DIY: Laptop Sleeve

DIY upcycling a sweater into laptop tablet case from a thrift store

Here’s a suggestion for a laptop case that can be made in anywhere from a half an hour to an hour in a half. The difference in time depends largely on which option you choose to do for the outside of the bag (whether or not you are making it from scratch) as well as whether you’re stitching using a sewing machine or by hand. The basic template for a laptop sleeve can be altered to fit the dimensions of tablets and e-readers as well.

The first option for this is to use a pre-existing bag. The one I am using is one of those simple drawstring totes that are usually available as sale items at places like Bentley’s, or are given away during Orientation week to help you carry all of your new maps, items, and as a tangible reminder that your tuition money is being put to good use. The fabric is waterproof, which is why I chose it to make the laptop sleeve.

Unfortunately, however, the tote doesn’t offer any protection from the laptop being hit by other items in your bag, or against being dropped or bumped around, which is why I decided to modify it. You can see the items we started with in this picture.

You can also make the tote yourself. If you’re making a simple sleeve, it should be quite easy. Cut a rectangle of fabric to fit your laptop, allowing about an inch and a half on all sides. Then sew along three sides, leaving one open. Hem the edges of the opening as well.

At this point, you should have the shell of a tote, either homemade or store-bought. Next, it’s time to line it. For this you will need some soft fabric. If you want to upcycle, you can use an old fleece blanket or any kind of sweatshirt-type fabric. You can also purchase rolls of this kind of fabric at many craft stores.

Measure the tote, and cut the sweater so that you have two squares of fabric that will serve as the lining to your bag. Use a measuring tape to ensure that it will fit properly. Turn the tote inside out and lay the fabric on it so that the soft side of the fabric is facing outwards. This means that when you turn it right-side-out, the bag will have a soft lining and the “bad” side of the fabric is against the inside of your tote.

Stitch the lining all of the way around the edges of the tote. Flip it over and repeat on the other side. Cut off any excess fabric near the seams.

Moment of truth: Try to fit your laptop in the pouch. This is where “erring on the side of overestimating” comes in. Ideally, your laptop should fit perfectly, with perhaps a little extra room. If the bag is significantly too large, you can always turn it inside out again, and take in the seams. However, if it’s too small, you either have to let out the seams, cut and add in extra panels of fabric somewhere, or try again.

Try this tutorial out for yourself and let us know what you think!

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