Monday, August 1, 2011

The Envelope Wristlet

Check out this very simple wristlet to sew.  The finished product is about 4"x7".  It is the perfect size to bring on a night on out the town.  When I happen on a rare opportunity to go out with the girls, I usually whip up a little wristlet to match my outfit.  Besides being fun and cute, wristlets are perfect for dancing and negotiating public restrooms.  You slide the strap up to rest in the crook of your elbow and your hands are free to boogie-woogie or wash up. 
No more purse babysitters needed. 
No more setting your purse down on a restroom floor
or forgetting it on the hook in the stall
or leaving it in a taxi. 

Supply List:

Scraps of vinyl and something for the lining at least 7.25"x 12" each.
Freezer paper, pencil, ruler, scissors, paper clips
Modge Podge to secure the lining
Bias tape to secure the lining
Magnetic clasp, regular snap, OR Velcro
Stuff to decorate with!
Heavy duty thread
 Sturdy sewing machine needle, i.e. one made for leather or topstitching

Does it have to be vinyl?  No, you could use a sturdy oilcloth, felt, or leather.  Anything that will not need to be hemmed and is sturdy enough to keep it's envelope shape will work. 

I found this piece of blue vinyl at a garage sale for a buck.  Someone must have bought it to redo the cushions on their boat. 

The next step is to construct the simple pattern.  I have it drawn on my sewing table.  I suggest you draw this out on a sheet of freezer paper. 

Start with drawing a rectangle 7.25" wide and 11.75" tall and cut it out.  Make a mark at 9.5" on each side.  This mark is where you will begin your curved line. 

Achieving a uniform curve is easy if you trace the edge of a salad plate or Tupperware lid.  Or you can fold your rectangle in half, longways, and free-hand one side of the curve and trace it onto the other side. 

Now that you have the pattern in freezer paper, you can iron it on to your lining fabric and cut it out.  Trace it onto the BACK of your vinyl and cut it out as well.  Word of caution:  Vinyl doesn't like to be ironed.  It melts and ruins irons and ironing boards. 

OK, I know it's "Mod" Podge and not "Modge" Podge, but I am stubbornly sticking to my long-lived misconception about the the real name of this wonderful glue product.  Funny that no one in blog-land has corrected me on this...maybe I'm not the only one!  Most likely you all are just being polite, right? 

Back to the tutorial, you can look at the pics above and see the process, so I won't type it all out again.  However, I will emphasize the importance of waiting for the MP to dry completely.  It takes a little longer in this project because the vinyl doesn't breathe.  Plus, you're going to be sewing this and gunking up your machine with wet MP would not be good.

Anyway, I decided to glue on the lining fabric.  In my previous wristlet projects, I used bias tape to secure the lining to the vinyl and finish all the edges.  Here are a some examples:

As I mentioned earlier, you can't iron vinyl.  But how does one get the wrinkles out?  Or in this case, put the wrinkles in?  To get them out, I usually roll up the vinyl and forget about for a few months.  When I unroll it, most of the creases are gone and the whole piece is just a little curly on the edges.  The rule of thumb for storing vinyl is: roll it up, don't fold it.

Now, to put intentional creases into vinyl, I use those heavy duty office paper clips.  You could use a ton of clothes pins or regular paper clips as well.  Or you could sandwich your folded vinyl between some heavy books.  How long?  About 30 minutes and your vinyl will be creased enough to work with.  Ultimately, the stitching and magnetic clasp will keep everything folded the way you want.

The next step is to decorate!  Studs are a quick and easy way to make a big statement.  Machine embroidery, decorative punches, buttons, spray paint, and fabric flowers would all look great. 

The inside edge doesn't require finishing, but I added a strip of pink bias tape to mine.  It will make it easier to see in a dark dance club, and softer to the touch.  Plus, that little splash of color is fun and unexpected!  Whether or not you add the bias tape, you need to snip off the corners of the inside edge as shown in the pic above. 

Next, I added the magnetic clasp according to the directions on the package.  You can use a regular snap or Velcro as well.  The back of the clasp shows through the top of the flap.  I covered it up with a flower and attached it with another stud.

The last steps are to make a strap and sew it onto the upper side of your wristlet.  I made my strap by folding in half a long strip of vinyl and stitching near the edge. 

