Studded Zipper Case

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Low and behold, the answer to your tablet storage question is here! I struggled for weeks, scouring the internet for a fashionable yet sturdy case for my iPad. I wanted something that was pretty (obvi) but be also durable enough to withstand extended stays in my handbag. I couldn’t find one to purchase that met all of my requirements. I decided to assemble some supplies and make one myself. I settled on black vinyl fabric, gold spikes, a coordinating black and gold zipper, and black cotton fabric to line the inside of the bag.

Supplies I used: tufted black faux leather fabric, black cotton fabric, 96 gold spikes (9.5mm size), black marker, ruler, X-acto knife, very small screwdriver, gold and black zipper, sewing machine, black thread, iron and ironing board, scissors, self healing cutting mat, rotary cutter.

I had to estimate the size of the case but needed to include seam allowances. I cut 2 rectangles of each fabric–9″x11.5″. Iron the fabric as best you can! I usually cover vinyl fabric with a piece of cotton fabric and lower the iron heat. Without the buffer fabric, the vinyl will stick to the iron itself.

Liner Fabric & Outside Fabric
Liner Fabric & Outside Fabric

I readied the spikes. I bought a pack of 100 gold 9.5mm spikes. They come in two pieces–the spike itself and the screw that holds the fabric and spike together. Be sure not to open the package and have the little guys go flying everywhere!  Those pieces are s.m.a.l.l. and difficult to find on a patterned rug.

Gold spikes ready to be attached!
Gold spikes ready to be attached!

I wanted to do the spikes in a rectangle pattern, so I flipped over one of the black vinyl pieces and laid out a grid. Because my fabric had tufts, I wanted the spikes to be placed between the tufts. I drew a rectangle in the middle of fabric and added a black dot where each spike would be placed. It turns out I was a tad overzealous in the dot making…I didn’t have nearly enough spikes to cover each dot.

Grid Created for Even Spike Placement
Grid Created for Even Spike Placement

I began adding spikes by starting in the center of the grid and working my way outward. I used an X-acto style knife to make a small cut on the dot and screwed on the spike.

Zipper Case Studs
Four Spikes Added! LOTS to go…

I continued adding spikes from the center outward.

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Six by Seven…Making Progress!

To be fair, this is the most time consuming part of the entire project. Don’t get discouraged though, the final product is well worth the effort!

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And then there were ten by eight…

Finally, completion! I ended up with 12 rows of 8, so a total of 96 spikes.

Eight by Twelve!
Eight by Twelve!

I used a small screwdriver from an eyeglass repair kit to tighten the screws on the opposite side of the fabric. The bag will be lined, so the screws will not be accessible once the case is complete.

Be sure the spikes are attached as securely as possible!
Be sure the spikes are attached as securely as possible!

Now comes the fun/slightly confusing part–attaching the outside fabric and liner fabric to the zipper. Just a quick review of sewing terms: the “right” side of the fabric refers to the patterned side or the side you’d like to see. In this situation, the “right” sides are the shiny tufted vinyl sides, one with the spikes attached and one without (which will be the back of the case). The “wrong” side of fabric is the inside or non-patterned side. The “wrong” side of the black vinyl is the felt side (as shown above where the gold screws are visible). I chose to line the bag with solid black fabric, which does not have a “right” or “wrong” side. Both sides are the same. For the purpose of this tutorial, I’ll try to refer to “right” and “wrong” sides in all situations in the event a reader chooses to line the bag in a patterned fabric. First things first, ready your zipper! Your zipper must be longer than your fabric, in this case more than 11.5 inches. There were tons of color options at my local craft store. I chose a coordinating gold and black, partly because the metal zipper teeth tend to be more durable than their plastic cohorts. There were only a few size options in this type– 7 inches, 22 inches, or 30 inches. I purchased the 22 inch zipper and knew I would be cutting off a good deal of zipper.

Good and Gold!
Good as Gold!

Take one of your outer fabric pieces (I chose the front piece with the studs). Place the “right” side of the outer fabric on your table then put the zipper on top of it. The ends of both the zipper and outer fabric should be touching.

Zipper Placement
Zipper Placement

Pick up one of the liner pieces and place the “wrong” side of the liner down on top of the zipper. Pin the outer fabric, zipper, and liner fabric together.

Pinned and Ready to Sew!
Pinned and Ready to Sew!

Using the zipper foot on your sewing machine, sew a straight line. You’re sewing the outer vinyl fabric, the zipper, and the liner. By setting up the fabrics and zipper in this manner, all of the seams will be hidden. And you’ll look like a boss.

Start sewing!
Start sewing!

I like to add an extra line of stitching just to be sure there will never be any fabric/zipper separation. This zipper will get a lot of use so its important that it is firmly attached to both layers of fabric.

Sew Nice Sew Far
Sew Nice Sew Far

Now its time to iron back the seams! I covered the vinyl with some scrap cotton fabric and lowered the heat. Then I made a crisp seam line on each of the fabrics.

