I was planning on buying a phone cover for my new phone, and then I saw this tutorial for a felt iPad case and it inspired me to make my own! The reason for the title is that it didn’t quite turn out how I planned. I don’t know a lot about sewing and made many mistakes along the way. But I think I learned enough whilst making it to advise you on how to make a better one. And perhaps it wasn’t so bad after all…
I’m sure that many of you may read this tutorial and be thinking “I know a much better way to do that”. If this is the case please let me know how it could be done better in the comments!
For this tutorial you will need:
- Ribbon (or other decoration – the original tutorial uses a fabric daily)
- Thread (I just used normal cotton)
- Pins or spray glue
1. Cut two shapes out of your felt so that it is approximately 1 cm bigger on all sides than your phone (or more or less, depending on the thickness of your phone).
[Edit: After having used my pouch for a little while, I would suggest that you don’t need to leave a margin as big as this around your phone at all. In fact, as long as your phone isn’t very thick, just a few millimetres will be fine. My margin was quite small and the pouch is still quite loose around the phone.]
I would recommend that you measure and cut each piece very carefully. I didn’t and I really regretted it! I roughly drew round the phone and then folded the felt in half and cut the two pieces at the same time which actually resulted in them being wildly different sizes so I had to trim a lot to make them match.
2. Decide on the pattern that you want your ribbon to be and cut lengths longer than you will need and pin in position. Alternatively if you have spray glue, I’d recommend that you spray the back side of the ribbon and temporarily stick it to the felt that way (I’ll explain more later). I chose to have the ribbons at randomly crossing angles but you may prefer to make parallel lines with them, or a more regular ordered pattern. Or you could decorate with buttons or beads. The possibilities are (almost) endless!
3. Sew along the edges of the ribbon to secure it to the felt. Start by making a few stitches in the same place on the back of the felt near an edge to secure your thread. It is best if you choose a spot for this that is underneath where the ribbon will be so it doesn’t show on the front.
4. Make a small stitch, coming up through the ribbon close to the edge (mine had a small border so I tried to make the stitch at the edge of the border) and go back down into the felt as close to the edge of the ribbon as possible.
5. Pull tight.
6. Repeat this stitch every 2-3mm asking the edges of your ribbon decoration. Try to make the spacing as even as possible. I found it very hard to make sure I was sewing the ribbons straight, especially as the material got bunched up where the pins were. My best solution was to remove a pin when I was getting close to it and pull the ribbon straight while I was sewing. This is why I think gluing the ribbon instead of pinning it would work better!
7. I trimmed the edges of the ribbon using the scissors so they matched the edges of the felt. This was not as straightforward as I was expecting as the ribbon kept sliding along the scissors! I found the best way to cut a straight line was to pull the ribbon taut between two fingers and then cut. HOWEVER, very soon after cutting the ends of the ribbon started to fray. Therefore, I’d actually recommend that you don’t cut the ends but wrap them under the edge of the felt and perhaps secure with a stitch or two. That way, the frayed ends of your ribbon will be inside the phone pouch where no-one can see!
8. The final step is to sew the two halves of your phone pouch together. The tutorial used a machine blanket stitch, and I was going to do blanket stitch by hand but then I came across this great video showing you how to whip stitch on felt. I just followed the advice on the video and did a whip stitch around the edge of the phone case with doubled-up cotton thread. I started and ended with 4 stitches on top of each other at either side of the pouch opening to increase durability. In the video, Wendi recommends that you use the same colour thread as the felt so that any unevenness in your stitching doesn’t show – I ignored this advice and regretted it! I think it would look a lot more professional if you couldn’t see the stitches as clearly.
So there you go, it didn’t turn out quite as badly as I was expecting when I was part-way through but it looks very badly “homemade”! When I’ve got over the disappointment, I may make another – this time with straight sides, straight ribbons, no ribbon ends on display and stitching in the same colour as the felt!
Thanks for reading!