{Eco-Tutorial} Get a Jump on Handmade Holiday Gifts – Make a Colorful Padded iPad Sleeve (or Two or Three)

Do you often forget to toss your reusable shopping bags back into the car and then realize, once at the market, that you don’t have a bag to use? Do you then buy another… and another … and another, seemingly ad infinitum? Are you attracted to the most colorful bags on offer? Have you found yourself with an overabundance of bright plastic totes and, after much use, are many of them are coming apart at the seams? Sound familiar?

If you find yourself in this predicament, then you have most of what you need for this eco-crafty project. If you are an inveterate seamster like me, the rest of the ingredients come from your remnant stash and button bag.

This tutorial is specifically for making an iPad sleeve, but you can adjust the sizing to accommodate a Kindle, Nook, netbook, or any similar gadget.

Here is what you will need:

  • One or more colorful plastic shopping totes (for the shell)
  • A scrap piece of medium weight cotton fabric (for lining)
  • A scrap piece of polar fleece or low loft quilt batting (for padding)
  • A button
  • 1-inch wide ribbon or handles from the shopping tote
  • Your usual sewing equipment (shears, pins, thread, sewing machine, etc.)

Cut up your shopping tote into usable, flat pieces. For an iPad with a slim-line case, you will need one rectangular piece of tote bag that is about 12 x 18 inches. If your iPad has a bulkier case, you can add inches accordingly. If you do not have one continuous 12×18 inch piece, be creative and make a patchwork.  Sew two pieces together, then fold the seam to one side and top stitch to flatten it (as pictured below).

Cut your lining fabric and your fleece the same size as your plastic shell.

Next, fold the shell piece cross-wise (so the two short ends meet), right sides to the inside, and stitch down the one long side and across the bottom, with a 5/8″ seam allowance. Trim the seam to about 1/4 inch.

Sandwich together the lining with the padding and fold crosswise with right sides of lining to the inside.  Stitch together as above, but with a hair wider seam allowance. This will allow the padded lining to easily fit inside the shell. Trim the seam to about 1/4 inch.

Trim an inch of the padding away from the top of the padded lining.

Fold the top edge of the lining down an inch, over the padding, and pin (do not hem yet as some adjustment may be needed).

Turn the outer shell right side out. Fold the top edge in an inch and hem.

To make a button tab, I used a piece of the tote handle, but a piece of 1-inch wide ribbon or finished fabric will do as well. Fold the tab to a triangular point, as shown below, and stitch across the base and around the edges of the triangle.  Baste this button tab to the inside edge of your shell, at the center of the back, as shown.

Slip the padded lining inside the shell, matching the side seams, and see how it fits. If the lining seems too bulky, seam it a little farther in (just a hair) and try again. You’ll get there!

Stitch the padded lining to the shell, all the way around the top. Run a few extra lines  of stitching across the base of the button tab to ensure it holds tight.

Lastly, sew a colorful button on the front at top and you are done!

These make awesome gifts for your technology-loving friends.

And what could be greener than re-using a reusable shopping bag?


2,551 total views, 4 views today


  1. I LOVE this. I have some special bags saved just for making something like this! I am swamped with smoe elder care right nnow so I’ll have no results to shaare soon, but I WILL make something using these instructions.

  2. such a cool idea and a GREAT tutorial!Love it!

  3. I love this! Bags with linings usually intimidate me, but this looks easy enough that I might not even mess it up. Thanks for sharing!

    • Linda Everett says:

      These really are easy to make. The trick with the lining and padding is to make it just the tiny bit smaller. Go for it and let me know how it works out!

  4. <3

  5. Hello Linda !

    Great tutorial ! And lovely gift idea !
    Thank you for sharing (and letting us know that the feed burner has a little down time…)
    Happy Sunday to you !


  6. they look great and super easy to create.
    Thanks for sharing.

  7. Andrea verstegen says:

    I don’t have a car for all the obvious reasons, but this is a good idea for those who forget to take their own bags . Because I walk, use public transport, I always take a trolley with me, and Presto, I don’t need to remember to take my own bags!

    • I wish I lived in a place where public transport was an option. Alas we cannot even safely walk the 1/4 mile to the supermarket for lack of proper sidewalks and a very dangerous intersection. Sad…

      • Andrea verstegen says:

        Yes, it’s not easy is it? Speaking for for my own family, we’ve always moved to areas where we know public transport is available;-)

  8. oh, that’s cool! thanks for sharing

  9. I just tried to subscribe by email, and it said that it was not enabled. =(
    I’ll come back and try later.

    • Linda Everett says:

      The feed burner is not working so that must be why you cannot subscribe. I will talk to Myra. Myra can fix anything!

  10. Awesome tutorial! Can’t wait to try this out. =0)