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Father's Day: iPad Sleeve with Removable Cross-Body Shoulder Strap

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Dear ol' Dad, his special day is coming up, and there are so many things you love him for. But, he can be so dang hard to shop for, let alone sew for. Most projects tend to lean more to the feminine than the masculine... unless you landed here at Sew4Home where we have whipped up four fantastic Father's Day gifts to delight Dad. We start our gift-giving ideas with today's sleek iPad case; it features a bike-bag style crossover strap in cotton webbing, tough pockets front and back, and a soft fleece lining.

This case is sized for the first generation of iPads, however, the new iPad 2 would easily fit as well since it is even thinner. The bag's inside is soft fleece, which means your iPad rides in cushiony comfort. We use a magnetic clasp and did our research online prior to adding this to the supply list. There does not appear to be a risk to your iPad from the clasp's weak magnet. In fact, I used my very own iPad as the test for our sample, and it is just fine and dandy. So, after our research, we have no worries about the magnetic clasp we used; we also see these type of clasps on the majority of commercial sleeves and portfolios. But, as we always say, the final decision is up to you. If you want to use something else... you should go right ahead. A regular heavy-duty snap or even Velcro would be fine.

Our thanks to our project sponsors Fabric.com and Free Spirit Fabrics for providing the great canvas and fleece for all our Father's Day projects. The cool Rhino Canvas from Fabric.com is 100% polyester, durable and water resistant. Our interior fleece is from Ty Pennington's new Impressions Collection for Free Spirit Fabrics, which also includes regular cotton, cotton sateen and cotton laminate; the pattern in bold and the quality is excellent. We found it at CityCraft Online, Fat Quarter Shop, and Fabric.com.

Sewing Tools You Need

Fabric and Other Supplies

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Getting Started

  1. From the fabric for the bag exterior (Rhino Canvas in Silver in our sample), cut the following:
    ONE 26" wide x 11" high rectangle
    TWO 8" x 8" squares
    One 19" x 2½" strip
  2. From the fabric for the bag interior (Moorish fleece in our sample), cut ONE 23" wide x 11" high rectangle
  3. Cut the webbing into TWO 14" lengths and ONE 53" length.

At Your Sewing Machine & Ironing Board

Exterior pockets and straps

  1. Find your 8" x 8" squares. Hem the top and bottom (it's a square, so unless you are using a directional print, simply hem two opposite sides), using a ¼" double turn hem. To do this, fold under and press ¼", then fold under another ¼" and press again. If using a canvas, use a pressing cloth.
    NOTE: If you selected the Rhino Canvas as we did, you'll find it easy to fold and finger press. I did this first, and then used my iron, on a low heat, and a pressing cloth to set the hems.
  2. Set your machine to a longer stitch length, I used 3.5, and stitch close to the fold on both hems on both pockets. Press.
  3. Fold your main 26" x 11" exterior panel in half (13" x 11") and finger press a middle crease.
  4. Unfold and lay right side up on your work surface so you can clearly see the crease.
  5. We will do the front side of the bag first. Place one of the hemmed pockets so the bottom hemmed edge is 1½" from the middle crease and the left raw edge of the pocket is aligned with the top raw edge of the exterior panel. Lightly pin in place.
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  6. Find one of the 14" lengths of cotton webbing. Fold under 1" on end and press. Fold the other end under ½", loop it through one of the D-rings, then fold it back on itself 2". Pin in place to secure the D-ring.
  7. Make sure you fold back both ends to the same side of the webbing.
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  8. Slip the strap over the right side of the pocket so the bottom end wraps under the hem. The raw edge of the pocket should be centered under the strap. Pin in place.
  9. Take the extra time to make sure the strap is straight and parallel with both raw edges of the panel.
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    NOTE: You could also use a seam adhesive tape, like a Steam-A-Seam or similar, or even a little fabric glue to hold the strap in place if you struggle with the pins .
  10. Secure the bottom of the pocket by stitching one seam directly on top of the existing hem line. Stitch from the raw edge all the way across the pocket, including across the strap.
  11. Stitch a second seam 1/8" below the first seam. I used my Janome Clear View Quilting Foot, which has really handy and clear markings for narrow seams.
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  12. To secure the strap, reposition the piece under your foot and stitch two vertical seams, each 1/8" from the strap's edge. Finally stitch a reinforcing box with an X to secure the folded back top of the strap. I stitched up one side, got as close as possible to the D-ring, pivoted, stitched across, pivoted again, and stitched down the opposite side. I then went back to complete the bottom of my box and the X.
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  13. Draw two vertical lines for the pocket divisions. You can place these wherever you'd like based on the items you want to carry in your pockets. I wanted at least one pocket to be large enough for an iPhone, one tiny one for a pen, and one for business cards. I made my lines 2" in from the raw edge and 2" in from the inside edge of the strap.
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  14. Stitch one seam from the bottom hem to the top hem along each drawn line. If possible use a lock stitch rather than back-tacking or leave your thread tails long and tie a hand knot.
  15. Stitch a second parallel seam 1/8" from first, each one towards the inside of the pocket. In other words, to the right of the leftmost seam and to the left of the rightmost seam (how's that description for mind boggling?!). Here's a picture... maybe that will help. We added our Sew4Home label next to the strap.
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  16. Now do all those same steps but on the back and lining up the pocket along the opposite edge so the strap will cross over the body.
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Fleece lining and French seams

