Introduction: Create and Sew a Wacom Tablet Protector Sleeve
I'm a desk klutz. If there is a liquid, heavy object, or random food particle near me it will undoubtedly land on the one object it has no business touching. One of my beloved desk residents is my Wacom drawing tablet. This was a gift from the DH and I want to keep it and use it for many years to come. I have lived in fear of keeping it displayed on my desk for the noted reasons. I also need to transport my tablet, and I don't want it cracked in the process. Worry no more, I've sewn up a quick and inexpensive sleeve that it slips into to help keep it safe.
* You can score big points for just creating a sleeve for your SO to keep their expensive gadgets in without having to purchase the gadget too. :) A thoughtful gift that keeps on giving.
I love Wonder Woman and used her as the inspiration behind the construction of the sleeve. I created a free machine embroidery design element from the Wonder Woman logo. This was my first attempt at such a piece, and I'm pretty happy with how it turned out. There's always room for improvement, but I really enjoyed attempting a new technique that can be applied to any number of projects.
My favorite childhood toy, a 1976 Wonder Woman doll, was my lovely assistant and helped me photograph the tut.
While these instructions create a sleeve for a Wacom tablet, you could follow the general instructions and create a sleeve for any electronic device. ** The logo element I created was attached to the sleeve prior to sewing all fabrics together. Jump to step 8 if you want directions for the design element.
Be kind to your Wacom tablet and it will be kind to you. :)
Step 1: Supplies and Measurements
Measure your device.
You'll want length, width, and thickness.
I'm still learning when it comes to machine sewing, so I always tack on a few more inches to provide me with a little more wiggle room when it comes to sewing seams and matching up fabrics. Every time you need to flip the sleeve inside out and sew you are "eating" some of the length.
The equation I used was the following:
IR stands for inside room. This is a little extra I throw in so the device isn't so tight.
Width of fabric needed:
L + H + IR + 1.5 = my length measurement (see "L" designation on photo)
(9.5) + (.5) + 1 + 1.5 = 12.5"
Start of fabric length needed:
W + H + IR + 1 = my width measurement (see "W" designation on photo)
(8.75) + (.5) + .25 + 1 = 10.25"
Flap & Pocket measurement:
12.5 x 6.5
(length measurement of sleeve) x (desired width measurement)
So for this project I needed my fabric selections to be 12.5" W, but don't cut yet! We still need to calculate the length in step 2.
Grab a section of the newspaper and make yourself a template for your pattern.
This really helps me visualize my project. I take notes directly on the paper. I cut the newspaper template to the exact sizes that I am considering for the project.
You will need:
1. Scissors / Rotary Cutter
2. Sewing Machine and appropriate needles for the chosen fabrics
3. Thread(s) that matches your fabrics
5. Self-healing Cutting mat
6. Snap Fasteners
7. Section of the Newspaper
1. Fabric for exterior of the sleeve
2. Fabric for interior of the sleeve
3. Fabric for exterior pocket (I used the same fabric as the main exterior, but you could shake it up)
4. Polyester Quilt Batting - You can use cotton or bamboo too, I just had some polyester left over, so I used that.
Optional supplies to help create a design element & assist with sewing
* Walking foot for Sewing Machine
* Felt - to use as a backing for your logo design
* Iron - to press your fabrics
* Printer copies of the design element you wish to replicate on your sleeve
* Additional thread(s) for your embroidered design element
* Cross stitch floss
* Iron-On Transfer Pencil
* Embroidery needle
Step 2: Cutting of Fabric
Keeping this in mind: when finished, my sleeve on the inside measured 9" deep by 10.5" wide.
For the width of the fabric, I calculated 12.5" in the last step. When I sewed the seams, I turned them inside out twice. If each seam was exactly 1/4", this used up approximately 1" (1/4" each side is 1/2", and this happened twice) plus a bit extra. My seams were probably a bit fatter.
