Sunday, February 6, 2011

Laptop Bag

This project had been on my mind for awhile; for I had this pair of jeans that I loved, but sadly, a hole had worn itself on the inner thigh.  I had worn them, even with the hole there, but I knelt down the other day and I heard the "rrrrrip" of the threadbare fabric; I knew their time had come.  But I had these jeans since forever and wanted to repurpose them somehow.

I've been to craft shows where little girl's pants are transformed into cute purses and seen denim purses selling in stores.  I went online to take a closer peek at these said items and came across a video on YouTube on making a laptop case out of a pair of old jeans.  The unknown chic who made this sped up the video so it was only about a two minute tutorial on how this is done, but it is really all you need.

But, you know me, I'll drag it on a bit longer than two minutes.

My poor favorite jeans!

First I took my jeans (see the worn spot), and cut the legs off just below the crotch.  This depth was adjusted later, but I did not want to cut it too short to begin with. 

Then, with the seam ripper, I opened up the front to the bottom of the zipper flap.  If anyone says that Gap jean are crap, then try taking the seams out and get back to me.  The inner seam had three layers of stitching.  Three layers!  It took longer than I though because this was baffling to me.  After I unstitched the plethera of stitches, I had all these little thread bits every where I cut the stitches (on both sides of the jean fabric and on the table).  There is this little trick I learned in a quilting class to get those little bits out of there in a jiffy.  So, I took a lint roller and slowly rolled it over where I cut the seam stitches.  Each one of the bits stuck to the lint roller in a crazy straight line.  Amazing!  Alternately, I ran out of lint roller tape and had to use packing tape.  That worked well too, you use it like you are waxing (put on, press where the threads are and rip)!

Flap over and stitch

Once, I had all of the threads out, I arranged the front so that one side flapped over the other (like in above pic) and sewed to the end.  Coats and Clark makes a denim thread that is orange and is a bit thicker than your average thread.  I used this to sew the flap down.  I only did one pass with the sewing machine, but a second, double row would have matched the way the rest of the stitching was done. 

Next, I then figured out how deep I needed the "bag" to be.  Then turned it inside-out and drew a line across the bottom so to make it straight, then I cut along the line and sewed it shut.

Measure from the waist to determine your line

The below pic shows that I also sewed and trimmed the corners off, but this is not necessary. 

You know, what this could be...

I turned the bag right side-out and ironed it.  The waist was crinkled from the store during the stonewashing, so they were always crinkled.  I ironed the heck out of it with a touch of starch so it would stay uncrinkled.  A little starch goes a long way.

Almost there!

If you watched the video link, you will see that the chic made holes in the waist and cut the side seams off of the legs.  She used the side seams as the handles to the bag.  In my opinion, this will not do for me.  I did cut them out, but I did not like the way it was going to look.  I imagine that you could tie them to the belt loops or thread them through the belt loops as you would a belt, but my legs are short and I would have to sew them end to end to make something long enough to do these ideas.  I was not in the mood for that.

Instead, I chose to insert rivets or grommets in the wasit area.  Just poking a hole was not enough of a finish for me.  I marked where I was going to place the grommets with some screwdriver thing with a point on it and tapped on it with a hammer.  (Vince said it was a size 1 Philips scewdriver, if that means anything to anyone).  This gave me a guide to make my snips into the denim to insert the grommet.

Two-piece grommet with anvil

I just followed the directions on how to install the grommets.  This type uses an anvil with that cylinder you see in the above pic.  I inserted the cylinder into the hole and tapped it with a hammer until it was flat.  I did one and then Vince did the rest.  My taps on the hammer were lighter than his.  He only needed two or three taps while it was me tapping several times.

Tap on a hard surface, like concrete

Once they were all in, it pretty much was done.  I just had to figure out what to use as handles.  I looked through my craft closet and then my belts and found a yarn belt that I made with an i-cord maker.  It used novelty yarn and a string of sequins.  I used it as a dressy belt tons of times, but the sequins-on-a-string got caught on themselves one time and I almost could not untie it to use the bathroom.  Yeah, so I had rarely used it since then.

My personal touch!

At first I thought this bag was a bit juvenile, but once I put my i-cord belt on it,  I was loving it!  It is large enough to fit my laptop and it's battery power cord with plenty of room to spare.  The front and back pockets are still functional and can hold your cell phone and/or mp3 player.

Very Chic!

As I was doing this project, I had a thought of another idea.  Take the same jeans and cut the leg a lot lower and make a skirt.  You have to do it slightly different, but it is the same concept.  I have another pair of jeans that just ripped, maybe I will have to give it another life as a skirt. 

Stayed tuned.

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