I was originally going to make this for the Tandy Leatherworking Contest, but with school and everything it got put off until I came home for Christmas break. I made two of these laptop sleeves for my sisters, so that they would have something to help keep their computers scratch free. I forgot to take pictures because I was in a bit of a rush to finish these in time, so this is going to be another instructable with illustrated steps.
The design of the sleeve is styled to look somewhat like an envelope. It doesn't have any metal clasps or fasteners, so that there is nothing to scratch the computer. The upper fold of the envelope secures the computer in place.
I used thin, upholstery style leather, and stitched it with heavy duty thread. The leather is from Tandy and the thread was purchased from Michael's. During this project I used a standard use sewing machine, and I can't say I really recommend it. I snapped 2 needles in the machine and the motor was overworked. If possible, try to get access to a heavy-duty machine so that you don't damage your tools.
Overall, I'm really happy with the results. Each sleeve cost about $15 and took just under 2 hours to make. I will probably try and make one for my mac sometime in the near future.
Step 1: Tools and Materials
- Try and get a Heavy-Duty sewing machine, or one specifically built for leatherwork.
- You should use leather specific needles, or at least a large one (like a size 14).
- Regular thread probably won't be strong enough, use button or multi-purpose thread. It looks about 3x as thick in the store.
- A vice and pliers really help for the hand-stitching, a thimble isn't a bad idea either.
Step 2: Steps 1 and 2
Cutting the Leather:
I cut the leather so that it was about 2.5x as long as the laptop and had at least 3/4" of extra material on both sides to make space for the laptop. This was a relatively thin computer, so other computers might require significantly more extra material on the sides. It is always better to cut too much than too little.
Sewing the Ends:
I folded both narrow ends over and sewed them with a decorative stitch. This just helps to make the edges of the sleeve look better.
Step 3: Step 3
In preparation for sewing, I clamped everything together with the rough part of the leather facing out. I couldn't get pins through so I used some bulldog clips from the office.
***MAKE SURE THAT YOU PLACE THE OUTER FLAP ON THE INSIDE SO THAT WHEN EVERYTHING IS REVERSED IN THE FINAL STEP IT IS OVERLAPPING THE OTHER*** I made this mistake once and spent a good 20 minutes cutting stitches out and re-sewing. Save yourself some time.
Make sure that the outside flap doesn't cover too much of the space where the laptop will be inside the sleeve. If you bring the top flap too far down it will be much trickier to get the computer in and out. On this sleeve I have about 2" for the top flap, I wouldn't make it any longer than that and would recommend keeping it to about 1" if possible.
Step 4: Steps 4 and 5
Do all of the machine sewing that you can to save some time and get good consistency and strength. I had to hand stitch the ends of the flaps because no matter how much I tried to coerce the machine the thread always snapped or the needle broke. If you have a proper machine made for leather you might be able to go through everything in one pass.
Step 5: Step 6
The easiest part: flip everything inside out and double check the fit. Hopefully if you measured your tolerances right the laptop should fit! It can take a bit of work to get it in place the first time, but with use the sleeve should stretch a bit and make more room in the areas that need it.
Thanks for reading my instructable! I hope you enjoyed it. If you have any questions, feel free to comment.