  1. Flip over the finished exterior panel so it is facing wrong side up on your work surface.
  2. Center the 23" x 11" fleece panel on top of it, so the fleece is facing right side up (the wrong sides of both fabrics are together).
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  3. Fold the bag in half WRONG sides together and pin along both sides. Be sure all the raw edges are aligned and the front and back are flat and smooth as they lay against one another.
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  4. Using a ½" seam allowance, stitch both side seams. You are stitching through four substantial layers that could have a tendency to slip and slide against one another. I used my Janome Walking Foot with its dual feed action to keep everything in line.
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  5. Trim the seam allowance to approximately 1/8".
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  6. Turn the bag inside out, pushing out the corners and rolling your side seams flat.
  7. Again using a ½" seam allowance, stitch along both sides, encasing your first seam in this new seam.
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  8. Turn the bag right side out again, and you now have a finished French seam inside.
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Top facing

  1. Find the 2½" x 19" strip. Bring the two ends right sides together and stitch a short ½" seam.
  2. Fold up one raw edge all the way around ½" and press.
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  3. Slip the facing loop over the top raw edge of the bag so the two pieces are right sides together and the raw edge of the facing is aligned with the top raw edge of the bag. Line up the facing's seam with one of the bag's side seam. Pin in place.
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  4. Stitch the facing to the bag, using a ½" seam allowance. If you have a free arm on your machine, now is the time to use it.
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  5. Open the facing and insert the magnetic clasp, following the manufacturer's directions (it's really easy... you just poke the prongs through the fabric, slide the locking disk in place and bend the prongs over it). Center the clasp side to side and top to bottom between the facing's seam and hem. Make sure you insert the clasp from front to back.
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  6. Insert one side of the clasp, then attach the other half to best mark its position on the opposite side. Poke the prongs through the fabric. If they won't poke through, just poke them against the fabric, then make tiny snips with your scissors where you see the prongs trying to come through to help things along. Slide your fingernail or the end of a seam ripper in between the magnets to release the bond, and secure the opposite clasp in place.
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  7. Fold the facing back into place against the inside of the bag. Your clasps should be facing out.
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  8. Whip stitch the facing in place.
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  9. Using a zipper foot in order to stay close to the top seam and avoid the clasps, top stitch all around approximately ¼" from the top seam. You'll have to futz with the exact distance in order to be able to sew past the clasps.
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Shoulder strap

  1. Find your remaining 53" length of webbing. This length gives you a 4' finished strap, which was a good length for our 6' 3" model. Adjust the length accordingly to fit someone shorter or taller.
  2. Fold each end under ½", loop each end through one of the swivel hooks, then fold it back on itself 2". Pin in place to secure. Make sure you fold back both ends to the same side of the webbing.
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  3. Using the Zipper foot again, which will allow you to both stitch close to the edge of the webbing and get as close as possible to the swivel hook, stitch along both sides of the entire strap and make a box with a X at each end to secure the fold-back. Similar to what you did with the straps you stitched directly to the bag.
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  4. Clip the strap to the bag.
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  5. The bag can also be used without the strap

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Project Design: Alicia Thommas 
Sample Creation: Liz Johnson


Comments (16)

Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home said:
Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home's picture

@ Ulrikes Smaating - thank you for sharing your picture - you did a great job. Would you link back to our tutorial at the site so your friends know where you found the inspiration and instructions? Thanks!

