Tuesday, May 31, 2011

DIY Up-cycling - How to make a laptop sleeve from a leather jacket

When purchasing my Macbook (which I love dearly) I decided to forgo the "and would you like to buy a case with that" - oh upgrades *sigh*. But in all honesty I said no to the upgrade because I knew that there are more unique computer cases available... of course the thought of creating my very own computer case crossed my mind, but I never seemed to get to it. Now here I am, one year later, with several scratches, an accumulation of crumbs, and still no case on my computer.Today I decided to crack down on finding myself a little inspiration to make my poor computer a case.
Here it is: A laptop sleeve from a leather jacket courtesy of Thread  Banger.

Happy Sewing!

What You Need:

- leather jacket with lining (or leather/other material + lining fabric, if you are not repurposing a jacket)
- quilt batting (I used Low-Loft crib-sized batting, and had quite a bit left over)
- 1 button
- black elastic cord 

- marking chalk
- leather shears
- fabric scissors
- matching All Purpose thread
- sewing machine needle for leather
- sewing machine needle for wovens
- hand-sewing needle (not needed if your button is not shanked) 
- leather/vinyl glue
- tape 

Step 1:
Place laptop on your sleeve material, right side up, front edge facing away from you. Trace around laptop on all sides, adding 1''.

Step 2:
Lift and rotate laptop up on its back edge towards you, then wrong side up on top of the material.  (Front edge will be facing towards you.)  Keep drawing 1" around all edges.  (I know this sounds somewhat confusing, so I included the diagram above to show how the material was measured.)

Step 3:
Cut the rectangle out of the material (cutting through both outer and lining if you are using a jacket), using leather shears.  If you do not have a lining, place this rectangle on top of your lining material, trace around, and cut using fabric scissors.

Step 4:
Cut a small piece of leather about 1" square

Step 5:
Unroll batting from package, and leave it doubled up as you flatten it out.  Place rectangle of material on top of the batting.  Cut a piece of batting the same size as the lining, then trim batting about 1/2" on the sides only.

Step 6:
Fold material rectangle in half, and machine-stitch the edges together, using a needle for leather and upholstery thread.  (Upholstery thread is not a must-have...but it is a lot stronger that regular cotton/poly mercenized, and is more suited to sewing leather and taking the stress of repeat usage.  Also, f you have a walking foot or Teflon foot for your machine, it can help the leather from sticking.)

Step 7:
Clip corners and turn right side out.

Step 8:
Fold lining rectangle in half, and machine-stitch the edges together, using a needle for wovens and regular thread.  This will make the lining into a "pouch." Do not turn right side out; the right side needs to remain on the inside.

Step 9:
Wrap batting around the outside of the lining pouch.  Fold upper edges of lining pouch down and overlap batting piece at top edges.  (Trim batting top edges if they are too bulky or long.) 

Step 10:
Machine-stitch the lining edges down over the batting, at about a 3/8" hem.

Step 11:
Sew button to the material pouch you made in Step 6), about 2" down from the top edge on the front of the pouch.

Step 12:
Slide the lining into the material pouch, and slip the laptop inside to check for sizing.  On the back side of the material pouch, tape one end of the elastic cord to the centre, about 2" down from the top edge.

Step 13:
Wrap elastic cord around button, and bring the other end to the back, cutting it and gluing it down next to the other end.  Make sure the cord is taut around the button and will keep the laptop from falling out.

Step 14:
Trim the cord to meet the taped-down end.

Step 15:
Re-tape cords down with the ends free.  Place a dab of glue under the ends and press them into it.

Step 16:
Remove tape and glue the small square over the ends of the cords.

Step 17:
Remove laptop and lining from the material pouch, and machine-sew the square over the elastic cord ends, first sewing a square around the edge, then an "X" shape in the centre.

Step 18:
Spread glue on the inside of the outer pouch, close to the top edge.  Turn down top edge about 3/8"; clamp until dry.

Step 19:
Slip the lining back inside the outer pouch, pushing the corners all the way in.

Step 20:
Stitch around upper edge of laptop sleeve to secure the lining to the outer material, using a needle for leather and upholstery thread.

All finished!

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