My eldest son wanted a leather and felt case for his iPhone and asked if I'd be interested in helping him to make one. Without hesitation, I said, YES!!!
After researching sewing with leather, we purchased a Teflon foot and leather needles for my machine, leather, felt and different threads.
There were two prerequisites:-
- The seams were to be on the outside, so the felt would show.
- The case needed to be a tight fit.
We spent a lot of time working out how we would make the case. There is no unpicking mistakes, as this would leave holes in the leather. Trying to work out how to cut the pieces and then sew the seams exactly caused much discussion, until we realised we were looking for a hard solution, when really, it was quite simple. Not all the Maths above was needed.
Here are the steps we used to make our prototype...
- Roughly cut the leather and felt so they are larger than the finished size.
- With the felt uppermost and covered with a cloth, bond the felt to the leather using double sided fusible webbing.
- Cut a template, showing where the stitching will go.
- Stick the template to the leather with double sided sticky tape.
- Use bulldog clips to hold the leather in place.
- Sew around three sides of the template. Note that we did not backstitch at the beginning or end, as it is unlikely the needle would go through the same holes.
We discussed rounded stitched corners, but decided that we couldn't be accurate enough, so went with squared.
- Cut to the finished size.
At this point we cut one of the end threads. Just as well this was only a prototype, as there was no way to secure the ends after cutting one of them.
- Thread the ends back through existing holes to secure.
You can see the thread we cut sticking up. As expected, the stitching started to come undone on this side when the phone was put in.
At this point we thought rounded corners would look better than squared. We have to find a way to cut accurately around a small curve. We'll work this out next time. If anyone has any suggestions, feel free to leave a comment.
Before starting, we experimented with different threads. We'd purchased nylon, polyester and rayon thread in a variety of sizes. We went with size 69, nylon thread, which is the largest size most domestic machines can handle (according to The Thread Exchange, which is where we bought ours).
We found a stitch length of 4 and increasing the tension to 6, gave the best results. Not sure why increasing the tension was better for us, as most sites say to decrease the tension.
The case was a perfect fit for the iPhone!!!
Even though the bottom seam looks uneven in the photo, in reality, it is even. It's just the corners that aren't right.
We were very pleased, both with our prototype (knowing we'll round the corners properly, next time) and with what we learnt. Next time, we're tackling not only an iPhone case, but a case to carry a laptop, iPad and iPhone. Stay tuned...
Tips for sewing with leather:-
- You SEW Girl
- A Beautiful Mess
- Craft Stylish
- The Naked Seamstress
- Sewing School
- Make Them Yourself
- LOTR Costume