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How-to

Transform an Old Pair of Jeans into a Cell Phone Wallet

Mar 25, 2016
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This cell phone wallet has plenty of room to store your cash, credit cards, cell phone, and change.

How to Make a Cell Phone Wallet Using an Old Pair of Jeans

Whether you’re always losing your cell phone in that bag of yours or you prefer to run errands with only a few essentials, we have the solution for you. This 4 1/2-inch-tall by 8-inch-wide wallet holds your cell phone, credit cards, cash, and change in one safe place. It is easy to make and requires just a few materials.

While a variety of fabrics are suitable for this project, this accessory provides a great opportunity for repurposing clothing. I used an old pair of jeans, to give the exterior structure, and a button-front shirt, to keep the interior lightweight and flexible. Pick up a 7-inch-long regular zipper and a 5-inch-long strip of hook-and-loop tape, and you’re ready to assemble your wallet.

To begin, cut the fabric using the following dimensions:

  • 3 credit card pockets from shirt fabric: 5 inches by 8 7/8 inches
  • 1 credit card backing from shirt fabric: 9 inches by 8 7/8 inches
  • 1 pocket from shirt fabric: 10 inches by 8 7/8 inches
  • 1 interior from shirt fabric: 11 7/8 inches by 8 7/8 inches
  • 1 exterior from denim fabric: 12 inches by 9 inches

Cut the pieces

This is a diagram of the necessary pattern pieces.Click to enlarge 

Create the credit card pocket

1. Fold and stitch. Fold the credit card pocket and credit card backing pieces in half lengthwise with right sides together. Sew 1/4 inch from the raw edges.

Fold and stitch

You will end up with four folded and stitched pieces.

2. Press the seam allowances open. Then, turn the pieces right side out and press flat.

Press the seamPress the seam allowances open on all four pieces.

3. Arrange the credit card pocket pieces on top of the credit card backing. Pin the first piece 1/2 inch below the backing’s top edge. Sew in place 1/4 inch from the pocket’s bottom edge. Pin the remaining pieces 3/4 inch down from the previous pieces. Sew each piece in place 1/4 inch from its bottom edge. The final pocket’s bottom edge extends slightly beyond the backing’s bottom edge.

Arrange the pocket pieces

Stitch all of the credit card pocket pieces in place.

4. Divide the pockets. Fold the entire credit card piece in half widthwise. Press the fold and sew a line down the center, using the foldline as a guide. On both sides of the center line, stitch a parallel line 1/4 inch away. Set the credit card piece aside.

Stitch down the center

After stitching down the center, stitch two additional parallel lines.

Sew the zipper pocket

1. With right sides together, pin the pocket 6 1/4 inches below the interior piece’s top edge. Draw a horizontal line 1 inch from the pocket piece’s top edge and a parallel line 1/2 inch below. Finish drawing a rectangle by adding two vertical lines 7/8 inch from the pocket edges, as shown below. Draw a line along the center of the rectangle and out to the corners. Add a few more pins to secure the pocket piece in place, if desired.

Prepare the pocket

Draw a rectangle on the pocket as shown.

2. Sew around the rectangle’s outer edge. Clip into the center line, through both fabric pieces, and out to the corners. Be sure to clip as close to the stitching line as possible.

Stitch around the outer edge

Once the rectangle is sewn, it helps to use a seam ripper to make the initial center slit.

3. Create the pocket window. Push the entire pocket through the hole to the wrong side. Neatly press the opening.

Pressed pocket opening

The pocket opening should have crisp edges and lie flat.

4. Insert the zipper. Pin the zipper in place behind the pocket window with the zipper tab on the left side. Edgestitch around the zipper.

Pin the zipper behind the opening

Make sure to unzip the zipper when you approach the pull tab to maintain a straight stitching line.

5. Sew the pocket bag. Turn the interior piece over so the wrong side is up. Fold the pocket in half widthwise, with right sides together, and pin around the pocket edges. Sew around the pocket’s three raw edges with a 1/2-inch-wide seam allowance. Trim the corners to reduce bulk.

