Protecting the environment from e-waste means investing in our technology at all costs. Protecting it from drops, scratches, and spills. Today I’m pumped to show you how I made a sweet little sleeve for my MacBook out of some recycled materials and fabric remnant. This DIY laptop sleeve doesn’t just apply to MacBooks, you can alter this tutorial to fit your own personal computer dimensions.
Even in California, the leaves are yellowing, just in time for me to need a new laptop sleeve as if I’m going back to school. Why? Because after six faithful years, my laptop’s screen flickered, the mouse died, and it blinked on and off when I executed the smallest task. I told Amanda for a week, “it’s time,” like we planned to euthanize a dear pet before she finally sighed and said, “Oh alright. You’re right.” While I don’t upgrade my technology very often, I’ve already forked over $500 for repairs for this computer in one year. So with a nasty cold, I trucked down to the Apple store and kissed goodbye a handsome load of cash for a new computer.
When I laid my new MacBook Pro on top of my old MacBook Pro, I noticed an entire inch shaved off the newer model! Which meant, if I want to protect this baby for the next six years (I’m crossing my fingers for longer), I needed a sweet sleeve. And are you surprised one iota that I decided to make one? If anyone recalls the backpack I made last summer, you’ll also remember that I possess the tattered remains of an IKEA futon cover. Even after designing and sewing a whole backpack, that futon cover persists in my studio and provides the perfect inner layer for a sturdy DIY laptop sleeve.
All I can say is, we salvage and we stitch.
Speaking of which, you might have noticed I went dead over the summer. I picked up a completely separate writing project last winter and I spent the entire summer writing, traveling, and watching my apartment descend into dust. While I missed this space and the creativity that it brings to my daily life, it was so essential to step away from it for a minute, to really digest the direction I plan to move in as an artist. But I’m back, with some mighty inspiration for the next year. Plus, now that I have a computer that works, nothing can stop us.
For the outer shell of this DIY laptop sleeve used a fabric remnant from a visit to Cloth House, my favorite London fabric store. Because I buy new fabric so infrequently, I like to save it for special projects like this one. But the lining began life as a table runner. What? A table runner? Yes. Anyone fresh off low-budget wedding planning knows the agony of owning fourteen 12 foot long linen table runners that you had to buy because it saved you $20. So expect a ton of projects featuring linen for the next ten years. That said, the understated linen table runner compliments the cotton shell in a way that makes me swoon. I swear, I will find a use for every bit of that linen yet.
Can we also take a minute to admire the accidental matching of the DIY Macbook Sleeve with my Pela iPhone Case? I swear, I don’t plan these things.
Some of you might be wondering what I plan to do with the outdated MacBook. I can’t part with her. Call me dramatic, but I weep over her deathbed as I type this, imagining that I’ll still fix her so that I can still play the odd CD like it’s 1997.
DIY Laptop Sleeve
The dimensions I’ve laid out below are for a 12 inch MacBook Pro. Feel free to change the dimensions to fit your computer, but remember: all laptops have a width (not just length and height). My computer’s width is 1/2 inch, so I left 1/2 inch around the sides, top, and bottom so she fits snug but still has breathing room.
- Outer fabric cut in two pieces: 1 piece 12 inches by 19 inches, 1 piece 12 inches by 14 inches.
- Lining fabric cut in two pieces: 1 piece 12 inches by 19 inches, 1 piece 12 inches by 14 inches.
- Two pieces of batting cut to the dimensions of your outer and lining fabrics. (I used an old IKEA futon cover, but feel free to get creative with a mattress pad, an old fleece coat, an old towel, or regular batting if you want to be conventional)
- 6 inches of velcro
- Notions: thread, scissors, pins
- Sewing Machine
- Optional: Serger (if you don’t own a serger, just use the zig-zag stitch on your sewing machine)
1. Pin your outer fabric to your batting and sew together several times, right down the middle, quilting your two pieces together. I followed the original stitch lines in my futon cover as a guide, but feel free to get creative. This will ensure that if you wash your DIY laptop sleeve, the insides won’t get funky. Do this to both pieces.
2. Place your computer on top of your short piece of lining, and mark the dimensions with chalk or a pencil. You might have too much fabric on the sides, I did, but I always feel like starting out with too much is better than barely enough. Repeat on the long piece of lining, making sure to leave about 5 1/2 inches at the top for your flap. I started marking from the bottom at about 1 inch up, left 1/2 inch room below (because my computer has a width of 1/2 inch) and 1/2 inch seam allowance. As you can see in the photo, I also drew out the dimensions of the flap.
3. Place your lining fabric on top of your outer fabric, right sides together on both halves. On the smaller half, sew along the top, using about 1/2 inch seam allowance. On the longer half, sew around the entirety of your flap, leaving the rest of your material exposed. Turn both pieces right-side-out and press.
4. Position, pin, and sew your velcro down on your short piece. Remember, your flap is about 5 inches so don’t place it too low or too high.
5. Position your short piece over your long piece, outer sides together, and pin along the perimeter. Sew along the dimensions you marked before, leaving your top flap exposed. Now is a good time to slip your computer in to make sure it fits. Trim any excess fabric off, and clip the corners.
6. Serge or use your zig-zag stitch around the exposed seams on the inside of your sleeve to create a nice, finished edge.
7. Position, pin, and sew your velcro to the top flap. Press your DIY laptop sleeve, and use it with pride!
I hope it brings you no accidents, thefts, and nothing but good luck when Mercury goes retrograde.
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