This is how to make a neat, protective cover for an e-reader from an old woollen jumper.  The dimensions given are for the current (in March 2013) basic Kindle model with a 6” display and no keyboard, which measures 166 mm x 114 mm x 8.7 mm.  However, it would be easy to make one to suit other sizes of e-reader or tablet.  It fastens with a hook and loop closure because anything hard like a button, buckle or press stud might damage the Kindle if pressure is applied to it.  A trim around the opening edge neatens the cover and makes it more hardwearing.  The whole thing is washable and is soft enough to avoid scratching the device as it is slipped in and out, yet the thickness of the felt will save it from knocks and, of course, protect it from extremes of heat/cold too. 

You will need
  • An old, adult-sized, 100% wool, non-superwash sweater
  • A scrap of patterned cotton fabric in a toning colour
  • Matching sewing thread
  • A Velcro (hook and loop closure) dot or short length of Velcro tape
  • Paper, pencil and ruler to make a pattern
  • Sewing machine
  • Dressmaking scissors
  • Pins, needles, tacking thread
  • Chalk pencil or water-soluble crayon
  • Washing machine
  • Iron, preferably steam
  • A ½” or ¾” (12mm or 18mm) bias binding maker (optional)
It is important that the jumper you use is 100% wool, or nearly so, and is not superwash treated since that process strips off the scales on the outside of the fibres that make them prone to getting tangled and felting.  You might get away with up to 10% nylon or polyester in the blend, or perhaps a slightly bigger proportion of another animal hair fibre, but 100% wool will felt easiest and quickest.  This is a great use for an old sweater that has already had an unhappy washday experience, or has worn elbows or suffered minor moth attack, but if you don't have such a sweater then look for something suitable in a jumble sale or charity shop.  Fair Isle designs look terrific when felted. 

Step 1: Felting the fabric

The Kindle cover is made out of an old jumper that has been felted (or, strictly speaking, milled).  One wash in the machine at 90oC (195oF) will probably achieve this, but who washes at such temperatures nowadays?  Instead, throw the jumper in with a wash of cottons at 40oC (105oF) or above.  Agitation is just as important as heat in getting the fibres to matt together, which is why it needs to be a vigorous cotton wash not one for synthetics, and why it is best put in with other items rather than on its own.  When it comes out, it should already have shrunk a little (if not, put it back in the next wash, or try a higher temperature) and you can cut apart the seams without fear of it unravelling.  Separate it into a front, back and 2 sleeves.  You will only need a front or back for this project, but you might as well felt the rest of it too.

Keep putting the sweater pieces back in the washing machine every time you do a wash until they are about half to two thirds the size they started off at and nice and thick and a little stiff.  In between washes, hang them up in the fresh air so they don’t go mouldy through being wet all the time.  Also, each time you remove them from the machine, check to see that they aren’t creased – if you don’t deal with creases they will get worse and be impossible to remove.  Use a steam iron (or a damp cloth and a dry iron) to remove any creases after each wash.

It may take 5 or 6 washes at 40 or 50oC (105 or 120oF) to get the necessary degree of felting.  Then dry the material thoroughly and press it flat with the steam iron.  If the jumper is patterned (like the stripes in the one I used), you may need to tug the pieces into shape as you steam them to get rid of distortions in the pattern.
It looks so comfy! great instructions and neatly done :)
great work with documentation! I love that you upcycled a sweater or clothing into a case for your kindle or iPad- I'm interested in seeing if can turn an old quilt into a padded case myself.
Thank you! Post a photo of your case when you've made it, I'd love to see it.

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Bio: I like making things - anything and everything - and figuring out how to do things by myself. I blog about it as YorkshireCrafter on Wordpress.com. More »
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