Cuff 'em -- turning a shirt cuff into a soft phone case

cell phone case made from shirt cuff
One upcycling challenge I think about -- a lot -- is what kinds of things I can use to make a case for my cell phone. I've tried plastic bags and old jeans, but nothing seems quite right.

Yesterday, while puttering around in my sewing room, I noticed that my new, slimmer iPhone is about the same size as a shirt cuff. Happily, I have plenty of cuffs left over from cinch sacks I make from the main part of the shirt. I tried a couple from my stash.
Cuff is too short to fit phone
 This one isn't quite long enough to wrap around the phone vertically.
Cuff is too narrow to fit phone
This one is long enough, but too narrow.

I tried a number of other cuffs, mostly from men's shirts, but they were all too small. Then I spotted one of my new thrift-store finds, hanging on my closet door. Sized for a zaftig XXL figure, this women's shirt had larger cuffs. And dig that retro pattern!
Retro print shirt
I snipped off one cuff and lined it up against the phone (actually, this is the paper prop that comes with the real phone).
This cuff is just right.
Here, the cuff is doubled over. It was actually too long! But that was a problem I could fix. Before figuring out how to shorten the cuff, I first opened up one seam (the one connecting the cuff to the sleeve). I wanted to remove the extra fabric, and I also wanted to add more interfacing to make the case stiffer.
Ripping seam
After adding the interfacing, I sewed the edge back up. The cuff was about 3 inches too long, so I decided fold over the extra fabric onto itself, to create a flat top and bottom for the case. Here's the top. 
Doubling over excess fabric
Then I sewed the sides together, stopping 1/2" before the square bottom. Here's the final case.
cell phone case made from shirt cuff
For a first try, it's pretty good. Version 2.0 will have a few upgrades:

  • Buttons, not snaps: for looks, I prefer snaps, but I'm afraid I might damage the phone screen when I push down to close the snaps.
  • The square top and bottom are a little awkward. Next time, I'll simple snip off the excess instead of folding it over.
  • If I'm feeling ambitious, I'll add an inside pocket for credit cards and perhaps a loop outside so I could hang the case from a lanyard or belt loop.


Post a Comment