Cellphone Sleeve

Turn a necktie into a padded pocket for your phone
  • Click through our slideshow for instructions on how to turn a tie into a cellphone sleeve. | Photo by Lori Eanes

  • What You'll Need

    • Necktie
    • Pins
    • Sewing chalk
    • Tape measure and/or ruler
    • Cutting wheel and mat or sewing scissors
    • Sewing machine or needle and thread
    • Iron and ironing board
    • Button or snap
  • Step 1: Lay the tie out flat. Fold down the point to make a straight edge, and pin it in place. Measure 6 inches down and mark it with the chalk.

     

    Photo by Wendy Becktold

  • Step 2: Use the ruler (and the chalk if you are using sewing scissors) to mark a straight line across and cut off the rest of the tie.

    Wendy Becktold

  • Step 3: If your tie has a stitch binding the front and back, snip it.

    Wendy Becktold

  • Step 4: Unfortunately, this will probably also undo the vertical seam that holds the tie together. If so, turn the tie inside out, pin the vertical seam back together, and sew it.

    Wendy Becktold

  • Step 5: Decide whether to keep or take out the interfacing. This thick piece of fabric helps the tie hold its shape and will provide extra padding for your phone, but it's hard for many sewing machines to handle. (My machine couldn't, so I opted to keep the interfacing and sew by hand.)

    Wendy Becktold

  • Step 6: Draw a straight line across the bottom of the tie and pin, leaving at least a half inch of excess fabric. (To make sure your pocket is the right size, turn it right side out and put your phone in, then take your phone out and turn the pocket back inside out.)

    Wendy Becktold

  • Step 7: Sew along the chalk line and trim away the excess fabric. Note: You can round the corners by sewing diagonally across them, making a tiny triangle on each end. However, when I tried this with the first pocket I made, I had trouble getting both corners to look uniform, so this time I skipped it.

    Wendy Becktold

  • Step 8: Turn the pocket right side out and assess your work; because of the slippery fabric and the design of the tie, it's difficult to fashion a truly symmetrical pocket. If yours falls short in this category, let the iron come to your rescue, as it does for many less-than-perfect sewing jobs, making things look crisp and tidy where perhaps they are not. Just place the pocket under some thin cotton fabric and put the setting on low to avoid damaging the silk.

    Wendy Becktold

  • Step 9: Sew the bottom piece of the snap onto the top center of the pocket.

    Wendy Becktold

  • Step 10: On the inside of the flap, mark the spot with sewing chalk where the top piece of the snap should go and sew.

    Wendy Becktold

  • Step 11: Snap the pocket shut and iron once more to create a nice, clean crease for the flap.

    Wendy Becktold

  • Step 12: Slip the phone in your phone and snap it shut.

    Wendy Becktold

I love the idea of sewing, but store-bought patterns confound me, and honestly, I'm just missing the perfectionist gene that's needed to cut and stitch all those straight lines. I keep trying, though. And it has gotten a lot more fun as I've let go of my preconceived ideas of what and how to sew and just experimented with the clothes I already have. They come in all kinds of patterns, colors, and textures—and how much of it do I really wear regularly anyway? 

I've turned socks into wrist warmers, pants into shorts, and most ambitiously, a jacket into a backpack. Recently, I've expanded to neckties, which I get secondhand. Once required wear for any respectable man, they've been on the wane for decades (even President Obama shed his for the G8 Summit last June).

These gorgeous strips of fabric should see the light of day more often, so I've been making them into pretty pockets, perfectly sized for a cellphone and fun to give away. I measure about six inches from the end of each tie, cut off the excess material, and sew a seam along the edge. Attaching a snap "ties the whole thing up. 

DIFFICULTY LEVEL: 3

CONSTRUCTION TIME: 2 hours

Silk is slippery to work with, but you can do the sewing by hand or machine. Based on a project by Jessica Barst.

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