French Onion Soup: 1000 Calorie Counted Recipe Challenge

This part of my 1000 Calorie Counted Recipes Challenge, where I’m aiming to cook every recipe from The 1000 Calorie Counted Recipes by Carolyn Humphries. It’s an amazing book… but there are no pictures!

1000-calorie-french-onion-soup-portion

French Onion Soup| 100 calories per serving | Serves 2


Ingredients

  • 300g onions, thinly sliced*
  • 15g low fat spread
  • 300ml beef stock (made with 1 Oxo cube)
  • 2 very thin slices bread**
  • 15g grated cheese

*I felt this was too much, so would suggest cutting down to 200g
** I cut a circle of bread about 10cm in diameter, and I only had brown, but white would have been more authentic


How to Make French Onion Soup

  1. Melt the low fat spread, then fry the onions VERY gently for about 15 minutes – ideally with a lid on
  2. Uncover the onions, turn up the heat and cook for about 20 minutes
  3. Stir throughout, and cook till the onions are a deep, golden colour
  4. Add the stock
  5. Simmer the soup for about 15 minutes
  6. Season to taste
  7. Cut rounds of bread big enough to fit your soup bowls (ours are little rice bowls)
  8. Toast the bread on one side
  9. Flip the bread, sprinkle the cheese on and then toast the other side
  10. Serve the soup into the bowls, then pop the toasted cheesy bread on top

The Verdict

Flavour: 5
(1= flavourless, 5= delicious)

Satisfaction: 4
(1= unsatisfying, 5= satisfying considering low cal!)

Ease of Preparation: 4
(1= difficult, 5= easy)

Aftermath Factor: 4
(1= tons of washing up, 5= one pot wonder)

Oh yes, I liked this! It was a wonderful starter and felt quite naughty even though the portion size was controlled (we used small rice bowls and teaspoons). I love cheese, so this was a good way to get the flavour without having huge amounts.

I did feel the recipe called for way too many onions and so I’d reduce those next time so the onion to stock ratio was a bit more in favour of stock.

Quick, inexpensive, could probably be knocked together out of the cupboard and tastes very much like a treat. Definitely recommended.

Do you use smaller crockery and cutlery to control portion sizes? Do you think it fools the brain into thinking you’ve eaten more?


This part of my 1000 Calorie Counted Recipes Challenge <- click the link if you want to find out what it’s all about and see the recipes I’ve already tried. Please note that I tinker with recipe ingredients and meander from the method – the recipe above will deviate slightly from the original book and the method is just the way I happened to cook it this time!

Salmon in Filo Pastry: 1000 Calorie Counted Recipes Challenge

This part of my 1000 Calorie Counted Recipes Challenge, where I’m aiming to cook every recipe from The 1000 Calorie Counted Recipes by Carolyn Humphries. It’s an amazing book… but there are no pictures!

1000-calorie-salmon-filo-pastry-whole

Salmon in Filo Pastry | 550 calories per serving | Serves 2


Ingredients*

  • 2 small salmon fillets
  • 2 sheets filo pastry
  • 7.5 g low fat spread
  • 1/2 tsp chopped basil

*this is quite a deviation from the book, but only in removing elements rather than anything else! The recipe called for there to be chopped mushrooms and tomatoes within the pastry parcel, and to be set on seasoned passata. That didn’t really appeal to me – I didn’t want a soggy bottom and I wasn’t feeling very tomato-y! 


How to Make Salmon in Filo Pastry

  1. Remove any skin (or bones!) from your fillets of salmon
  2. Melt the low fat spread
  3. Lay out your filo pastry, paint a little spread onto half of the pastry, then fold it in half
  4. Paint a little more spread onto the pastry, then place the salmon in the centre
  5. Sprinkle 1/4 tsp of basil onto each fillet
  6. Fold up the parcel so it’s sealed
  7. Paint on any remaining spread
  8. Bake in an oven at 200 C for 15 minutes, or until golden brown

The Verdict

Flavour: 4
(1= flavourless, 5= delicious)

Satisfaction: 5
(1= unsatisfying, 5= satisfying considering low cal!)