For the length of the fabric, add the width of the device and the height, then add 1" for seams. From the last step, I get 10.25". Double this for the top/bottom of the sleeve when laying flat. Doing this I get 20.5" and just made it 21".
For the flap, I wanted 6.5" overhang. I cut my fabric pieces to be 27.5" long. When finished, my flap was really 7" finished. I could have pulled the fold up about 1/4" higher to make the bottom of the pocket seam exactly on bottom, but it looks great where it is.
So for this project I needed my fabric selections to be 12.5" W x 27.5" L and my batting to be 12.5" W x 21" L.
Step 3: Back Pocket Construction
I wanted a pocket on the back side of my sleeve. Just a little something to carry a note pad. I wanted it created from the same exterior material I'd selected for the entire sleeve. I cut pocket piece that measured 12.5" w x 6.5" L
It is easiest to sew the bottom seam of the pocket to the back fabric before doing anything else. I measured 10.5" from the bottom (non flap end). Placing the right sides of the fabric together, the top edge (which will be the bottom of the pocket when done) at 10.5" with the rest of the pocket fabric hanging down towards the bottom.
Sew using a 1/4" seam allowance.
Step 4: Assembly of Fabric Pieces
Assemble the fabrics in the following order:
Bottom is the Exterior Fabric: Right side of the pattern is up (on top). Important, remember to flip the pocket up so the right side of the pocket material is on top.
When everything is together, you need to pin it so the pocket lays flat and tight. This step makes the finished pocket look good without any puckering.
Middle is the Interior Fabric: right side of the pattern is down (touching right side of exterior fabric)
Top layer is the batting. Ours had no right/wrong side.
Step 5: Sewing the Sleeve
To give you an idea of the settings I used on my sewing machine:
Thread tension was set at 6 (dial ranges 0-9)
Stitch length was set at 4.5 (dial ranges from 0-5)
I suggest you take some scrap pieces and assemble them all together. Stitch a line and flip it inside out to look at the stitching to ensure it is not too tight or too close together for your liking. Also, if things are too loose that isn't good either.
To sew, I started in the corner of the flap, sewed lengthwise to the bottom, across the bottom, and back up the other side, then across the flap half way. This gives enough room to turn inside out when ready, and has less to manually sew. Again, make sure the pocket is flipped correctly, and laying flat and tight so it doesn't pucker when turned inside out.
After 3 1/2 of the sides have been sewn by the machine, trim the seams of excess fabric but trying to leave at least 1/4" of fabric beyond the stitching. See photo. Also, you can trim a notch in the bottom corners so it puckers less when the fabric is turned inside out. Careful, don't cut through your stitching!
You should have a long piece of fabric, 12.5" W x 27.5" L
it should be three layers thick
Carefully turn the sleeve inside out, making sure you reach in with your finger or a dowel rod to push the corners out fully.
Now you can sew the line that both holds the top of the batting in place and is the start of the sleeve. Carefully sew across the sleeve, making sure you stay within 1/4" of the top of the batting, and verify that your stitching holds the batting tightly in place.
This seam is also where the sleeve folds on top of itself (the flap), and if you have accurately cut your batting and sewn the pocket on correctly, the bottom of the pocket seam will be exactly on the fold, and everything lines up to the flap stitching, you will now begin sewing. I gave myself a little extra seam allowance, and reached in with scissors (or pulling the sleeve out slightly) the opening to trim the batting carefully to 1/4", ensuring not to cut either of the fabrics in the process.
Step 6: Almost a Sleeve - Flip, Sew, Flip
Fold the bottom (non pocket end) up to meet the seam that I call the start of the flap. As you do this, the right sides of the exterior fabric will touch and form the inside of the sleeve as you sew the sides together.
Pin the perimeter of the sleeve tightly (I used handy clothes pins), leaving the opening or hole on the flap untouched. Now is a good time to check and make sure that your tablet fits as you wanted it to. Remember: you'll probably lose at least 1/2" of room inside the sleeve after flipping it inside out. If it is a tight fit here, it may not fit after sewing the edges.
