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How to Make a Lined Case for your E-Reader or Tablet Sewing Tutorial

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A couple weeks ago mentioned losses and damages I’ve experienced because I checked bags at the airport in my post on taking full advantage of your carry on liquids bag.

Well, I’m sorry to say, I have also lost things from my carry on/personal item. During my day trip to Kaua’i, I “lost” my Kindle after a hold-up with the person in front of me at security left my bags out of my sight/control for too long. I didn’t realize the loss for a little bit, and it really wasn’t worth pursuing because my Kindle was very old. In its case in the outside pocket of my bag, I think someone thought it was a tablet and snagged it. I like to imagine their annoyance when they realized it was actually a first generation Kindle filled with fantasy novels and and historical seamanship manuals!

I needed another Kindle in a hurry because I was about to take a pretty lengthy trip, so I ordered a factory refurbished one on Amazon with express shipping. I did not, however, order a new hard cover with express shipping. I was so spoiled by Amazon Prime shipping speeds on the Mainland, but in Hawaii the two day option costs extra, even with Prime. I didn’t want to set out with a totally unprotected Kindle, though, so I decided to make my own case!

My case does not offer the same level of protection given by one of those hard back, book-like cases, but it does protect the device from scratches while in transport and that’s got to count for something! I think of it as being an envelope-style sleeve more than a true “case.” Honestly, I’m kind of enjoying not having the extra weight of the case to hold while I’m reading. I made this case for my basic Kindle, but this sewing tutorial shows you the steps I used so you can adapt the project to make a case to fit your e-reader or tablet.

How to Sew a Custom Lined Case for Your E-ReaderTablet

I used flannel for the outside and inside of my case, but you can pretty much use whatever fabrics you’d like. I think flannel is a great choice, though, because it’s soft and kind on your device. You could use fleece for the inside, but it would make the case bulkier.

Adding a layer of batting would also bulk up the case, but it would up the protection factor, as well! You could also a cotton print inside and/or out. This would make the case lower profile, but it wouldn’t be quite as soft inside for your e-reader. It’s up to you, though – it’s your device and your project! If you don’t know where to find nice fabrics in your area, I recommend checking out fabric.com. It is one of my favorite websites! Both fabrics I used to make my case came from fabric.com. You could also take the opportunity to upcycle an old flannel shirt in your closet. =)

This project involves lots of straight lines, so a rotary cutter is a great choice and a cutting mat is the perfect way to measure your device.

If you don’t have a rotary cutter, that’s okay. You can measure your device with a regular ruler and either mark out your “pattern” on the fabric or make your own paper pattern by measuring and cutting computer paper, pinning it to the fabric, and cutting with scissors like you would any other pattern.

DIY lined e-reader case

As a final note on materials I used – I really like my KAM snap tool. KAM snaps are perfect for this project because the plastic snaps are less likely to scratch up your device than metal ones! If you don’t want to worry with snaps, you can attach ribbons as ties, use a button, or even leave off the closure and simply tuck the flap in. It’s totally up to you.

Materials needed to make you own e-reader/tablet case

  • Fabric. I used a flannel print and a double napped (fluffy on both sides) natural white flannel. You could use other materials, as discussed above
  • Rotary cutter and/or fabric scissors
  • Cutting mat (I bought a cutter, mat, and ruler as a set)
  • Ruler or quilting square
  • Sewing pins or Wonder Clips
  • Sewing machine with matching/coordinating thread
  • KAM snaps and tool, or your closure of choice
  • Iron and ironing board

I love to iron when I’m sewing. I iron or press my fabric and project between almost every step. It may seem like overkill, but it really helps insure crisp results! When working with flannel, pressing is better than “ironing.” Simply lift the iron to move it instead of sliding it along the fabric. Sliding the iron can warp flannels out of shape. And, if you love ironing and need a laugh, you may want to Google “extreme ironing.” No, really. It’s funny stuff.

How to make your own e-reader/tablet case

1. Figure out how big your device is! I really recommend writing these measurements down because there will be some light math involved. I placed my Kindle on my cutting mat and observed that it is about 4.75″ x 6.75″. Then I tilted it to find out it is roughly 1/4″ thick.

measure your device

2. Now it’s time for that light math. Your case needs to fit around you device and have a flap. If you have the same device as me, you can just use my pattern measurements. If you have a different e-reader or tablet, go through this process of your device. Here’s the math I did for my Kindle:

  • My Kindle’s is 4.75″ and the thickness .25″. I wanted the case to fit more like a mitten than a glove, so I added the .25″ thickness to each side, giving me a needed fabric width of 5.25″.
  • Because I wanted 5.25″ to be my finished width, I added seam allowances. At .25″ per side, that was an additional .5″ total.
  • But wait! There’s more! The way I designed the case requires a bit of extra space in order to stitch the case together. I allowed an additional .25″ on each side for this, or .5″ total. That means my fabric actually needed to be 6.25″ wide (52.25  + .5 + .5) in order to fit the way I wanted.
  • I went through the same process to figure the fabric’s height, only I also took the flap into account. The Kindle’s height is 6.75″. I only added .25″ for the thickness at the bottom because I planned to a account for the device’s thickness on the open end in my allowance for the flap. 6/75 + .25 = 7″.
  • Because the case is made envelope style with one continuous piece, I doubled this measurement to find the total length needed for the case’s body. 7″ x 2 = 14″.
  • The 14″ did not account for the flap, so I added an extra 2″ total for the flap (not on each side). 14″ + 2″ = 16″.
  • One last bit of math! The length needs seam allowances, too, plus enough for the top stitching. I added an inch, just like before. 16″ + 1″ = 17″.

