I'm a surfer who tends to collect extra wetsuits and surfboards so all my friends can learn! In doing this, I've collected a few too many, and some are wayyyy beyond a permanent date with the dumpster. The laptop case I got as a gift says its made out of 'wetsuit neoprene' and I got the idea to make my own!
MATERIALS: 1 trashy wetsuit.
1 zipper, between 1.5-2 feet long.
Extra strong thread (nylon) or dental floss (to use instead of thread)
Scissors strong enough to cut through your wetsuit.
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Step 1: Cutting Your Wetsuit!
I.) Get an old wetsuit that's trash-bound.
II.) Find an area that can fit your laptop (I chose the torso section). Cut along the fold of the wetsuit, so as to make your sewing job less, and the case stronger. Measure it slightly larger than the perimeter than your laptop to allow for your sewing and its bulk when inside. Cut it out and try to get any residual sand out of the material. (Stretch it out and scrape it with your hand or something.)
III.) Have the interior of the wetsuit be the interior of your laptop case. Sand likes to live inside wetsuits and its better that your laptop be against the inside, which tends to be sand-free.
IV.) Cut out your piece. (In the photo, you'll see that I removed the huge zipper before choosing my piece). I chose part of the upper thigh and lower torso area. Remember to make it a little larger, to have room for error. You will have 3 open edges once you have cut it out. One will be the 'fold.'
Step 2: Gather Sewing Materials
I.) Get your extra-strong thread and your needle, and turn your wetsuit inside out, so that the seam/sewing will be on the inside of your bag, as opposed to looking 'unfinished' on the outside. Sew one edge together that is adjacent to the fold. Trim your corners a little (I rounded mine for my 13inch aluminum Mac).
Why the floss, you ask? If you don't have super heavy duty thread (mine is some kind of nylon I think) using floss as thread is another great option! Surfers use it to sew up their wetsuits if a hole rips!
Step 3: Sewing Your First Line
I.) Check your sewing job. It will look like the left hand photo when you're sewing. (Not the pretties thing ever.) Once you turn it right-side-out it will look like the one on the right! I would round your corners, I rounded mine as an after-thought. The image shows it un-rounded.
II.) Its smart to routinely check your laptop case for size... Slide your laptop in it, put it on top, keep testing it because you don't want your laptop to be slipping around or not fit at all!
III.) Finish up your first line of sewing, and continue until you get a little past the corner. Decide how much zipper distance you want, and stop sewing where you want it to start. (I went with just over half of my sewing distance being zippered.) (Check it for size again!)
Step 4: Zipper Time
I.) Zippers aren't the easiest things to install. You will want to start with your zipper a little zipped up. Match the zipper-pull to where you stopped sewing. The two open 'legs' of the zipper will each follow along one edge.
When starting to attach the zipper.... The trick to not losing your zipper pull (and having it work well) is to do your best to sew RIGHT THROUGH the zipper. Use the needle and thread to sew back and forth through and around the hidden teeth of the zipper (only at the start of your zipper though!)
Keep sewing your zipper on (use a sewing machine if you have access to one!) until you have lined the remaining open edges with zipper. It will take a while....
When you reach the corner, sew the zipper under (the same way you started sewing it on) and finish it off!
Step 5: Done!
You have finished! Test out your zipper to make sure it closes. Make sure that its sewed on fully and will be durable. ( I had access to my housemate's industrial sewing machine, so I got lucky, hence the zig zag!)
Now slide your laptop in and see if everything turned out the way you wanted it to!