|My customized zip around Yahtzee wallet...|
This little zip-around wallet has been the absolute most frustrating thing I've sewn to date, exceeding even the much more complex multi-zip organizer. A seemingly simple little "I'll tackle it this afternoon" type of project turned into three days of suffering.
Okay, so I exaggerate a tad. First of all, I spent only a couple of hours on it by day three. But day one featured such aggravation and so much seam ripping that I feared one of my exterior fabric pieces was going fray away to nothing.
You can see evidence of the previous stitching lines here in this closeup!
|Permanent reminder of so many stitches ripped out...|
At more than one point, I seriously thought that I was going to toss it out.
But it seemed too simple of a project to die on. I mean really, if I'm going to admit defeat, it should be on something so much more complicated than a zip-around wallet!
|Our Yahtzee dice and score sheets now have a home to travel in...|
The truth is, though, I did concede defeat in one aspect. The original wallet (a freebie pattern whose link appears at the end of this post) is meant to be less than one inch thick by virtue of a 1" wide gusset. I could not make that work using plan A — more about my plans A, B and C later — so kudos to anyone who has been able to accomplish it. (A tip of the hat to you... although maybe you also had a plan B or C!)
Hubby and I like to play Yahtzee when we travel. We genuinely like the game and it's easy to bring along. In fact, I've often carried the dice, score sheets and a pen in a zip lock bag. However, you also need a surface for the dice to roll on to and that is usually where we have to "make do" with what we have in the moment.
My idea with this wallet was that one side of it could act as the playing surface, like so:
The other side has two stacked pockets, the top one made out of mesh and bound with ribbon. (The specs for the original wallet called for a slip pocket on one side and a series of pen slots on the other.)
|I love this travel themed fabric...|
Okay, so about plans A, B and C. If you'll notice, this wallet has no exposed seams or binding of seams. This means that it requires a bit of expertise to install the zipper. After pinning half of the zipper to one of the exterior pieces, the instruction is to baste it. In plan A, I did this basting by machine. The next step is to place a lining piece on top of the entire assembly — with the zipper and its loose other half inside the resulting sandwich — and pin/sew all the way around it using a 1/4" seam allowance.
I could not for the life of me accomplish this.
On a 1" wide zipper, there's not a whole lot of room to do a 1/4" seam allowance with fabric on top and bottom while sewing blind. (Remember, the zipper is between two pieces of fabric, unseen while you sew.) Never mind having to turn those wicked corners! I was too busy stabbing at my fabric with the seam ripper to take a picture of my first attempt, which resulted in the zipper teeth being caught in the stitching around two separate locations on the corners.
In the middle of the night after day one, I ruminated about adding some width to the zipper and gusset. The next day, I cut two strips of fabric 1.5" wide, folded them like bias tape and then sewed them around the zipper. The resulting zipper assembly ended up being 1.5" wide; I then cut two new gusset pieces to match, of course.
|Adding width to the zipper...|
Oh, and to illustrate how perverse this project really was for me, for some reason I continued to sew with black thread when I attached the first strip (I suppose they can be properly referred to as "facings") to the zipper, which made it look really bad. Out came the seam ripper again!
One thing was certain after this plan B modification: it was much easier to pin the zipper assembly to the outer piece.
|More room to clip with my zipper extenders...|
However, little did I know at the time that the whole "sewing blind with zipper in middle" thing was still going to be problematic.
I won't bore you with the details or any photos, but I still got a hot mess after attaching the lining to the exterior piece with the zipper assembly trapped in the middle. This time, none of the zipper teeth got caught in the stitching, but the whole thing was so uneven as to be worthy of being thrown out.
Which I still considered at this point, feeling rather defeated all in all.
It was then that plan C came to be.
You already know how I feel about hand sewing, but it finally occurred to me that the small seam allowance — combined with the multiple layers — made it hard to control the sewing machine around the sharp corners. I decided to hand baste both layers before sewing.
|This is my second layer of hand-basting...|
The third time's the charm, as the saying goes. I was finally able to progress beyond one side of this wallet!
|Finally... success at the halfway point!|
The underlying pattern and instructions for this wallet are courtesy of Choly Knight. Her original take on this was for a portable sketch book with pens (PDF download here). All in all, a terrific freebie that will test your abilities and give you something useful in return. (And absolutely no reflection on Choly's pattern for the challenges that I experienced.)
Summary of changes that I made:
- applied fusible fleece on top of the Decor Bond for extra body
- applied Decor Bond to the gusset pieces (I think she referred to those as zipper tabs) for same reason as above
- added the zipper facings for extra width (which also required changing the width of the gusset/zipper tab pieces)
- omitted/added different pocket
- applied Decor Bond to half of pocket lining
- put a piece of Peltex into one side and fused it to the lining to create a smooth playing surface for the dice
And I'm SO glad this is finished and functional!!
|No one would suspect looking at this that it was almost destined for the trash bin!|
Some notes about the materials used: the zipper was a remnant off a long duvet zipper that had been cut for my Summit Pack. (I put an orange zipper pull on it since I seem to have an abundance of orange zippers.) The mesh — originally a laundry bag from a discount store — was a remnant left over from my Bundled Up Bindle Bag. The bit of ribbon that trims the top of the mesh came from my customized Market Tote. The lining fabric is from a pillow case found in the clearance bin at Jysk, while the exterior fabric was gifted to me, last seen on my Bodaciously Basic Bucket Bag.
Have you sewn anything with this type of wrap-around zipper? If so, how did it go for you?