diy {MacGyver meets flea market iPad cover}

Yes, I wrote “iPad” cover. Yes, I am jealous of myself for owning an iPad 2. Yes, my awesome wonderful handsome husband got up at the crack of dawn on a Saturday morning recently to wait in line to score me one. Yes, the iPad 2 is all that it is hyped up to be…and maybe more. I had my doubts on it, but it quickly won me over. My new little silver friend needed something to protect it when traveling. I searched online for something that would work, but nothing was just right. So I made my own version using my MacGyver style sewing. For those of you that don’t know, MacGyver sewing is how one who doesn’t know how to sew improvises and makes due with a sewing machine and some fabric.

If you know how to sew, don’t read this. I am fully aware that there are a billion mistakes in my method. I am okay with that. I’m sharing the steps I took mainly to show that you don’t have to do things the “right way” or the “perfect way” to make it work for you. Experiment. Mess up. Who cares if your stitches aren’t straight anyway?

I started with a vintage tablecloth (very stained, got for $1.00), a crocheted collar, and scrap fabric.

I wrapped the fabric around trying to decide how I wanted the finished product to look. Then I tried to guess how to make it happen by starting with the end and stepping back. My measuring stick was in FireCracker’s room. She was taking a nap, so I did without it. I cut flannel (enough to make it 2 layers thick) to fit, then cut the tablecloth the same size.

Does my sewing box look like it belongs to someone who knows what she is doing? Yeah, not really. Anyway, next I turned the tablecloth outside facing in, pinned the 3 layers together, and sewed down 3 sides.

Double checked to make sure the iPad still fit. Then I trimmed excess fabric, turned it right side out, ironed it down and cut a strip to be a fold-over flap.

I sewed down one side of my flap, turned down the inside of the main cover (the end that I did now sew earlier), then stuck my flap inside to see how big it should be.

Next I cut the extra flap fabric, pinned it inside the opening, sewed it down and double checked to make sure the iPad still fit.

Next I decided where I wanted the collar to go, pinned and stitched it down to the backside.

Finally I pinned the main cover together and sewed down the sides…and double checked to make sure the iPad still fit. It did! Right now I am tying it with twill tape, if I like it that way then I’ll stitch it down on the back too.


It fits and it looks quite perfect nestled in my bag ready for a trip!

1. Is it perfect? No.

2. Does it protect my iPad? Yes.

3. If I started over would I change a few things? Yep.

4. Is it perfectly perfect for me? You bet.

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  • Reidunn - I know how to sew. I still think your Ipad-cover looks perfect. And pretty! Your MacGyver skills are awesome. As always.

  • Katie - I love that you share your MacGyver sewing methods. Even after my years of 4H, I seem to resort back to just making it work…MacGyver style. Cute cover too.

  • Jaime Vines - I sew MacGyver style too. I wish I was better and actually knew what I was doing but I don’t have time to learn. So I am ok with my sew by the seat of my pants method. Have fun with your ipad2 I am hoping to get mine this weekend!

  • Shannon Phillips - I LOVE it! I got an iPad 2 for Nathan but I wasn’t as nice as Chris and told him to order it online so, we are still waiting for his to arrive. Your little case is so very YOU, so very beautiful.

  • BriBedell - Girl how did you know I needed this today!! I too just received one of these beauties!! But my husband is set on buying an otter box cover for it…and they are big and ugly…I might have to make a pretty carrying cover for mine too!!!

  • Amy Holgersen - Um, i love.
    too bad the ipad2 in thise house belongs to hubs, not sure he would appreciate such a beautiful creature to wrap it up in like i would. so his sits in the plain BLACK case. *sigh*

  • Pamelotta - Call them what you want, you still have skillz! I think it’s beautiful and you could probably sell a ton of them. I know I would buy one. If I could just get an iPad.

  • amanda torres - You have now projected yourself into a realm of awesomeness that is unobtainable by others. iPad + Ashley = Sheer Awesomness

  • Jennifer - it is so pretty!! πŸ™‚

  • Sarah @ Handbags*N*Pigtails - Um from someone who knows how to sew: you did just fine! Its beautiful and serves its intended purpose. Great job! And on a side note: I love the bag you put it in for travel. Can I haev it?:)

  • Danielle @ The Sunshine Girl - I was just thinking to myself the other night that sometimes I feel like MacGyver when I do things. Slapping things together to something work! Love it!

  • Rachel - One of the best things is that you can’t tell that an iPad is in there. It just looks like a pretty package.

  • Tracey - You have just made my desire for an Ipad 2 that much greater…i can’t sew at all..can i get someone to make me this?

