Finally! I’m posting a detailed tutorial on how to make a needlepoint iphone case. If you’ve been reading along, you’ll know I have a thing for hand-stitched iphone cases, and it won’t be a surprise to know I recently made yet another one.
This phone case was a present for a beloved babysitter and this time, I took photos of the process. Now, several months later, I’ve finally managed to edit the photos and string them together to make this tutorial.
If you’re here because you’re a loyal reader, friend, or possibly because you’re my mother, you are excused from wading through the rest of this post, which will consist of diagrammatic photos and pragmatic text on constructing a phone case from needlepoint canvas. (Thank you for reading! I promise to try for something more entertaining next time!)
If you’re here because you want to see how to make a phone case like this, please, read on!
Start by cutting two rectangles of needlepoint canvas. I cut mine rougly 8 inches by 5 and a quarter inches. This includes extra canvas to hem the edges. I like to use interlocking canvas, but if you want to know more about canvas types, here’s a little description of a few types of needlepoint canvas typically available in the USA.
Cut notches in the corners and then fold over the edges, lining the holes up.
Stitch down the folded edges, but be careful not to block the holes since you’ll be stitching them later.
Then, stitch away with you favorite needlepoint pattern. I copied this bargello pattern from a piece I made last year: you can read more detail about this Jonathan Adler inspired pattern in my “Beginner’s Bargello” post. I like using a bargello because you don’t really have to worry about the number of squares in the canvas, or finding an exact center to begin stitching.
Make sure the patterns on the two sides work together, since they’ll be connected in the end. In this case, I made the halves mirror images of one another. But it might also be fun to have them be related but different, like same exact pattern but with the colors switched around.
Once the two needlepoint canvas sides are stitched, Its time to sew the lining in. Cut two rectangles of lining material the same size as your stitched panels. (I used wool felt.) Then use regular thread to baste the lining panel to the stitched canvas along the edges. Don’t worry if this stitching is sloppy – you’ll cover it up in the end.
The next step will be to apply binding material. I used 1″ red wool twill tape for this piece. I’ve written before about the reproduction needlework at Colonial Williamsburg, and how it inspired me to seek out natural materials. I found this wool twill tape at William Booth, Draper, though I might also try Wooded Hamlet Designs another time.
Starting with what will be the upper edges of the finished case, pin strips of binding along the edge, leaving a few inches sticking out on either end.
Stitch this binding down, making sure the binding tape covers the unstitched white canvas along the edge.
You can see that I wasn’t too particular about the extra length of binding. I probably could have saved a little material by allowing only an inch on either end.
Next, tuck the binding ends in between the lining and needlepointed canvas. (You may have to undo a little of your earlier basting – I did.) Make sure it folds more or less symmetrically so it looks intentional, rather than haphazard. Sew the tucked end firmly in place.
You’re almost there! Once all the ends are tucked and sewn, its time to sew the two sides together with the binding tape. First, take the two sides of the phone case and sandwich them together, with the lining inward, and needlepoint canvas on the outside. Then, you’ll need to pin the binding tape around the outside edges, covering the white canvas edges of the needlpoint. The starting end is a little bit tricky. (Shown below.)
Take one end of your roll of binding tape and notch the corners. Not shown: I also ran a few stitches through the end to prevent raveling. Pinch the two havles of the phone case tightly together and take your folded binding tape end, and wrap it around the two sides, with the notched end folded to the inside. Be sure to line the top of the folded binding tape up with the tucked corners of the top bindings. Pin that in place but don’t start stitching yet. Its super thick, as you can see, so I used a safety pin to keep it in place while I pinned arround the rest of the edges.
Wrap the binding tape around the two halves of the piece, pinning it in place as you go. I used safety pins for the corners and straight pins for the sides. Repeat the same folded over end and pinning at the other top corner. (Described above.) Once its all pinned, you can stitch the binding down. Make sure your thread goes through all four layers – Needlepoint canvas, lining 1, lining 2, and needlepoint canvas 2. Also, make sure the binding edge reaches the stiched canvas edge so that the white edge of canvas doesn’t show through. It can require a firm hand, but you can do it!
Now, there it is, almost done! There are lots to ways you could finish it off now, but I’m going to share what I did.
I always like to have a loop for a caribiner clip, so I can clip my keys to it and clip it to my purse. I made one here with a double strip of binding tape, sewn together and then sewn into the top opening. I used a double strip because in my expereince that is the thing that wears out first, especially if you like ot have it dangling from a clip a lot.
While sewing in the ring, I also sewed the opening shut at that point and a tiny bit at the other end, so the opening would not be the full length of the case. I hope that will keep a phone from falling out.
Now comes the only part I can’t remember – what I used as a closure. To hold it closed, I sewed either a few snaps or some velcro just inside the lining. Either would work just fine.
There you go, one iphone case complete. I hope you’ll give it a try!
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