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Picture of Protect the Tech
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Recycle cast off denim into a convenient caddy with three separate pockets to protect delicate expensive gadgets from your keys, pens, half eaten granola bars and whatever else lurks in your backpack or purse. Add an optional wrist strap and it can double as a minimalist purse.

This is my SewUseful contest entry. See it for sale on Etsy! http://www.etsy.com/view_listing.php?listing_id=6412485
 
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Step 1: Simple ingredients and words of wisdom

Picture of Simple ingredients and words of wisdom
Choose a denim skirt or pair of jeans that has a zipper and intact pockets.

You'll also need a sewing machine, thread, scissors, pins, a pen (not pictured), some velcro, a seam ripper and measuring tape.

Important! Sewing denim is different than sewing other materials. Ideally you should use a special needle made for sewing denim. Also, a zipper foot to substitute for the regular foot on your sewing machine will make sewing this bulky project a lot easier (keep your regular foot close by for finishing the edges though).

Denim is strong - I broke two needles, a pair of scissors and a seam ripper making just two of these little pocket pals. That taught me some lessons I'll pass on to you: Don't force anything and Always cut through the thinnest area possible.

Finally, if you find that the bobbin (bottom) thread becomes loopy as you sew you may need a thicker upper thread. You can also raise the sewing machine's tension setting for the top thread.

Step 2: Slash the jeans

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Start by creating cutting lines around the pockets. Use your measuring tape and pen. I used a one-inch seam allowance around the sides and bottom and 3/4 inch above the top. In retrospect 3/4 inch all the way around would have been enough. Once your cutting lines are traced, cut out the pockets.

Use your seam ripper to remove the zipper (picture two). Cut through one stitch at a time, ripping about every third stitch. After you've ripped a few stitches this way you may be able to start pulling the zipper away from the fabric to make the going easier. This will be by far the hardest part of this project. Keep the faith.

Optional: if you want this caddy to have a little strap or handle, use scissors to cut up both sides of one of the double sewn seams to make a "cord" (picture three). Cut a piece of this cord 10-12 inches long, or however long you want to make the strap your preferred size.

Step 3: Attach the zipper

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Set one of the pockets face up on your work surface. Place the zipper over it, zipper tab down, with the zipper centered over the top of the pocket. Line up the edge of the zipper material with the edge of the denim and pin them together. Sew this side along the entire length of the zipper. Use a zipper foot if you have it. (picture two). Careful! Don't sew over your fingers or pins.

Now pin and sew the zipper to the other pocket in the same manner, with the zipper tab down against the other pocket. The pockets will be right side together as you pin and sew.

When you have attached each side of the zipper to a pocket, open the piece up and unzip the zipper. (picture three)

Step 4: Optional step - skip if you're going strapless

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If you want a strap/handle for your caddy place the cord you cut earlier on the face side of one of the pockets. Put the ends in one of the upper corners, with the raw ends of the cord coming off to the side. The raw edges should be lined up against the raw edge of the pocket unless, like me, you cut out your pocket with too much extra material on the sides. In this case they should be just inside, as the picture shows.

Pin the edges here, one next to the other. Make sure that you leave the pins sticking out far enough from the edges as shown, so you will still be able to see them in the next step. DO NOT pin the strap edges on top of each other. Most sewing machines can not handle that kind of thickness and you will end up with a broken needle or worse.

Step 5: Side and bottom seams

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Flip one pocket down over the other (make sure that zipper is unzipped!). Line up the pockets so they are as even as possible. Then pin all along the sides and bottom.

Sew along the sides and bottom, about 1/2" from the edge, removing the pins as you go.

Step 6: Finish the edges

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Use a zig zag (shown) or overlock stitch over the raw denim edges to keep them from fraying. Oh how that denim loves to fray.

Step 7: Flip it

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Trim any errant threads, turn your caddy right side out and enjoy the beauty. But wait! To really protect your tech you need one more step!

Step 8: Add the velcro

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Velcro on the outside pockets makes them secure enough to hold your tech.

Cut four velcro strips (two pieces of hook side and two pieces of loop side) about 1.5 inches by 1/3 inches. I used this long skinny size because it closed off more of the pocket opening, and because it fit perfectly behind the top pocket seam, meaning I didn't have to show any of my stitches through onto the front of the pocket where the velcro attaches - I can put all my stitches on the backside of that seam (picture two).

Thread a handsewing needle with some thread (preferably matching the velcro or the denim) and attach the velcro however you wish. Put lots of stitches in to make sure the velcro can hold on through the stress of hundreds of rippings apart. I took my first stitch through the denim to anchor the knot, then used small whipstitches.

