Sometimes I like to make things

Check out @smith_bros on Instagram

Sometimes I like to make things and sometimes I need to make things. Often it’s both at the same time.

Here’s what the process looks like below for a recent project. This was to replace a leather laptop sleeve I made that got stolen recently.

Step 1: Make a plan and then make a pattern

The photo for this is up top. The glass of red wine is optional. And by optional I mean that you can swap it out for whisky.

Step 2: Cut out the leather

It’s super important to use the sharpest cutting implements you can get your hands on.

Step 3: Burnish the edges I won’t be able to get to later

I use a Dremel now, but you can do this manually which is how I started out.

Step 4: Add an edge crease on the strap closure

This is purely for decoration, but it adds a nice touch.

Step 5: Glue the sides

Yes those are those funny bulldog paper clip things clamping it all together.

Step 6: Glue and clamp the closure strap

This strap will hold the flap down.

Step 7: Tidy up the edges

I use a sanding piece on the Dremel to tidy up the glue after it’s dried and before burnishing the glued edges.

Step 8: Scribe the stitch line

A pair of callipers is useful for this.

Step 9: Hand punch stitching holes

These guys are called pricking irons. I have a couple of sets, but these are the nicest ones.

Here you can see both sides punched but not stitched. The thing with a handle is called a maul.

And here’s a close up

Step 10: Thread the needles

This can be a bit tricky when you’re starting out. Or if you’re going blind…!

Step 11: Stitch up the sides

This is saddle stitching… as in old-school stitching that they used for saddlery. Still used today but less so.

And then… [after some time] Voila…!

This has also had a polish with some beeswax based leather conditioner.

Here it is with the evening sunlight reflecting off the leather

Now my laptop has a new sleeve to keep it safe.

If you enjoyed this, then please follow @smith_bros on Instagram or check out my gallery here.

Author: Graeme Smith

Education, technology, design. Also making cool stuff...

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