This project recycles an IKEA laptop bag (it's called FLORT and costs $9.99 at IKEA) into one perfectly sized for your Asus eee pc. Specifically this one fits my eee pc 1000 but I think you could modify this project to fit any small netbook.
The computer originally came with a nice black zippered sleeve and you can still use it with this case for added protection.
I originally bought the IKEA bag for my larger Sony Vaio but the bag was a little too short for the laptop to fit comfortably. As a result, the bag eventually ended up in a closet. When I got my new eee pc, I started to shop around for a nice travel bag. What I found though is that most of the bags out there are too big or if they fit my netbook there is no room for peripherals, like my mouse and all those cords.
Suddenly I remembered my IKEA bag and thought maybe I could customize it. For free.
The following steps take you through my journey.
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Step 1: Disassemble the Bag
The tools and equipment you'll need for this project are a sewing machine, scissors, snap-off blade knife, a seam ripper, a metal ruler, marking pencil, and sewing thread. The fabric is sturdy but not too heavy, so I was able to use a needle for heavy-weight fabrics and a polyester-wrapped cotton thread.
Take apart the bag. This took a while but well worth it. There are many parts to recycle for the project and I only used parts from the original bag. I didn't have to add any new hardware or fabric.
Here are are all the components.
Step 2: Measure Your Netbook
Lay the body of the bag down inside facing toward you.
Fold up the bottom edge up and place your computer on top. Don't worry if the fabric seems narrow. You're going to sew on side panels in the next step.
Determine the amount of the turn up. I made this a fold little longer than I needed because the original bag has a nice ready-made feature which I wanted to keep. It has a zippered compartment, which is perfect for my cords and mouse.
I cut away about 10.5 inches from the flap end of the bag.
Step 3: Resize the Side Panels
While I was working with the side panels I realized that all the padding in this bag was made from a foam packing material. It was cushy and pliable and I could easily sew through it.
I trimmed the panels to about 2.75 inches wide and the padding to about 1.5 inches wide. The height of the panels is about 10.75 inches. All these measurements are before sewing and include a seam allowance of about .25 inches.
For ease of sewing I basted the layers together.
You should calculate these measurements based on your netbook size and how wide you want the bag to be. You could easily leave the panels in their original width. Any narrower that about 2.5 inches will make it harder to sew along the bottoms and make the shoulder strap a little more difficult to sew on later.
I wanted my computer to fit snugly but not too tight. As a result these measurements are based on careful observation and using my netbook as much as possible to help determine correct size and fit of each element.
Step 4: Sew the Panels to the Body of the Bag
Attach the side panels starting at the front edge of the bag body. Pin the sides to the body, wrong sides together, and sew about .25 inch seam. I have a very old and sturdy Singer sewing machine (only goes forward, no back-stitch) but it worked fine. Be careful when rounding the bottom of the bag. You may have to ease the machine along by hand to keep everything from slipping apart.
Attach velcro tabs to the inside of the front flap, matching them to the velcro tabs on the main body of the bag. Baste the front flap layers together. Do this before attaching the seam binding.
Step 5: Finishing the Edge
After the sides are sewn to the body pin the seam bias strip to the exposed edge and sew. I sewed one edge of the bias down first and then folded over the edge to other side of the seam and top-stitched it down with red thread for a nice finish. Again, it was slow going around the bottom but I was able to keep the layers together. Just work slowly and you should be alright.
Before you pin the binding on decide whether or not to round-off the front flap. I trimmed the corners on mine to match the original.
At this point you can stop and use the bag as is, or you can create an additional padded liner and a shoulder strap. These are explained in the next two steps.
Step 6: Sizing the Padded Liner
There are a lot of photos to help explain this next step.
I cut off the bottom of the padded liner, pulled back the fabric and trimmed the foam padding to size. I then pinned the fabric in place and sewed it back together, making a box at the bottom end. This looks complicated but I basically recreated what was already there. I just shortened it to fit the bag and cleaned up the edges.
The liner just slides in, if needed, for extra protection. This step can be left out though. The bag would work really well without the liner.
Step 7: Sew on the Shoulder Strap
Here is the bag with the strap pinned on and ready to stitch down.
It holds all my gear and my little eee pc 1000. The front flap zipper still works and you can use the pocket to hold cds or other small flat items.