Ease of Preparation: 3
(1= difficult, 5= easy)

Aftermath Factor: 2
(1= tons of washing up, 5= one pot wonder)

As a pastry fiend, this recipe appealed to me and I was not disappointed at all. At the time of writing, filo pastry is on offer in Sainsbury’s at £1 for 6 sheets. I bought two packets, portioned them out to two sheets each and froze them in the hopes that this recipe would be delicious.

I was going to use fresh basil within the parcel, but stuck to the recipe using dried chopped basil and I was very pleased with the result. I served the parcels on pea puree (no added butter, just whizzed up peas!) with asparagus and crushed boiled potatoes with loads of pepper and chives.

I’ll definitely be cooking this again where there’s a need for a bit of a treat, but without all the calories.

1000-calorie-salmon-filo-pastry-portion


This part of my 1000 Calorie Counted Recipes Challenge <- click the link if you want to find out what it’s all about and see the recipes I’ve already tried. Please note that I tinker with recipe ingredients and meander from the method – the recipe above will deviate slightly from the original book and the method is just the way I happened to cook it this time!

Indonesian Supper: 1000 Calorie Counted Recipes Challenge

This part of my 1000 Calorie Counted Recipes Challenge, where I’m aiming to cook every recipe from The 1000 Calorie Counted Recipes by Carolyn Humphries. It’s an amazing book… but there are no pictures!

1000-calorie-indonesian-supper-whole

Indonesian Supper | 450 calories per serving | Serves 2


Ingredients

  • 120g rice
  • 25g low-fat spread
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 100g chicken breast, cut into thin strips
  • 1/2 tbsp curry powder
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon powder
  • 25 g cooked ham, diced
  • 1 egg + 30ml water
  • big handful coriander to serve

How to Make Indonesian Supper

  1. Start by cooking the rice and then setting to one side. (I use 1.5 times water to rice, bring it to the boil, then immediately turn it down to simmer and pop a lid on and cook till the water has all been absorbed.)
  2. Take half the low fat spread and put it in a wok.
  3. Talk the other half of the low fat spread and put it in a small frying pan.
  4. Heat the wok and quickly fry the onion.
  5. Add the chicken breast, curry powder and cinnamon and gently cook till the chicken is cooked through.
  6. Whisk up the egg and water together.
  7. In the other, little frying pan cook cook an omelette from the egg and water mixture.
  8. Tip the omelette onto the side and quickly chop up.
  9. Next, add the rice, peas and ham to the wok.
  10. Cook through till it’s all incorporated and the peas are defrosted.
  11. At the last second, add the chopped up omelette and the coriander.

The Verdict

Flavour: 5
(1= flavourless, 5= delicious)

Satisfaction: 5
(1= unsatisfying, 5= satisfying considering low cal!)

Ease of Preparation: 3
(1= difficult, 5= easy)

Aftermath Factor: 3
(1= tons of washing up, 5= one pot wonder)

Best. Calorie-Counted. Dinner. Yet.

It looked great, tasted amazing, had loads of different flavours and textures. There was also SO MUCH of it!

It was a tiny bit fiddly, and I did wonder whether the cinnamon would work but it totally did. The omelette fell to pieces (I’m hopeless at the best of times, let alone with a pan losing its nonstickiness, not a low of fat and a water egg!) but it made no impact on the flavour.

I will definitely be cooking this again, and I’m sure it’ll be much quicker next time without having to keep referring to the recipe.

I served this with a sliced red pepper and a big handful of bean sprouts that had been cooked in a hot, dry pan with a splash of soy sauce and Shoaxing rice wine (you can use dry sherry as week). It definitely needed this as a side, for some extra sweetness and moisture.

Highly recommended. Cook it, cook it now (and let me know if you do)!

1000-calorie-indonesian-supper-portion


This part of my 1000 Calorie Counted Recipes Challenge <- click the link if you want to find out what it’s all about and see the recipes I’ve already tried. Please note that I tinker with recipe ingredients and meander from the method – the recipe above will deviate slightly from the original book and the method is just the way I happened to cook it this time!

