Amy Butler’s Style Stitches No. 4 – Beautiful Balance

We’re up to project number 4 in the Amy Butler Style Stitches Sew Along at My Crafty Crap. I’m going to admit I made a big mistake on my first attempt…more on that later. 🙂 If you haven’t joined the sew along yet, there’s still time to jump in! And if you don’t have this book…you need it.

Central Park yumminess.

The fourth project in the book is the Beautiful Balance Checkbook Cover. I haven’t had checks in a few years now, so I decided to turn mine into a wallet. It turned out wonderful as a wallet, and I only need to make a teeny tiny alteration to do so!

The back of the wallet.

Fabric – The fabric I used for my wallet was a petit four (2″ squares) pack of the complete Central Park line that I won from Kate Spain’s blog last month. I actually won this pack and a petit four of Hoopla, so I was super-stoked! Kate is very sweet and her fabrics are so lovely! I used 35 out of the 42 squares (I put some of the yellows to the side for the Bottled Rainbows quilt along at Stitched In Color). I just sewed the squares all together and then cut them out per the pattern pieces. And the interior fabric is Robert Kaufman Dill Blossoms. The pattern also requires fusible woven interfacing, fusible fleece, and a tiny bit of Peltex.

Pattern Pieces – There is actually only one pattern piece that you need to cut out, from the back of the book, and that is for the flap. All of the other pieces are cut from rectangular measurements given in the instructions. Very easy, although it probably took as long to cut/fuse everything as it did to sew everything together!

As you can see, I’m loaded.

Illustrations/Instructions – As usual, Amy Butler’s instructions are just about flawless. Especially for this, as it is a very easy and straightforward pattern. There were only a couple of illustrations for this one, but to tell you the truth I don’t even think I glanced at them. Especially if you’ve been working through the book from the beginning, this sewing pattern will be a piece of cake.

I made a few changes when I sewed this together. First of all, I’m using mine as a wallet, so I wanted a space for my debit card, etc. All I did to achieve a space to snuggly hold the cards was to take one of the pocket panels and sew a line exactly down the middle of the panel. Easy.

Secondly, I’m always worried about fabric strength when I work with metal snaps. For the flap, the instructions called for using a woven/fleece fusible combo for only the exterior. I did the same for the interior flap (which is where the snap is). I liked how it turned out and there certainly wasn’t any extra bulk to the flap, so I’d recommend doing this if you’re able. Also, I ALWAYS back the snaps with a small 1-1-2″ x 1-1/2″ piece of peltex. Just to give strength to your fabrics as you’re constantly opening and closing the snaps. To do this, just put the snap through your fabric, slip on the little metal disc, then before you close it (I close the prongs away from eachother), put on the piece of Peltex.

The last change was that, since I already messed up on my first attempt at this (we’re almost to that part), I knew that the snap placement on the front panel is too high to allow this to serve as a wallet. For a checkbook and check register, it would be fine, since you have the extra bulk of both those items to account for. If you’re making a wallet, I would suggest assembling the whole thing first (you can put the snap in the flap as noted in the directions), and then when you turn yours right side out through an opening in the lining, you can see the best place to mark the snap on the front panel. Then, since you’ve still got the opening through the lining, reach your hand inside and get the snap inserted and closed up before you slip stitch that lining closed. Doing it this way will make for a snuggly-closed wallet, and your money and cards won’t fall out!

CD wallet.

Now on to my first attempt. I’m going to admit I messed up. For some reason, when I cut the fabrics out for this last month (my last bit of Alexander Henry In-Crowd fabric, so I was sorely disappointed), I don’t know what numbers I was looking at, but I cut all the main panels out totally wrong. The length was correct, but I cut the panels several inches taller than I was supposed to. And the funniest part was that I didn’t realize a thing until I had sewn the entire thing together. What!!

Back of the CD wallet.

However, all is not lost. After I finished, I went to bed all grumpy because I’d wasted some good fabric. And then the thought occurred to me, and when I woke up, I realized that it could be done.

Yes, the panels are large enough to hold a cd. Or the plural cd’s. So, I took an old cd holder, cut the pack of plastic sleeves out, and sewed them onto the bottom panel. Now I have a totally cute (and appropriate!) CD wallet. Is that John Lennon on the back? That’s totally Paul McCartney. Or maybe that’s Steven Tyler on the front. I can’t place all the female faces but they look familiar as well.

Plastic sleeves sewn into my CD wallet. Sarge anyone?

Conclusion – This is a really great and straight-forward pattern. A beginner could totally make this. Just be patient when you’re ironing all your interfacings on…you can probably finish this project in a total of 2-3 hours. I’d definitely make this again if I needed a gift.

P.S. I’m linking up to Sew and Tell Friday (oh how I’ve missed you!), Sew Modern Monday, and Fabric Tuesday!

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