Place the sleeve in the sewing machine and sew along your pinned perimeter. My seam allowance was .25". I began sewing at the opening of the sleeve and worked my way towards the bottom folded edge and up the other side.
The layered fabrics and batting were a tight fit for my machine, but they didn't cause it to bog down. Any thicker and I would have had to sew it by hand. It is a good idea to slow down a bit when sewing thicker materials. Tip: If you need to sew by hand, you'll need a thimble!!
Now the magic begins.
As shown, the flap is away from you facing up. The sleeve needs to be flipped. Taking your hand, push up the bottom seam of the sleeve, pushing the fabric through the opening by the flap. Again, push the corners in fully so they don't pucker.
Your exterior fabric should now be on the outside of the sleeve and your chosen interior fabric on the inside of the sleeve. The flap should close over the opening of the sleeve, and you should have a pocket on the back of the sleeve. Is everyone in the proper place?
Your sleeve is almost complete!!!
Step 7: Finishing Touches & Sleeve Closures
Remember that I left an opening on the flap back in step 5?
Well, now you need to sew this closed by hand. Thread or cross stitch floss will work great. You could even use a good fabric glue if you like.
We had some vintage snaps to sew in place. Line them up where you want them and sew to attach, being careful to put the bottom on the bottom and the top on top so they actually snap when pressed. If you reverse them (they look similar if you don't notice) they will not snap!
You could do almost anything to close the flap. Make button holes in the flap and sew buttons on the bottom part, sew on hook and loop, etc. Whatever you think looks best and is easiest for you!
Step 8: Embroidery Design - Simple Sewing Machine Method
Choose Your Design Element & Trace It Out
I printed the Wonder Woman logo out on a laser printer on regular printer paper.
Since my image required no photo manipulation, I simply used an Iron-On Transfer Pencil to trace around the image. I went over the traced lines a few times.
Once I was happy with the tracing, I flipped the paper over, placing it face down onto the yellow sheet (12" x 12") of felt and per the instructions on the pencil, ironed the traced image onto the felt. This step took no time at all and didn't harm the felt.
Machine Embroidery Without the Fancy Embroidery Machine
You don't need a fancy embroidery machine to create your design element. If you've got one, go for it, but otherwise, you'll have to do a little free machine embroidery.
I used the same color thread for both the bottom and top threads. I used a regular zig zag stitch to sew along the logo. I adjusted the zig zag stitch to 1/8" wide and I turned my stitch length to very short, so this forms a continuous thick line. Corners are a challenge :)
Cut around the embroidered design element, leaving enough of a border to permit you to sew the element to the flap.
Attaching the design element to the flap:
I wanted my embroidered piece attached to the front of the sleeve flap. I didn't want the underside of the flap exposed, revealing the stitches I had used to attach the embroidered piece to the flap.
* Pin the embroidered element to the flap
* Using 2 threads of cross stitch floss, sew the design to the flap
** It was easier to attach this element to the exterior fabric before all fabrics were sewn together.
Step 9: Finished Wacom Tablet Protector Sleeve
End notes and future design changes if needed:
I don't mind the flap being slightly wider than the finished sleeve. Plus, I needed it for the logo I had sewn on the top. Making the sleeve wider on bottom would have been a bit loose for my device. If you want to avoid this and make the flap align with the sleeve, here is the change needed.
Instead of sewing the sleeve edges straight down, move the seam of the flap towards the inside by 1/4". So at the line across the top which holds the batting in place (start of the seam) your stitches will now be in another 1/4" compared to the side stitches below the line. You can trim off the excess after stitching down the sides. My machine will move the needle between the middle or left and right. These settings move the seam by 1/4" so you can flip that lever if you have it, or even start a new seam if you like. However, it gets the job done!