Low Fat Recipe: Fruit Jelly Pots

As part of my 1000 Calorie Counted Recipes Challenge (where I’m aiming to cook every recipe from The 1000 Calorie Counted Recipes by Carolyn Humphries) I’m creating my own low fat dishes. I’ve used the internet to research calorie content, so please bear in mind it’s not 100% accurate but hopefully a good guide.

This came about to stave off sweet cravings after dinner and is more an idea than a recipe. I found that I wanted something after my main course, and a lot of people had mentioned low calorie jelly. Now, I’m sure low calorie jelly is all very nice, but I need 1) something to aim for to make the jelly exciting 2) to have a measured and pretty portion (not scooping flabby jelly out of a big bowl).

I know the jelly is full of artificial ingredients, but I’m not suggesting you have it all the time. It’s a useful tool to have in your armoury and you can just keep the two things in your kitchen and know you can have a tasty, low-fat pudding at short notice.

low-fat-jellies-tip

Fruit Jelly Pots | <50 calories per serving | Serves 6


Ingredients

  • Frozen fruit of your choice
  • Low calorie instant jelly

Easy to keep in the freezer and store cupboard.

low-fat-jellies-tip-ingredients


How to Make Fruit Jelly Pots

  1. Locate 6 little pots. The little glass Gu ones are ideal.
  2. Spoon one tablespoon of frozen fruit into each pot.
  3. Make up your insta-jelly according to the ingredients.
  4. Pour the jelly over the fruit. I’ve found that 1 pint of insta-jelly poured over a tablespoon of frozen fruit PERFECTLY fills 6 of those glass Gu ramekins that everyone seems to have.
  5. Leave to set in the fridge. As the volume is small and the fruit is frozen, it doesn’t take more than a couple of hours.

low-fat-jellies-tip-prep

 I usually make these up when I get home from work and they’re ready by dinner time. Obviously these last us 3 days, but the ramekins stack in the fridge so there’s no space issue.

These taste great and the first person I served them to asked me if I’d bought them in Waitrose, so there you have it!

Perfect on their own, but you could add a little dollop of yoghurt on the top if you felt the need.

Marinated Lamb Kebabs: 1000 Calorie Counted Recipes Challenge

This part of my 1000 Calorie Counted Recipes Challenge, where I’m aiming to cook every recipe from The 1000 Calorie Counted Recipes by Carolyn Humphries. It’s an amazing book… but there are no pictures!

1000-calorie-lamb-kebabs-whole

Marinated Lamb Kebabs | 350* calories per serving | Serves 2

*Please note, this is from the 350 calories per portion section, but I used 100g lamb per portion rather than 87g so my version will be a bit more


Ingredients

  • 200g lamb, trimmed of all fat (this took me about 15-20 minutes!)
  • 1/2 lemon, juiced
  • 1 tsp fresh chopped herbs (I used oregano and mint)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 red pepper
  • button mushrooms

How to Make Recipe

  1. Trim any fat from the lamb and slice into, sort of, squares. The recipe calls for dicing but I was unsure of cooking times, so diced them and then cut them in half again (as you can see above).
  2. Put the meat in a bowl and add the lemon juice, herbs and salt and pepper.
  3. Leave to marinate for about an hour.
  4. Thread the lamb, peppers and button mushrooms onto skewers.
  5. Grill for about 10 minutes, turning at regular intervals.
  6. Serve with your chosen sides.

The Verdict

Flavour: 4
(1= flavourless, 5= delicious)

Satisfaction: 4
(1= unsatisfying, 5= satisfying considering low cal!)

Ease of Preparation: 2 – the trimming took a long time, and all kebab skewering is fiddly.
(1= difficult, 5= easy)

Aftermath Factor: 3
(1= tons of washing up, 5= one pot wonder)

I sensed that this dinner had the potential to be a bit dry, so to avoid the temptation of fatty sauces I also grilled some cherry tomatoes for the side. I served the dish with a sort-of low fat coleslaw (shredded white cabbage, carrot spring and spring onion with squeezed lemon – it’s so versatile, we had it with the Butterless Butter Chicken Curry yesterday) and wholemeal pitta.

