining the pockets
Place middle pocket (D) on top of the back pocket (B) cork side and the front pocket (C) on top of the middle pocket, cork side up.Align the bottom and side raw edges and loosely pin side and bottom edges. Stitch pinned area on RS.
On RS mark lines at 11cm and 12cm across (don’t use pen for these). Start stitching on the 11cm line at the bottom raw edge, stitch up to the topstitch line on the back pocket (B), sew along this seam for 1cm and then pivot your sewing and stitch downwards along the 12cm guideline.
Pocket lining (E)
Place the stitched pockets onto the lining (E): E RS to the pocket section lining side, aligning the bottom and side edges so that the extra lining (E) material is at the top. Pin the bottom & side edges. On the RS sew along the cork seam already stitched on the pocket. Only stitch the cork and not the lining at the top.
Inner flap & looped fastener
Take the inner flap (F) and pin the looped fastener section onto the RS parallel to one of the 12.5cm edges, 2cm from the long edge and centrally from the short edges.Stitch around the fastener outer edges on the RS.
Pin the inner flap (F) to the right-hand side of the pocket section RST (pocket opening at the top). The pinned F side is the opposite to the where the fastener is attached. Sew along the pinned edge, through all layers.Trim excess material on seam.
Joining the outer & inner sections
Pin the outer cork (A) to the inner section RST (loop fastener sections at opposite ends). Ensure that the lining (E) is pulled tight when pinned.
Stitch around the outer edge, leaving a 10cm gap along the bottom, long edge (not the lining/ top of pocket edge) to allow for turning. It’s easier to sew with the cork on the top. Trim seam excess material (apart from the gap and the top of the pocket).
Turn RS out, including pulling through the flap.
TIP: Use a pin to gently tease out those tricky corners.
From the pocket side, pin the outer edge of the wallet flat, including turning in the seam allowance on the gap. Ensure that the lining is pinned flat so it isn’t wrinkled.
Topstitch around outer edge to secure. Turn the wallet over so that the pocket is face down and sew over the two flap seams, through all layers.
Your wallet is now complete!