* Army issue multi-cam backpack
* Replacement buckles included with bag (2 pairs on the small buckles)
* Strap from bag for collapsable cloth camping chair
**Alternately, use unwanted buckles & straps from outside of bag but be careful doing this in case you have to turn the bag in in the future
* Discarded PT jacket (optional, someone got rid of this so I used it)
* Discarded multi-cam top
* Unused foam knee and elbow pads (1 set each)
* Mailing tape
* Duct tape
* Sewing needle
* Sewing scissors
* Small piece of thin cardboard to use like a thimble
Tools I did not have access to but would have been beneficial:
* Sewing machine
* Seam ripper
* Full size sewing scissors
Step 1: Step 1: Determine Size of Foam Padding
Tape the pads together with mailing or duct tape. If you plan to sew through taped places, it is better to use mailing tape. If not, it is better to use duct tape because it will hold the pads in place together better.
After taping, clean up the edges of the foam with scissors if needed.
Step 2: Step 2: Cut Some Fabric
How to cut:
First, cut off both elastic wrist cuffs. Next, cut just the mesh around the inside of the armpit zipper. The rest of the mesh is easily torn out by hand. The mesh is not needed for this project. Next, cut off one of the arms just above the reflective strip (the jacket I used was a Large Short). You will need the fabric to be longer than the computer by 4-8 inches. Some portions can be torn apart by hand easily at the seams instead of cutting---just be careful. A seam ripper would work well but I didn't have one handy.
Step 3: Step 3: Begin Sewing
I kept a small space between the platform and the main foam backing, as well as enough space on the top so that the fabric could still overlap on the main foam backing. This is one part of the project I would change if I redid this. Instead, I would make two small strips of foam on the bottom so that the bottom could flexibly bend around the laptop and leave no space larger than needed to sew separate compartments in between.
You may also need to safety pin things together before sewing to make sure everything stays in place. I found that mailing tape works great for this as well. A thimble would be handy to help push the needle through the foam - not having a thimble, I just used a folded piece of thin cardboard taken from a box of Whales (imitation Goldfish crackers).
After sewing, feel free to cut down the sides around where the main foam pad is. I recommend marking the fabric with a pen, marker, or chalk first so as to not accidentally cut in the wrong spot. I trimmed this section down to be smaller than the pads instead of larger. I did this because the multi-cam fabric is thick enough and I wanted to limit the number of layers I'd be sewing through.
After cutting, align the main foam to where u plan to sew. Apply tape or safety pins to hold everything in place. At this point, I decided to stich the two together quickly in a few places so I'd no longer have to rely on tape. I chose to leave the edges open so that the multi-cam fabric could slide underneath. Initially I wanted the computer to rest against the PT jacket fabric when completed but later on decided that didn't matter.
Step 4: Step 4: Initial Cut & Sew of Multi-Cam Portion
After cutting, make sure the fabric is lined up how you want it and sew only the bottom leaving the corners open for now (see the second image). You may need to use tape or safety pins again.
Step 5: Step 5: Create Inner Bag Size Strap
Step 6: Step 6: Adding to the Multi-Cam Side
I decided to install a pocket on the foam insert to store my laptop's power cable. If you decide to do this as well, just be careful not to allow excessive weight to be added to the pad.
Step 7: Step 7: Sewing Up the Pad & Attaching the Pocket
Step 8: Step 8: Attaching the Loop for the Belt
Now I can safely carry my laptop in my backpack! Oh... and it looks good :)