Saturday, July 7, 2012

Fabric Envelope System- Tutorial

I hate spending money. It's a good thing, don't get me wrong. The problem is I cannot enjoy myself when we go out to eat because I look at the prices only. Marriage has completely changed the way I look at money. It is now our money, and I want to be a good steward of it and do my part in helping us save for the future.

I am also a recent coupon-er. I am proud to be able to save any money for our family and it ends up being a contest to see how much money I can save on a given week. I find so much joy and probably find a little too much pride in saving money, but the Lord is working on me.

Ryan and I have talked quite a bit about converting to an envelope system. This will help me mentally be able to spend money because I know that is where it is being allocated. We are starting the system soon and in preparation he asked if I would make envelopes. Of course, he was meaning to go buy some paper envelopes, but I figured if these were going to be in my purse they need to 1. Be cute and 2. Be durable. So that's why I landed on the idea of making fabric envelopes.

***If you'd like to buy them from me from my etsy shop, click here.

Envelope System Fabric Tutorial (Dave Ramsey Inspired) 

First- I went and got some fabric. I spent way too much time in there contemplating which fabrics to choose, mainly because I didn't want to spend a lot of money, but alas I sucked it up and bought some.
Fabrics I chose

Things you'll need:

  • Fabric
  • Interface for added thickness
  • Matching Thread
  • Fabric Scissors
  • Printable Fabric or Canvas paper (I've used both and still trying to decide what I like best)
  • Velcro
  • Sewing Machine
  • Rotary cutter with mat(or use scissors) 
  • Ironing board and Iron
  • Sewing pins

Step One: Measuring and Cutting fabric

Cut out fabric in 8 1/2 by 7 1/2 rectangles (2 per color). I used my rotary cutter to easily measure and cut the fabrics.
Love my rotary cutter!

Step Two: Measuring and Cutting Interface

Cut out 4 pieces of interface in 6 1/2 by 7 1/2' rectangles
I opted for the "iron on" interface since it would be easier

Step Three: Ironing

Iron on the interface to the back side of one piece of fabric. (You have two pieces of each color so just iron on to one of them). Then face both top sides face to face and pin the fabric together (you won't need a lot of pins for this).
Turn them facing each other so the right side is facing in and the out side is facing out (that you will later flip)

Step Four: Sewing

Finally, now you get to actually sew! I apologize in advance that I didn't take enough photos of this stage.
Sew the fabric pieces together. Face the fabric on the side where you can see the interface so it can help gauge where the flap will be. Start sewing on the side right after the flap (make sure to lock the threading). Sew three corners using a 0 stitch or a 1. Sew as close to the edge as you can. When you are done sewing three sides, cut the the excess fabric and corners to clean it up. Then flip the envelope right side out, cut the excess fabric around the sides and then iron the whole thing. Fold the last seam of the envelope (the flap) and use a 0 stitch to sew it closed.

Now fold the envelope long ways (hamburger style) and iron it flat.  I learned a trick the last few weeks: put the velcro on BEFORE you sew up the sides! line the velcro where you want it- prefereably in the center and sew it on. Then now you can sew up the sides. You should be able to feel where the interfacing stops and that is an indicator where the fold will stop so that you will have a flap. Try to stay as close as you can to the edge and I used a 0 stitch for this as well.  When you're done with this, clean up all the threads and iron on top of the envelope to make it all straight.

My favorite print

Step Five- Labels!

Phew! Last step! This part is the fun part though. Decide what you want your categories to be (groceries, household, clothing, gas, childcare, spending, going out, date night, entertainment, etc). You should probably decide this before-hand so you know how many envelopes you are making. Anyways, type up whatever categories you want and get out your canvas paper or whatever paper you are using.  I acutally bought printable fabric paper that goes through the printer at Joann. I would recommend to buy a standard 8 1/2 by 11 in that will fit in your printer or buy a cardstock or canvas paper whatever you prefer. Cut around the categories and get back to your sewing machine! I wanted to put these on top of the flap because it would cover up the sewing line from where the velcro was and thought it looked cute! Sew around the label using a 0 stitch and clean it up when you are done.
Our Categories.

Step Seven: Done! Show them off! 

Now I'm trying to decide if I'm going to put them in an Etsy shop (which would be cray-zay) or what. I think the next step is to make a clutch for them to all fit in.UPDATE: Ok so I DID make an etsy shop and it's going quite well! I've learned lots of tricks and how to make a zipper pouch, so I'm enjoying it a lot! If you would rather someone make them for you, don't hesitate to visit my shop! Otherwise, happy sewing!
Love the end result
 ***If you'd like to buy them from me from my etsy shop, click here.

So today I felt productive. No, I didn't work out. No, I didn't even clean the house like I intended, but I did get these completed.

Let me know how yours turn out!
To a crafting sort of day,


  1. I just love these and can't wait to get mine!
    So proud of you!

  2. Too cute, love your fabrics and font! Great tutorial! :)

  3. Just go ahead and put these on Etsy! Everybody wants them!
    But seriously.

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  7. Just ordered these! So cute! Can't wait to get them!

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