Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Kindle Tote

The Minnesota grand-kids came to visit this summer and stayed nearly a month.  I know Grandma’s house can be boring for kids used to having all of their own toys and electronics… and friends nearby… so I got permission from my son to order a Kindle Fire for each of them as a surprise
summer gift. Their visit coincided with Amazon’s Prime anniversary special, so they were bought at a huge markdown. These children do not have their own computers, so this was (as Quentin said) the best gift anyone could ever imagine!  Charlotte jumped up and down and proclaimed it was the best day of her life!  I sat them down and told them how breakable they are, and they were NEVER to leave them on the floor, where someone could accidentally step on it, or on a chair, where someone might accidentally sit on it.  We designated a place for them to plug them in for charging.  I repeated the rules… more than once... many times more, in fact!  And they were pretty good about following instructions, and were excellent monitors for reminding each other, as well.  Before he went back to Minnesota, my son helped them download a variety of games and books, and initiated the parental controls, so I wouldn’t have to worry about them going on the internet or doing things that were outside their dad’s boundaries.  There was peace in the house… no fighting over computer time, and they enjoyed their reading time every afternoon… or I thought they were enjoying it, until I realized they were playing games instead of reading!  So we had a no electronic rule during the two hours quiet time, and the books with actual pages were brought out.  I have a collection of Thornton Burgess’ Mother West Wind books (among others) that my mother used to read to me when I was a child, and my grandchildren also enjoy these simple stories, knowing that they were part of my childhood.  There is also a library only about a mile away, so we can easily go to check out more books, when the children want something new.
I told them we would make totes for the Kindles, so anytime they took their Kindle out of the house, it would be protected.  And they were delighted to help sew their own totes. 

Kindle tote:
This tote can be made from two coordinating fat quarters.  The grandchildren picked their own favorite colors and fabrics for their totes.  The dimensions given here are for a Kindle Fire HD 6”.  If your Kindle is larger, you may need to add to the cut sizes shown here.

Cut 2 pieces for the front and lining, each 9” x 18”.
Cut one piece of thick batting for the interlining the same size.

For inner pocket (for charging cord and/or other accessories):
Cut one piece of lining 8” x 10”.  
Right sides together, fold lining in half to make a piece 5” x 8”.
Sew around 3 raw edges, leaving a space to turn right side out.
Clip corners next to stitching to reduce the bulk and turn right side out.
Turn raw edges under to the inside, about ¼” to ½”.  Press in place.
Top-stitch opening closed, close to the edge. Stitch down each side and across the bottom of the pocket.  I also made a smaller pocket to hold a credit card or business cards in the same way. (Photo shown at right.) Center it on your larger pocket and stitch around the sides and bottom. You can position it so that the small pocket is on the backside or front of the larger pocket, but make sure the open top is facing up, toward the fold-down flap. 

I made a larger pocket in the same way for the OUTSIDE of the main fabric, placing it about an inch or two down from the front, so that the top of this pocket will go under the flap.  It can be the same as your outer fabric or in a contrasting fabric, if you prefer. This pocket can hold a cell phone for easy access, and was an addition my oldest daughter suggested when she saw the first prototype.  Photo of outer pocket at right.
Place inside pocket on lining, as follows:
Fold lining, leaving 2-1/2” at the top for the flap to fold down over the tote, as in an envelope.

Pin inside pocket to the right side of the lining, one inch from the bottom fold on the LONG side of the lining.  Pin the outside pocket to the outside fabric of the tote.  Photo shown below with the pockets pinned in place, ready to sew.

Put the main fabric and lining, right sides
together.  Place batting behind the two pieces. 
Be sure to position your outer fabric and lining so that the openings in the pockets will be right side up!
This means, the inside lining pocket will be open toward the envelope flap, and the outer pocket will be open near the edge of the tote when it is folded up to stitch the sides in place. 
Insert an elastic hair band OR a piece of elastic cord between the front and lining at the 4” spot on the top side where the flap will be turned down.  If you use a hair band, take care to position it so that the metal piece that joins the elastic is not in the seam line, or you could break the sewing machine needle.
Pin the three layers together and stitch around all four sides, leaving an opening on the SHORT side where the outside pocket is, to turn the Kindle pouch right side out.
Turn right side out.  Press well.  Turn the opening to the inside and top-stitch close to the edge.
This will be on the opposite side of the elastic band, and will be the top front of the bag when finished, so it should look neat.

Fold up with front side out, about 2-1/2” from the end of flap.  Stitch up both sides, reinforcing the top edges where the tote will get more stress.  I top-stitched up and around the top of the flap, also, to give a neat finish to the tote. 
Fold flap down and mark where the bottom of the elastic is on the front pocket.  Attach a button to the center front of the pocket where you have marked, for the elastic loop to go around for closure, taking care not to sew through the front of the bag.  Alternately, you can use a strip of Velcro tape for closure and omit the elastic band and button. 
There is room inside the tote for both charge cords, for your cell phone and Kindle. 
A finished Kindle Tote is shown on the right.

For the children’s totes, we cut two strips 2-1/2” by 18”.  Fold the strip in half to establish a fold, and fold each raw edge in to meet at the center fold.  Fold in half again, right side out, press, and top-stitch along each edge of the strap, about ¼” from the edge. Fold under one end to enclose the raw edge and top-stitch it to the back of the flap, right where it is turned down over the front, one strap on each side of the tote.  We tied the remaining two raw ends into a knot to give the length we needed for each of the children, so it can be put around their head and keep the electronics safe from falling and shattering. It also gives them a good way to keep their cords organized!
My youngest daughter brought over some neon Velcro closures in various colors for the children to choose which one they wanted, and showed them how to wrap their cords into a circle (not a figure 8, which could damage the wires in the cord), and close them with the Velcro. 
The photos below show each of the children sewing their totes.  I love the expression of determination on Quentin's face as he sewed!
The photos below show each of the children with their finished totes.  Ava's was taken at 6:30 in the morning, fresh out of the shower, when she was about to leave for her flight home.  She was going on a mission trip with her church group, so had to leave early.

And now, for the rest of the story… all of our care in making a safe carrier, in explaining and reiterating how important it is not to drop them because they are extremely breakable, did not have the desired effect.  I was told that when they got home, Charlotte went out of the house with her Kindle tucked under her chin and both hands full with other things… and you can guess the rest of the story!  It dropped and cracked one corner… still usable except for the inch that is cracked, but broken, nevertheless.  Some of us learn our lessons the hard way!  When his dad told 10-year-old Quentin to put his Kindle in the tote, Quentin said they only made the totes because…”Grandma was teaching us to sew on the machine.”  His misconception (or twisting of the facts) was quickly corrected!  One more update:  Ava and Charlotte called me the other day and asked how forgiving I am.  I replied I think I am pretty forgiving… and Charlotte admitted that she had AGAIN dropped her Kindle, this time on the wood floor in their family room, and the screen had shattered.   Ava said it still works, but she is concerned Charlotte might cut herself when she uses it.  My son said he will check it out and see if a screen cover will help, or if it needs to be replaced.  Accidents happen… and there is no point in punishing her.  I think the loss of her favorite gift is punishment enough.  Some of us just need to learn our lessons the hard way, and hopefully it’s only a small bump on the path toward wisdom… and common sense!