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Coffee break crafting: how to make an iPad cover from a woolly jumper

January 13, 2013

Apparently, an iPad mini was the must-have gadget this Christmas. (Who knew that Christmas required gadgets?) I am not a gadget person as a rule – friends blanche with horror when they discover that our kitchen has no electric kettle, no coffee-maker bar my husband, and no microwave – but I admit to a weakness for the sleek user-friendliness of Apple products. I feel a very lucky girl indeed, therefore, as my coffee-maker most generously gave me this year’s must-have gadget as my Christmas present.

The sleekness of the iPad mini is such, however, that the thing threatens to slide out of one’s hands at any moment. Not to worry: there are any number of companies happy to supply you with a case/ cover/ bomb-proof rubber-edged shell for your slippery new toy. I duly ordered what I thought was the perfect case, a fake leather one in a subtle dark purple. (Apple’s own expensive covers come in urban shades which my husband says look like the colours of a suburban French school building.) If there had been an affordable case in real leather, I’d have bought it, but there wasn’t. Anyway, this PU ‘leather’ one looked and felt ideal. But I can’t use it. It seems that I am very sensitive to some chemical in the material of the case. It made my sinuses feel battered and my head ache, and it smelt awful. So I was back at square one, with a beautiful, shiny, vulnerable new gizmo and no cover. What to do?

Well, make one, of course. I have gone from sleek and shiny to woolly and hand-made. If you look up ‘how to make an iPad cover’ you will discover that hundreds of people have made their own, out of everything from patchwork to old books. The juxtaposition of state-of-the-art technology with hairy crafting is a very pleasing one, to my mind. Here’s how I made mine.

First, I sourced some smooth woollen fabric. For me this meant retrieving a loved-to-shreds old cashmere jumper from the fabric recycling pile, and putting it through a boil wash. It came out of the machine shrunken to child size and lightly felted: just what I wanted, as felting thickens and strengthens the wool without spoiling the softness.

The next day, when the jumper was dry, I laid it flat on a table and put my iPad on top of it to measure out where to cut. From the body of the jumper I cut through both front and back in a rectangular shape, twice the width of the iPad with a little over for seams., 12.1.13-1a

Then I folded the double thickness rectangle over, and sewed up two of the sides. Oh, wait, first I made a pot of coffee. Very important, as the point of this post is sort of that you can make this cover in the time it takes to drink a couple of cups of coffee (depending on your sewing skills, of course: you may be a one-cup seamstress). I like the meditative nature of hand-sewing, and sewed the seams in a simple backstitch., 12.1.13-1

Once the sewing up was finished, leaving one end open, I trimmed the seams to reduce their bulk,, 13.1.13-3

and turned the cover inside-out, so that I had a nice neat envelope., 13.1.13-4

A little tweaking to the interior of the envelope was needed: I sewed the two layers  of each side together to tidy them up. I hope the photos explain better than my garbled words!, 13.1.13-5

By now the coffee pot was almost finished, but I just had time to add a little decorative detail. I tacked on a strip of sample cashmere colours that had come free with a catalogue,,13.1.13-6

and finished it off with a mother-of-pearl button (friends from our crafting group may remember my lovingly hoarded button collection).

That was it. Finished in a bit of a rush; very amateur; but fun and easy to make and satisfying to use. My iPad seems very happy in it. Ta dah!,13.1.13-7

Not directly related, but another way of enjoying a quiet coffee break in the winter, is to be found in abroad thoughts from home: about books, not gadgets.

18 Comments leave one →
  1. January 13, 2013 10:27 pm

    That is SO neat and clever, DB. 🙂 Cashmere felt with a pretty trim and all in the time it took you to drink a couple of cups of coffee. You may have set a trend here, you know…..

    • dancingbeastie permalink*
      January 14, 2013 5:07 pm

      The trend for home-made covers is already up and running, but thank you! Mind you, this bit of sewing is not half as clever as your fab stripy socks, in my opinion!

      • January 14, 2013 5:47 pm

        That is definitely a matter of opinion, DB! I’m useless with a sewing needle, so anything as neat and attractive (and ingenious) as your iPad case fills me with admiration. The stripiness of my socks is due entirely to the multi-coloured yarn and once you’ve had a bit of practice at circular knitting, the sock pattern is very easy and just takes time. 🙂

  2. January 13, 2013 10:42 pm

    What a great idea .. wondering now if I should make my daughter one for her kindle Christmas pressie 🙂

    • dancingbeastie permalink*
      January 14, 2013 5:08 pm

      Why not? Have fun!