This dinner had a lot of flavour, but I had to resist the urge to brush olive oil on the skewers or have a big dollop of houmous on the side. I bet that would have tasted awesome…

What bad-for-you things do you find hard to resist adding to recipes, or on the side of finished dishes?

1000-calorie-lamb-kebabs-portion


This part of my 1000 Calorie Counted Recipes Challenge <- click the link if you want to find out what it’s all about and see the recipes I’ve already tried. Please note that I tinker with recipe ingredients and meander from the method – the recipe above will deviate slightly from the original book and the method is just the way I happened to cook it this time!

Low Fat Recipe: No Butter Butter Chicken Curry

As part of my 1000 Calorie Counted Recipes Challenge (where I’m aiming to cook every recipe from The 1000 Calorie Counted Recipes by Carolyn Humphries) I’m creating my own lower fat versions of my favourite dishes. I’ve used the internet to research calorie content, so please bear in mind it’s not 100% accurate but hopefully a good guide.

My favourite curry is butter chicken, a fairly mild, aromatic and creamy curry that packs an insane amount of fat. This is a drastically reduced fat version that I’ve been working on for some time, to try and recreate the flavour without all of the cream and butter. Please note that I love sauce for curry – so this is a very saucy butter chicken!

no-butter-butter-chicken

No Butter Butter Chicken Curry | 350-400 calories per serving | Serves 2


Ingredients

For the marinade

  • 2 chicken breasts, diced (weighing approx 325g in total)
  • 200ml low fat natural yoghurt
  • 1/2 lemon, juiced
  • 2 cm fresh ginger, minced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/2 tsp garam masala
  • 1/2 tsp paprika

For the sauce

  • 1 tsp oil
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp fenugreek
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp chilli flakes
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 cloves, ground
  • 5 cardamom pods (if you don’t like crunching on them, treat them like a surgical device: count them going in, count them as you pick them out)
  • 1 can tinned tomatoes

How to Make No Butter Butter Chicken Curry

  1. Prepare the marinade and marinade the chicken breasts, ideally for at least 30 minutes.
  2. In a pan, add the oil, onion, garlic, salt and spices and cook for 5 minutes or so till the onions for are softened. Add a little dash of water (rather than more oil) if it needs it.
  3. Add the tomatoes and sugar and simmer gently for 10 minutes to reduce down the watery-ness of the tomatoes.
  4. Retrieve the cardamom pods.
  5. This stage is optional – you can blend the sauce at this stage if you want to.
  6. Add the marinated chicken and all the marinade to the sauce.
  7. You could add chick peas, peppers or other veg at this stage if you fancied it.
  8. Cook, covered with a lid, for 20 minutes or so or until the chicken is completely cooked.

Serve with heaps of shredded white cabbage, carrot, spring onion and cucumber dressed with coriander and lemon juice. Serve with either chapatis or rice. Or poppadoms if you’re feeling naughty… yum yum yum (approx 2g fat per poppadom)!


The Verdict

Flavour: 5
(1= flavourless, 5= delicious)

Satisfaction: 5 – give you that lovely, greedy, full-up curry feeling with a lot less guilt!
(1= unsatisfying, 5= satisfying considering low cal!)

Ease of Preparation: 3
(1= difficult, 5= easy)

Aftermath Factor: 4
(1= tons of washing up, 5= one pot wonder)

This is a lot spicier than a standard butter chicken, but I feel it needs it. With the ginger, cloves and cardamom it’s also very aromatic. I really do love this recipe, but it will never had the same greasy-lipped satiety of the full fat version. It does, however, tick all the boxes of having a filling curry but without that horrible over-stuffed feeling.

Splitting is a bit of an unfortunate compromise with this recipe. I don’t believe it does anything bad to you, but it does detract from what would (in full fat butter chicken!) be a glossy, thick appearance. To counteract this, and because it’s DELICIOUS, I throw coriander and sliced red onion on top.

