I sewed! (Laptop Sleeve for an ultra-portable computer)

Chris Brooker
December 5, 2010

First I have to start by saying that I’m totally disapointed by all the different computer cases out there. I’ve had this problem for a while, but this is the first time I’m writting it down. I’ve typically had small computers, Ultra-portables they’re typically called. Small, light, which is exactly what I want. Something that  I can bring with me without a second thought and don’t need a bag with wheels on it to carry.

I also want to protect these expensive machines but the cases out there are HUGE! Even the ones made for 13″ laptops or for netbooks are just huge, with tons of extra fabric (or neoprene) hanging over the sizes of the computer. Not the tailored case an ultra-portable machine deserves.

Then there is how I’d like to use the case. I have a Ben Sherman vertical messenger bag, which isn’t a laptop bag (they’re also huge), so it has no padded pocket for a computer but it’s the perfect size for me and it perfectly fits a 13″ computer. With my old computer, I would just put it in the bag and after a while I noticed it got scratches from the day to day wear. It needs a case before going in the bag.

With the new MacBook Air I wanted to correct that problem. So I went looking for cases again. Nothing, huge, massive, ugly things. I did however find the perfect case but it was for an iPad and wouldn’t fit the MBA. It was like a big sock that you could slip the device in and it would protect it from minor abuse. That’s what I wanted! There is nothing like this for computers, at least not that I find in stores.

So I stopped at Fabricland and set out to make one!

I managed to find this amazing fabric. It was knit on one side (like a sock) but was soft and fleecy on the other. I picked up a meter (which is lots).

I also picked up a small and cheap little sewing machine. I don’t have one, but have used them before. I was hoping it would do the job.

I cut a piece of the fabric larger 20% larger than the computer.

You can see it’s nice and big.

Here’s the little sewing machine I picked up for $30 at Zellers. I had just tested a piece of the fabric to see how it would sew. Worked great.

I cut a second piece of fabric the same size as the first and folder one end over to make a seam, tacked with pins.

With the “pocket” inside out, I started sewing it up.

With one side sewed up, I put the computer in to set a line for where to sew the other side. I want this sleeve to be tailored. Drew the red line.

After sewing the second side and the bottom of the pocket, I cut away the excess fabric.

Flipped it right-side-out. Looking good.

The moment of the truth. Oh ya!

Snug and cozy! Perfect and on my first try. (Yes, I do know this is a super simple project for anyone who knows what they’re doing with fabric. I’m still proud of the results.)

I got a new computing friend

Chris Brooker
December 3, 2010

It’s hard to believe but it’s true. After all these years of sort of using them and all the hackintoshes I’ve had in the past. I’ve actually done it. I bought a Mac! A 13″ MacBook Air. I was a little disapointed because I wanted to get the 128gb version with the 4gb RAM upgrade but they don’t carry those in stores, for a number of reasons I pick up the standard version. I hope the 2gb RAM is enough, even if it has to swap at least swapping to the SSD should be fast.

I’ve been using it now for a few hours, 3 last night and about 3 tonight. Trying to get through one cycle of the battery before recharging. Tweetdeck really helps with that 😉 Still have 54 mins left. So far it’s been very speedy and I haven’t had any problems with the RAM but I having installed Logic Pro 9 yet.

So far the only application I haven’t found an equivalent to a PC version is a quality Sirius XM streaming application, preferably a Dashboard Widget but I efforts have so far been fruitless.

I’ve had 1 issue so far, which after a quick search seems to be not just me. After the Mac has been sleeping for more than an hour it doesn’t seem to go into Hibernation properly and I have to press the power button and it starts fresh. I’ve tried a few things suggested in the forums and we’ll see if any of them fix the problem.

It is so light and thin. I’m writing this post on it.

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