  • tammy - I don’t really know “how” to sew either, and really, I’ve come to enjoy making it up so much that I now have no interest in learning the “right way”. (Sorry if that made any real sewers shudder!) I recently made our own iPad cover too: an old book, a bit of fabric, elastic scraps and a hot glue gun!

  • Hannah B - I just got an ipad too. But I got the first gen with a bigger memory instead of the newer one with the smaller memory (budgets…blah). I got a bookbook for mine. It really does look like a book. I love it! Yours is so cute though! I love it too!! Good job on the MacGyver skills.

  • mandi@herbanhomestead - Hmm…my husband is in line AS WE SPEAK getting us one! I’m excited! But I hadn’t thought about it needing a cover. I better get to work- we leave for a major road trip tomorrow! Thanks for the inspiration : )

  • Yanet of 3 Sun Kissed Boys - Very cute, very you!

  • Cory - Your MacGyver sewing skillz rock!

  • Natalie - You give me hope that maybe I could ‘sew’ one day…I’ve borrowed friends’ machines before and always returned them all messed up in one way or another- definitely can’t thread the machine!

  • ashley jensen - I think it’s hilarious that you give a diclaimer before you tell us anything sewing related. And 3 out of 4 yeses are a success in my book!

  • meg duerksen - how can one person be so amazing????
    i am jealous.
    of all it.

    i think that maaaaaaybe we could these??? at a certain thing that i have talked to you about. πŸ™‚

  • Cindy Steffan - Great job! I couldn’t even figure out where to start during the period of a nap! You are awesome!

  • Emily Langston - I am also a MacGyver sewer…….
    We make it work!

  • Cate O'Malley - Love the cover, so pretty! I just posted about my daughter’s iPad last night ( No idea where she even came up with the word iPad, but for a dollar, I’m good. πŸ™‚

  • Sara W - Looks great! MacGyver sewing – I love it. My skills are the same way – I keep telling my friends that my sewing is one big hack job after another.

  • cailan - it’s awful cute

  • Anna - Love it! you’re the macgyver of all things crafty! I might have to start making a couple of those to sell in the shop…. πŸ™‚

  • Laura Casey - Looks great, what are your favorite apps?

  • Stephanie - I love it! I would also love it if you did a post on the iPad apps you love, etc. I couldn’t live without reading my favorite blogs from my google reader on flipboard…i’m sure that you could give me so many more helpful tips!

  • Angela - I sew the same way! My mom and her best friend (who is like another mom to me) are amazing seamstresses…when I lived at home they tried to pass on their knowledge and I tried to soak up all I could! I think your cover turned out great!

  • Sarah - You might really enjoy Amy Karols book – Bend The Rules Sewing. I have always sewn much like you with the whatever works method. That’s why I love her book b/c she doesn’t pin things and going through a couple of her project helped me to better piece together my own projects. She has a blog – angry chicken. Very jealous of your new toy.

  • steph anne - Love it!!

  • Rachel - OOoOO! i love it! I adore your ability to layer… you layer in your house, you layer when you sew… all the textures and patters together are summed up by: lovely

  • Jamin Garoutte - Had my iPad for almost a year now, and I still love it! You should check out the Toontastic appβ€”looks like something you’re kids would have an absolute blast with:

  • jami nato - “jealous of myself”…very funny.

  • Stephanie - Now this is my kind of crafting! So cute and feminine!

  • Kellie Ann - I think your sewing abilities are awesome and it looks perfect to me.

  • alyssa - I think your sewing skills are awesome! I also think this ipad cover is awesome!
    and yes, i’m jealous! Did you get white? or black?

  • Marie-Claire - Yeah ok, I love it…looks great, and i had to have a chukkle to myself about your sewing box cos i could of sworn it was a picture of mine…i don’t know what i’m doing either but it sure is fun when something works out!! Thanks for this πŸ™‚

  • lauren - love this!!! i am super jealous of your skills here- seriously– it looks perfectly perfect to me!

  • Melissa - I just read your post on my iPad 2 that my sweet hubs surprised me with. I too love it. It might have changed my life (slightly)! I’m going to make me a cover now. Thanks for the inspiration! LOVE your blog…

  • casey - Adorable idea!!!

  • hearttypat - SWEET!

  • Rosalind - Wouldn’t McGyver style be sewing with a matchstick and spider web thread! ha ha – McGyver’s methods were always so far fetched. Looks great.

  • Herta - Don’t have an ipad, your style isn’t always mine but I love your ATTITUDE
    “Experiment. Mess up. Who cares if your stitches aren’t straight anyway?….4. Is it perfectly perfect for me? You bet.”

    Great blog!