You really need to serve this with a delicious side. I’m one of those people who nabs the bag of salad that comes with curries, so I usually go with shredded white cabbage/iceberg lettuce, carrot, cucumber, spring onion and coriander salad. I sometimes serve it with homemade, low fat chana masala or cauliflower bhaji (no, alas, it’s not deep fried!) for extra veg. 

Bacon and Mushroom Souffle Pie: 1000 Calorie Counted Recipes Challenge

This part of my 1000 Calorie Counted Recipes Challenge, where I’m aiming to cook every recipe from The 1000 Calorie Counted Recipes by Carolyn Humphries. It’s an amazing book… but there are no pictures!

1000-calorie-bacon-and-mushroom-souffle-pie-whole

Bacon and Mushroom Souffle Pie | 450 calories per serving | Serves 2


Ingredients

The original recipe given in the book is to serve 4, but as a souffle won’t freeze I had to trim it in half (not easy splitting 3 eggs into 2!). It did seem to work though and these are the ingredients I used.

  • 2 medium-sized potatoes, scrubbed (they both fit in my open hand, as an idea of size)
  • 25g low fat spread
  • 4 lean bacon medallions, diced
  • 50g button mushrooms, diced
  • 1/2 tsp thyme
  • salt and pepper
  • 10g plain flour
  • 75ml semi-skimmed milk
  • 15g mature cheddar cheese, grated
  • 2 eggs, separated – with egg whites whipped to stiff peaks

How to Make Bacon and Mushroom Souffle Pie

  1. Boil the potatoes, whole, until cooked through. Leave to cool and then slice them. Line a medium-sized oven proof dish with the potatoes and set aside (the one I used, pictured, could have done with being a bit bigger!)
  2. Preheat the oven to 190 Celsius.
  3. Whip the egg whites to stiff peaks.
  4. Melt the low fat spread and gently cook the mushrooms and bacon pieces.
  5. Add the thyme and salt and pepper to taste.
  6. Add the plain flour and stir through.
  7. Add the milk and mix till it becomes a thick, incorporated sauce.
  8. Quickly beat in the egg yolks and cheese.
  9. Gently fold in the whipped egg whites.
  10. Spoon the souffle mix over the potatoes.
  11. Put the souffle pie into the middle of the preheated oven and cook for around 25 minutes.

The Verdict

Flavour: 5
(1= flavourless, 5= delicious)

Satisfaction: 5 – great comfort food
(1= unsatisfying, 5= satisfying considering low cal!)

Ease of Preparation: 1 – took a long time, very fiddly
(1= difficult, 5= easy)

Aftermath Factor: 1 – bowls, pots, pans, jugs… the list goes on
(1= tons of washing up, 5= one pot wonder)

I’d never cooked a souffle before so was not sure entirely what to expect. As I was weighing out the ingredients for this, it felt meagre and the directions only said to use a “large ovenproof dish”. I kept looking at the ingredients and at the dish I’d selected. I was beginning to relish dread the thought of having to nip to the pub for their Tuesday Pint & Pie.

Unfortunately, it turned out well and had great flavour. The souffle acted a bit like a sauce and the whole dish had a scrummy, comfort-food feeling to it. I’ll definitely be cooking this again – though probably more in the winter months!

The downside is that this one took a lot of weighing and used a lot of bowls, so definitely not one to turn out in a hurry or if you hate lots of washing up.

I hate showing photographs with frozen veg on my blog – it feels like someone seeing your underwear drying on the washing line. It’s a bit embarrassing, you worry it looks bad, but you know everyone has to do it. So if you could overlook that, I’d be very pleased.

I’m also feeling self conscious about my souffle (a sentence I never thought I’d say). Too wobbly? Too brown? What do you think? Any tips?

1000-calorie-bacon-and-mushroom-souffle-pie-portion


This part of my 1000 Calorie Counted Recipes Challenge <- click the link if you want to find out what it’s all about and see the recipes I’ve already tried. Please note that I tinker with recipe ingredients and meander from the method – the recipe above will deviate slightly from the original book and the method is just the way I happened to cook it this time!

