Make an iPad cover
Like many of you out there, Jo and I love the portable function and all-around awesomeness of our iPads. They are just so versatile that we often wonder how we ever got along without them! Like any expensive device, though, we want to protect them with a cover. Rather than pay big bucks for one of the many available (and boring) iPad covers on the market, I decided to make my own custom iPad cover. I started the design process by looking at our custom Kindle cover, which just needed a few adaptations to work for the iPad. The most important feature (besides looking cute, of course!) is that the iPad case needs to also serve as a stand for when I want to watch videos. You might be surprised at just how easy this cover is to make!
NOTE: This tutorial was designed for an original series iPad, which measures approximately 7.5″ wide, 9.5″ tall, and 0.5″ thick. If you have a later series iPad (like an iPad2 or iPad Mini), you will need to adjust the measurements accordingly for your case.
The first thing you’ll need is some heavy chipboard for the inside of the case. Don’t use regular corrugated cardboard from a box, because it will bend too easily. Use something solid and sturdy. A great upcycled source for chipboard is the back of a heavy-duty notebook or the inside of a binder cover.
You need to cut five pieces of chipboard using the following measurements. Go ahead and mark each piece with its number so that you don’t get them mixed up later.
- Piece #1: 10″ x 7 1/2″
- Piece #2: 10″ x 1/2″
- Piece #3: 10″ x 7 3/4″
- Piece #4: 10″ x 1/2″
- Piece #5: 10″ x 3 3/4″
You’ll also need about a half a yard of fabric, cut in three pieces using the following measurements. This is where you get to have a lot of fun and choose something that really matches your personality!
- Piece #1: 10 1/2″ x 23″
- Piece #2: 10 1/2″ x 15 1/2″
- Piece #3: 10 1/2″ x 8″
Finally, you’ll need some 1″ wide elastic. This is the trickiest supply to find, because it’s so hard to find colored elastic. If your fabric looks good with white or black, then you’re in luck, because white and black elastic are readily available. I was actually very lucky (and amazed) to find a gorgeous teal elastic within a selection of new knit elastics by Dritz in our local Jo-Ann Fabric store. I don’t see it for sale online yet, but keep an eye out. I’ve also seen quite a selection of colored fold-over elastic online and in Hobby Lobby stores, and that’s a good option. Also keep in mind that you don’t have to use 1″ wide elastic, and can use something thinner if you find it in a color you like. I like the security of the wider elastic, though.
Cut four pieces of elastic 4″ long and one piece 11″ long.
Okay, now that the supplies are straight, let’s get started! Take the four shorter pieces of elastic and lay them on the corners of your smallest piece of fabric and pin them in place. Make sure that the ends of the elastic completely reach the sides of the fabric.
Then use your sewing machine to run a quick row of stitches on each end of the elastic, as close as possible to the edge of the fabric.
This will add extra security to the elastic straps and also keep them in place during the rest of the construction.
Use your scissors to trim off the excess corners of the elastic, taking care not to trim too closely.
Lay the smallest piece of fabric on top of the middle piece of fabric, right sides together, and line the edges up all the way on the right side.
Using a 1/4″ seam allowance, sew the pieces together on the right side, then open them up and lay them flat.
Place the largest piece of fabric face down on top of what you’ve got so far, and line it up on the right side again. Using a 1/4″ seam allowance, sew the pieces together on the right side.
Use a ruler to measure 2 inches from the row of stitches and make a mark with a pen. Do this at both ends of the row of stitches.
Slip the long piece of elastic in between the pieces of fabric, so that it sticks out the top and bottom. Line it up so that the elastic is centered on the marks you made, and pin in place.
Now use your sewing machine to sew along the two long sides of the fabric. You should now have a rectangular “bag” that’s only open on the left, and sewn on the other three sides. The diagram below shows in yellow where the sewing should be, and also where the elastic should be.
Flip the bag inside out and you should have a set of corner braces on the front side and and an elastic band on the back side.
Take piece #1 of your chipboard and slip it inside the fabric, all the way down to the end.
With the chipboard shoved down into the fabric as far as possible, and the fabric pulled taught, use your sewing machine to run a row of stitches along the edge of the chipboard, as close as you can get it without sewing through the chipboard (that’s a good way to break a needle!)
Put chipboard piece #2 into the fabric next, and shove it all the way down in place.
Then run another row of stitches as close to it as you can to piece #2.
Continue with chipboard pieces #3 and #4, adding a row of stitches after each one.
Finally, put chipboard piece #5 in place, and you should have a couple inches of fabric left on the end.
To close the end up, start by folding one side of the fabric down over the chipboard.
Then tuck the other side in on itself, to create a smooth and even fold.
Use a slip-stitch to close up the seam. If you need help with a slip-stitch, check out Lesson 10 in our Sewing 101 video series to learn the technique.
And just like that, you’re done!
Just slip your iPad under the elastic corners and you’re good to go.
To close the case up, just pull the cover over top of the iPad, wrap it around, flip it over, and stick the flap under the elastic band on the back.
The cover is so snug and secure and makes it so easy to carry the iPad around in style.
And if you want to hold the iPad in your hands, the flaps fold up to create a slim and sleek case that is easy to hold.
The best part, though, is that the stand lets you prop the iPad up for watching movies. Just open the case back up and fold the cover back on itself, and form a triangle with the flaps. I just love it!