Cash Envelope Tutorial

If you know anything at all about DLD, you know I make cash envelopes and cash envelope sets and systems. A lot of them. All the days. And I mail them out all over the country and as far away as Australia. But I still run into people who have no idea what they are and what they can be used for.

Simply put: you put your cash in them. :)

For those of you who are practicing cash only (or mostly) budgeters, this makes total sense. You probably have a set of envelopes somewhere, labeled, organized, full of money goodness for whatever you're saving for. 

For those of you who mostly use credit cards or debit cards, you are looking at me like I'm a crazy person. That's ok, I'm alright with that. Truth? I use credit cards a lot too. When you have a husband that travels a lot for business, a card that gives you miles is a necessary tool. 

But everyone has something that they save for...plan for...budget for.
Maybe it's travel...

 Maybe it's a specific kind of travel...

Maybe it's for projects around the yard or home...

Maybe it's for a hobby (ahem)...

Or other guilty pleasure...(double ahem - as in, I'm going twice in 2 weeks, ok 1 week. sheesh. it's 2 calendar weeks, but less than 7 days. Are you happy? I'm a pig!)...

Perhaps it would be helpful to have a visual reminder to help you save for such a thing? To squirrel away a little extra cash here and there so that when it's time to pay for that thing, it doesn't have to go on the credit card (or if you're collecting miles, it can be paid off right away) and when it's time to go and enjoy that thing, there is no guilt, because it's already paid for! This is how I use my envelopes for the most part. As long term saving and special treats.

This is my wallet. It has 10 card slots and nothing else. In it, I carry all my cards: ID, credit card, library card, gift cards, store loyalty get the idea. That there laying on top is my sushi cash envelope. Because I have a problem. And I have rules. The rules say that if you want to eat sushi, there needs to be sushi money in the sushi envelope. And by "you" I mean "me". Do you see all this projecting and detachment?

Today, I'm going to teach you how to make one of my cash envelopes for your own little self. So you can add specialty envelopes like this one to your set, or get you started on your budgeting goals for the new year. Or, just to give you an appreciation to what goes into making these at the shop.
Are you ready? Here we go!

What you'll need:
1/4 yard of fantastic fabric (or a fat quarter)
1/4 yard of muslin
All the regular sewing stuff you'd use for any other project.

Note: The total fabric needed is one 8.5" square of both fabrics, so if you have scraps that are that big, by all means, use those!

Let's talk about fabric directionality. I'm using this sushi fabric...

Instead of this sushi fabric...
Because when you fold your square in half, the back side of the envelope will look like this. If you care about such things, find fabric that looks fabulous no matter which way you turn it. If you don't care about such things then use what you like - you're the boss.

Step 1:
Cut a 8.5" square of the main fabric and the muslin.

Step 2: Place the fabrics right sides together and pin top and bottom.

Step 3: Using a 1/2" seam, sew across the top and bottom of your square. Leave the sides open.
(I used black thread to show you where the seam was, usually I just use white thread throughout.)

Step 4: Pull back the muslin and press both seams.

Then flip the fabrics around to the right side through the side openings. Lay the seams flat and press again to make those seams nice and crisp.

Lastly, line up the seams at the top and bottom and press one more time. Now you will have a clean top and bottom. Fun fabric on the front, muslin on the back.

Step 5: Using a 1/4" seam and a long stitch length, top stitch close to the top and bottom edge. This finishes off your work and will result in a more professional looking finished product.

Step 6: Bring the top and bottom together, so that you have a rectangle envelopy shape, rather than a flat square shape. The muslin will be on the inside and the fun fabric will be on the outside. Make sure the tops are even. You can press a crease into the bottom or pin if you like.  Then, starting at the bottom fold, stitch up both sides, using a 1/4" seam and a regular stitch length. Back tack several times at the top to secure the stitches well.

Step 7: Carefully trim your side seam allowances to half. It gets rid of the scraggly threads, etc.

Step 8: Flip your envelope inside out so the fun fabric is inside and the muslin is outside. Carefully push out your corners. Conveniently, a chopstick works well for this step :) I usually press everything again.

Step 9: Starting at the bottom fold again and using a 1/4" seam and regular stitch length, stitch up both sides, back tacking several times at the top.

Step 10: Give your envelope one final flip to the right side and press one last time. That little bump you see is called a French Seam, which encases the raw edges, and helps to keep your cash in place.

This is your final product!

A super practical way to save for those special occasions or guilty pleasures.

And perfect to add to any envelope set you might be already using.
Or find a new one in my Etsy shop!
Card wallet with 2 open cash envelopes.

Ready to ship cash envelope set with 6 open cash envelopes.

Happy New Year everyone!
Here's to keeping all those New Year's Resolutions!


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