Spanish Rice: 1000 Calorie Counted Recipes Challenge

This part of my 1000 Calorie Counted Recipes Challenge, where I’m aiming to cook every recipe from The 1000 Calorie Counted Recipes by Carolyn Humphries. It’s an amazing book… but there are no pictures!

1000-calorie-spanish-rice-whole


Spanish Rice | 450 calories per serving | Serves 4


Ingredients

  • 175g roast chicken, shredded
  • lemon juice
  • 1 green pepper, diced
  • 1 red pepper, diced
  • 1 red onion, diced
  • 225 g rice (I used Basmati)
  • 600ml vegetable stock
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 100g frozen peas
  • 10-12 cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 3 spring onions, sliced
  • salt and pepper
  • chives to garnish

How to Make Spanish Rice

  1. Shred the roast chicken, squeeze over lemon juice and set to the side.
  2. Spray a little oil into a large frying pan (one that has a lid) and gently cook the green pepper, red pepper and red onion until slightly softened, which should take 5 minutes or so over a gentle heat.
  3. Tip the rice into the pan and stir around for a minute.
  4. Add the vegetable stock and turmeric.
  5. Bring to the boil, then cover and simmer for 10 minutes.
  6. Add the chicken, frozen peas, cherry tomatoes and spring onions. Season to taste.
  7. Put the lid back on and cook for a further 10 minutes, or until the rice is thoroughly cooked through.
  8. Garnish with chives or other herb of your choice (the book recommends parsely, but I despise it).

The Verdict

Flavour: 2 – could have done with chilli
(1= flavourless, 5= delicious)

Satisfaction: 3 – plenty of it, but needed more flavour
(1= unsatisfying, 5= satisfying considering low cal!)

Ease of Preparation: 5
(1= difficult, 5= easy)

Aftermath Factor: 5
(1= tons of washing up, 5= one pot wonder)

I felt like this recipe was tasty, well-textured and filling. I would definitely cook it again and the principles of a one-pot veggie and rice dish is one I’ll look to adapt in future for quick, flavoursome, healthy meals.

The original recipe only calls for boneless chicken meat – I used leftover garlicky, herby roast chicken and added extra lemon juice to moisten it up. The fact it was previously roasted probably added a few calories, but I feel it also added some crucial flavour and proved to be quite frugal! A bit of chilli or cayenne pepper would have given this dish a kick, which I think it could have done with.

This recipe says that it serves 4, so we only ate half of it and will be freezing the remainder in portions to take with us to work for lunches. Win!

1000-calorie-book-spanish-rice-portion


This part of my 1000 Calorie Counted Recipes Challenge <- click the link if you want to find out what it’s all about and see the recipes I’ve already tried. Please note that I tinker with recipe ingredients and meander from the method – the recipe above will deviate slightly from the original book and the method is just the way I happened to cook it this time!

A New Challenge: 1000 Calorie Counted Recipes

Hello! I’m back, after a rather extended hiatus. Where have I been? Well for the past three years my day job has involved blogging, editing, doing SEO and writing press releases for much of the working week. I’m sure you can understand that it left little passion for doing that in my spare time. I have, however, started a new role at work, which means that writing and editing are no longer take up the majority of my time. Consequently, I need an outlet again…

The other side to this is that since November 2012 I have lost 2 stone, mainly through exercise. It’s now time that I put some effort into the other side of the equation: diet.

I love food. Clearly.

Specifically, I love comfort food and fatty food. I love pastry and cheese and mashed potato. I’m a giant savoury food fiend, but I aim to turn a corner and lose at least the same again. To do it, I know I need to be accountable and have motivation. (I hope you don’t feel used.)

