Saturday, March 19, 2011

1st sewing tutorial- Laptop sleeve/bag!

I have never done this before, so hopefully I took enough pictures for you to understand what I am talking about. My 13 year old stepdaughter had been begging us for a laptop for the last couple of years, and last year for her birthday we finally got her a net book. I had made her a case for it then, but she came to me last week and said she wanted one that wasn't "kiddish". As I wiped a tear thinking she was no longer a kid, I took her to the fabric store and let her pick her own fabric.

What you will need-
Fabric- Depending on the size of your computer this will change, this computer is very small so I got 1 yard of each and had left overs
Batting- 1/2 yard will be more then enough- but again, depends on your computer
Sewing machine
Magnetic clip
Seam Ripper
Ruler/Cutting mat

First, pick your fabric, with the design I am doing, I got 1 yard of each and had PLENTY left over.

Take your laptop and measure 2" around each side and cut 4 pieces, 2 for the exterior, 2 for the interior. For the pattern I'm doing I put the black and white inside, and one side mainly black and white, the other the zebra, so I cut 1 zebra print, 3 black and white.

Also cut 2 pieces of batting the same size.

After you have your panels, set those aside, you now cut the strap fabric. I find the best way to measure this is to take the height of the computer times 2, and add 8 inches for a smaller strap. My bags straps were 28 inches long.

cut 2 strips of 1 fabric 28"x3"

cut 2 strips of the other fabric 28"x4"

Iron the straps so that you bring the raw edges inward to the center on each side. Do this with all 4 strips, they will be 1.5" and 2" wide once you do this.

Once you have those ironed, place one of the smaller strips against the larger with the raw edges facing inward toward each other. 

Make sure the smaller strap is in the center of the larger, and pin.

Sew a strait stitch 1/8" inside the SMALLER strap, making sure you are going through both the small and large strap. Sew down both sides back stitching at the beginning and end of each.

When you are done, this is what your strap should look like on either side. You should have 2 straps now.

I am adding a strip of ruffled zebra print to the outside black and white side of the bag. Kylie didn't know if she wanted this or not until after I had cut the outside pieces already so I will have to go back a cut those a little later. I cut a strip that is the width of the outside pieces times 2. So if your outside pieces are 16" long, then cut a strip 32" x 3".

Make sure your machine is set to the longest stitch length (5 is the highest on my machine). Sew a strait line right down the middle of that strip, the long way. DO NOT BACK STITCH.

Very carefully hold one of the string ends and pull your fabric slowly to the middle so that it ruffles up. You will need to even it out as you go.
Put your ruffled fabric against a front piece to make sure it is long enough and even out the ruffles.
Iron the strap so the ruffles will stay.

Next I forgot to take a picture of it, but its not hard to explain. Take the front piece of fabric and decide where you want your ruffle, Ky liked hers closer to the top so I cut the front piece about 1/3 of the way down- just strait across it width way.

Then very carefully pin the smaller piece of black and white, to one of the edges of the ruffle strip right sides facing each other, make sure that the ruffles edges are pinned so no pieces are missed which can happen if you have larger ruffles and don't pay attention to lining up the edges.
Remember to put your stitch back to a normal setting (mine is 2.5). Back stitching at both ends make a strait stitch 1/4" in.

Do those same steps with the larger piece of black and white also. Once you have sewn both sides, iron the raw edges and then take the whole piece (which should have your ruffle in it) and cut it down to the same size as the other front pieces (remember this is because I didn't know Ky wanted the strap when we first cut out the panels).

 Here is what your front should look like. Don't worry about the fabric markings on the one side, those will not be seen when we sew the front to the back.
I like to have a "finished" look so I did a strait stitch 1/8" on either side of the ruffles inside edges and outside edges, it will look like this when you are done. (make sure to back stitch).
For the other side Kylie wanted a pocket, so I cut 2 pieces 5"x8". Put the two pieces right side together and sew one of the 5" sides together, back stitching the ends.

Again- forgot to take a picture, but once you have those sewn together, flip them so they are right sides out, only the one side should be sewn together. Iron it so the edge is flat and do a strait stitch 1/4" from the edge, back stitching at the ends.

