Saturday, April 3, 2010

A Touching Case for an iPod Touch

The latest project was a pretty quick one: a carrier for an Apple iPod Touch for my daughter. I had a deadline, since she was about to go off on a school trip and wanted to bring it with her. It needed a shoulder strap that would go across the chest so it would be easy to access but hard to lose.

I started by making a pattern/prototype of paper towel and Scotch tape (some of my favorite prototyping supplies).

I got some Wrights extra-wide (half inch wide) double-fold fleece binding for the strap so the strap would be soft against the skin. I reinforced it with the type of cheap plastic twine people use to tie purchases to car racks at IKEA. This piece actually came from my local Tandy store, where it had been used to tie up one of my large pieces of leather so I could get it home in my car! Yeah, I almost never throw anything away...

Here is the twine being stitched into the binding. That's a "walking foot" on the machine, which helps when sewing through multiple layers.

I cut out a few scraps of the soft black leather left over from my Sonotube-and-leatherTV chair. I used my sewing machine and heavy polyester thread to stitch a reinforcing outline for the iPod screen and the menu button as well as for the power cord and headset holes.

The crescent of stitching on the left was just for testing. It will be cut off later. Here is the right side of the leather:
I wanted a pocket for the case to hold the iPod headset when it wasn't being used, so I sewed a pocket piece onto the back and stitched the back to the front:

I cut out the rectangle for the screen and the slot at the bottom for the cord.

I sewed the sides of the case together using the machine, and then I sewed the fleece binding strap onto the sides of the case. Once the pieces were all together, I adjusted the fit and cut off the excess leather from the cover flap and the center tab (top of the front piece).

I had been planning to attach snaps to the tab and cover to hold the case closed, but after I had put the case together, I thought of using hook-and-loop fasteners (Velcro) instead. My daughter liked that idea. Since I had already sewed the pocket on, I stitched a strip of the loop part onto the pocket by hand. I used my sewing machine to sew the hook parts onto the center tab and the end of the cover.

The center tab (right at the top of the iPod) in the picture above fits through a slot in the back of the case and then holds the headset pocket closed. Note that I did not cut out a hole for the menu button at the bottom of the iPod. The stitching there is just to provide a tactile indication of the button location, since the leather is soft and thin enough to allow the button to be pressed right through the leather.

The cover flap folds completely down over the front of the iPod and up around the bottom of the back, covering the hole for the cords and fastening to the Velcro on the pocket back.

I cut up a recycled white plastic pill bottle to get a fairly stiff plastic rectangle, then I put some notches on it to make a "bobbin" for winding the headset around. The bobbin and headset fit nicely into the pocket on the back. Here you can also see the Velcro loop piece sewn onto the pocket:

Here is the finished case. My daughter wears it with the screen facing her body so it's easier to read the iPod without removing the case. I added a plastic buckle (left over from previous experiments with making tie-dyed dog collars!) to the strap so it would be adjustable and easy to take off.

The case seems to be a hit: my daughter has been wearing it around the house ever since I gave it to her, and her younger sister has already put in her request for one of her own!

And just to be complete, here's a completely gratuitous picture of Lacey. She wasn't interested in wearing the iPod case since my daughter wouldn't share the headset...

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