While looking at an old sweater and thinking about how we needed a sleeve built for travel (easy access to remove at security checkpoints) we came upon a simple solution. We should use the sweater to make the sleeve. We have seen companies like Hello Rewind take an old t-shirt and turn it into sleeve, why could we not do the same with this sweater? Here is our step by step guide showing how we used our basic sewing skills and created our vision of the perfect travel laptop sleeve out of a sweater.
What You Need
a large sweater (100% wool works best)
laptop for sizing (or measurements of laptop)
1. Begin by laying your laptop on top of the sweater to ascertain which portion you want to take from the sweater to make the sleeve. Keep in mind that knits stretch, and it is important to get snug fit.
2. Using your laptop as a template, cut the remaining two sides. We decided to use one of the existing seams in the sweater as a sleeve side, and to use the bottom rib as our open side, saving time and cutting down on our sewing.
3. Turn the sweater inside out, right side to side, and place the laptop inside. While slightly stretching the sweater, pin the open sides. This will show you where you need to sew, and will help to keep the sweater together as it is being constructed. We left a larger seam allowance than typical, about an inch, in order to serve as padding for the sides.
4. Adjust the tension and foot on your sewing machine to accommodate the sweater. Depending on how bulky your sweater is, or if it contains cables, you might need to use a larger needle and a different foot. Starting with a straight stitch, in the corner adjacent to the finished seam, sew a straight line, following your pins as a guide.
5. Stop sewing when you get to the corner, and with your needle down, lift up your foot and turn the sweater. Put the foot back down and continue sewing this last open side using a straight stitch. When you get to the end, use the reverse direction button on your machine to sew back about 1/2 inch, release and then sew forward. This will help prevent the stitches from unraveling from repeated use of the sleeve.
6. With your newly sewn sleeve still inside out, sew a zig zag or serge each layer separately at the ends where it was cut. This is to prevent the sweater from unraveling and does not need to be exact.
7. Turn your new sleeve right side out and slide your laptop in. Congratulations, you now have a new laptop sleeve! Since we wanted to be able to quickly remove the laptop when traveling, we left the rib side open. Should you desire to close the rib side, it is easy to add a button, snap, or zipper.
Additional Notes: We went with a 100% wool sweater because of the great blocking potential of wool. Blocking is when you use water or steam to reshape. Because of the blocking potential, wool is a very forgiving fiber which is great when your sewing skills are very basic. Wool also has natural water resistant properties making it better than cotton for keeping your laptop safe.
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(Images: Joelle Alcaidinho)