Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Making a new laptop case

A couple months ago, we had to go through our stock of Mustang suits and coats, those giant orange things we have to wear when we go boating or do any work in close proximity to the ocean.  We needed to do an over-all inspection of them, and sort out ones that were no longer safe to use.  They're not cheap, and they are extremely durable, but after enough time exposed to UV and weather some of them can start to deteriorate and we can't use them anymore.  For the most part, we throw them away, but a few of them we cut up to get interesting parts from.

A couple weeks ago I went for a rummage in the remnents box, and came up with an big collection of interesting bits.  The patches were highly sought after by everyone on station, but I ended up with a couple of them, along with a good length of zipper, some pockets, and a few square feet of material

Before I actually did anything with it, I had to . . . uh, learn how to sew.  Carolyn was nice enough to give a quick lesson on basic techniques, as well as showing us all how to thread and adjust the sewing machine.

With my head now full of knowledge, I got to work; I decided to blatantly copy Carolyn and make a case for my little laptop. I had no clue what I was doing going in to it, and hardly anything in mind of what I wanted the overall design to look like.  So this took about ten times as long as it should have, because most of the time was spent fiddling around trying to figure out exactly what material I had to work with and how everything would fit.  And most time-consuming, sorting out what the order of operations was going to be, which resulted in quite a number of screw-ups as I had to rip out a few feet of stitching because I missed a step.

After about 6 solid evenings of occupying the sewing machine, I came out with this!  Overall I'm really happy with how it turned out; I feel like I incorporated most of the identifying features from the mustang suits, and I was able to re-use enough of the factory stitching that the whole thing almost looks like it was built this way by the manufacturer.

The little pocket on the front is just the right size for the small power supply and maybe some headphones, and the large pocket on the back can easily hold my e-reader, or something else of size.

I'm not completely done with it, I still want to add a shoulder-strap and handle.  Ideally I want to incorporate some of the metal D-rings I pulled off the duck-tails from the float coats as attachment points, and maybe make the shoulder strap pad out of some remaining orange material.