DIY Tablet Case
Tablet cases--even simple sleeves--are expensive. I can understand spending $40 to $100 for a ruggedized tablet case, but for a basic sleeve? No thank you.
Still, it's a good idea to have some sort of case for your shiny new tablet, to protect it against scratches, scrapes, and minor drops. You can usually find these lightly padded sleeves in various colors and designs for sale on Etsy, a site for hand-made items. Unfortunately, at $30 and $60 (plus shipping), Etsy tablet sleeves aren't cheap. Here's how to make a simple, envelope-style sleeve for your iPad or Android tablet.
What You Need
The best thing about making your own tablet sleeve is that buying materials is a lot less expensive than buying a premade sleeve. I purchased my materials in the quilting section of Jo-Ann Fabrics & Crafts for about $11, but you can find similar item at any crafts store that also sells fabric.
Here's what you'll need to make your own tablet sleeve:
• ½ yard of patterned fabric for the exterior; I used red and white damask
• ½ yard of thick felt for the interior; I used red felt
• Two tablet-size pieces of padding; I used polyester batting (the padding normally used in modern quilting), but neoprene or extra layers of felt also work
• Two buttons for the closure
• Straight pins
• Scissors or shears
• Your tablet
Measure Interior Fabric
First, you'll need to measure and cut the felt, or the interior fabric.
Here's how to get the correct measurements:
1. Measure the width (shortest side) of your tablet. Multiply that number by 2.5 and then add 3 inches more. Your fabric needs to be this long.
2. Measure the length (longest side) of your tablet. Add 2 inches to this measurement. Your fabric needs to be this wide. I used a first-generation iPad, so my fabric was approximately 21 by 11.5 inches.
Cut Interior Fabric
Using these measurements, draw a rectangle on your felt using a pencil and a yardstick. Then cut out the felt rectangle.
You should now have a felt rectangle that you can fold over one and a half times. Go ahead and fold it over your tablet, just to make sure that you're on track.
The filling should be roughly the size of your tablet, so just put your tablet down and trace around the edges (use a yardstick to ensure that you get straight edges).
Cut out two rectangles for the filling. Each should be the same size as your tablet.
Measure Exterior Fabric
Take your interior fabric's measurements (21 by 11.5 inches, in my case) and add 2 inches to each measurement (yielding 23 by 13.5 inches, in my case). On the back side of your exterior fabric, measure and draw a rectangle using a yardstick.
Cut Exterior Fabric
Cut the rectangle out using shears.
Set Padding on Felt
Once you've cut all of your fabric, you can get started assembling your case.
First, you will want to attach the padding to the felt interior. Lay your felt face-down and place one piece of padding ½ inch from the left side (it should be 1 inch from both the top and the bottom of the felt). Place the other piece of padding next to it, about 1 inch away.
Attach Padding to Felt
Using a needle and thread, make a small X-shaped stitch at each of the four corners of each piece of padding. If your padding is slipping around, first use straight pins to pin the padding in place.
Now it's time for the bulk of the work: sewing the felt to the fabric exterior.
Place your fabric face-down (the unpatterned side should be showing) on a flat surface. Place the felt, padding-side down in the middle of the fabric.
Pin Fabric in Place
Fold the edges of the fabric over the felt, and pin them in place.
Sew Bottom Seam
Sew the two shorter seams (at the top and at the bottom). If you are new to sewing, you should probably start at the bottom (where the padding is closest to the edge), because this seam will be less visible. Sew a straight stitch across the bottom of your tablet case.
Keep Your Stitches Small
Try to make your stitches small and in a straight line.
Sew Top Seam
When you're finished with the bottom hem, use the same straight stitch to sew the top hem.
As I mentioned earlier, the top hem is much more visible (it's the flap of your envelope), so make it pretty! I also made little cross-stitches at the corners.
Hem Top Side
Now both the top and the bottom of your tablet case should have neat little hems. I don't think it's necessary to hem the sides, because we'll be sewing those together, but you do want to hem the side of the envelope flap. You only need to hem until you reach the part of the felt where there's padding.
Because the sides aren't hemmed, it's a good idea to make a small cross-stitch in the 1-inch area between the two layers of padding, just to keep the fabric from slipping around. You can also use straight pins.
Sew on Bottom Flap Button
Before you sew the two sides together, you should attach the first button (the one that's not on the flap). Put your tablet inside the case, fold the case over, and arrange your buttons. Using thread that's the same color as your button, sew on the first button.
Sew One Side Together
Now you can start sewing the sides together! First, put your tablet inside the sleeve and fold the sleeve over, to confirm that everything has been successful so far. Starting at the bottom of the sleeve (where the fold is), use an oversewing stitch to sew the two sides together. This will be visible, so take care to make neat, small stitches. Sew to the top of the case (where the flap begins) and then tie it off.
Repeat the previous step on the other side of the case, using the same oversewing stitch.
Check to Make Sure That Your Tablet Fits
Slide your tablet in and see how it fits. There should be a little bit (about ½ inch) of wiggle room on either side of your tablet. To ensure a snug fit, mark where your tablet's edges are and then make reinforcing cross-stitches in each of the four corners.
Sew Top Flap Button
Position and sew the second button onto the flap. When the flap is closed, the buttons should be about 1.5 inches apart.
Loop a string, elastic, or ribbon around the two buttons to close the sleeve. I used a black hair-tie.
That's it--you're finished! You now have your very own homemade tablet case.
Just a couple of notes:
• A sewing machine will make the seams and sides quicker and stronger (and possibly neater, too, depending on how good you are at hand-stitching).
• Unless you're particularly excellent at sewing, it's probably unwise to attach handles to this sleeve--if they break, your tablet could take a sudden spill.
Go on, show off your new tablet case, and hey--maybe you can even start your own Etsy shop.
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