Be extra careful if you're using a material that can melt, like vinyl!
Be extra careful if you’re using a material that can melt, like vinyl!

Seams ironed!
Seams ironed!

Place the second piece of outer fabric “right” side up. Do you see the black tufted vinyl peeking out? Then place the zipper (the zipper side that hasn’t been sewn) face down on top of the outer fabric. Line up the edge of the zipper with the edge of the outer fabric (not pictured).  imagePlace the second piece of liner “wrong” side down on top of the zipper. Pin all three layers in place.

Pinned and Ready to Sew!
Pinned and Ready to Sew!

Just as before, using a zipper foot, sew a straight line through the outer fabric, zipper, and liner fabric.

Looks Sew Good Already
Looks Sew Good Already

Iron the seams so that the left side seams look as crisp as the right side does.

Iron!
Iron!

Iron the liner fabric as well.

Crisp and Ready to Proceed!
Crisp and Ready to Proceed!

If you want to add an inside pocket to the case, now is the time! You won’t have such easy access to the liner after this step. I wanted to attach a LivSplendidly tag, so I pinned one in place. I zipped the tag around the sewing machine to ensure it stays in place.

Tag, you're it!
Tag, you’re it!

Almost there, I promise! Unzip the zipper, so that the zipper pull is halfway between the fabric. This is very important. If your zipper is too long for your bag (as mine was) and you sew through both sides of the zipper (as you will in the next step), your bag won’t have a zipper pull and will be permanently open!

Don't Forget the Zipper!
Don’t Forget the Zipper!

Pin the outer fabrics, “right” sides together. Be sure to fold the zipper toward the outer fabric. Pin the liner fabrics together, “right” sides together as well.

Pinned and Ready to Sew!
Pinned and Ready to Sew!

Pay extra attention and add a few more pins to the area where the zipper is separated. I pinned the two zipper halves together, which helped to stabilize that specific area.

Mission Pin-possible
Mission Pin-possible

Finally, its time to start sewing! I picked a corner of the outer fabric and started stitching there. I sewed with about a 1/4 inch seam allowance. I used black thread to match the fabrics, but all of these seams will be hidden. If you run out of coordinating thread, you could use another color without that thread color interfering with your design.

Start stitching!
Start stitching!

Once I had sewed right up to the zipper, I backstitched to lock the stitches in place. If you’re using a plastic zipper, your machine should be able to sew right over the zipper. My metal zipper was too sturdy for my machine.

Lock the stitches in place before the zipper!
Lock the stitches in place before the zipper!

Now sew immediately after the teeth, also locking these stitches using the backstitch option.

Try to sew as straight as possible!
Try to sew as straight as possible!

I continued sewing along the liner until I reached the last side. You have to leave part of the liner open so you can turn the bag inside out through that hole. Without a 4-5 inch hole left in the liner, your bag will be sewn shut, and you won’t be able to use it. Oh no!

Lock the stitches in place!
Lock the stitches in place!

Jump ahead about 4 inches and start sewing again.

Sew close!
Sew close!

Keep sewing until you reach the zipper teeth. Lock the stitches in place. Move the needle and start sewing immediately after the zipper teeth (again, if you’re using a plastic zipper, you should be able to sew straight through the zipper itself, depending on your machine’s capability). Continue sewing so that you meet your original starting point. The entire bag (minus the 4 inch open area in the lining) should be sewn together.

Almost finished!
Almost finished!

Time to trim! Cut off the excess zipper material on both sides.

Cuttin' corners!
Use strong scissors if your zipper is a sturdy metal.

Trim away the excess material around the seams and around the corners. Having less material near the seams will make the bag less bulky and have neater corners once it is turned inside out.

Cuttin' corners!
Cuttin’ corners! (the good kind)

Here comes the moment of truth! Stick your hand through the hole in the liner and pull the outer fabric through the hole.

Looking a bit odd...
Looking a bit odd…

Keep going… You can see the hole in the liner, which will be sewn shut shortly.

Almost there...
Almost there…

Just a bit more finagling! You might want to use a pen or pencil to poke out the corners.

Looking good!
Looking good!

Find the hole in the liner and fold the fabric inside so the raw edges aren’t visible. Add a few straight pins and sew the hole shut. I used my sewing machine, but if you want an invisible seam, you can hand sew it. I chose the machine option because the side of liner will be hidden inside the bag.

"Finger press" or iron the hole in the liner
“Finger press” or iron the hole in the liner and add pins
Very nearly complete! (I promise)
Very nearly complete! (I promise)

After you close up the hole in the liner, you can iron the liner or just stuff it in the case.

YAY!
YAY!
Fin!
Fin!

Zipper Case Four FinalI love this case because its stylish and durable. The faux leather fabric is great because it can be spot cleaned easily. I left the back of the case plain so as not to detract from the spikes on the front. The spikes took a bit of time to install, but overall I’m very happy with the result. This case will certainly get a lot of use.

Happy crafting! -Olivia

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