After you attach one velcro strip, do your best to line up it's mate, pin it in place and sew it on. Do the same with the other pocket and...

Step 9: Enjoy

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Ahhhh.... that wasn't so hard. Now you can take your tech wherever you want, without pricey plastic cases! Go forth and spread the word...
latchhook2 months ago

i can not downlond it let me know right now

EmilyT1 made it!8 months ago

I made mine out of an old uniform, on the other side is another pocket and my name tape and i used the zipper from the uniform trousers, some might see it as destroying a uniform but it was my old one and it's a nice way to use the fabric of uniforms I won't wear again without feel like I'm just throwing them away and I love the idea that I can functionally use the pockets!

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Made one a few weeks ago. Great 'ible, though I opted for a thicker strap. Gave it to a very happy 11 year old girl who has declared she will store snacks in it. Thanks!
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letterladyz4 years ago
I used a razer blade and (very) carefully cut out the zipper. Seemed to go a lot faster, and I didn't have to strain my seam ripper!!! :D
Plus, I also used my rotary cutter and straight edge which made things go a little faster and easier.
skarabey5 years ago
i like it.
jenniahart5 years ago
Great tutorial- I don't know what is wrong though, when it prints the instructions go all wonky. I'm going to try and alert admin to check on this.
kaste7 years ago
I love this! I've already made one as a gift, and have more planned. Thank you!
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=SMART= kaste5 years ago
hahaa scanning it in, thats awesome !!
mg0930mg6 years ago
The only problem it looks very girly.
Kaber6 years ago
Thanks for the idea/instruction. I made mine similarly to Cluckie. I used a side cargo pocket and a back zippered pocket from some cute Cargo pants. I used the waistband as a shoulder strap. It's the perfect size for taking on a hike. water bottle, granola bar, & lip gloss in the middle and the side pockets are good for my cell phone & GPS and the other holds cash and my ID card. I can stick a pen through the beltloop on the 'waistband-shoulder strap'. I still need to make a drawstring closure though.
Cluckie6 years ago
Instead of using back pockets, I used the side leg pockets from a pair of my son's trashed denim cargo shorts. Since both of them had velcro flaps, I ended up with 3 large secured pockets (including the center zippered section). It's square too...instead of having the "v" shape at the bottom. By using the different pockets, it's too big for my tech stuff, but it's a fantastic makeup case or smallish purse. Thank you for the inspiration and the perfect instructions!
Wow, this is an awesome project. I would love for you to put up more jean projects. rock on!
maryk86 years ago
made this today - thanks so much for the great instructions!
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8bit6 years ago
My girlfriend and I learned a lot about sewing from this! Lined the zippered pouch with some crushed velvet to keep a PDA screen from getting scratched. Thanks a lot for posting. It looks really good.
Thanks for your Step 1 instructions. I have broken 7 needles trying to make a shopping bag and purse. Now I know what to do.
I cut a pocket out of an old pair of pants and then I tell people they dropped their pocket.
Gage9877 years ago
you say no plastic cases yet your ipod is in one
Bitsi7 years ago
hmmm.. having that zipper so close to my phone's touch screen makes me nervous. Gotten any scratches?
kimsfocus7 years ago
This is awesome, I'm going to make one tomorrow! I may try it with a non-denim pair of pants - has anyone tried that yet? Kim
I actually did this about 4 years ago for my friend as a CD case. It was actually pretty neat. I embroidered onto it the CD title and the band.
miss5murder7 years ago
is there a way to make one side the front pocket and the other side the back pocket? because i got a hole in my fave. pair of pants on one side, but i would still like to use the other side to make something like this. or, just to get two of these out of one pair of pants. but this is a great idea.
miss5murder7 years ago
(slightly unrelated) but. when i used a iSkin, dirt+dust got between the skin and the ipod and then, when the skin would move a little bit, the dirt would be ground into the ipod, making it worse to use a skin then not. has anyone else had this problem?
robefran8 years ago
I like it...another use for my recycled denim.
umm.. i will just use my ipod silicon skin :-| its good enouf than carrying an external pocket.
muffyhorn78 years ago
maybe line it with something waterproof.... or spray the entire thing every six months with that spray-on, silicone-based, fabric sealant. with the open top edges, you could still get it wet, but not as easily.
rockyt8 years ago
is it for gurls only?
sagefemme (author)  rockyt8 years ago
No, you can make it with or without the strap, regardless of your gender! Just depends on how you want to use it.