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Last week I had to get a new phone. I know a lot of people change their phones a lot, but one of the things that happened after I got my iPad was that I went back to a very old school phone. I decided that I wasn't using my phone much, certainly not enough to warrant a £20-per-month contract, and went for a £30 Nokia in pay-as-you-go. It's worked really well for me. I don't phone many people (and never have), and it's probably cut down a bit on my random tweeting (which is no great loss to humanity). The only thing I miss a bit is maps, but I just have to be a little more prepared before I go somewhere new.

So I had a cheap Nokia, and really didn't take care of it. It's been slung in outside pockets of bags then rained on, waist pouches and sweated on, just about any random pocket I could find. And last week, sadly, that came back to bite me. The backlight stopped working, which makes the screen impossible to read. I did google some fixes, but they involved a soldering iron and various components, so I wussed out. I went and bought a £9.99 Nokia to replace it. This time I vowed to take better care of it, so I've made it a cover.

Old Skool Nokia

The cover is made with some ripstop off cuts I got during my first masters in 2000. I investigated the aerodynamics of power kites, and got some of the material to play with. I'm not expecting it to be waterproof, but it should provide an extra layer of water resistance, giving me time to rescue the phone from the worst of the wet!

Phone case

Clarkie says it looks like a Breakaway Bar. The closure rolls twice, and then the elastic wraps round to hold it in place. It's not perfect, it's just a little fiddly, but it works well enough for now. I had to handsew the whole thing because it's not very big, so excuse the wobbly stitches.

While I had the ripstop out, I decided to knock up a shoe bag too. I end up slinging pairs of trainers in bags quite often, so I thought a nice, lightweight bag would be just the ticket.

Homemade ripstop shoe bag

Same principle, based on some instructions i found for sewing a stuff sack (the link seems to have died! Thank goodness I saved it to Evernote). I changed the closure though. The instructions include a drawstring, this one features Velcro instead of elastic. I machine-stitched this one, which was fiddly in places. I used my walking foot because the ripstop is quite slippery, and it worked well.

Homemade ripstop shoe bag

The hook part is on the back of the bag, so that when it's doubled over it shouldn't catch on anything (like my jumper). The different orientation of the hook section to the loop section allows me to be less precise with the closure, and gives me a little leeway on the length of thing I put in there (although I don't see my feet changing size too much!). The white Velcro isn't all that aesthetically pleasing and there is probably room for improvement in the closure mechanism, but it's only a shoe bag.

Homemade ripstop shoe bag

That's where I normally end up carrying shoes. Doesn't work so well if they are muddy, but this will definitely help with that.

Homemade ripstop shoe bag

Added bonus: it folds up really small. This means that on the days when I run in and already have shoes at work it won't be a problem to squeeze this into my pack for later.

Not perfect, but pretty useful. I'll keep thinking about closures, because I haven't solved that problem here. Room for improvement yet.

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