Cork is NOT just a Flooring.. Part 1

Cork. Did you say CORK fabric, Becky? Really? We should carry Cork? Who would want CORK? That’s flooring!

That was my conversation with my twin sister back in May, when we went to MODA to do our big buy. We were asked what else we wanted to see after we saw fabric after fabric. She said, “Cork.”

I sat there and was amazed.

Ken and I do remodeling of houses in addition to the other things that we do. Now I must admit that I don’t DO much of anything, but I do get to pick out flooring sometimes, as well as paint colors, and I’ve been known to contribute to carpet colors. So, cork has always just been a flooring.



What a beautiful sight

However, once Becky pointed out that it’s NOT a flooring, it’s now a fabric, we decided to give it a try. Why not? We thought. So we did.

It’s been a big hit in the store!

We’ve found that people can buy it and make purses, tote bags and wallets from it.

Wallets. Wow. That’s something I need. I desperately need a new wallet. Mine is about 10 years old and has seen better days. Lots better days.

Meanwhile, one of our employees found some free patterns on the internet and made up a man’s wallet.

The pattern is here:

Then, he located the LUCKY PENNY wallet by Sallie Tomato.

This is the first page. You have to go to their site and sign up. I can’t give you the pattern, but just tell you to go here to get it for yourself.

This is the first page. You have to go to their site and sign up. I can’t give you the pattern, but just tell you to go here to get it for yourself.

It looked so interesting that I really wanted to make one. However, between being at the store 12 hours per day, and running TheCouponClippers, to boot, I had never even used my new sewing machine that I had bought long before we even started Quilted Twins. So, first I had to confirm with Becky, who had used it for sewing when she was here. I knew it wasn’t big. It wasn’t fancy. It wasn’t even anything special, but it was MINE. “Work with what you have,” went off in my brain. “You don’t need a Juki or Janome like Becky for this project,” I reminded myself.

One quick phone call to Mom and I located it. I arranged to pick it up from Mom’s house and bring it to mine, so that I could sew late at night, when other “must dos” were done.

This is not an expensive machine, but it’s a working one!

This is not an expensive machine, but it’s a working one!

I brought it back to my house and with fear and trepidation, I took it out of the box. I’m not sure why I was afraid of it, but it was like it was a foreign machine, instead of a good friend, as it should have been. It had been altogether too long since I had sewn.

Believe it or not, I’ve actually taught kids to sew before, but that was 30 years ago now. I had been too busy building businesses to allow myself time for fun. Time to create. Time to sew. It was time.

I wasn’t going to be defeated by a machine. After all, this was a simple one. But by now it was already Saturday night. I didn’t want any delays. No distractions. No broken anythings – bobbins, needles or throat plates. I wanted to sew.

Thankfully, Becky had left it all threaded with spare bobbins all wound. So all I had to do was change out the top thread. I decided to do that because she had white in it and I wanted orange. So, I carefully unthreaded it, watching exactly what I was doing, so I could re-thread it in reverse. I couldn’t see the thread, so I used my cell phone flashlight to brighten my view! (I had wondered if I should go and find a stand up lamp, but figured I should just work with what I had!)

However, I wasn’t willing to tackle the bobbin, because I know how tricky that can be, and I didn’t have time for “trickiness.” I figured white would be fine, as well as show others how simple this pattern was. (I hoped.)

Big sigh of relief. Machine was out, threaded and working. Now, on to the pattern.


I had previously printed out the pattern. Now, I located some paper scissors and carefully cut it out. I knew that the cork was precious. Expensive. And not very big. I knew that the pattern would fit, but there would NOT be a whole lot to spare. I wanted to see every cut. Plus, it was cork. I could NOT pin it.

So, I cut it out.

That was the easy part.

Then, I knew it was time to get serious. No more playing around. I had to do it.

I decided to tackle the first part of the actual project itself… Cutting the cork fabric.

But wait. I don’t have any fancy scissors. Gingers? Nope! Olfa? Nope! Not even Fiskars! I had previously ordered in some Amazon Basics, (Titanium-fused blades and at 3 pair for 6.99, why not try them, right?) and marked them with fabric to indicate “Fabric only. Do NOT USE ON PAPER” and I figured this was good of a time as any to test them out!

Fabric scissors are marked with the fabric :)

Fabric scissors are marked with the fabric :)

“WORK WITH WHAT YOU HAVE.” That’s Becky’s and my mantra.


It’s always the first cut that is the hardest for me. This cork that I had chosen was simply drop dead gorgeous. I had chosen two kinds – an orange that read basically as a solid and a contrasting orange floral. I wanted to do contrasting straps and inner pockets.


Two Orange Corks

I started to read the directions.

“CLIP” the pattern to the cork. Uh oh, I thought to myself. “I don’t have any clips.” I wonder if I should run to Dollar Tree and look for some?” (I had read somewhere that DT had some that would work.)  Remember, this is my first foray into working with cork. My previous experience had me pinning the patterns to the fabrics.

“NOPE. Can’t do that, it’s 9:10 p.m. and they closed at 9 p.m,” I muttered to myself.

“I’d better read this all the way through to be sure that I understand where I’m going.” So I did. I mentally sewed the wallet together before I ever cut the first piece. I would not normally do this, but I don’t normally work with such expensive “Fabric.”

Back to my project….

“Guess I’ll have to MAKE DO.”

“Work with what you have” resonated in my brain. So, I thought, “Surely I have something.” Guess what? I found that I have large paper clips. Thousands of them. I decided that they would work, and they did. They worked JUST FINE.

“I don’t have a small cutter,” I thought to myself. I wonder if I should order in the 18mm rotary cutter. Then I thought, “No. Work with WHAT YOU HAVE!”

So, I put my Amazon Basic scissors to the cork, and guess what? They cut like butter! It was starting to be enjoyable.

I decided that the sewing would be by far the most fun, so I’d go ahead and cut out both wallets, so that I could make two wallets, demonstrating what you could do with contrasting cork fabrics.

I cut out the outside, and then realized that I didn’t have any proper marking tools. “Should I hunt up some kind of fabric marking pen?” I wondered. “No,” my brain responded. By now, “Work with what you have,” was starting resonate pretty freely.

I ran and found a black ink pen, and used that to mark the cutting lines that I would remove. “Hey, this was starting to be really fun.” Now, how do I cut this? I wonder if I should go over to the office and get my Xacto blade? I thought to myself. “No, work with what you have.” There was no need for all of this nonsense that I was putting myself through.

I was just making this whole project a lot more complicated than it needed to be! So, I just folded the cork and made a little snip and dug my blades into that snip and trimmed away that part that needed to be removed.

That was my last cut.

At last, I was able to get started sewing. Sewing. It’s so much fun. So relaxing. But alas, this machine was new.

and… so come back tomorrow to find out if I figured out the machine and what my wallets look like!

Be sure to check out what we have for you in the store!

Rachael Woodard2 Comments