My starting point is The Classic 1000 Calorie Counted Recipes by Carolyn Humphries. It’s a bit of a cult classic. When you delve in you find that the recipes are tasty, filling and well-balanced.

frolickingfoodie cooks the 1000 Classic Calories Counted Recipes

The Classic 1000 Calorie Counted Recipes

However, the book is of the no-pictures-whatsoever variety so getting inspired to cook from it can be difficult: and just another excuse to switch off and cook something well-known, well-loved and unhealthy.

frolickingfoodie cooks the 1000 Classic Calories Counted Recipes

Wait… no pictures?

So to pull together my missions of recommencing blogging and getting down to a healthy weight I thought I would attempt to cook all the recipes and blog them, so that others can see the results.

I always tinker with recipes and meander from the method, so I’ll be recording that rather than a completely strict adherence (what can I say, lack of self-control must be in my nature). I’ll also try to share my own low fat recipes and ideas.

Wish me luck, I’m going in…

How to Make an iPad Case

This tutorial will show you how to make a case for your iPad 2.

I have been sewing for about 6 months and this fabric iPad case is my first design. This project requires technical skill and patience (both things I tend to lack, so if I can do it I suspect most people with a bit of sewing experience can) and – above all – a lot of measuring, re-measuring, pressing, trimming and lining up. I want to just ZOOM along with the machine, but being neat and precise and patient does pay off (I sound like my mother).

Because this is a soft iPad cover, it’s designed to fit an iPad 2 that has a smart cover on it. You can never be too careful… If you want it to fit an iPad or iPad 2 without a smart cover, you may want to make the fabric a little smaller so it’s a snug fit.

To complete this iPad case project you will need:

Materials needed to make an iPad case

  • 1 piece outside fabric – 50 cm x 29 cm
  • 1 piece lining fabric – 50 cm x 29 cm
  • 1 piece light wadding – 49 cm x 28 cm
  • 150 cm of bias binding
  • 30 cm of Velcro
  • white thread
  • thread to match the bias binding
  • sewing machine, needles, pins, scissors, tape measure
iPad case tutorial – in short:
  1. Cut fabric and wadding
  2. Sew Velcro onto fabric
  3. Pin together outside fabric, wadding and lining fabric
  4. Sew round all edges
  5. Pin bias binding along inside edge
  6. Sew bias binding along inside edge
  7. Fold, check iPad sits comfortably and Velcro matches
  8. Pin sides
  9. Sew sides
  10. Pin bias binding around all edges
  11. Sew bias binding around all edges
  12. Neaten off ends and any mistakes by hand

iPad case tutorial – step-by-step instructions:

1. Cut fabric and wadding

Cut 1 piece of your outside fabric and 1 piece of your lining fabric so that they both measure 50 cm x 29 cm.

Cut your wadding so that it measures just slightly smaller all the way around. By cutting it smaller it makes it easier to sew the edges later on.

The neater and squarer your cutting is, the better. I used a rotary cutter, ruler and mat to get it precise. Press your fabric once it is cut. Press it whenever it is looking a little creased because the flatter your fabric is, the easier it is to work with. I know you don’t want to stop to keep ironing after each stage, but you really should.

2. Sew Velcro onto fabric

By sewing the Velcro on at this stage,  you will end up with a neater finish. However, you need to carefully plan where the Velcro will go.

You will need to sew the ‘fluffy’ part of the Velcro onto the outside fabric. It should be approximately 2.5 cm from the edge of the fabric.

You will need to sew the ‘sticky’ part of the Velcro onto the lining fabric. It should be approximately 4 cm from the edge of the fabric.

Pin the Velcro first. Layer up the outside fabric, wadding and lining fabric and try it with the iPad in place to make sure the two sides of the Velcro meet in the right place. It may take some adjusting.

When you are happy with the fit, sew the fluffy Velcro strip onto your outside fabric and the sticky Velcro strip onto your lining fabric. Sew all round the edges of the Velcro in white thread.

3. Pin together outside fabric, wadding and lining fabric

Layer up your outside fabric (right side facing out), your wadding and your lining fabric (right side facing out).

At all times during this project, accept all help offered. If you don’t, you’ll find helpers reluctant to cuddle you when you’re having a nervous breakdown about the bias binding later on…

4. Sew all round edges

Sew a 0.5 cm (1/4 inch) seam around all four sides. This should sew through the outside fabric, the wadding and the lining fabric.