OK, now you will start to see what your bag will look like! Place the front piece face up and place the black and white pieces you just did the top side with, making sure the open bottom is on the bottom edge. Make sure this is center! Once you have done that take one of the straps and pin it over the edges of the pocket. This is why you didn't need to sew the sides- they will be covered by the straps. Double check all of your measurements to make sure the straps are the same distance to the left and right edges of the front piece. This is very important because you don't want uneven straps.

Do the same with the strap on the other side, and just to make sure, place your two sides outside pieces together to make sure the straps are the exact same on both sides.

Once that is pinned, sew on the very edge of the strap (the zebra print) back stitching the ends. Sew up one side, across the strap amount 2" from the end, and back down the other side of the strap. Repeat this for all 4 sides of the straps (2 sides on each panel). Be sure to make sure there are no twisted parts of the strap.

You now see what your bag will look like! 

For the next steps I like to pin down the handles so they are out of the way. This is what it looks like on the ruffled side.

Now take your outside piece, one of the lining pieces, and one of the batting pieces and sew them together on the top 1/2" in. the lining and outside pieces face each other and I put the batting on the lining side because it helps keep the magnetic clip in place without needing stabilizer.

Do this for both side. You should now have 2 long pieces, both having one outside and one lining sewn together on the top side of the outside piece.

 Now you put your button, the button will go on the lining side, exactly half way in between the straps, and about 1/2" from the top. Use your seam ripper to EXTREMELY CAREFULLY slice 2 small holes through the lining fabric and the batting so put your clip in.
Once you have your clip in, flip the fabric over and this is what the other side should look like, place the inside piece of the clip and press down the two prongs inward of each other and make sure they are as flat as possible (sometimes I use a rubber hammer gently).

This is what it should look like when you flip it over.

Do this for both sides.

Ok, here is another part I forgot to take a picture of. I promise I will be better next time and try not to leave out so much. At this point you should have your 2 pieces both with straps and buttons and sewn to the lining. take one of these and place it face UP and the other face DOWN on top of it. A good way to match it up is to let the magnetic clip actually clip together while you pin it all around the edges.

Make sure the sides are exactly together, where the outside meets the lining. This part is very important and for not getting a picture I am sorry!

Now your ready to sew it together, on the lining side make sure to leave a 4-5" space- this is how you will flip it right side out. Make sure to back stitch at the start and end.

If you didn't understand that, you take the bottom edge of the lining and about 2-3" from one of the sides start sewing, go around the whole thing and when you get back around to the bottom side of the lining, only sew 2-3" in and stop. There should be a 4-5" gap (depending on your bag size).

Clip the corners and the part where the outside and lining meet- this is too think for most sewing machines to get through if you don't do this!

Flip everything right side out and sew the gap closed by hand and push the lining inside of the bag so you have your actual bag! YAY, you are almost done!

Change to a zipper foot - This is so we can get as close to the edge as possible.

Starting on one side, go all the way around the bag. This will help to keep the lining in place and give it a nice finished look.

You can now take the pins out of the handle and.... YOU'RE DONE!!!!!!!!

From start to finish it took me about 1 1/2 hours.

Here is the finished result!

Hope you enjoy, and send me pictures of your bags!


  1. Great job on sewing this lap top sleeve! I found you via It's Sew Stinkin Cute link party. I'm your newest follower and I'd love for you to link this up at Sew Woodsy

  2. this is so cute!!! great tutorial:) i love your blog so many fun things:)

  3. This comment has been removed by the author.

  4. Thx for this wonderful tut I found you over the linkParty from theCreativeItch

    Greats from germany

    Sorry for delete, i found a very big mistake

  5. Found you from Sew Chatty.... LOVE this tutorial and am printing it out now. I'm a bag lover from way back and to have a CUTE one for the laptop, well that's just awesome. :D

  6. Thank you all for commenting. I was having some issues the last couple of days commenting so I am trying to catch up now! If you don't already follow I would love if you do. More turorials to come hopefully in the next couple days!

  7. I was very pleased to find this web-site.I wanted to thanks for your time for this wonderful read!! I definitely enjoying every little bit of it and I have you bookmarked to check out new stuff you blog post.

  8. I love it, thank you for sharing.

  9. That laptop bag is soooo cuuuuute! Where did you get the patterns? I made a small one for my acer aspire v5-572g-6679 but it isn't as cute as this.

    How long did it take you to complete it?

  10. Nice designs which show the artistic mind of this person.

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