My numbers might be off, but at last count, I think there were about eight hundred thirty-two bajillion sewing/crafting/parenting/homeschooling lifestyle blogs out there. I guarantee many of those bloggers can sew circles around me (probably literally, if given enough fabric and thread) and thank goodness, because I learn from them. They are all out there already doing a great job so it doesn’t make any sense for me to write these posts if I am not going to be myself and be honest. This blog is about the process, not the end result. It’s about the fact that if I can do it, anyone can. And I don’t just mean sewing. I don’t care how old you are or what you want to learn or try. If I can sew, if I can live in a travel trailer, you can (insert whatever you want to learn or do here). I do these things, but it’s not always easy. I’m going to tell you my secret today. Ready? Here I go:
I fail miserably on a regular basis.
Whew, glad I got that off my chest. Don’t feel bad for me, I’m not sad. I fail at all kinds of things. I used to be SO afraid to fail, but now I’ve done it so much that it’s one of my best skills. Sometimes, I even enjoy it. I’ll give you an example.
I hadn’t planned on doing a DIY Kindle sleeve for the blog (since I already followed an Ipad sleeve tutorial and wrote about it here), but I have been reading a bit more than usual on my Kindle lately so I decided I wanted to try a sleeve for it on my own, without a pattern or tutorial. I wanted to design it myself and figured it couldn’t be that hard. I recently did the same thing with a wine tote (tutorial coming soon) and that worked out pretty well, I thought. So I set out to make my own Kindle sleeve, just for me, and here it is:
Oh wait, those are all the failures. The mistakes. The rejects. One after another I tried and I was just missing my mojo. I was measuring wrong, cutting wrong, getting the steps in the wrong order. A point came with each one where I realized it wasn’t going to work and had to scrap it. Surprisingly, I felt very little frustration. I just tossed it aside and moved on. I think I didn’t get frustrated because I really do love the process. I really do just love to sew!
I always set goals for myself with each sewing project. Setting goals when learning a new skill is so important. It would be better to do the same project ten times with different goals set for each, than to do ten different projects without meeting any new goals.
I set the following goals for my Kindle sleeve project:
- As mentioned, I wanted to design it myself with no reliance on a pattern or tutorial.
- I wanted to see no raw edges anywhere on the finished product.
- I wanted it to have pockets on both sides to hold other items, like pieces of paper with notes.
- My husband added that even though my Kindle is not the touch screen kind, it would be cool to have a place for a stylus, since this same design could then be used for any tablet we have in the future (or as a gift for someone with a touch screen tablet).
After five failed attempts, I finally have the Kindle sleeve I want. It is not my favorite combination of fabrics, but my daughter was included in this process and I find that the more she is a part of my projects, the better for everyone. This was her choice of fabrics, and I will use it for my Kindle happily because she was involved.
I am going to give you the step by step on how I did this now but I don’t think it’s fair to call it a tutorial, because it’s not that exact and my hope is that you will see what I did, let it give you some ideas and take a stab at something better and different. Improve on it. Make it your own.
*Read through all the steps before you start. It will make more sense that way.*
**The measurements are for my basic Kindle but you can adjust them to your tablet. My Kindle is 4 1/2″ X 6 1/2″ and about 1/4″ thick. Add inches as needed for your device.**
First, gather your materials. You will need:
- Fabric (I used two prints. I had 1/2 yard of the flowered print and a fat quarter of the blue)
- Some type of batting (I used double-sided fusible batting)
- Rotary Cutter
- Cutting Mat
- Iron and Some type of surface to iron on
- Sewing machine with needle and thread
With the following measurements, my Kindle fit VERY snug. If you want, you could probably add a 1/2″ to the width for ease of getting it in and out.
Cut one long piece of fabric 9 1/2″ X 35 ” (this will be known as the “main” piece hence forth)
Cut two pieces for your pockets each 9 1/2″ X 8 1/4″
Cut one piece of batting 8″ X 10″
Fold the long edges of your main piece of fabric toward the wrong side 1/4″ once and iron, then fold 1/4″ again, iron, and sew. You’re basically just hemming the egdes, like this:
Do the same to hem the 8 1/4″ side edges of your pockets. So you should have this (in the picture, mine are pinned but not hemmed yet, but you get the idea):
Now fold the main piece in half wrong sides together and fold the two pockets in half wrong sides together.
Arrange the pockets (with the folded sides up) and your kindle on the main piece so that when you fold the bottom of the long piece up, it covers the Kindle. This makes more sense in a pic:
In that second pic above, I had not folded it all the way up yet. Fold it so that end of the main piece (which is the folded end) is over the top of the Kindle, so the Kindle is covered. That is going to be the slot that you put the Kindle in. Now mark where the fabric is folded.
Let me explain why this is happening. Basically when you remove the Kindle you could then sew along the sides and the bottom, turn it right side out, and you would have the blue pockets on the outside and the flowery fabric inside, which is where the kindle is placed. But we’re not going to do that yet if you want to have slots for your stuff (like stylus, credit card, etc).
For that, you need to cut your elastic to match the width of your long piece and position at what level you want it inside your pocket. I did that here. This was just to “eyeball” where I wanted it.
So you’re just determining where the elastic will go inside your pocket. Once you determine where it should go you have to open up your main piece and sew it into that spot on one single layer of the fabric. Use your own stuff to determine where to sew the slots as I did here. I made different sized slots all the way across.
So what you should have now looks like the below. You have the main piece folded up with the fold on the bottom, the two pockets folded with the folds facing up, and the elastic sewn (onto just a single layer of the long piece) where if you now imagine that you were folding it up at where you marked it with the Kindle in it earlier, the elastic would be between one of the pockets and your main piece.
At this point you can position your batting inside the folded main piece so that when folded up around the Kindle, it would cushion the front and back. Imagine in the picture below, the batting is in there, the bottom of the batting is positioned down there in the bottom fold of the long piece. Mine was fusible, so I ironed it in there to stick. If you have regular batting, you would have to sew it in there (a big X would work).
It’s at this point I should tell you that what I SHOULD have done next was to sew a piece of velcro onto the middle of that blue pocket right there that you’re looking at in the above picture. Getting it on there later was a HUGE pain. Position your Velcro just above center on that pocket and sew it into place. Make sure it is on the side of the pocket that faces inward toward the other pocket in the above picture (that will be the outside when you turn your work right side out. Now let’s move on.
Fold up the bottom to where it would cover the Kindle, pin it in place and sew along the sides and bottom. You can just start at the top of one side then go down, along the bottom edge, then back up the other side. I don’t have a pic of that step but here is what it looks like once you turn your work right side out. The elastic is now inside that blue pocket. Your’s should also have a piece of Velcro on that blue pocket.
Here is the other side with a pocket as well:
Now turn in those sides of the flap the way I have in the picture above and sew them down.
Then turn the top down twice (you may have to cut some length off the top first. I think I did but forgot to take note of how much.) Figure out where the other piece of Velcro should go to meet with its counterpart and sew that on. We are doing it this way so we don’t see the stitches on the other side. Then turn it down and sew the hem (see the pic below).
And you’re done!
Have a look down in there to see the elastic “stuff holder” in action!
I hope you have fun if you try this. And if you fail, as I did, I hope you try again!
What kinds of projects have you failed lately?