Wednesday, 22 May 2013

A phone-cosy for all seasons

My phone has a new home.

I'm much more excited by the case than by the phone inside it. It's taken a lot of experimenting with various gadget cosies and cases, but at last I've happened on a quick and satisfying way to make then whole case (including the lining) in one step, with no seams showing.

I'm thinking that there are two groups of people who might want a gadget-cosy:

1 - those who love their gadgets and want to protect them;


2 -  those who hate their gadgets and want to hide them away.

That would be everyone. Almost. So I'm sharing photos of the process just in case it saves someone else a few hours of fabric origami.

And here's what I did...

(please bear with me on the tedious measuring stages at the start - it's really just one long rectangle - there's no actual maths going on here).

First I drew around my phone.

Then I drew a box  about a quarter of an inch outside the phone's outline (I'll talk about 'the box' quite a lot in these instructions, for want of a better description).

Next, I drew some parallel lines half an inch from the long sides of the box, for seam allowances.

I measured from the top to the bottom of the box, and added identical rectangles (the same length) above and below, to create one very long rectangle, then added half-inch seam allowance at the top and bottom. In the photo below the dotted lines along the short ends of the rectangle mark the half inch seam allowances. The solid line just below the phone, at the bottom of 'the box', will be where the fabric is folded later, so I'll be calling that the fold line.

Just in case that sounds too theoretical, this is how it worked out for me:

My phone was 3" wide, and I added 1/4" each side for the box, plus 1/2" seam allowances = 4.5" width.
It was 4.5" long, and I added 1/4" above and below for the box, making 5".
Then I added a 5" long rectangle below, plus 1/2" seam allowance = 5.5".
And a 5" rectangle above, plus 1/2" seam allowance = 5.5".
So the final pattern piece was 16" long by 4.5" wide.

I used my long rectangle to cut a piece of outer fabric and a piece of lining. I chose to use some quite thick outer fabrics in order to provide a bit more protection from accidental bumps: a wool boucle for the kindle, and a thick felt for the phone. The linings were Liberty scraps (I knew they'd come in useful sometime!).

I also cut an extra piece of lining fabric measuring 2" by 4.5" which I interfaced, folded in half lengthways and stitched along its long edge...

... then I turned it right-side-out and pressed it into a tube..

... and stitched it to the right side of my outer fabric, about 1" below the fold line.

That's the end of the preparation, and this is where it gets a bit more interesting.

I sewed the outer and lining pieces with right sides together along their bottom short edge. I pressed the seam well and under-stitched the lining...

...then pressed it again with the wrong sides together and right sides facing out. 

Here it is: I've turned it over so that the sewn seam is at the top, and the lining is above the outer fabric. It helped to have the paper pattern beside me at this stage:
I placed the paper pattern beside the fabric, so that the sewn edge was level with the line at the top of 'the box'.

Then I folded the lining fabric up along the fold line, with its right sides together, so that the raw edge was level with the top of my paper pattern and the wrong side was now facing up (allowing a peek at the wrong side of the outer fabric beneath). I pinned it along the fold line, just as a temporary measure to hold it in place for the next step.

I flipped the fabric over, so the outer was above the lining, and folded up the outer fabric in exactly the same way: folding up along the fold line, right sides of outer fabric together, upper raw edge aligned with top of paper pattern.

The sewn edge is now sandwiched between the two layers (though that's hard to show in a photograph).

And then I stitched along both long sides, pivoting at the top corners to sew about an inch along the short upper edge as well, but leaving a two inch opening at the top for turning through. The stitching lines are just visible in this photo below.

I trimmed the corners...

.. and turned it through the gap.

Ta dah! All of a sudden it looked almost finished.

I slip-stiched the gap at the top closed, and also hand-stiched the corners in order to taper the flap slightly. I suppose I could have sewn it with slight taper, and might do that next time.

And it was done.

The phone slips in nicely and the flap tucks neatly under the band.

I like the long flap, though of course it would work with a shorter one too. My original gadget-cosy was a case for my kindle, which had a shorter, curved flap and a button closure.

I'd be tempted to do another like this, even though the bound buttonhole more than doubled the construction time! I used this tutorial for the buttonhole, and have to say that it makes me very happy, so the time invested in it was more than justified.

I wouldn't recommend the smaller flap for a mobile phone case - the thickness of the fabric means that it doesn't fold over especially neatly, whereas the longer flap flips over beautifully, and the band provides a satisfying splash of colour.

A case this pretty might even teach me to love my phone...