Thursday, February 2, 2012

Making a Laptop Bag

I decided to do away with my old desktop computer and got a new laptop in December.  Yay!  It's a dual boot:  Windows 7 (give me the option to work from home) and Debian Linux for everything else.  I love it.  But then it dawned on me:  I needed a laptop bag.

I searched for a while, and I didn't find anything I liked.  Everything seemed either too bulky (enough room for the laptop and every accessory I could think of) or too streamlined (literally just covered the laptop).  I wanted just enough space for the laptop and power cable and a bit of padding to absorb any shock and handles to carry it with.  Then I was told: You know, you could make one.  What a novel idea!

Fabric, foam padding and heavy interfacing
I found some really interesting designs on 25+ Laptop Sleeves & Cases: Free Tutorials & Patterns.  Turns out I was pretty picky with my requirements:  space for a 15.6" screen, a pocket for the power cord, handles, decent padding, a flap closure. I couldn't find quite what I wanted.  I ended up taking the JoAnn's Padded with Straps pattern and, in typical Sally style, reworked it to my liking.

Getting the materials was a trip.  I hemmed and hawed over a number of fabrics, but was encouraged to go for something funky.  I calculated the yardage while waiting in line to get it cut.  The original pattern called for three colors: one for front/back, another for handles, and a third for the sides and lining.  I opted to do the whole bag in one color, contrasting material for the  handles, and the third color just for the lining.

I cut all the pieces and started stitching it on Sunday.  I am about half-way done, but stopped for a couple of snags.  First, I forgot to cut material for the outside pocket I so desperately wanted.  That ended up being a good thing:  when I saw how the front panel looked, I redesigned my original pocket layout.  Second, although I had compensated for the extra padding and cut the outside and lining accordingly, I had not considered how it would change attaching the lining to the outside of the bag.  Hmm.  Luckily, I bought a bit more material than I thought I'd need.  I have a couple of ideas how to do it; now I just need to decide which one to do.

It's looking kind of funky.  I like the way the sides feel and I'm sure it will be even sturdier when it's complete.  I can't wait to see how it turns out!


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