Cybersecurity, Cash and this Quarter’s Challenge

Cybersecurity, Cash and this Quarter’s Challenge

Just before Christmas an article on the news caught my attention.  An expert in cybersecurity was warning the public about a scam.  Apparently thieves can hang out in public spaces armed with bank card readers.  As they pass through crowds the readers are searching for unprotected cards (credit or debit) which when detected are automatically scanned.  The cards are debited with small random amounts and when the transaction appears on statements the victim tends to ignore them, thinking they had perhaps one more coffee which they forgot about or alternatively that the theft is too small to report to the financial institution.  He mentioned that lots of money is stolen this way and the thieves are never caught.  Asked whether there are ways of safeguarding an individual’s cards, he mentioned that there were special wallets available (I checked these out and they are very expensive) or as a cheap alternative, placing aluminium (aluminum) foil around the card will work.  In the interests of science and before I started this post, I had my son check this out and yes, it does work.  When Carlene proposed this quarter’s challenge, and having recoiled at the price of the special wallet, I decided it was time to put my thinking cap on and come up with an alternative which could be made from scraps of fabric and a few extras.  I thought I would share the outcome and also a photographic guide on how to make one if you would like to.

The project is made up of two halves

  • first of all, make the card pockets for inside the wallet.  There are two sets of pockets, each containing space for 3 cards.  The cards slip into the pockets with the short side facing out, the card is unlikely to easily slip out that way. The two pockets are then lined so that you have space to keep your paper money (bills) when the wallet is fully constructed.
  • then the front section is made. This is where the aluminium foil is placed and attached to the inside lining of the front section with two sided stabilizer.  A front cover is then cut out, hems turned and sewn to both the inside lining and the card pockets.

Here is what is needed for this project:

For the pocket:

  • piece of cotton fabric measuring 60cm by 16cm
  • matching or coordinating fabric for the back of the pocket approximately 24cm by 20cm
  • light weight iron on interfacing (one sided)

For the cover:

  • lining material approximately 20cm by 18cm
  • piece of aluminium foil 20cm by 18cm
  • Double sided stabiliser 20cm by 18cm or slightly smaller (to avoid marking your ironing board and iron.
  • Cover fabric of your choice


  • Fabric scissors,
  • Other scissors for cutting up the foil
  • Small clamps (or small pegs will work too)
  • Iron and Ironing Board
  • Ruler
  • Card (bank or ID card) for measuring depth of pockets
  • tailors chalk
  • sewing machine with matching thread and heavy duty needle.

Tip: I kept all my fabrics light to medium weight so that the machine could handle the thick layers at the final stage of sewing.

Here are step by step photos for putting the wallet together.  I am presenting each photo separately so apologies for this rather long post (there are lots of photos but I think each one is important).   Each photo has some instructions/clarifications.  If you decide to make the wallet, please check out the photos and let me know if anything needs further clarification before you start the project.


Three fabrics were chosen, a vintage floral cotton in black green and orange from House of Fraser, a green cotton for the lining and a black cotton for the credit card pockets

Black cotton fabric with a white line drawn through it


black rectangular fabric with a white line drawn in the middle

A light white iron on stabilizer is attached to the inside of the black fabric to stiffen it before it is folded

2cm measurement drawn on black fabric, ruler to left

1cm mark in white tailors chalk sits below the previous measurement of 2cm on black fabric

Card used to measure space on black fabric, pin indicated the bottom of the card pocket

The first fold has been made in the credit card pocket and the original centre mark which is white is used to check the alignment of the fold. Ruler to the right confirms alignment

First fold as been made in the card pocket using pin as a guide to the pocket bottom


Black fabric, first fold is made for the card. 1cm mark made under the fold to show where the second fold will end


Stitching along the top of the folds on the black fabric, credit card used to check the depth of the pocket

The folds in the black fabric are secured with stitching around the whole pocket



The black credit card pockets are cut down the centre one will be for the right side of the wallet and the other will sit on the left side, fabric scissors to the bottom of the photo

Black fabric has been pinned with clips onto the pocket, right sides together


Sewing machine is stitching the folded pocket to the lining, right sides together

Sewing machine needle is sewing the edge of the black fabric to the right side of the credit card pockets


Black fabric 2 sets of three credit card pockets machined stitched and secured to the wallet lining

Both credit card pockets are identical in size, black fabric, three credit card pockets on each and now fully lined with black fabric

Green cotton for the lining, interlined with double sided stabiliser, pinned together scissors resting on top

Green lining on top, aluminium foil on bottom fused together with stabiliser

Two black pockets are placed on top of the green cotton lining which is backed by the fused aluminium foil. Ruler gives indication of final dimension of the wallet

