"I love my cats because I love my home, and little by little they become its visible soul." Jean Couteau

Monday, June 24, 2013

reading in style

This is a super old project, but I'm trying to get caught up on some of my older projects that I haven't blogged about yet...

Back in February 2012, I leaped into the digital reading age and bought a Kindle. The reasons were two-fold. The first part is that I had started reading more in an effort to combat insomnia. I'm always tired, and after two sleep studies and months of working with a sleep doctor, the doctor decided I have insomnia (along with mild sleep apnea and congestion), and recommended that I not watch TV or be on the computer for at least 30 min before going to bed. So I started reading more. But simply reading more doesn't necessitate a digital reader. So the second part is that we were going to Hawaii. The long flight and several days' visit would require me to take many books to keep myself entertained, but packing all those books would not be the best use of luggage space. So I bought a Kindle. I bought the cheapest one since I wasn't sure I would like it. Also, I couldn't get the Kindle Fire since that would be the same blue light as TV and computers that signals the brain to stay awake; however, the e-ink technology doesn't have this.

Once I had the Kindle, of course, I wanted a cool case for it. I searched A LOT, on Amazon, of course, but also a lot on etsy.com. On etsy, I found a lot of options that I like parts of, but nothing that was the whole package. I wanted a cover that opened up like a book, not just a protective sleeve to slide the Kindle in when not in use. For a long time, I wasn't sure what pattern fabric I wanted; I wanted something that was "me", but wasn't sure what that would be. Then I found a design on etsy that I knew was right -- navy background with stars and constellations. Unfortunately, it was of the sleeve variety of cases. I searched and searched for something similar in the book-style case, but to no avail. 

Then I found instructions online of how to make one! Perfect! The instructions were for the Kindle Keyboard, but I figured that, if I had dimensions of both Kindles, I could figure out how to scale the instructions down to fit my smaller Kindle. I went to JoAnn Fabric and found this wonderful fabric and button:

Unfortunately, I didn't seem to write down the URL of the tutorial I found at the time. After doing some more searching now, I'm 99% certain it was this one on One Pearl Button:

However, One Pearl Button now seems to be a private blog, so it's basically useless. But it's kind of similar to this other tutorial I just found. I will to try to remember what I did, which will probably be spotty, since this was over a year ago. Also, without the intent of blogging a tutorial, I didn't take any 'during' pictures, only finished shots. However, I think I've been pretty successful at cropping and labeling what I have to make some step-by-step pictures. 

First I measured and cut my fabric. I don't remember how I figured out the dimensions, but I didn't add enough extra for seams (this seems to be a common problem for me) and ended up having to do the whole thing again. So I'd recommend using the dimensions suggested in the tutorial I linked to above. I only used three pieces of fabric -- one each for the inside and outside and one that was half as wide for the pocket on one side.

Here's the first part where I'm not quite sure what I did, but I'm going to guess at what seems to make sense to me now. Next, fold over one of the long edges of the pocket piece and hem it, so you'll have a nice edge.

Then line the pocket up with one side of the inside fabric with the good sides of both pieces facing the same direction (so the back side of the pocket faces the front side of the inside piece). Lay the outside piece on top with the good sides of both facing each other. Pin and sew the pieces together on the two long sides and the short side containing the pocket piece (this will trap the pocket in between the inside and outside pieces). Turn it all right-side out.

Next, I sewed cardboard inside to provide some structure. I just took some old boxes and cut them up to have two pieces about the size of my Kindle. I slid the first piece inside the cover and pushed it all the way to the closed-up side. Then I lined this up with the sewing machine foot and sewed a straight line to hold the cardboard in place. I measured over about an inch and sewed another straight line to be the edge of the other piece of cardboard. You need to leave some space between them that will be like a book binding and allow the cover to close. Then slide in the second piece of cardboard. There should be a small amount of fabric at the open end that hangs past the end of the cardboard. Fold those pieces inside and blind stitch the whole end closed.

Now it's time to attach the elastic that will hold the Kindle inside the cover. I used 0.5" wide elastic. You can set your Kindle on top of the cover to help figure out exactly where you want the elastic. I tried to place it so that it would have a good hold on the Kindle without covering up much of the screen. Then just sew it on. Be sure not to sew the top part of the elastic, though, just the little bottom loop. If you're super fancy, you could probably figure out a way to catch these in the inside and outside fabric pieces so the edges wouldn't show. I thought a little about that when I went to attach them, but by then it was too late.

Next, sew on the button. This is pretty simple. The trickiest part about all of this sewing (the elastic and the button) is that you can't push the needle all the way through the fabric since now there's cardboard in the way (even if there wasn't, you wouldn't want to since then you'd have weird stitching on the outside of your cover).

Once the button is sewn on, make the elastic loop to secure the cover closed. I think the easiest way to do this is to sew down one end of the elastic in the desired location; I put mine about an inch into the inside of the cover. Then bring it around the outside, around the button, and back to determine how long it needs to be and just cut it off there. Then sew on the other end.

Now, just slide your Kindle into the elastic loops, and you have a hand-made book-like Kindle cover. Now quit being a bum and get reading!

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