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« Molly's Sketchbook: Glow in the Dark Spider Web Treat Bag | Main | Mini Quilt of the Month, October: Amish Diamond »

Sweet Stitching with Erin: Cross-Stitch iPhone Cases

I freely admit to being one of those people who stands on the street corner with my iPhone, checking emails, looking for the closest Chinese restaurant, and calling my mom... all at the same time. But as a crafter and general lover of all things homey and handmade, Ive longed to somehow make this sleek plastic piece of technology fit into my aesthetic worldview a little better.

So, when the Leese Design Cross Stitch iPhone Case arrived at Purl Soho I could feel my crafty fingers just itching to give it a try. I couldnt decide if I wanted a modern, punchy and fun design, like the iPhone's , or if I'd prefer an ironic twist, juxtaposing four year-old technology with centuries-old craft. So, I made two!  

The Bird in a Tree version of the iPhone case, features a pattern from Caroline Vincent’s Sampler Workbook: Motifs & Patterns, an expansive collection of cross-stitch themes from the 17th through 19th centuries. The historical Autumn Tree Pattern is a classic design with a fresh and modern edge. I worked this pattern in Sajou's Retors du Nord, a lovely collection of 4-ply embroidery floss. Sajou uses vintage reproduction thread cards to wind their floss, so it felt totally natural to use their beautiful Retors du Nord for this traditional pattern.

For the striped design, I turned to the classic 6-ply DMC embroidery floss. With hundreds of colors in the DMC spectrum, including fluorescents, narrowing them down to twelve was both a pleasure and a challenge. I loved experimenting with different size stripes, mixing and matching the order of the colors to create both subtle shifts and sharp contrasts. Freeform cross-stitch is rare, so it was fun to design a project where I could really indulge my creative whims!


Bird in a Tree


Pattern for Striped Version

  • 1 row DMC 307
  • 1 row LE E1010
  • 2 rows DMC 606
  • 1 row Sajou 2234
  • 1 row DMC 606
  • 1 row DMC 648
  • 2 rows DMC 907
  • 1 row LE E980
  • 1 row DMC 307
  • 1 row Sajou 2234
  • 3 rows DMC 3843
  • 1 row DMC blanc
  • 1 row LE E1020
  • 1 row DMC 956
  • 1 row LE E1010
  • 3 rows DMC 956
  • 1 row DMC ecru
  • 1 row LE E980
  • 1 row DMC Blanc
  • 1 row DMC 3843
  • 2 rows DMC 606
  • 1 row LE E1020
  • 1 row DMC 907
  • 2 rows DMC 307
  • 1 row DMC 956
  • 1 row DMC 3761


Cross-stitching the iPhone cases was such a fanciful project that I couldn’t help but smile and tell everyone at the shop all about it. Now for the difficult task of deciding which case to use first! 

Reader Comments (35)

Oh come on! This is just too brilliant an idea!! There's no way I'm not making at least a few of these for my Christmas Gift list.
October 4, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterGigi
Unreal -- this is the PERFECT gift for my iPhone-addicted, needlepoint-expert father, who is otherwise impossible to find gifts for.
October 4, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterSarvi
I love these... it's almost enough to make me go buy an iphone 4!!!! Wish they'd made them for the 3... top idea... really cute! Great designs girls! :-)
October 5, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMairi
Is there any chance this case would come in black in the future? I'd love to match the colour of the phone!
October 5, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterVaire
No iPhone 3?
October 5, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterstacey
Hi Stacey,

Unfortunately they don't make them for the iPhone 3.

Thank you for your question!

- Molly
October 5, 2011 | Registered Commenterpurl bee
Would you mind saying what count his case is? Is it plastic canvas?
I don't have an iPhone so it won't fit my phone, but I've been thinking about making a case of either canvas or plastic canvas.
October 5, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterCheryl
Hi Cheryl-

The case is an 18-count. We would suggest using an 18-count needlepoint canvas to create a case for another phone, most cross-stitch fabric simply isn't sturdy enough to take the wear and tear it would get in this application.

Thanks for the question!
October 5, 2011 | Registered Commenterpurl bee
Is this case silicon or hard plastic? I am in love with it!
October 6, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJamie
Hi Jamie-

It's plastic. Thanks for your question.

- Molly
October 6, 2011 | Registered Commenterpurl bee
Oh my goodness!! How ingenius!! I don't have an iPhone. I have an HTC, but ironically enough, I bought a "Matrix" cover for my phone a couple of weeks ago that has an open grid on the back. I'm so glad this post came about. Off to the store to pick out floss now......
October 6, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAlaundra
I love this, I would buy an I-phone just to be able to have one of those!
October 7, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJule
Hi, after doing some searching, I see that Leese makes them in other colors as well: black, pink, green, blue... Any chance that PurlSoho will carry these as well?

