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Custom Gadget Case: Introduction, Materials, and Making Your Pattern

In this part of the class, I'm going to show you how to make a custom gadget case for your phone, laptop or tablet. This case is great for keeping your gadget safe from scratches in a suitcase or bag, but it doesn't include any serious padding because we're sewing by hand.

Once you've learned how to make a case, it's easy to make another version on a sewing machine with batting or felt between the lining and outer fabrics to make the case padded. :)

If you're REALLY new to sewing, I'd suggest sticking with a small case at first and working your way up to a laptop sleeve. Larger versions of these cases can take quite a while to sew by hand, and I'd hate for you to get frustrated!


Tools and Materials

Materials:

  • 1/2 yard quilting cotton for outside
  • 1/2 yard quilting cotton for lining
  • 4 inches of 1/16 inch round elastic cord in black or white
  • All purpose thread to match fabric
  • Button to match fabric

Typically 1/4 yard of fabric is the smallest amount you can buy, but that may be too little fabric if you're making a larger gadget case! Get 1/2 yard of fabric, and then you'll have extra to sew up some other things!

If you'd like to only make a phone or tablet case, you can try looking for precut fabric called "fat quarters" - they're typically 18x22 inches and lovely for small projects.

Tools:

  • Sewing needle
  • Sewing pins
  • Fabric measuring tape
  • Clear sewing ruler
  • Scissors (a rotary cutter + cutting mat is nice too!)
  • Pinking shears
  • Water soluble pen
  • Iron + ironing board
  • Chopstick, crochet hook or knitting needle for pressing out corners
  • Sewing gauge (optional but super helpful!)

Making a Custom Pattern

For this step, you'll need whatever gadget you'd like to make a case for and a fabric measuring tape. In this case I'm using my phone! If you often have your phone in a case, leave it in the case for the most accurate measurements.

This is possibly the most basic version of patternmaking out there, and it's an easy way to go for first timers. :)

Use your measuring tape to measure the case both vertically and horizontally as shown - you want to factor in how thick your gadget is, too!

To take the horizontal measurements, place the metal end of your tape measure against the middle right side of your phone as shown above on the left. Bring the tape measure across the phone and press it down and around the opposite side of the phone with your fingers so it touches the work surface you're measuring on. Take the measurement where the gadget meets the work surface.

To take the vertical measurements, place the metal end of the tape measure against the top edge of your phone. Make sure the metal end is resting on the surface the gadget is sitting on. Press the measuring tape down and around the bottom edge of the phone with your other hand. Pinch the measuring tape against the surface you're measuring on and take the measurement where the gadget edge meets the work surface.

It's better to round up if you're unsure about the numbers - just use 1/4 inch increments.

Add 1/2 inch to each of those measurements. The 1/2 inch we add will allow us to use 1/4 inch seam allowances as we sew.

Once you've got your measurements ready, we can move on to the next lesson!

CLASS PROJECT

Share a photo of your finished project with the class!

Nice work! You've completed the class project