Julielovesmud said:
Julielovesmud's picture

I'm looking forward to giving this try. I did a make sift one before I found any patterns. The problem is I also have a wireless keyboard and it is longer and narrower than the iPad, I'm going to see if I can do some finagling and make it work. Thanks for sharing!

Andrea said:
Andrea's picture

This is so great, I'm made one for my grandpa for fathers day since he has an ipad and it turned out amazing! I just finished, it's 1 am and i might not be able to get up for church if I don't get sleepin, thank u!:)

susan1006 said:
susan1006's picture

I like this pattern,  The only things I did differently was add a box pleat stitched into the top and bottom of an 11 inch piece to make it 8 inches, to make one of the pockets able to carry the cord; and I used a cottonprint inside with the fleece bonded to it like interfacing. Personal preferences. Nice pattern. 

HappyGenny said:
HappyGenny's picture

Great ideas! (beams) Looking at the pattern, I didn't see a snap for the iPhone pocket, either. (But I've been known to make mistakes (hehe). I'd want to secure all the openings with attractive pocket flap, partly for added security, partly so the smaller pockets don't lose stuff if the bag gets accidently put on an odd angle, and partly bcs of the weather. For the latter I think I'd also add a  vinyl layer btwn the exterior and the fleece. In fact, now I'm thinking, one pocket about 2/3 of the original might be nice on the outside. Treat it the  way you did with gussets for cords etc, then make one internal pocket for the phone.


alicia.thommas said:
Marie C: This case is 8.5" x 11" and fits an iPad. If your Kindle + case is that size or a smaller, it would work. You could also adjust the pattern (if you feel comfortable) to customize it for a Kindle.
Marie C said:
Marie C's picture
Would there be enough space for my kindle two (with case) in this bag? If not how would you suggest adding a second pocket of similar depth?
dthneece said:
dthneece's picture
Thank you for this tut! Hubby is getting an iPad for his birthday and this is perfect timing! smilies/cheesy.gif
kristie B. said:
kristie B.'s picture
I failed to mention at the beginning that he made the cover out of leather...he is still perfecting his design, but for the first time I thought it looked pretty nice!!!
kristie B. said:
kristie B.'s picture
my husband made a cover for is iPad, with magnets in certain spots that turns it on when he lifts it. He is a preacher , so the leather fits well with his Bible that he carries and is not so obtrusive in church.
HappyGenny said:
HappyGenny's picture

Oh, what a GREAT idea! It must be lovely, especially in leather. Thanks for passing that on. :)  btw, how do the magnets turn it on when he lifts it? And do you mean when he lifts the bag?  Thanks!

HappyGenny said:
HappyGenny's picture

Oh, what a GREAT idea! It must be lovely, especially in leather. Thanks for passing that on. :)

K said:
K's picture
Just wondering, but is it bad to have the magnetic snap so close to a computer thing?

I recently made a messenger/laptop bag, and had to decide between twist locks (ridiculously difficult to source) and magnetic snaps. I googled around and couldn't find a definitive answer to "do weak-ish magnets hurt my computer?," so I ended up playing it safe and using twist locks.
IlsaGavle said:
IlsaGavle's picture
My dad doesn't have an iPad, but I do smilies/grin.gif I've been looking for something similar and this is PERFECT. Thanks for the detailed how-to.
JenSavage said:
JenSavage's picture
I just realized there is a pdf button at the top now. I don't know how long it has been there but I only just noticed it. THANK YOU! I hated having to copy and paste everything, edit the document so it looked nicer and then save it as a pdf for myself. That button could have been there a year without me noticing but I'm sure glad I finally did! smilies/smiley.gif