Woohoo! My finished pattern size was 6.25″ wide by 17″ long. This is very easy to cut with a rotary cutter. To make a paper pattern, either use a paper cutter or mark the measurements with a ruler. Simply cut one rectangle of paper to 6.25″x 11″ (the length of a regular sheet of printer paper in the US), then a second rectangle to 6.25″ x 6″ and tape the two together to make your pattern.

3. Now that you either have you paper pattern or know what size to cut your fabrics with your cutting mat and rotary cutter, go ahead and cut one piece out. Fold it over your device in the same manner as the finished case just to make sure everything looks on track before you continue on.

test fit your pattern

4. If everything looks good, cut your second piece of fabric. If your first seems way too big or small, go back and check your measurements/math and try again. =)

5. Line your two pieces up, right sides together, and pin or clip in place. I always press my fabrics after cutting and before pinning to ensure they’re as perfect as possible before I stitch.

clip or pin pieces together

6. Stitch around the edges using a 1/4″ seam allowance. Make sure to leave about a 2″ gap in the stitching so you can turn the fabrics right side out.

sew, leaving a gap

7. Clip the corners, as shown, to reduce bulk.

clip corners

8. Turn through the gap so the right sides are facing out.

9. Your case should look something like this:

after turning before pressing

It’s all wrinkly and that’s no good! Press it carefully, making sure the edges are as lined up as possible. Also, press the would-be seam allowances in where your gap is to create an even edge.

after turning and pressing

So much nicer. =)

10. Time for top stitching and closing up that gap! Stitch all the way around your fabric about 1/8″ from the edge. I line my fabric up with the inside edge of my right feed dog.

top stitch around

11. Get your your device to determine exactly where to place your bottom fold.

figure out where to fold your case

12. Press that fold in place, line the case’s long edges up, and pin/clip in place.

pin or clip sides in place and press

13. Carefully stitch the sides in place where they meet. Try to stitch over the existing stitches.

14. Fold the flap down and press in place.

15. Use your ruler to determine the horizontal center point of your flap. I also mostly centered my snap vertically, but that’s up to personal preference.

find and mark center

16. Using a small awl or large needle, poke through the flap and into the opposing spot on the case you’ll need to attach the other part of your snap.

use needle or awl to poke mark where to put your snap

17. Using these holes as your guide, attach your KAM snaps.

insert kam snap

Make sure the snaps are facing the correct direction so they’ll actually snap together! Removing mis-applied snaps isn’t that much fun.

snaps attched to envelope-style e-reader case

18. Press your new case one more time if you’re a nerd, then enjoy it.

diy envelope-style tablet case

I’m pretty excited about my awesome new Kindle case!

Because my interior flannel is double nap and extra fluffy, I’m comfortable with the level of protection it gives my Kindle for daily use and transport. I also think the case is pretty darn cute, and it’s really easy to spot when I can’t remember exactly where I set my Kindle down after staying up too late reading the night before.

So, I have to confess that I bring Kindle almost everywhere with me. If I think I’m going to be early for a meeting or don’t want to be bored before the previews at the movie theater, I’ll bring my Kindle! Does anyone else bring their e-reader everywhere? What’s the “strangest” place you’ve ever whipped out a book and started reading?

natashal

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{ 8 comments… add one }
  • Splendid Little Stars July 7, 2015, 17:26

    great tutorial! Now I just need a Kindle to go with it!
    (Seriously, I don’t have an ereader. I may have to rectify that!)
    How awful that someone stole your Kindle, and under those circumstances. I’ll have to be more vigilant about pushing my stuff through on the belt before the scanner is ready for me to walk through.

    • Natashalh July 13, 2015, 11:32

      I actually got luggage locks for my carry on after this incident.

      I honestly still prefer to read a paper book, but a Kindle is much more convenient for traveling and when you live in a small apartment. Hopefully one day we’ll be somewhere larger and I can collect real books again.

  • LeAnn July 6, 2015, 13:40

    I love my Kindle, too! My son and DIL got me a Kindle Fire HD7 last Christmas. Your case is so pretty. And I love the idea of a snap closure. Flannel would be a perfect lining.

    • Natashalh July 13, 2015, 11:29

      Now that’s a fancy one! I think our Kindles are at opposite ends of the technology spectrum.

  • Judy Nolan July 6, 2015, 12:20

    I’m so sorry to hear someone took your old Kindle, but you seem to have taken things in stride with your replacement. The case is cute and practical, and I have to admit I’ve need seen that snap tool. It sure looks handy! As for the extreme ironing “sport” you mentioned, I had never heard of that, but because I, too, like to iron (there’s a zen-like feeling when you do it because it’s kind of mindless), I visited http://www.extremeironing.com and burst out laughing.

    • Natashalh July 7, 2015, 06:28

      Isn’t that such a funny website? I found out about it my freshman year of college and I kept imaging places around campus/the city I could go iron. It didn’t happen, but it was fun to think about.

  • Cynthia July 3, 2015, 14:30

    what a nifty idea to make your own! so sorry your’s was stolen – amazes me that people will do that! btw, Bodega Bay is one of my favorite spots. We used to go there often when we lived in SF … best oysters and muscles around! fresh out the Tomales Bay … right there

    • Natashalh July 4, 2015, 23:09

      Yeah, “loosing” my Kindle was kind of a bummer, but life goes on. =)

      I’m surprised I didn’t hear about Bodega Bay from my mom. My parents were in SF a couple months ago and my mom absolutely loves bivalves. I think they’re a little icky, but she’s a huge fan. Well, I actually love scallops, but the rest of that family aren’t my favorites.

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