Thursday, 25 February 2016

A little fear goes a long way! The Brandt's Boulevard, aversion Therapy!

I always assumed that if I could sew a bag I could sew a purse......for those of you in the USA a purse in the UK is what you call a wallet......smaller, for your money and cards.......
It follows suit that a purse would just be a smaller version of a bag??
Not so at all.........most purses or wallets have a lot of pieces in the patterns. They are smaller, more fiddly to sew, and hard to stop them becoming bulky with all the fabric inside......
I've had a few disasters so generally avoid making them if I can. My sewing friends.......ladies who I've never met but who I probably talk more with during the day that I do my family.....encouraged me to get involved in a sew along for a wallet style purse......what's a sew along? Well a whole bunch of ladies ........and gents if they are so the same project at more or less the same time, with one person who knows the pattern well sort of coordinating the sew........then everyone can ask for help, add comments that might help, post photos, ask questions etc.......all this happens on a Facebook it's a cyber
Once the challenge has been set, I'm afraid I can't back I get my pattern out and start hunting down the fabrics I want........I need two fabrics, one for inside, one for outside.......oooooohhhhh and some cork, a thumb lock...........
Carnage  reigns in my swing room when I'm looking for something......I know I have thumb locks but where I stashed them is anyone's guess.
Needless to say I finally found everything I needed.

The pattern only has one actual pattern piece to cut out, the rest of the pieces are simply rectangles and squares of different sizes, so with the aid of my cutting mat, rotary cutter and ruler, I set about cutting. I'm usually a 'cut my fabric then fuse to the interfacing' kind of girl.......this time I wasn't able to do that because the interfacing had to be smaller than most of the fabric pieces........double the work and double the time cutting that I would usually spend. If I can get this made then the effort will be so worth the extra time.

The pattern I'm following is by Chris W Australian designer who's bags I have long admired but always been a little intimidated by, they are complicated looking bags, and many are for the advanced sewer........I'd give them a go, but I think I have time to go before I reach that level. Chris recently started a range of patterns called Easy Street.........less complicated designs for the confident beginner, middle range sewing......and that where we are. The  Brandt's Boulevard wallet is a snappy little number with a coin purse, four card slots and an ID for your mobile, paper money and an unusual strap and catch to close it. There is also a wrist strap but I didn't make that it as I know I would never use one!

 Find the pattern here
I want to say I read the pattern and followed it to the letter, but I'd be lying, yes I read it, I had too.........but I decided to add my own twist for my first attempt.....a cork leather closure strap......
Once all the cutting and fusing is done, it's fairly plain sailing, I actually followed the instructions and
my first wallet came together fairly quickly. Normally when I'm sewing something for the first time, I can see how something is going to finally come together, in this instance I couldn't second guess it.......
 I was so chuffed I almost burst, so decided to rush straight in and make another. The second one was a lot easier as I now have an idea of how the wallet works. I decided to change up the card pockets , that ID pocket is something ladies in the UK wouldn't use often ........without too much fuss, number two, three and four appeared.

So there we are, my fear has been quelled, I CAN do it.........The ladies who encouraged me to try have created a monster! Now to try some different purse/wallet designs.
This pattern is  well written, easy to follow with a lot of steps, every part is broken down into smaller steps for you to follow. Chris W Designs also has a Facebook page that you can join where you will be able to ask questions and get inspiration if you need it.



  1. Great job, I have this wallet pattern, looks like I need to get busy. Thank you for the inspiration

    1. once you get going you will find its a great pattern to do, and the end result is a practical, good sized wallet/purse that does everything you want it to do......good luck!

  2. Glad you were in the sew along. Can you tell me what special tips you use for sewing with cork? Also on the wallet with card slots all the way across, did you cut one big piece and fold for the slots? That is what I did with mine but I think that might add layers. Thank you and you have mastered this pattern

  3. Christine, You have a wonderful gift with words. Loved reading your blog. Your Brandt's Boulevard wallets are all beautiful. Congratulations!!

  4. Christine, You have a wonderful gift with words. Loved reading your blog. Your Brandt's Boulevard wallets are all beautiful. Congratulations!!

  5. Hi there, sewing with cork is very much like leather or vinyl, use a long stitch length and a Teflon foot, the extended card pockets I do the way the pattern instructs, I just made them 8 inches wide, then did a line of stitching in the centre to separate the two sides, hope this helps

  6. LOVE all of your BBvd's! :) GREAT do have a way with words! :)