A few months ago, my husband asked me to make him a felted sleeve for his new laptop. So, of course, I started peppering him with questions like ‘what color?’, ‘knit?’, ‘crochet?’, ‘recycled?’, ‘size?’. Half jokingly, he said he didn’t care, but it just needed to have flames going down the side of it. I had just bought a bunch of second hand wool sweaters to use for felting projects, and I found a dark olive one that would be perfect for a laptop cover. Lucky for me, I also had a bright red sweater that just screamed ‘flames!’. Thus, was born the “Greased Lightning” Laptop Sleeve! He’s gotten a number of compliments on it (or so he told me — maybe he was just trying to make me feel good), so I thought I would post some instructions on how to make your own.
I also used the leftover pieces from the sweater sleeves to make a cool pair of fingerless gloves. You can see more pictures of the gloves at my Etsy Shop.
I’m not a Photoshop genius, so please be kind with my diagrams! Here goes — First step, select a sweater to use as the base of the bag. In order to felt properly, it should be 100% wool. If you are going to add an applique, select a sweater in a contrasting color. The sweater used for the applique should also be 100% wool, but should be thinner than the sweater used for the base of the bag. Felt both sweaters by putting them through at least one cycle in the washing machine (hot wash/cold rinse); dry in the dryer. Using the diagram below, cut out the central piece of the laptop bag.
If you are adding an applique, cut out the applique and sew it to the outside of the bag using whip stitch or ladder stitch. (you do not need to hem or turn under the edges of the applique; the felting process will keep it from unraveling) The sides of the bag will be partially open (where you remove the sleeves). Sew the open part of the sides shut. The bottom edge of the sweater (will probably have some ribbing) will be the top of the bag. Attach a zipper. You can also add buttons, if you prefer. The last step is to turn the bag inside out and stitch the bottom shut. Although I added the tongues of flame by hand, I did all the other stitching by machine.
You can use the sleeves to make a pair of fingerless gloves. Cut according to the diagram above. The cuff edge of sleeve will be the wrist side of the glove; the raw edge will be the finger side of the glove. Turn the glove inside out and mark where the thumb opening should be. Machine stitch as indicated in diagram. Snip the ‘triangle’ that is created with the stitching. Turn the glove right-side out. You can now stitch on an applique, embroider flowers, or embellish however you like!