You finally got your new iPad Air and but don't like any of the store bought cases. You know you'll end up dropping it and crack the screen. You don't want to just shove it in your backpack to get all scratched up. Sleeves are pretty lame. So what are you to do?
Stop crying and make your own you lazy bum.
Step 1: Tools
You need some basic tools and materialesto make this look professional.
-Knife (snap off utilities are nice, no sharpening)
-Metal straight edge
-Variety of leather punches
-1" round strap end punch
-cloth tape measure
-Sewing machine (some home sewing machines are strong enough but I have a commercial machine)
I do a lot of projects that are hand stitched but this cover has a lot of stitching
-Leather (about 2.5 sq. ft. of leather for shell 1 sq. ft. of suede for inside cover)
-Thickish grey board (stiffener for cover and for patterns)
The last two pics show a wider variety of tools if you get into leather working more. See my other instructables
Step 2: Make patterns
First things first...you're going to have to make your own patterns. I sell these covers commercially and can't provide the patterns. Sorry...
Make a sketch of your case and how you want it to work. Make a list of all the parts you will need to complete it. I had previously gone through a lot of prototyping when making covers for the iPad 2-4 and stuck with that same design idea. My cover is going to be a slip on type with a hinged front that will fold around the back and allow you to stand it up to type or watch a movie.
Using scrap pieces of leather and a cloth tape measure you can figure out your dimensions. I used a scrap strip on top and bottom of the iPad to get the lengths of various pieces at the same time. You need to know what your stitch allowance will be and stick to that. You have to be super precise on your lengths and stitch allowance. I usually follow the edge of the walking foot on my machine that is about 2.5mm from the center of needle.
One of the most difficult things about making a cover for any tablet is getting the holes for any buttons, cameras, mics and what have you to line up perfectly. To do this somewhat easily I taped a piece of vellum to the back side of the ipad (Lost the pics!) With the vellum in place you just need to trace around each of the buttons or cameras and mark the suggested cutout area. Read this from Apple. You can also use the vellum to get your total back dimensions at this time. Bend the vellum around the curve and trace around the iPad. Add your stitch allowances plus 1mm on each side.
Follow these steps for each piece. I'd wait and finish the entire back and front of the case before making the cover.
Step 3: Transfer patterns onto leather
Mark your pattern onto your leather with a scratch awl. Use a straight edge for the long straight lines. Then cut out all the buttons and camera holes using a combination of punches and a knife.
Step 4: Make screen front
Cut your pieces for the screen front. They are made by layering two pieces of leather together. Each corner overlaps to make a strong joint. Use contact cement to join pieces.
Step 5: Join front and back
Glue the front to the back piece taking care that glue does not squirt out of the cutout holes. Your front should be slightly smaller in height and width that the back. This is because the back curves around the edges. Sew it together and take your time.
Step 6: Make your front cover
It's a little tricky to get the proper dimensions for the front cover. You have to take into account the curve around the left side of the cover with the iPad in the case. If you make it slightly large you can trim it off before you attach it to the back.
Cut out your front piece and mark on the back side where the stiffener will go. Use contact cement to attach them. Cut the inside of the cover oversized about a 1/2" out of suede. Glue it up. Use a bone folder or the backside of a Sharpie to get the sharp edge around the stiffener. Sew around it and up the fold line. Cut off the excess.
Step 8: Attach flap
You need to attach a flap to the back that will act kind of as a kickstand for the cover to slip into to make it stand. It needs to be placed precisely so the cover will be well balanced and won't fall over easily.
The flap is one piece that is cemented on the backside and folded once. Then sewn onto the back.
Step 9: Add iPad
Add some Pyrography if you want.
Slip in your iPad and enjoy!