Thursday, August 27, 2015

A Teacher Request: Cell Phone & ID Holder Tutorial

Between gossip and school chat during a recent back to school lunch with my teacher friends, one of the gals showed us something her teenage daughters had been working on. It's a holder for a cell phone and school ID card that their mom can slip over her belt. It would be especially handy for recess duty or field trips. The girls had a super idea, but they knew it needed to be refined. The case can only be worn on a belt, and it is rather wide. I think that may have been the reason their mom showed it to me. 

The other teachers agreed that the idea was fabulous, and that was all the encouragement I needed. I so love a challenge! "Tell me more," I said, as I pulled my handy dandy pencil and scratch pad from my overstuffed purse. The five of us spent the next fifteen minutes collaborating on design elements.

The minute I got home I headed for my sewing room. Measure this, measure that, make a sketch and I was off to Hobby Lobby with a shopping list. Clear upholstery vinyl, D-rings, zippers, belt clips ... What? They had no belt clips? Okay, what could substiture?  I grabbed a package of ID card clips just in case, and headed home.

Back in my sewing room I pulled a fat quarter from my stash and got to work.  I made two pockets for the front of the case. The larger pocket holds the cell phone, and the smaller, frontmost pocket has a clear vinyl insert for an ID card or favorite photo. There is a zippered pocket on the back for cash, credit cards, driver's license, a few tissues or whatever.

I used the ID card clips that I found at Hobby Lobby for clipping the case to a belt or waistband.


I took the prototype over to school for approval. The girls liked it a lot, but I wasn't completely satisfied. The D-ring was great for attaching the case to a lanyard, but to carry it at the waist, the ID card clip had to be clamped to either a belt or belt loop. Without those options the fabric at the waistband had to be pinched and then gripped between the  teeth of the clip. It held securely, but I wasn't completely happy. I really did want a belt clip for it that could slip easily over a waistband or pocket like my hubby's leather cell phone case does.   

I was sure I could pick a few up belt clips at Joann's, but that store is clear across town, so I called first. I was surprised to discover that they nothing at all like that.  I made a few more phone calls. There were no belt clips available at any of the fabric stores or any of the local craft stores - not even online!

The last option was eBay, the source for absolutely anything imaginable. Sure enough, I found just what I wanted.

I'm most definitely not in the business of advertising, but sometimes I feel that I really do have to share products with you. This is one of those times.

This is what I bought - 1 1/2" plastic belt clips available in sets of 10 for $ 10.35 from BuckleRUs. 
This is the eBay link:
I like the new and improved version of the case so much better! 

Now I'm working on stitching up a bunch of them. Four are done and there are a few to go. After all, I do have ten belt clips, endless fat quarters,  and lots of teacher friends. I'm making myself one, too, but since I don't need to carry an ID card, I'll make the smaller front pocket without a clear insert. I can use my own case around the house, when I go walking, or when I dash out on a quick trip to the store or the library.  

The Tutorial: 
Cell Phone & ID Holder

4” x 6 ½”
Fits an iPhone 6 with a bit of space to spare. 


·       One fat quarter fabric
·       One small piece of fusible interfacing
·       One small piece of clear vinyl upholstery fabric  
·       One 5” (or larger) zipper
·       Belting, 1” wide x 2 ½” long
·       One rectangular ring, 1”
·       One belt clip, 1 ½”
·       Thread


From fat quarter, cut:
·       Two rectangles, 5” x 7 ½”
·       Two rectangles, 5” x 11 ½”
·       One strip, 1 ¼” x 5”
·       One strip, 2” x 5”
·       Two strips, 1 ¼” x 4”
·       One rectangle 2 ¾” x 5”
·       One rectangle 5” x 5

From fusible interfacing, cut:
·       One rectangle 4” x 7 12”

From clear vinyl, cut:

·       One piece, 3 ½” x 4”


Make The Clear Vinyl Pocket 
Use ¼” seams on the insert.

