A few weeks ago a cross stitch-able iPhone 4 case was making the rounds of the Internet. Having recently received a very gently used iPhone 4 from my husband (who in turn got a brand new one from his work), I was on the hunt for a new case (more about my old case below). Sadly, said husband veto my choices, which included this and this. But, he happily agreed to the Leesedesign DIY iPhone 4 Case.
The case currently on my phone is a Speck Fitted Case for iPhone 4. It is actually the second Speck case we have had, since the first one was replaced under warranty after it cracked. The Speck case is nice, but far from perfect. The back fits tightly (maybe too tight, which is why the first one cracked), but the front is a little loose. All the ports and buttons and such line up perfectly, which means the case doesn’t need to be removed for syncing or charging. However, the overall quality leaves a little to be desired. The fabric backing on my current case is fraying at the edge, making it look quite untidy. And given that my phone spends more time sitting on the table than anywhere else, I’m very disappointed.
Why start with a review of a Speck case you may be wondering. Well, Speck cases are well respected, so they provide a good comparison for this DIY case from what is essentially an unknown source in Korea. So, let’s get started on the review.
The DIY iPhone 4 case is a soft case for, what else, the iPhone 4. It looks like it should fit all models, but is shown on a Virgin Mobile handset in these pictures (note that the Verizon model is slightly different than other iPhone 4 handsets, but this case seems to be able to accommodate them). It fits the iPhone snugly, but is still easy to remove.
The thing that makes this case special is the back: it features an evenweave-like surface, perfect for cross stitching. The back is 33 stitches by 69 stitches, with a small section cut out for the rear-facing camera and flash. It works out to about 16 stitches an inch.
The package comes with the case, three bobbins of floss (pink, blue and gray), a needle, and a small booklet with six designs. The designs range from an all over heart pattern to a sports car. Something for everyone. The colour numbers given for the designs appear to be a combination of DMC numbers (e.g. 310 is black) and some other floss system. The non-DMC numbers do correspond to the three colours of floss included with the case. (Additional designs can be found here.)
The user manual also includes basic cross stitch instructions, as well as some, umm, interesting English flubs. (What is an “emotional cross stitch pattern”?)
The case feels well made and, as I said before, fits the iPhone well. All the ports and buttons are clear and easy to access.
So far, the only problem I see with the case is two manufacturing flaws along the right hand side. They appear at both the top and bottom and look like they are caused by the mould.
Although I have yet to begin stitching on the case, I expect it won’t be terribly difficult. The case is made from flexible polyurethane and all of the holes are well formed and clear of any debris. None of the included designs tickle my fancy, so I wish that the user manual had included an empty graph. Still, with some graph paper or a cross stitching graphing program, it will be easy to design something more to my tastes (or more likely, I’ll end up trying to adapt a design to fit the space). Since the case is plastic, designs can only be whole stitches.
Do I like the case better than my hard, two piece Speck case? Yes, very much so. I like that I can easily remove the DIY case, and the fact that it is only one piece. I also like that the DIY case costs less, and that I can stitch whatever I like on the back, rather than having to pick from a small range of fabric choices provided by Speck.
And if you’d like to see how my stitched version turned out, check out this post.