Create the pocket

Be sure not to catch the interior piece in the seam as you sew around the pocket.

Complete the wallet

1. Baste the credit card piece in place. With the interior right side up, place the credit card piece 2 1/2 inches below the interior’s top edge. Align the raw edges and baste through the layers 1/4 inch from the sides. Edgestitch the bottom credit card pocket edge to the interior piece.

Place the credit card piece

Secure the credit card piece in place.

2. Add the closure. Pin, then edgestitch one side of a 5-inch strip of hook-and-loop tape to the lining’s right side, 3/4 inch from the top edge and 2 inches from each side. Place the coordinating side of the hook-and-loop tape on the denim exterior’s right side 1 1/4 inches from the bottom edge and 2 inches from each side.

Attach the hook-and-loop tape

This project calls for 3/4-inch-wide hook-and-loop tape.

3. Combine the pieces. Pin the interior to the denim exterior with right sides together. Sew around the edges with a 1/2-inch-wide seam allowance, leaving about a 5-inch opening along the bottom edge. Trim the corners and edges to reduce bulk. Finally, turn the wallet right side out, and hand-sew the opening closed.

Finished product

Transfer all of your essentials into your new wallet!

What fabrics would you want to use for this project? Would a cell phone wallet be useful in your everyday life? Please share your thoughts below.

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  1. User avater BonniePT May 10th

    I needed a way to carry my phone while gardening or walking so made a simpler one to attach to a belt

  2. Moonchaser May 10th

    I would move the credit cards and currency pockets to the bottom and have the cell phone pocket on the upper area with the zipper opening to the outside when it is closed so that the cell phone could be accessed without opening the wallet and exposing the credit cards, ID, and currency to loss or theft.

  3. KateinIowa May 10th

    Two years ago I converted my large, 4-compartment blue denim fanny pack into an over-the-shoulder bag. The credit card pockets are the same size that you have shown, and they are too tight for me to get a credit card out with my arthritic fingers. I will enlarge the width of the credit card pockets by ½ inch each to give me easier access to remove my cards. My cell phone holder will be separate, made of a light color fabric so I can find it more easily in the dark blue interior of my converted fanny pack, and it will be open at the top so I can more easily take my phone out. I will also add a pocket to the cell phone holder to carry my Uni-Dex Blue Tooth accessory that plugs into my cell phone and feeds the audio through my hearing aids. What a marvelous invention it is! I must carry an Epi-Pen and two other medications with me at all times and this wallet will definitely help me organize my fanny pack into a more useful purse. Love, love, love the pattern. Thank you for sharing it with us.

  4. lvislief May 10th

    This is a great pattern. I would also add loops to attach a cross-body strap and maybe belt carrier loops on the back. I would make the credit card pockets out of a lighter cotton fabric and interface them so they are thinner but stiffer. I might interface the back piece also. What about orienting the zipper vertically so the phone could be accessed without opening the wallet?

  5. CarolynRuth May 10th

    This just went on my list of projects for Christmas gifts. Perfect for my d-i-l who doesn't always want to carry a big purse. I can get a pair of jeans at the thrift store.

  6. User avater DKCB May 10th

    Women's garments don't always have pockets, so we often need a place to keep our cellphones. Having had my cellphone stolen from the counter at work, I always wear a crossbody purse to keep it handy. I would add a strap, or sew rings on the wallet for attaching a strap from one of my convertible purses.

  7. RobertBrown97 April 18th

    This is so cool. I have got lots of old jeans, and now I can make Cell Phone Wallet.

  8. JScarborough91 April 18th

    Lovely! I love the upcycling stuff! I think I will put sequins on my wallet :) I'm just about to start sewing it!

  9. MS1990 April 11th

    Such a cool thing. If it was only for a phone I wouldn't use it. But with all the space for the cards as well it is just awesome!

  10. User avater BobTenant April 1st

    That's nice. I recently ripped a pair of high-quality jeans and plan to do this with them.

  11. User avater KatMW March 28th

    Great idea and looks quite easy to be done.

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