Friday, January 25, 2013

DIY: Shelley and the HP Laptop Sleeve

Back at Christmas Husband-Man bought me the laptop I am writing on. Husband-Man is awesome! He also bought me a sleeve for it to keep it safe. Unfortunately the only option was an ugly black neoprene number...not cute. So very not "Shelley".  I like interesting. I like expressive. I want you to see my laptop sleeve and gasp with awe at how AWEsome it is and envy me ( Yep...I said it). Black neoprene is not conducive to that. Black neoprene is for people with knee problems. Black neoprene is UGLY!!!

So I set out to find something to replace the knee brace/laptop sleeve.

I remembered a Kindle case I saw one night while I was pinning on Pinterest (addict here...I need help...seriously as of this writing I think I have like 57 boards. I'm a virtual hoarder.) and immediately fell in love with. But I already had a Kindle case that was functional and perfect for my needs. Plus the one I have is green. I didn't want to buy a new one just because I liked the design, when it didn't offer me the same functionality as the one I was already happy with. See...I can be practical. But I pinned it anyway because I loved it and could imagine going back and looking at it with unholy desire. I do this. It's the hoarder in me. I digress...

So I grabbed my cell phone and pulled up the pin to look and see if the person who made the case had maybe made a laptop case that was similar. I'd have snapped it up in half a heartbeat. Alas it seems the Etsy store it originated from has been removed. So I decided I had to make it myself. This is how:

Step One: Design
I loved the original design. It was cute. Fun. Totally "me". Until I started messing with it. Then I made it a little more "me" and I'm happier with it.

My design

Original design

I traced my laptop onto freezer paper (more on the awesomeness of this great product to come) and got busy designing.

I prefer my hair details and that the scar is actually a little under the hair. I also thought he should have the green eyes, they are an important part of the story after all. and I wanted the scarf a little wider and to have the tail folded over. Not major changes...but it's very much more "me".

Step Two: Shopping
I made my list of supplies needed and skipped off to the craft store to get the materials. I decided that I wanted to keep it felt and fleece and that led me to a bit of a dilemma. I thought the inside of the sleeve should be fleece so it was soft and cushy for my laptop to rest in. I've never worked with fusible fleece before. I had no clue how to use it. It made me nervous. So when I arrived at the store I looked for it and read the box for instructions and thought...I can do this. More on that later in Fun With Fusible Fleece.
I ended up leaving the store with a two foot stack of felt (inspiration struck while I was there for another project...stay tuned) and I hurried home to get started.
Step Three: Fun With Fusible Fleece
As I said, I have never worked with fusible anything. I read the instructions on the box of fusible fleece and it didn't sound too hard. Place fusible side of fleece face up on ironing board and place wrong side of fabric (in my case it didn't matter which side of my felt I placed on it) on top and then iron starting from middle of fabric out. Easy peasy right? WRONG!!!
I ironed my felt and then cut out the panels for the outside of the sleeve to the dimensions I needed (I added 1.5 inches to the original design for seam allowance) and followed the directions on the fleece box. But, I couldn't get it to stick. It wouldn't work.
I thought maybe it was because my iron wasn't hot enough to get through the felt to the adhesive to make it stick so I turned my iron up. Really bad idea. Like REALLY bad idea. I ended up with burnt felt and a sticky iron.
I turned off the iron and, muttering curse words under my breath, set about cleaning the sticky off of it. Once finished with that I had a drink of Dr. Pepper, kissed G (he was cute) and reread the package. At the bottom, under the directions I found something about moisture. A HA!
I reset everything and turned on the steam function of my iron and got to work...sure enough it worked perfectly. By the time I got done with fusing the fleece I was singing Jason Mraz under my breath and dancing at my ironing board. Easy peasy.
Step Four: Did you know Freezer Paper is Awesome?
I was reading tutorials on Pinterest a few days ago and discovered Freezer Paper. I had no idea this even existed. Apparently it has wax on one side and is paper on the other and you can iron it to material and it will stick long enough for you to cut out your pattern. Brilliant! Who knew? I want to kiss whoever came up with Freezer Paper. I love them.
Since I knew this wonderful trick I proceeded to trace the individual pieces of my design onto the paper and cut them completely out. I then ironed the pieces onto the appropriate color of felt.

Step Five: Cut That Out!!
And then cut them out from the felt with a tiny rotating cutter (I'm sure there is a technical term but I prefer mine)

I even tried on Harry's glasses...It's a good look for me. I think.


Step Six: Sew What?!?!

Then I got busy sewing. I pinned each piece where I wanted it and sewed and sewed and sewed.
Harry needed his glasses back

The scarf

The back of the sleeve

I'm particularly proud of the back because I had no idea what to do with it. I wanted it to be eye catching and thought about a Snitch or an owl but then I just decided I liked the obvious HP logo and I couldn't be happier with it. I think it looks great.
Once I had all the pieces and parts sewn onto the outside, I patted myself on the back for doing such a good job on my first really detailed sewing job, and proceeded to join the two pieces to actually make the sleeve. I forgot to take pictures of this step. Euphoria will do that to you. But it's really simple. I turned the right sides (the sides with the designs) to face each other so that the fleece (that I so expertly fused) was facing outward. And I used a straight stitch to sew them together. Then turned the sleeve right side out and BAM!

Isn't it just adorable?
Step Seven: Finish work and Self Congratulations
I slid my laptop into the sleeve and immediately realized I needed something to secure it. A button and flap worked for me. I cut out five strips of red felt and sewed five button holes. Only one turned out right because it was my first time button holing too. Then I sewed a button to the back of the case and attached the button hole flap with a zig zag stitch to the top of the front, above Harry's hair
(haha, that made me giggle for some reason. Harry's hair. Ha!).

If I had it to do over again I'd probably use the other felt panels and sew them over the fleece before sewing the sleeve into a sleeve. That way the fleece wouldn't show. I may still do that. I'll just have to take the sleeve apart. But felt can be tricky with removing stitches. We'll see.
I'm incredibly in love with my sleeve and have already gotten a huge amount of compliments on it. Having Harry with me every day makes me happy and that's all I can really ask for.
Oh...I almost forgot...One more step...
Step Eight: Leave me a comment. Let me know what you think!