Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Motorcycle iPad Case - A WIP

Today I am presenting a project that I have been working on for my friend Valerie. She is my daughter's sax teacher, a gifted musician and teacher, and an all-around wonderful person.
Valerie and her hubby ride motorcycles together. They ride all over the place, both short trips and long trips. We've recently both been lusting over our new iPads, and when she mentioned that she needed a case to protect her iPad while in her saddlebag during road trips, my wheels started turning.

Valerie thinks that memory foam would be the best thing to use for protection. We just so happened to take a trip to Ikea this weekend, where I picked up a memory foam pillow. It was one of those curvy neck pillows. I'd have preferred a nice smooth rectangle, but it's what I found, so I made do.

I got to work right away on cutting up the pillow.  Now, in retrospect, I should have pulled out my jigsaw, but instead I used serrated kitchen knives.  Live and learn.

My supply list:

Sealah Tape (one of my favorite things)
Memory foam pillow
Adhesive spray
Silky fabric for lining (repurposed pj pants)
Fabric for outside of case. I used raincoat fabric from fabric.com that I had in the stash.
Strong Thread and needle
Pressing cloth
Serrated knives

I started by tracing the iPad onto the pillow, then marking 1" all around. I cut this with a big bread knife. Then I carefully cut the line where I traced directly around the iPad, cutting down about an inch. Carefully, I sliced the piece out in one piece, because that will serve as a part of the case. I used the silky pj fabric to cover the 1" piece I removed, hand stitching it closed on one side.

Then I trimmed away some of the inside bed to make room for the fabric and the iPad and still get good closure.  Again I used the silky pj fabric to create an inside lining where the iPad will rest, using lots of Sealah tape to keep it in place. (Upper right picture in 2nd collage below.)

Click to enlarge.

After trimming off the back curves of the pillow piece, I cut a piece of the main fabric, large enough to wrap up and over the main piece's edges, like a present would be wrapped. I sprayed the back of the foam with adhesive, placed it on the fabric, then started folding and wrapping, using Sealah tape liberally. Love that stuff. Periodically I ironed it using a press cloth, just to set the Sealah tape.

Once it was all wrapped to my satisfaction, I used poly/cotton button thread and a small needle, whip stitching the main thread to the lining, using very small stitches.

Similarly, I wrapped and stitched the main fabric to the removable cover, leaving the lining exposed on the inside, the part that will cover the iPad screen.  The picture above is the main case, which is done except for a little more hand stitching.  The 1" thick rectangle piece that is now all covered will serve as the lid, or cover, and fits nicely down inside, on top of the iPad.  I have to fool around with it to figure out how I am going to make the closure.  I am leaning towards using two elastic bands sewn to the back of the case, one horizontal and one vertical, that will wrap around and secure it all together.  My alternate idea is a plastic latch like you see on backpacks and shopping carts (to hold the kiddos in).  However, I think the more streamlined, the better, since they have limited space for packing.  Nice thing is that the memory foam is 'squishable'.

I was hoping to finish it tonight, but my brain has been seriously rattled today.  There is a house being built next door to us, and the heavy equipment being used to pound down the soil has vibrated my last nerve to within an inch of it's life.

I'll post a pic when it's complete.  I'm open to suggestions on the closure!



  1. What a great idea to use memory foam. I never would have thought of that.

  2. Janlynn, it was actually my friend's idea. She said the saddlebag on the bike gets a lot of vibration. I researched memory foam and found a pillow to be the cheapest way to go. I wish I could surround Valerie and her hubby in a memory foam force field when they are riding. I know they are safe, hi-vis, and very smart about it, I just worry about the people around them. y'know?


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