I remember when I got my first laptop—I was pretty paranoid about denting or scratching it, but I couldn't find a case cute enough to bring to design classes. Well, none in my price range anyway! (Ah, college student budgets—Some things never change after graduation!) I ended up scoring a great vintage leather briefcase that was the perfect size at the thrift store and bought an ugly foam sleeve for added protection inside the briefcase.
Well it's been almost ten years since I first stepped foot in college (Yikes!), and my ripped up leather briefcase says I'm ready for something new. I wanted a laptop case that would look more like a fashion accessory this time around. Something cute, compact, and padded. After just about an hour of sewing, I had this great little laptop sleeve, plus the itch to make ten more!
-patterned fabric- I bought one yard of indoor/outdoor upholstery fabric.
-nylon or water resistant material in same yardage
–interfacing (medium-weight, sew-in, not fusible)
–bias tape (I only used one pack, though two are shown.)
-straight pins (quilting pins work the easiest for this project)
-pen (not shown)
Step One: Cut a piece of your patterned fabric similarly as shown above, being able to wrap all the way around your laptop plus some extra fabric, and also about a two inch border on each side. I cut the end of the fabric into a point, but if you wanted, you could do a different shape or round off the point.
Step Two: Cut out a piece of batting and your lining fabric the same size and shape as your patterned fabric.
Step Three: Pin together the layers of fabric, sandwiching the batting in between the fabric as shown above. Wrap the pinned layers around your laptop to get a better sense of how it will fit. Trim off excess fabric from the length, leaving about an inch and a half of extra length. Mark where your snaps will line up and then take apart the layers of fabric.
Step Four: Stitch interfacing behind where you marked the points for the snaps. Cut out the slits that you marked in the above step (see image 3) and slip the snap through the holes, folding down the tongs of the snap onto the back piece of the snap.
Note: Attaching the snaps might seem intimidating, but is much easier for me than doing zippers, and it's a pretty fast step— really!
Step Five: After you've added the snaps to the lining and exterior fabric, pin the layers of fabric together again, making sure the right sides of the fabric (with the snaps) are facing outward.
Step Six: Use the pattern of your fabric as a guide to sew quilt lines across the width of your fabric. If you don't have a horizontal pattern to follow, you will want to sketch lines with a fabric pencil as I did in this quilted project.
Note: This quilting step will secure the batting which pads your laptop sleeve, and it also adds to the style of the case. You could technically skip this step, but I wouldn't recommend it.
Step Seven: Now that your layers are all connected from the quilting lines, you'll want to trim away the excess fabric. I left about 3/4" on either side of the laptop, but trimmed up the length of the fabric so that it stopped right at the top of the laptop. See the image above for a reference.
Step Eight: Pin a strip of bias tape to the flat end of the fabric layers (opposite of the pointed end).
Step Nine: Stitch the bias tape, pulling away the pins as you go along. Keep your needle very close to the inside edge of the bias tape.
Step Ten: Fold the laptop sleeve as shown above, making sure the pocket of the laptop sleeve fits the laptop perfectly. Pin the edges into place, then stitch them together. Make sure you keep the stitching pretty close to the edge of the fabric. The bias tape needs to cover the stitches.
Step Eleven: Pin bias tape all around the sides and flap of the laptop sleeve, covering the stitching from the previous step. The bias tape can bend around curves, but at the points and ends, you'll need to trim it, leaving about a half inch overhang to flip underneath before stitching the tape into place.
I know the directions can get a little wordy, which might be intimidating, but anyone with beginner sewing skills should be able to just look at the pictures to see what to do. If you need more in-depth visuals on the snap part of the process, check out this purse project I shared recently.
I'm really pleased with how this laptop sleeve turned out! I'll probably spray it with Scotchgard for added protection when the weather warms up (man, those fumes!), but for now at least I know it's a bit water resistant with the nylon lining. Peace of mind for your prized technology and a fashion statement! Not too bad for an hour with my sewing machine, eh? –Mandi
Credits // Author and Photography: Mandi Johnson. Photos edited with Stella from the Signature Collection.
Hats off to a great tutorial & thanks for sharing! I used bat for quite sometime, but have switched to foam; I like its feel, plus I find it a better protector between the 2 fabrics…..just my opinion. I’ve made several of these, in different sizes & shapes; love them all; always eager to learn more & your blog is very enjoyable……….Thank You for sharing!!
Can I use regular quilt cotton for the fabric?
I’m sorry, I didn’t take any pictures of details for the bias tape. But at the ends, you just turn onto the sides when pinning it into place, so when you stitch it, there are no raw edges showing. Hope that helps! Next time I will show some closer-up photos of these types of details. -Mandi
The girl in the picture is actually my friend Kara, who isn’t affiliated with A Beautiful Mess at all. I can safely say she didn’t make her hat herself, though that’s not to say a friend didn’t make it for her! My bet is she got it from a store, though. 🙂 -Mandi
Very nice. Thanks for sharing!
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What a beautiful vibrant color – just what we need for spring. Great tutorial!
Wow yours looks beautiful and I love this idea of making your own! Definitely going to attempt this as saw some really pretty fabric in Hobbycraft the other day!
This is rad and beyond useful! And I’m dying to know about the hat you are wearing. Did you make it or can I snag it someplace?
This is so awesome! I think I would make it and just use it as a really cute clutch 😛
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Thank you very much for sharing!
Great idea! I’d love to try this, but was a little unsure of some of the bias tape directions. Do you have any posts with any close up pictures on this?
Oooohhyeaaahh! What a wonderful idea guys! LOTS better than my boring black laptop sleeve 🙂
I love the material you’ve used – the print is gorgeous! Might have a little go at making this! X
This is great! I have been needing to sew myself something like this for my new macbook air. Love this, you guys are always one step ahead of me, and I’m so grateful haha xoxo
I’ve been meaning to sew a laptop sleeve since i got my new Mac last September and i have yet to get around it. This is a great reminder inspiration that i need to begin with it. Thanks for sharing.
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Love the detailed tutorial and the laptop sleeve is really pretty.
I shared this on my site.
What a great idea! Thank you very much for sharing! Love, A.
I’m currently 24 weeks pregnant, and am a bit shy about modeling in my projects because of my distracting bump. So I had a friend of mine, Kara, model for me. She doesn’t have a blog, or I’d link to it for ya. 🙂 -Mandi
Oh my gosh! Yeah! Duh— I’d forgotten all about that episode. Of course, the magnet they used was way bigger! 😉 -Mandi