Leatherwork iPad Case, 03.16
I was looking around online for an iPad Pro case, first at Etsy and then through a few Pinterest rabbit holes when I realized that I wanted to make my own. I hit up the local Tandy Leather Store (yes, they have stores again) picked up a nice pebble grain 3/4 ounce shoulder, a few brass D rings and some new needle & thread and was ready. The Tandy store in Costa Mesa had a nice selection of hides, but you’re going to buy a shoulder at a minimum. Don’t expect a DIY approach to be cheaper than a commercial product, but that’s not the reason anyway.
I hadn’t made anything with my hands in a while, and was definitely looking forward to spending a day working on this. I spent an hour or so at Kean (a local favorite coffee shop) worked on some sketches and then came home ready to create.
I picked up the iPad Pro and Pencil setup to use for sketching thumbnails mostly for work. But what better first sketch than the case for the iPad?
I queued up a stack of movies for background noise and began blocking out the pattern, deciding first on the closure method (double D-rings with a leather strap). The leather piece I had worked out to put the off-center closure opposite my sketch, but that’s part of this process, figuring it out along the way.
Body of the case cut and positioned for reference, basically a final gut-check before starting to punch holes.
The process itself is pretty straightforward, mark your holes, punch them through then stitch them together. The build order is important to work out in advance as the more you do to it, the less space and ease you have to work the stitching. I started with the front strap. Once you punch and stitch a few holes, you’re committed.
First box stitches in. The object at the top is called a “Sailmakers Palm” and lets you put good pressure on the needle.
The little star wheel on the right places dots in the leather at 1/4″ intervals as you roll it along. You follow along with the awl to punch the holes. I used a blank sheet of cardboard as a base to punch through the leather.
Th3Ph17 gave me a leather US flag so that’s stitched on the front flap. The right edge has a mock-stitch so I can stash a couple bills or a key in there.
Here it is with everything in place. As I carry it I may add a pull tab to the bottom to make it easier to remove the iPad. I signed and dated it on the inside.
It was a great way to spend a day and got me started thinking about doing more. This project would have taken less than an hour with a lockstitch machine, but those are quite pricey ;). This only used about a third of the shoulder, so we’ll what else comes out of it.