Thank you!
October 10, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAudrey
Ive bought the case and the fabric to make this project. How did you manage to squeeze the needle with the thread through each hole? Especially as you get into the second row, there just doesnt seem to be enough space for the needle and thread to go through. I cant seem to do it. Any tips?
October 22, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterDY
This is so beautiful! Whow.
November 20, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterK&0
Are there any pictures of how much of the front of the phone it covers? I like a case that covers the bezel. Also, any problems w/hooking the USB cable up w/the case in place?
November 20, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterSue in Grapevine
HI Sue-

It does cover the bezel, and we've had no problems using the ports with the case on. Thanks!
November 20, 2011 | Registered Commenterpurl bee
Does anyone sell these pre-made? I don't have time to be crafty right now but would love to buy one from someone who is :). Do they mostly just cover the back and sides of the phone? Thanks!
November 25, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAmy
Hi Amy-

We don't know of anyone who sells them pre-made but you might want to call our NYC store to see if they know anyone who could make one for you. Their phone number is 212-420-8796.

The case covers the back, sides, and the seam where the sides meet the front. It is very much like the standard rubber and plastic cases you can buy at the Apple store.

Thanks for your question!- Molly
November 25, 2011 | Registered Commenterpurl bee
I hate to repeat a question, but I just want to double check. Does the case have a screen protector? That is my biggest concern because if the screen gets scratched, the touch capabilities can be lost. Thank you!
January 10, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterTanesa
Hi Tanesa-

It doesn't have a screen protector. Most snap on iPhone cases don't. The screen protector is usually a sticker that sticks on to the front of the phone. Like most snap on iPhone cases this one does protect the edges and where the screen meets the sides. This helps to protect the screen if it's dropped.

Thanks for your question~

January 10, 2012 | Registered Commenterpurl bee
Do you think you can use a needlepoint continental stitch insteascod cross stitch or will it make the underside too think?
March 18, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterKaren
that is really cool, i just got an iPhone 4s so i want some cases to keep my iPhone in.

Do u know where they sell these cases??? Thanks
April 30, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterE.K
Hi E.K.-

We sell these cases, as well as the materials for all of our projects, from our webstore,

The link to the cases can be found under the "Materials" section of this story or right here:

Thank you for your question!
April 30, 2012 | Registered Commenterpurl bee
Hey! Is that any shop in KL ? I would like to buy one! In love with it!
September 3, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterDebbie
I love this! Do you know if you will be getting one for the iphone 5?
October 19, 2012 | Unregistered Commentermeganleiann
I saw in the comments where it said it was made out of plastic, but is that the same as TPU?
May 20, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterLauren
For the Android users amongst us: I'd love to embroider my back case too. Any suggestions on how to go about it? All I keep finding is iPhone covers ...
June 22, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterHedvig
My friend made me this case and the stitches seemed to stretch out the case so it kind of bubbles in the back and bows out on the sides. Did anyone else have this issue and can anyone thing of anyways to fix it?
June 25, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterHeather
Hi Heather.
Thank you for writing in. This is so interesting. We haven't heard of this happening before, but are glad to know it's an issue.

Can I ask, did your friend use the proper size thread? Perhaps if she used a larger than recommended thread, the pressure might have warped the 'canvas' (case).

Thank you again for writing in.
We will check around to see if anyone else has had this experience.
June 27, 2013 | Registered Commenterpurl bee
I have ordered the iphone case and have all the threads except 3 ... Sajou 2234, E1010 and E1020. I can't find these #s anywhere. Any substitutes and/or suggestions?
July 20, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJean Hargas
Hi Jean Hargas-

Please email customerservice AT purlsoho DOT com and they can help you with substitutions and/ or let you know when we are expecting more of these threads in.

Thank you!

July 22, 2013 | Registered Commenterpurl bee
I assume friction on the thread of the case will cause a little fuzziness correct? Is there a way to seal it so it can handle being tossed in a purse and rub up against things?
September 15, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterNicola
Does the iPhone 5 case work for the iPhone 5S? OR are you coming out with an iPhone 5S case before next May?
December 18, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterTyler
Hi Tyler -

Unfortunately these do not fit an iPhone 5 and we're not sure if these are going to get made in that size. But we'll certainly post about it we get them!

Thank you!

December 19, 2013 | Registered Commenterpurl bee

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