Tuesday, July 23, 2013

If this blog were a pet...

...I'd be in jail for neglect. I really have been quite busy. I've done gobs of knitting. I just finished the Tour de Fleece with my best success ever. I went to Black Sheep, Westley is as adorkable as ever, I just manage to skip over the blog when it comes to my free time. And the more that piles up the more likely I am to pass on the blog because I don't know where to start! I'm such a bad blogger.

I will endeavor to catch up on what I've been doing with posts on the blog. This week one of my work projects is on hold (and the rest are in a serious slump) so I should have plenty of time on my hands.

I had lots of time yesterday, and after an unscheduled nap I had a surge of energy. Last Thursday I bought a new laptop (long and sad story there, I won't bore you). It is lovely and fantastic and it cost the annual income of some small countries. It is also much more portable, meaning that I will be taking it more places with me, and I wanted something to help protect it. Seeing as I bankrupted myself purchasing the computer, buying a case is out of the question, so I got crafty.

I based my case on this zippered laptop case, with some modifications to match my supplies and needs.

I measured my laptop, added the seam allowances, decided on the dimensions that I wanted for the pocket I added, checked all my math twice (this will be important later), and cut out all of my pieces. The fabric, both outer and lining, was left over from the ring sling I made for my sister-in-law (my niece is due late August). I had fusible fleece left over from my brown coat I made a few years ago, and I have stash of elastic and zippers just because.

On the front I added a contrast strip of the lining fabric.

I sewed it down using one of my decorative stitches.

On the back I added a pocket so I can carry my power source when I need it.

I sewed a casing into the top of the pocket, into which I pulled a length of no-twist elastic (cause that's what I had on hand, not for any special reason).

The bottom of the pocket has a nice reverse box pleat, and I basted the pocket on to the back piece of the case.

I also wanted a handle, for those days when I've got too many things to carry and can't cradle it in my arms like a treasured book. I went a simple route, folding the edges into the middle and seaming it all together.

I also basted this to the back outer case piece.

Then it was time for the hard part: sewing in the zipper. Which I made more difficult by doing it really, really wrong the first time, which resulted in having to rip out 2 lines of stitches. I finally got it together, and checked each placement after that to avoid more zipper related screw-ups.

This was my first time sewing a zipper around a 90 degree angle, and it was a learning experience. I ended sewing the corners down by hand because my machine just couldn't make the turn (or I didn't know how to make it make the turn). I finally got all of the outer and lining pieces sewed on to the zipper in the correct order with minimal ripping and redoing (there was a brief episode where I sewed 2 inches on the wrong side of the tape, make the zipper not work, but I got it sorted). Then it was time to sew the rest of the seams.

I had trouble getting the lining sewed, as the zipper pull was in the way but I couldn't really get the zipper closed, and the corners were also in the way and prevented my machine from getting where I needed it. I think there's and easier way than what I did, but I haven't figured it out yet.

I got it all sewn together after some difficulty (and no swearing, I've very proud).

I trimmed and graded the seams, since I did all the fancy math and checked it, too (remember from earlier? I did the measure twice cut once. Turns out it's not fool proof at my level of foolery). I turned the whole thing and got my laptop to do the test fit before I seamed up the turning space in the lining.

And the laptop didn't fit. No ifs, ands or buts, it wouldn't go in the case.

And I'd already trimmed the seams.

It didn't not fit by much, so I flipped the whole thing inside out again and evaluated. I had enough space (barely) if I resewed the seams 1/8 inch out all the way around, and I just had to hope it would be enough. (The seams were easier to sew at this reduced seam allowance around the zipper and zipper corners).

So after I ripped out the old stitching I flipped the whole thing out again, crossed my fingers, and slipped the laptop in.

It fits. It fits just perfectly. There's no ease, but it snuggles my laptop just perfectly. I had to do a bit of hand work around the end of the zipper, but that's not bad for my first time trying this type of pattern.

I finished the opening in the lining with my top stitch foot, I was tired of hand work (I have a small tolerance for handwork, and I'd reached it.

And now I have a lovely case.

And it was free.