Festive sweaters

I believe it’s important to invest in well-made products. I don’t want to buy something that’s cheap, poorly-made, and badly designed. When I buy something, I research the hell out of it, save up for it, and buy the best quality I can afford. Better yet, I’ll dive head first into a DIY project. If I have to I want to buy something once and buy it well, rather than being dissatisfied the whole time I use it and having to replace it in a year.

But, that said, after spending hundreds on a new piece of technology, you’ll find me two aisles down waffling over whether or not to shell out $50 for a case that will protect that technology from being dropped and damaged, bumped and scratched. Part of this is sheer frugality, I completely understand why technology is expensive, but put two pieces of fabric together and add a strap and suddenly it’s $50? Really?

The other part is pure indecision – I get overly wrapped up in design decisions and find myself spending 45 minutes browsing through all the different options from boring basic black to wild cheetah print, asking strange questions like, “But what does this yellow laptop case say about me?”

Not only that but most of the laptop cases out there are made of nylon or neoprene, not exactly the most earth-friendly materials, even if they do look good. Nylon is a plastic polymer and, as such, does not break down or biodegrade. Neoprene looks sleek and low profile but it’s created using petroleum by-products and a host of other unsavory chemicals.

Get cozy with this genius DIY project

DIY laptop case
Image Credit: UpcycleThat

I’ve had my laptop for over a year and I just got a case for it – made of felt, if you’re wondering. I like it, but after stumbling across this sweet DIY project, I wish I hadn’t. I’ll share it here in case you’ve been putting off the purchase of a laptop case, too. Learn from my mistakes!

First of all, making a DIY laptop case is a totally boss move. It looks adorable and it’s really quite a simple sewing project – you could probably even get away with hand sewing it if you don’t have a sewing machine, and because the stitches are all hidden it would be a great project for a beginner seamstress like me.

(At this point I should probably clarify that by “beginner seamstress” I mean “sometimes I sew buttons onto things. Badly.”)

First things first, measure your laptop. You don’t want to be jamming your computer in and prying it out every time you have to use it. The website for this DIY project suggests adding  1/4-1/2″ to the width and length to allow space for seams and to give it enough space to easily slide in and out.

DIY laptop case
The blogger who posted this DIY found hers in a thrift shop – a rad red and blue design on a neutral beige background. Image Credit: UpcycleThat

Next, go hunting for a sweet sweater. The blogger who posted this DIY found hers in a thrift shop – a rad red and blue design on a neutral beige background. The abstract pattern was perfect for the size of the piece, and it gives off a gorgeous boho vibe that I absolutely love. Dig through your closets or rifle through the racks of your local value village to find a sweater that appeals to you. Thicker is probably better and avoid stretchy fabrics that may lose their shape over time.

Next, cut out two pieces using the measurements of your laptop plus that extra 1/4-1/2″. These pieces will form the front and back of your case. If the sweater you’ve picked has a design, keep that in mind when centering the portion you’re cutting out. If it has ribbing or stripes, decide ahead of time whether you want them to run horizontally or vertically.

Turning the two cut pieces inside out, sew them closed on three sides. You can use a sewing machine or go old-school with a needle and thread – who knows, curling up with a little sewing project could be really zen.

Next, fold the top edges over and sew in place – this will give the case a nice, finished seam and will also prevent the sweater from unraveling. Now – the super creative part. You get to find a way to close your case. If your sweater came with buttons it could be super cute to incorporate them into the design, or even use the sweater’s original placket to close your case. A laptop sweater! You’ll be the hipster-iest hipster of all!

If you want to fly a little more under the radar, you could just cut out another sweater piece in the same color and attach it to form the flap closure. Adding ribbons or ties to keep it closed would be a sweet way to finish it. This DIY tutorial added a scrap of leather repurposed from an old purse to create a funky juxtaposition between wool and leather.

The end result of your incredibly crafty DIY endeavor is that your laptop travels swaddled in soft, protective wool. No more bumps or scratches; no worries, no waste. The best part of taking part in upcycling DIY projects is that you get to flex your creative muscles and reimagine one thing taking flight and becoming another. The site that originally posted this tutorial, Upcycle That, has a host of ideas for repurposing almost every single item you could think of – laptop sweater cases are just the beginning.

When I originally stood in the aisles of the computer store trying to choose one case from the dozens they had stocked on the shelves, I wondered what each case would “say” about me. I know what this one would. It would speak to your creativity, resourcefulness, eco-friendly attitude and, above all, your damn find hand stitching skills. (Those are still important, right?)

Feature image credit Halfpoint / Shutterstock

By Madeleine Somerville

Madeleine Somerville is the author of All You Need Is Less: An Eco-Friendly Guide to Guilt-Free Green Living and Stress-Free Simplicity. She is a writer, wannabe hippie and lover of soft cheeses. She lives in Edmonton, Canada, with her daughter. You can also find Madeleine at her blog, Sweet Madeleine.