Sunday, July 11, 2010

iPad Cover Tutorial

We got Katie's iPad last week, YAY! I bought a pretty sleeve to put it in from Target. (I LOVE IT!) I had planned on cutting out an area for the screen. But I was scared to death that I was going to mess it up. It wasn't cheap, like $26. So I chickened out. And I'm really glad I did! I ended up using some neoprene left over from when I made her a pressure vest last year. Yes I really wanted to use some pretty fabric but that would have meant using batting, not neoprene, and it needs the protection of the neoprene.

Anyway. Sewing neoprene is a PITA, or so I thought. I have a Brother SE-270 sewing machine. I've had 3 total, because they've all sucked and had to be replaced (with the same machine) I hate it and will definitely not buy another one. I have friends who love theirs, but I don't! Neither of my 3 have been able to sew a zig zag stitch (which is what you need when sewing neoprene). A zig zag should look like this: ^^^^^^^^^ and what my machine does is this: ^^^---^-^^^^^--- , misses/skips the stitches. It's maddening. I ended up pulling my grandma's old machine she gave me years ago out and used that. Man did it sew like butter!! It's a vey basic and simple machine (v/s the computerized one I use with it's dozens of stitches) Grandma's has straight stitch and zigzag. But oh what glorious zigzagging it did!!! It's been 15 years or more since she gave me that machine. When I pulled it out of the case, it smelled of her. It hit me hard and yes I admit I cried sitting there sewing! I miss her so much......

So what should have taken 15 minutes look 4-5 hours! Sew, rip apart, resew, rip apart, etc. ARGH. Back to the not using the pretty sleeve. Once I got the black one sewn, I put the iPad in and the window gaped open. It didn't fit snuggley. The pull of the sides opened up and gaped the window. The iPad could have fallen out possibly and it was ugly. If I had just cut the window out of the pretty one as I planned, it would have done the same and I would have ended up having to take that apart and sew from scratch. As it is now, The black on the iPad provides less visual distraction than the colors would have, and now I can still use the pretty one to put the black one in for extra protection in her bookbag because with the window cut out of the black one, there is risk there.

So in order to fix the gaping window, I had to use clear vinyl to stabilize it. No I don't like the vinyl on it, but it works. It looks all bubbly on the screen. It also makes it hard to get the iPad in and out (have to use a sheet of paper on top of the screen so it doesn't stick to the vinyl, and remove it once the iPad is in. The iPad works with the vinyl on the screen, except for the screen rotation for some reason. So I just have to make sure I have the screen the direction I want it before I put it in.

The neoprene on the back is loop neoprene, as in hook and loop like velcro. So we can put a strip of hook (hard) velcro on a table or a vertical board, and stick the iPad/sleeve to it, and Katie can't knock it off accidentally. I added loops to the top so we can connect it to her walker or wheelchair as well.

BTW- the pucker at the bottom is not a mistake. It's a cut out for the speaker.

SO while this may not be the most beautiful or professional looking thing (no, I won't be sewing or selling these). It'll get the job done. And it cost me $0 (except for the pretty cover, but I'm talking about the sewing part). I had all the materials already here. The only thing I need to buy now is some kind of latch hooks to go on the walker so we can hang the iPad from it properly.

A Quick Tute on how to make an iPad cover like this:

You will need neoprene, which is expensive, but you may be able to find some on ebay or at a thrift store in the form of an old wet suit. I had some already that I order from Rockywoods when I sewed Katie a pressure vest. You only need a couple of small scraps, a little bigger than your iPad.

1-Place your iPad on your neoprene (I used regular neoprene for the front, and loop neoprene for the back so that it can velcro on to a table).

2-Use a piece of sewing/tracing chalk (this is a thin chalk stick), trace around your iPad.

3-Place your iPad on the other piece of neoprene and trace again.

4-Now you want to add 2.5 inches (or so) to one long end, on both pieces of neoprene. And round the 2 edges of 1 short side. This will be your bottom.

5-Cut out both pieces. You now have 2 rectangles, a bit taller than your iPad.

6-Now you need to cut your window out of the regular piece of neoprene. Measure how far from the edges of the iPad the screen starts and transfer this to the neoprene. Do all 4 edges.

7-Using a straight edge clear ruler draw the lines with your chalk to form a rectangle within the rectangle of neoprene.

8-Cut out inner rectangle. You can make your entry cut right in the center because you will be throwing the center away. Remember not to cut the outer rectangle, this will look like a frame.

9- Using a clear vinyl (thin vinyl) cut out a rectangle to fit the cut out are plus around a 1/2 inch on each side.

10-Using glue stick, coat the inner edges of the neoprene frame and place on vinyl, gluing them together. Let dry.

11-Use a long straight stitch and sew around the inner edge, with the vinyl touching the sewing machine and neoprene on top. You will need to place some tear away stabilizer underneath, as the vinyl is going to stick to your machine and not feed thru properly.

12-Take your 2 pieces of neoprene, front and back, and lay side by side with long sides touching, right sides both facing up. You will need that stabilizer again, not to sew, do not put it under your stitching. It is only to go under the vinyl to help facilitate it moving thru the feed dogs.

13- Now with your 2 pieces of neoprene side by side and even edges at the top, use the widest setting on zig zag and either the longest length or next to longest. You don't want your stitches so close together because it will perforate the neoprene. IF YOU WANT THE SPEAKER AREA CUT OUT- mark where it should go on the neoprene before this step.

14- Now start zig zagging carefully. Keeping the 2 pieces butted up close together and keeping the seam directly in the middle of the presser foot. Your presser foot should have a midline marking or cut out. Go slow and careful. Be sure to tack/anchor your first stitches well.

15- Now zig zag all the way around to the opposite side. This will be tricky, so slow. When you get to those rounded corners you will have to go very slow and pull on the neoprene to get the rounder corners to butt up. You will have to let the neoprene turn and fold and stick up behind the needle area... however it needs to so that you can keep those edges together.

16-If you wanted the speaker cut out, you will need to stop at your cut out marking, then restart at the second marking, and continue all around, and be sure to tack/anchor well at the end.

17-Next, use 1" FOE, Fold Over Elastic, and using a zig zag stitch, trim out the top of your bag. I didn't stretch it when I sewed. I didn't want it to pull the top in at all. It is only for decoration, but needs to be able to stretch open to get the iPad in.

18-Sew in 1" Velcro at the top on both insides, just under your FOE. Cut your loop Velcro longer than your hook and be sure they line up well. You don't want the hook velcro snagging up the inside of your pouch.

19-If you want the straps, use belt webbing and D rings. Sew one end of your strap to the inside front left, put a D ring onto the strap, and the other end onto the inside back. Repeat for other side. Remember to cut the straps long enough to be able to pull out of the way in order to get your iPad in and out. If they are too short they will be in the way.

20-Pull the D ring all the way to the top of the strap and sew close to the ring in order to secure ring in place.

21- Place iPad in pouch, and enjoy!


Nikki the Retro-Phile said...

I just wanted to say how amazing a mom you are. I am a special education teacher for high school level kids. I wish some of my parents had half the dedication that you do. I know it really helps your kids! Just thought you should know that.

Sqkrchik said...

Wow. That cover looks great. Lots of work, but you made it work. Kudos.

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