Monday, April 30, 2012

Wannabe tutorial: iPad case

Last year sometime I made a pouch for Mike's iPad at a time when he had temporarily switched over to some other tablet and given me the iPad.  I figured he'd get tired of the other tablet soon enough and want the iPad back, so I thought I wouldn't make the pouch too bright so it would be useful even to him.  I chose blues and turquoises, but even then he said it was too girly.  When he inevitably decided he was switching back to the iPad, the blue pouch got put in a drawer.

Well this spring Mike got the new iPad 3 the very second it came out and so gave me his iPad 2 for good.  I got back out the blue pouch but wasn't too crazy about it.  For one thing, I'd made it big enough to also carry the bluetooth keyboard he has, but I hardly ever use that and without it the pouch is too big.  For another thing, I wanted a case that the iPad could stay in all the time as opposed to something that you took the tablet in and out of for use.

I decided to make a case for it (way girly this time) and figured I'd do a tutorial along the way.  I've never done a tutorial before, but I thought this might be a good time.  However, I encountered many weird difficulties along the way and am not certain about the fit of a few things, so I hesitate to call it a real tutorial.  More of a this-is-how-I-did-it-follow-along-at-your-own-peril kind of thing.  Make sure you read through first so you can learn from my mistakes.

I started with an iPad 9 1/2" tall, 7 3/8" wide, 3/8" thick.  Mine already had a slim skin on it, so yours may be smaller.  I cut out the following pieces:

2 pieces of fabric (exterior-dahlias and interior-grellow flowers) H + 1 1/8" x  2W + 5" (10 5/8" x 19 3/4")
2 pieces of stiff double sided fusible interfacing for front and back (like for fabric bowls) H + 1/2" x W + 1/2 " (10" x 7 7/8")
1 piece of stiff double sided fusible interfacing for frame H + 5/8" x W + 1/2" (10 1/8" x 7 7/8")
1 piece of stiff double sided fusible interfacing for closure flap (not actually in the picture since I didn't remember to cut it out at the beginning) H + 1/2" x 2" (10" x 2")
1 piece of fabric (frame) Height of frame interfacing + 3/4" x Width of frame interfacing + 3/4" (10 7/8" x 8 5/8") 
1 long piece of fabric (trim-grellow stripe) 2" x width of long piece (2" x 19 3/4")

I started by turning under the two edges of the long piece of trim and topstitching it down to my exterior fabric piece.  I then sewed the two large pieces of fabric together on three sides, leaving one short side open (right sides together) and curving slightly around the corners.

After turning and pressing, I slid one big piece of interfacing inside the pillowcase, and placed two skinny refrigerator magnets between the fabric and the interfacing on the exterior side.  The idea was that there would be magnets there and on the interior side of the flap closure to hold it closed.  After lining up the magnets, I ironed the fusible into place inside the pillowcase according to the instructions on the fusible.  I then lined up the next large piece of fusible inside the pillowcase, being sure to leave about 3/8 of an inch between the two pieces (see blue lines below) and fused again.  I then took the third, smaller piece of fusible and lined it up inside the pillowcase, lined up the other two magnets, this time between the fusible and interior fabric and fused the final piece of interfacing.  It's important to fold in the raw edges before doing the final fusing (there will be plenty of width of fabric to turn under) so they don't stick unfinished.  I then topstitched along the folded in edges to hold it all together.

Here things began to go awry.  At this stage, you should have basically a folder with a magnetic flap closure. I however, had a folder with a flap closure that did not stay closed.  The magnets were just not strong enough.  I was really hacked because I'd wanted a flat smooth closure, but it just wouldn't stay closed.  I was so aggravated I stopped taking pictures for a while.  To fix it, I ripped out all the top stitching, pulled all the fusible apart and installed two magnetic snaps, one on each corner.  I then refused and re-topstitched, but the snaps felt like they were pulling the fabric away from the fusible so I then sewed around them with my skinny zipper foot to strengthen the area.

The next step was to make the frame for the iPad to slide into.  I took the extra piece of interfacing, rounded the corners and cut out a frame in the middle, including a small cut out for the center button.  I used the other piece of fabric to wrap around the frame (after cutting out the middle).  Once I had the fabric wrapped around the frame, I fused it down and then top stitched around the outside and inside of the frame..

The next step was to attach the frame to the folder case.  I top-stitched the frame to the case, being careful to line up the edges (since the frame is bigger than the case to accommodate the thickness of the iPad).  

When stitching the frame on, I left the following areas open:
1. the entire left side (to slide the iPad in) 
2. the center of the bottom (to plug in the charger)
3. the top of the right side (to access the volume buttons)
4. the left and right of the top (to access the headphone jack and the sleep button

After that, I slid my iPad in and -abracadabra-  iPad case.  All the blue marker is wash away, I just forgot to get it erased before taking the pictures.  

A few things I don't care for to keep in mind if you decide to make one (you can see most of them in the above pictures).  

1. The magnetic buttons are fairly thick which makes the whole thing not quite as sleek as I'd like.
2. I made the frame a bit bigger than the folder part to accommodate the thickness of the iPad, but it kind of bubbled up in the middle.  I'd make it a smidge shorter if I were to do it again.
3.  The frame kind of buckles a bit around the inside.  This seems to be because the interfacing in the frame is flat while the frame really should have a 90 degree bend, i.e. up the side of the ipad then over the front.

I've now used the case for about 5 days and I'm enjoying it.  It's plenty functional and I adore the fabrics.  Problems #2-3 above seem to be partly resolving with time, I think it's just wearing in.  Let me know how it goes if you guys make a case like this!