Wallet size has been marked onto the green lining with white tailor's chalk, material is being cut through with scissors

Black credit card pockets have been clipped to the green wallet lining before sewing

Photo of the front and back of the wallet construction, one side shows the aluminium backing which has been sewn into, the other shows the black credit card pockets and the green lining

A vintage flower fabric, predominant colours black green and orange sourced from House of Fraser has been cut to fit the front of the wallet, allowance has been made for hemming so that the fabric is now bigger than the wallet

the wallet is being machine stitched, the hem of the vintage fabric from House of Fraser is being secured to the inside of the wallet

A view of the interior of the wallet, cards are placed in the black fabric pockets, paper cash is secured between the black pockets and the green lining of the wallet and the hem of the vintage fabric is also visible

A view of the front of the finished walled, vintage House of Fraser cotton fabric in black green and orange


I thought it might be fun to make a second wallet and to wet felt a cover for it.  I basically followed the instructions for the interior of the wallet except this time I hemmed the internal fabric (the red fabric) and used this to secure the pockets.  I wet felted a rectangle using merino wool, loose weave cotton, and batting and shrunk it to fit the wallet.  Once this was dry and ironed I did some random stitching all over it with red cotton thread.  I then sewed the two pieces together.  Here are some photos of the result:

The wallet cover – photo was taken at an angle so it looks a bit wonky.  You may need to focus in on the stitching if you want to see the various patterns.

black wet felted wallet cover with white designs randomly stitched with red cotton thread back and front

The front of the wallet:


black wet felted wallet cover with white designs randomly stitched with red cotton thread - front view

Finally, the inside of the wallet.  I decided to have a bit of fun and colour co-ordinate it!

wallet interior made to coordinate with felted cover. Pockets are black and the main fabric is red






12 thoughts on “Cybersecurity, Cash and this Quarter’s Challenge

  1. Fantastic idea Helene and very well executed! Great tutorial too. Both the fabric and felt exterior look good – which one feels best in the hand?
    You can now venture out secure in the knowledge that no thief can get at your cards 🙂

    1. Thanks Lyn,
      The jury is out on which one is best at this point. The fabric one is nice a slim and fits any size bag or pocket. Plus the fabric is of sentimental value, both because of the donor (my husband’s aunt, who welcomed me into the family and treated me like one of her nieces) and the fact that it is one of the old fabrics from House of Frazier. On the other hand, the felted one is nice and warm and chunky – it will be hard to lose it in a handbag. Perhaps one for winter and one for the summer.


  2. What an amazing idea…. you are always in creative mode… spirals and wallets…what will you come up with next

    1. I’m enjoying the fun of being creative again Breda. Last year my makes were a bit thin on the grounds so just getting back into the swing of things.

      mmmmm will have to put the thinking cap (the aluminium one) on and see what I can come up with. lol

  3. Looks a great idea Helene. I think I might made a slight alteration and add a flap from the outside top to come down on the inside to prevent the cards sliding out when you don’t want them too. I have difficulty getting cards out of these sorts of pockets – my fingers don’t want to work at that – so I’d make the pockets a little less snug I think.
    On the whole, a very good result. Add it to my list.

    1. That’s an excellent idea Ann, especially if you have difficulty using your fingers. The card spaces are pretty tight to hold the cards securely so if you were to make it looser a flap would be ideal – good call.


  4. What a great idea, Hélène. You could definitely sell these for those who don’t want to spend ridiculous amounts of money on those expensive wallets 😀

    (Hm, now I wonder if these scanners work on phones? I seldom use my card anymore, only my Apple Pay…)

    Thanks for the detailed instructions!

    1. Thanks a million Leonor.
      you have raised a very valid question about the safety of the phone payment systems. I would like to think that whatever anti-virus system in situ keeps them safe. That said, so many of the internet connections are free wifi it does make sense to ask the question. I would be really interested to hear that particular answer.

      Helene x

    2. I’ve just done a quick search online and one of the main things they tell you to avoid is public wifi systems when making purchases. I avoid them at all whenever possible, so it’s an ingrained habit! Here’s hoping I won’t have to wrap my iPhone in foil 🙂

  5. These scammers need to put their brain power into something positive. What would happen if instead of stealing, they created ways to protect people? But I guess that won’t happen so you have created a way to keep them at bay. I will have to agree that I need to buy one of yours as I don’t have time to sew my own.

    1. I agree Ruth. I imagine it would involved a humanitarian outlook on their part but what greatness could be achieved. Happy to send you one if you would like one. 🙂

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