Homemade iPad Case

May 12, 2010

A few days ago I popped into the Pasadena Apple Store to look at iPad cases. I had thought that my requirements were fairly simple: a landscape slipcase with easy iPad insertion/removal that can itself be easily moved in and out of my bag. Everything at the store, however, seemed bulky, expensive and inelegant.

His spidey sense tingling at my obvious indecision (or perhaps just tickled by his curly beard), an impetuously precocious Apple employee approached. His admonition, however, was not one I expected: “now, nobody from Apple is telling you this, but if I were you, I’d go to etsy and buy a handmade case instead.” Cue my white liberal guilt.1 Being thus rendered unable to feel good about buying yet another petroleum-derived consumer product made by underpaid workers in the third world, I decided to make my own case.

finished product

To be fair, the case is made from vegetarian leather, which is still petroleum-derived2, but I rescued the material from a doomed college project 3 so I think it technically constitutes recycling.

soft and fuzzy inside!

The inside of the case is made from car headliner fabric. You know, the kind that you used to get yelled at for picking off the roof of your parents’ Plymouth Volare? No? Was that just me?

two pieces of fabric

The entire case is made from two pieces of fabric, folded onto itself in various ways. All edges had to be folded over twice because the veggie leather is backed with fuzzy white stuff which doesn’t look good when it’s exposed. The exact dimensions are a closely guarded secret 4.

sewing seams

Seams were sewn on a Singer 301a that belonged to my late grandmother. I’m afraid I have a long way to go in learning how to use it properly, but I hope my attempt would have made her proud.


Using scotch tape along the seams really helped the machine glide along without bunching the material. The tape can be removed afterward by carefully pulling perpendicular to the seam, otherwise you end up with a bunch of small tape pieces that must be pulled out from under the thread by hand.

train buddy

The finished case works nicely for propping the iPad up while typing on the train.

ample posterior

I enjoyed this project immensely. It was a real kick to make something I’ve never attempted before from materials that were lying around. Hope you enjoyed it too!

More pictures and comments can be found at this project’s flickr set →.

Oh, and to my bearded muse in the bright turquoise t-shirt, if you’re reading this and still haven’t made up your mind about your own case, I’ll totally make you one of these.

1 While I am white, I’m not as that liberal and harbor virtually no guilt.
2 Which means it’s made from animals that died naturally a long time ago, rather than recently by human hands.
3 I was trying to make a folding poker table with a nice felt surface and leather border. Then someone stole all the wood pieces I had cut along with the brass hardware. Sad face.
4 Meaning they were pulled directly from my posterior region and I might not be able to reproduce them if I wanted to.