  3. andsoshedid permalink
    January 14, 2013 12:25 am

    Oh that button box: how I wish I could pop over and make Iwotsit covers with you.
    I miss my crafty ladies.
    Lovely idea using the cashmere, not got much of that lying around here!

    • dancingbeastie permalink*
      January 14, 2013 5:38 pm

      I was thinking of you when I wrote that, you know!
      When we lived in Edinburgh I occasionally used to buy vintage cashmere jumpers from Andersons in the Grassmarket. You could get them for £20 in those days – not any more I imagine, even 2nd hand. I don’t suppose you have much need of woolly jumpers these days! 🙂

  4. Jo Woolf permalink
    January 14, 2013 9:18 am

    Wow, that is so stylish! Much better than a factory-produced synthetic cover! I admire your neat seams – my sewing is a bit random to say the least. I am sure you could sell those as hand-tailored exclusive covers – if you wanted to, that is!

    • dancingbeastie permalink*
      January 14, 2013 5:09 pm

      Now there’s a thought…it would certainly keep me out of mischief, though I might run out of ‘left-over’ cashmere pretty quickly!

  5. January 14, 2013 9:33 am

    I so enjoyed reading your post today! I recognize myself all through it! You articulated the aspects of sewing that I have enjoyed since I was a child but never really thought about. For example: “the meditative nature of hand-sewing” and yes, I have a button box where each little item has its own story.

    I am a logo-less person, i.e. I never purchase anything that has a logo stitched or printed on it. Like you, occasionally I make something, e.g. a case for a small camera, and what I do is put a bit of ribbon, tape or cord – perhaps in the side seam- which functions in place of the brand name or colour.

    • dancingbeastie permalink*
      January 14, 2013 5:17 pm

      How nice to have struck a chord, Barbara. 🙂 I think there’s a story to be written about the memories stored in a button box.
      I love your idea of sewing a little ‘non-logo’ into each piece you make.

  6. January 14, 2013 11:32 am

    The thinness of the newer phones etc is one reason I hang onto my older model cell phone. Even that one keeps falling out of my pocket and getting trapped between the seat and the console in my car. I have no ipad (mini or regular) but I love your cover. It does seem a bit strange to buy something, often for its beautiful sleekness, then have to cover it up.
    I also resisted having a microwave and coffemaker for a long time. But even though I have both, I rarely use them.

    • dancingbeastie permalink*
      January 14, 2013 5:22 pm

      Hah, it seems I have a haven here for those of us who dislike modern technology! 😀 I like the old phones with curly cords and big chunky handsets, that didn’t give you a crick in your neck if you secured them with your shoulder. And I do agree that it’s a bit daft to create something beautiful that doesn’t come with its own cover. Still, I enjoyed making mine!

  7. hmunro permalink
    January 14, 2013 12:34 pm

    I loved the subtle wit of your instructions (“First, I sourced some smooth woollen fabric.” GRIN!). But I especially loved the beauty of this charming thing you created with your own hands. Isn’t it kind of cool to think that there’s no other iPad cover exactly like yours? Well done, DB!

    • dancingbeastie permalink*
      January 14, 2013 5:26 pm

      You know, half the time, what you call my ‘subtle wit’ is really just a lack of sophistication in my writing – but thank you for giving me the credit. 😉

      • hmunro permalink
        January 14, 2013 7:31 pm

        Lack of sophistication in your writing, you say? Quite the opposite! Not in a million years would I think up some of the wonderful turns-of-phrase that pop up so often in your blog. And not in a million years could I stitch a knit fabric so neatly, either. 🙂

  8. Annamum permalink
    January 15, 2013 11:03 pm

    Could it possibly be that the idea of felting your much loved old jumper came from your mother? She wouldn’t have thought of the ipad cover though. A good way to get neat corners is to cut off the corners of the seams diagonally before turning it outside in….if you get my meaning.

    • dancingbeastie permalink*
      January 16, 2013 10:57 am

      Aha, of course, I hadn’t thought of that. See, all my best (only?!) ideas about sewing come from my infinitely more talented mum! 🙂

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