Note: Leave the paper backing of the clear vinyl in place while sewing. Sew with the paper side down against the feed dogs to keep the vinyl from sticking to the sewing machine.  

1. With the right side of the fabric facing the vinyl, sew one 1 ¼” x 4” strip to each of  the two 4” sides of the clear vinyl. Finger press open.

2. Sew the 1 ¼” x 5” strip to the bottom of the clear vinyl. Finger press open.

3. Sew the 2” x 5” strip to the top of the clear vinyl. Finger press open.

4. Press the edge of the 2” x 5” strip of fabric back ¼”. 

5. Tear the vinyl's paper backing away and discard.

6.  Fold the fabric from step 4 down onto the back of the vinyl so that the pressed edge is even with the stitching line. Press.

7. Top stitch on the right side of the folded fabric strip.

Finish the front of the case. 

1. Lay the wrong side of the clear vinyl pocket on the right side of a 5” x 11 ½” rectangle.  Align the pocket with the bottom of the rectangle.  

2. Fold the top of the rectangle over to the back. Stay stitch. The folded piece will make the cell phone pocket.

3. Place the two pockets on the bottom edge of the right side of one of the 5” x 11 ½” rectangles.  Stay stitch. 

Make the Zippered Back Pocket.

Note: I didn't have a 5" zipper, so I used a 7" one. It will be easy to cut to size later.

1. Iron the interfacing onto the wrong side of the remaining 5” x 7 ½” rectangle. Set aside.

2. Lay the zipper on the  edge of the right side of the 2 ¾” x 5” strip of fabric. The zipper pull should face down against the fabric. Align a zipper foot along the edges of the zipper and the fabric and stitch. Fold the fabric back from the zipper and finger press. 

3. Lay the zipper and fabric piece right sides together on the 5" x 5" piece of fabric. Align the edges and stitch with the zipper foot. Finger press the fabric back from the zipper.

 4. Lay the wrong side of the zipper section on the right side of the  5” x 11 ½” rectangle that is backed with interfacing. Open the zipper a bit so the zipper pull will be inside the seams.  Stay stitch all around.

5. Trim off the excess lengths of zipper. 

Finish the case:

1. Fold the belting in half and slip the rectangular ring into the fold. Align against the top edge of the zippered pocket sections, center and stay stitch. 

2. Place the two halves of the case right sides together. The photo below shows them side by side.

3.  Sew all around the case with a ½” seam. Leave an opening at least 2  ½” wide at the bottom of the case for turning.

4. Trim the seam to about 1/4" all around the case, except for the section by the opening. Leave that area of 1/2" seam allowance in place for folding inside when the opening is sewn closed.  Trim the corners very close to the stitching.

5. Turn the case right side out. Gently push the corners out with a point turner.  I used the pointed end of a large wooden knitting needle. 

6. Press the case flat, but don't place the iron directly on the vinyl. Tuck the ends of the open section at the bottom to the inside.

7. Hand stitch the opening closed. 

8. Make a double line of machine stitching right under the belting so it won't pull out. 

9. Attach the belt clip by fitting the free side of the rectangular ring into the small space at the bottom of the belt clip. Snap the belt clip closed. 


The last three cases.

Wishing everyone an ever "sew" happy weekend!


  1. I am trying to make this but it says to use 5x 7 1/2 pieces 4 times but nowhere does it state to use the 5 x 11 1/2 piece! Your instructions says to cut (2) pieces 5 x7 1/2 &? (1) piece 5 x 11 1/2! Please, can you clarify ?

    1. Thank you so much for pointing this out to me. I'm really surprised that no one has mentioned it before. I went back over the instructions and found several errors. The post has just now been edited. You will need two pieces of fabric 5 x 11 1/2, instead of one. The first is used in Step 1 of the section of "Finish the Front of the Case". The second is used in Steps 1 and 4 of "Make the Zippered Back Pocket". Thank you again.