Next step is to get out your paper clips again and re-secure the bottom fold.  Now this fold is "for keeps" so double check and make sure you have no wonkiness you'll regret later.  When sewing things like leather and vinyl, all your stitch-work is "for keeps" because the holes left from sewing will not heal themselves like they do in regular fabric. 

Take your time and carefully stitch up both sides of your wristlet. You need to set your machine to the longest stitch length when sewing thick things like vinyl and leather.  Make sure to start and stop stitching with a secure back-stitch. Stitch along the inside edge where you snipped off the corners (see step 3 above).  Making the inside seams turn in like that help keep your valuables inside your wristlet.  And as an added bonus, they hide the bright pink bias tape I used, keeping it a surprise!

You're done!  Go show it off and make one for all your friends!  Email me a picture of your finished wristlet at ricochethandbags(at)hotmail(dot)com.  I would love to see what you came up with and include it on Ricochet and Away! 

Thanks for taking the time to read this tute!  And double thanks for hitting the "follow" button on the sidebar!!!!  And triple thanks for leaving a comment and letting me know what you think about all this wristlet madness!!!

Before you click away, I'd like to invite to participate in my current sewing challenge.

Happy crafting and big hugs from Montana!

This project got a feature!
I'm so proud!


  1. Those are adorable. Great gifts too. Thanks for joining my newbie party. PLEASE add my link or button to your post. Thank you.

  2. What a great tutorial, I love your blog! I will have to think on this... you're right, a wristlet is the perfect going-out accessory!

    Happy to be your newest follower ~ Adrianne

  3. Miss Debbie,
    Thank you for hosting the weekly Newbie party! You can find your link at the end of this post. Also, thanks for becoming a follower! You and your blog just rock!
    Rikka J.
    Ricochet and Away!

  4. Adrianne!
    Thanks for your kind comment and double thanks for becoming a follower! I checked out your blog and love it. 1 hour projects is a great idea for a blog! I'm following you to see what crafty and clever thing you come up with next.
    Rikka J.
    Ricochet and Away!

  5. What woman doesn't love a wristlet!?!? I love it and am a new follower! I would love for you to stop by and link up at my Savvy HomeMade Monday blog party at

    I am a new follower!

  6. Thanks so much for the tutorial! I carry a wristlet everywhere I go and I've made a few...but never any like this! I LOVE these! WOW! Great job! ♥

  7. Great tutorial ! I love those wristlets!

    Thanks for linking to a Round Tuit!
    Hope you have a great week!
    Jill @ Creating my way to Success

  8. I love this! And I'm with's Modge Podge. I honestly don't think I ever noticed that until your little rant about it. Haha...

  9. So cute and clever! And can I just say that I never even realized that it's MOD Podge? Oh gosh, here I've been saying Modge Podge forever and didn't even know it was wrong!

  10. These are precious!!! I am more and more aware of the fact that I need to sew!! BTW I call it Modge Podge too!
    I am following you now!

  11. How adorable! You are awesome! Please come link up on Thursday to "It's a Party"! I would love to have you!

  12. VERY Cute! Great tutorial! Thanks for linking to Wicked Awesome Wednesday!

  13. From one creative person to another, I love it! I can't wait to get a free moment to create one. Thanks for sharing. We hope you will consider helping kids with cancer by linking into the Miracle Makeover party this coming week
    at Together we can change things! We appreciate you.

    Sherry, DGB Team

  14. This is SO cute! I might just have to make one. Thank you for sharing at the Weekend Warrior Link Party! I FB/Tweeted this. :)


  15. Such a lovely and clear tutorial! I might still have some leather scraps lying around :) Will definitely try it! I just found you on craftgawker and I think your blog is beautiful!

  16. It's those permanent holes that would scare me away from vinyl. I know you said you could just cut off the mistakes, but my projects could end up VERY small... LOL!!! A fabulous little clutch and so practical with a wrist strap.

  17. Found your link on Threading My Way! Love this design, my favourite of all the link ups :) Tash

  18. I love this! I've recently started working with vinyl. Alot of fun, although I think I may have to upgrade my machine.. what did you use to cut the flower and scallops on the flap?

    1. Hi Nissa!
      I sew on a Singer 4423HD and I cut the scallops with plain old scissors.
      Thanks for visiting!


Thanks so much for taking the time to leave a comment! No-reply commentors don't get to read my witty replies, and that's just sad.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...