November 10, 2011

cup of tea and a book:a NOOK cover tutorial


I have a NOOK.
After repeatedly telling anyone who would listen for years that I would never NEVER read from an ereader, I have done a complete flip flop and am now an ereader addict. I'd like to blame living in the city and honestly, it's a big part of the reason I use it SO much, but I also started down that slippery slope when I got my iphone and started reading books on that. But then, somewhere around my birthday, I started realizing that I had increased the font size on my phone's reader so much that I was getting about two sentences per page. Time for a bigger screen. Ok, that was only one reason to give in to the e-reader. It's also cut down on how much I bring with me every day (What if I finish this book and I'm stuck on the subway for hours, I should bring two books. Yes. Two. And also one for Evie. Just in case she is stuck there with me) I can download my knitting patterns onto it which is handy because I almost always ruin/loose/accidentally use my patterns to help dispose of an unwanted mustard covered hot dog. So now I have them with me in a form that wont inadvertently end up in the trash. I've gotten into the habit of using it on our homeschooling and put maps and scavenger hunts from museums on it which is much better than trying to read them on my phone or trying to print them out on our wonky printer (which currently feels the need to be re-aligned between each piece of paper it prints).

All of that is great. It makes my life just that much easier, my bag that much lighter. But in the end, it's really just about the reading. I'm not sure why - maybe it's having it save my page for me or the fact that it's always there or that it lights up so I can read at night without turning the light on and disturbing Will or the fact that I can check library books out from my computer and start reading them right then, but I'm just reading more. A lot more. For a while there I was lucky to get through my book club book each month, much less reading anything else, but lately I'm back in the book reading swing which makes me a much happier girl.

Which brings me to the tutorial (you were starting to think I'd never get there, right?)

You know that question "what's your idea of a perfect afternoon"? It's one of those questions like "What's your idea of a perfect date" that usually sends me into a panic of doubt and blurting out the wrong answer. But when I stop and think about it, a perfect afternoon, or evening, or Sunday morning is a cup of tea and a book. And some knitting if possible (oh, I can knit and read, that's another plus with the ereader! I forgot that one!) So a couple of weeks ago I was doing just that. Children blissfully quiet. House clean. Cup of tea at my side and my latest downloaded library book in my lap (Ellis Island, fyi) and I realized that the cover I bought shortly after the NOOK arrived in my life was looking, um, grimy. I'd bought a moleskine notebook style cover so that it looked NOT like an expensive piece of electronics in my bag on the subway, and that was great. But at the time I could only get a hold of a white one. White+Subway+Children= yuck.

I didn't want to buy a whole new cover, that would be neither in the budget nor very eco-conscious of me. But something needed to be done. Perhaps a slipcover. I'd seen a book cover in the shape of a teacup, with a teabag as a bookmark recently. And while book covers and I have never gotten along long term, I thought the idea might just be perfect for a e-book cover slipcover.
My meagre stash of fabric included a piece of wool that I had planned on making into a scarf but which ended up being a little short for my taste, but it might be perfect for a slipcover (Note- it actually isn't perfect, if I were to do this again I would use wool felt. This wool. although soft and sturdy, frays a bit. SO if you are going to try this, got for a good quality wool felt.)

I'd like to pause here and say sorry for the crappy photos, and also the fact that there aren't many. I was sewing at night and I got a little excited that I was actually sewing and was done before I remembered to take pictures of the process.

This whole process could be done without the handle and the teabag earphone holder. So if a cut of tea motif isn't your, well, cup of tea, just don't add either of those two. The basis for a slipcover would be about the same.

Start by taking your ereader out of the case and setting it aside. You wont need it till your done.

Spread out your fabric on a solid cutting surface and lay the cover on it, leaving room for the "handle" on each side.
Using chalk or a sewing pencil, trace around the outside of the cover as close to the edge as possible. You 'll want the slipcover to be tight so there are no real seam allowances here.
Initially I was going to cut the handles out as part of the cover but then decided that having them separate would make the edge of the cover sturdier. Plus I cut one off when I was cutting the thing out.

Using the chalk, line up the cover underneath the now sketched shape and mark where the clips that hold the reader in place are. Be sure to mark for length and position.

Cut out two of the base shape and four handles, give the end of the handles about 1/4 inch extra so that they catch nicely in the seam.

Now, on the rectangle that is marked with the clips, fold the fabric in half and cut 3.4 of an inch down from the fold so that you have two separate pieces. This will allow you to get the slipcover on. Obviously that would be handy.
Before you sew this all together, and I promise, that's the quick and easy part. you have to sort out the fastener. Meaning, the thing that keeps your cover closed. On my original cover that was just a loop of elastic but here I wanted something a little more fun. I wanted a teabag. That was also a pocket for my earphones. And I wanted a button, not elastic. Because I'm weird like that. You, of course, can choose to be more sensible and go with elastic, but if you want ribbon, cut two pieces that will be more than long enough to meet in the middle if they are attached to the top and the bottom of one side. Make them long, it's easier to trim the later than to rip out your stitches and put in a new piece.

Now, to sew:

Start with the handles. Set your machine to a short stitch length and, with a very, very small seam allowance, layer two handle pieces together and sew all the way around both the outside and the inside edge. Repeat with the other handle.

Take the piece with the snap markings on it and sew a button hole to cover each, be careful to line up the mark with the center of the buttonhole. Trim the opening of each hole once you are done and get rid of any excess thread.

Lay the smaller rectangles on top of the larger one, pinning the handles into place (make sure when you fold it in half the handles match!) and slipping the ends of the ribbon in at the top and bottom on one side (you can do either side. Personally I like the side opposite the reader so that I can flip in into the cover when I'm reading and have access to my earphones if I want them.)

Using that same tiny seam allowance, sew all the way around the outside edge, trapping the ends of the handle an the ribbon, as you go.
OK, almost there. Now. If you want a teabag on your ribbon, cut some white felt into three identical teabag shapes. Trim the top half off of one of them and then layer them up, two full teabags with the half bag on top. Trim the top ribbon so that, when tucked in to the top of the teabag, the bottom of the teabag just barely hit the bottom of the cover. Sew all the way around the edge of the teabag, trapping the end of the ribbon as you go. Add another button hole, this time centered in the top half of the teabag.
Slip the cover into the slipcover and pop the snaps through the buttonhole. With your ereader inside, close your new cover and wrap the ribbon around it, marking where you need to add a button to the bottom half of the ribbon to line up with that buttonhole.
Sew on the button and your done!

How about you? Are you an ereader?