My sewing wasn’t particularly straight and my seams were a bit bulgy in places, so I cheated and neatened up the edges after I had sew them. The straighter and neater the edges are, the easier it will make sewing it all together.

5. Pin bias binding along inside edge

This is where it gets a bit complicated to explain (and a bit complicated to do). By pinning the bias binding and sewing it along the inside first you will get the best – and least frustrating – result.

The first bit of bias binding to add is the easiest because it’s a straight edge. This bit will become the inside edge of your case. As you can see, this is on the edge of the lining fabric that does not have the Velcro on it.

If you flip the flap over, you should see the outside fabric with the edge that does have Velcro on it.

Completely open up your bias binding and pin the inside edge flush up against the material.

6. Sew bias binding along inside edge

Change your thread to match your bias binding. With the bias binding still open, sew along the edge that you just pinned. Sew as close to the fold as you can manage.

All this sewing will be hidden, but it’s important to do this first step as it keeps your bias binding in place and ensure that you ‘catch’ both sides.

Once you have sewn the bias binding in place, flip your fabric over and fold the bias binding so that it neatly covers the raw edge. Pin it in place.

Sew once again along the bias binding, this time as close to the edge as possible. It will sew all the way through and because you sewed it into  place first, it should ‘catch’ all the way along.

You should then end up with a piece of bias binding that neatly covers the inside edge of your iPad cover.

7. Fold, check iPad sits comfortable and Velcro matches

Your iPad case is starting to take shape now. Fold it, make sure it sits snugly and make sure the Velcro matches.

8. Pin sides

Once you’re happy with the fit, pin the sides – make sure you match up the edges as squarely as possible (if you trimmed it earlier after you sewed all round the edges, this is where it pays off).

9. Sew sides

Sew up the sides. You can even sew up to the top of the bias binding to make it nice and strong (this stitching will be covered later).

10. Pin bias binding around all edges

The next stage is to pin the bias binding around all the edges that are left in one long strip, complete with fancily folded corner. I have never done this before and found this How to Attach Bias Tape with Mitered Corners Tutorial really helpful. Like I said earlier, this is the one part of the project that may cause a nervous break down but this method is the easiest way of doing it and I will try and explain how I did it.

Open up the bias binding and pin it flush against the edge, like you did before. Hooray! This feels familiar… but hang on – is that a corner I see up ahead?!

When you get to the corner you need to fold the bias binding back on itself at a 90 degree angle, with the tip of the fold touching the outer corner. Like this:

Then, fold it back on itself so the bias binding sits flush against the other edge. Like this:

If you move your fingers back, you can see there’s a flap:

Now carry on with your pinning along the next edge and you will be left with the bias binding look like this:

Carry on, and do the same thing to the next corner. When you have finished pinning all the bias binding your iPad cover should look like this:

11. Sew bias binding around all edges

Next you need to sew the bias binding all the way around. Like before, this is a two stage process. First you must sew along the inside edge of the bias binding, close to the fold where you just pinned.

Treat this as though you are sewing three separate sides. Sew along the straight edges and when you get about  a centimetre away from the corner, STOP.

Cut your thread, turn your fabric and start again about a centimetre away from the other side of the corner. Do all three sides like this.

When you have sewn the inside edges of the bias binding all the way around, your fabric iPad cover will look like this:

Fold the bias binding neatly over the raw edges and pin it.

Pay careful attention to the edges, so they look as neat as possible. I read somewhere that you can never have too many pins when it comes to bias binding. I have come to realise this is a truism.

Once you’ve pinned your bias binding in every which way, you need to sew the bias binding in place, around all sides and across the corners. Because you  anchored it in place, it should catch beautifully on both sides.

You will now have something that looks like this:

12. Neaten off ends and any mistakes by hand

All that remains is to trim the bottom edges down and sew them up by hand.

Also, if you missed any bits that need strengthening (like this corner) do it by hand.

And there we have it! One funky handmade iPad case, ready to protect and serve.

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