Make a Quilted Bag and Tote Your Laptop in Stylecomments (19) March 2nd, 2015
I love bags of all kinds-purses, totes, shopping-you name it. But when it came to choosing a bag for my laptop, nothing seemed to fit my style or my laptop. So I decided it needed a custom carrier. I made it from some pig suede skins, but fabric could be used as well, such as a tightly woven denim, poplin, or a great upholstery fabric. I'm partial to quilting-it not only holds the layers together nicely when padding is called for but it also adds texture. I love the symmetry of a basic grid pattern, but you can create your own quilting design to make your bag truly one of a kind.
What you'll need:
- 1 yard fabric or leather skins
- 1 yard fabric for lining
- Batting: one crib-size fusible batt
- 1/4 yard firm, 45-inch-wide fusible interfacing like Pellon's Décor Bond
- Zipper (to determine the size, measure the length of the laptop and add 2 to 3 inches)
- Four rings (available in notions departments or hardware stores)
- Leather needle (optional)
- Quilting guide bar
- Teflon presser foot (it glides along the leather and keeps the stitches even)
- Zipper foot
- Large paper clips (for working with leather or suede)
Draw a paper pattern using the illustration below as a guide.
Measure your laptop to determine the dimensions for piece A (Front and Back). The length of piece B (Bottom/Sides) equals the bottom plus two sides of piece A; the width of B is the width of the laptop. Add 1/2 inch on all four sides of each piece for ease and 1/2 inch for seam allowances as indicated by the broken lines. Piece C (Strap) measures 30 inches by 4 inches. Piece D (Ring Holder) is 5 inches by 4 inches.
Using your pattern, cut out the following pieces:
A. 2 of fabric, 2 of lining, 8 of fusible batting
B. 1 of fabric, 1 of lining, 2 of fusible batting, 1 of fusible interfacing
C. 2 of fabric
D. 4 of fabric
(NOTE: If you quilt the bag, cut all pieces for section A 1 inch larger all the way around. Quilting reduces the size of the overall piece and you need to allow for this. After quilting, you can recut according to your pattern.)
Construct the Bag:
1. Fuse two layers of batting, according to package directions, to the wrong side of each piece A, fabric and lining. This creates enough padding to cushion the computer.
2. Place one fabric/batting section to one lining/batting section (batting in the middle) and machine-quilt the layers together.
3. Open the zipper. Pin the top of one section A to one side of the zipper, matching the raw edge of the fabric to the edge of the zipper tape. (If you're using suede, use paper clips to hold in place.) Leave about 2 inches of zipper extending at one end, and place the zipper stop 1/2 inch from the side edge at the other end. Use a zipper foot and stitch close to the zipper coils through all thicknesses.
4. Trim away excess fabric close to the stitching.
5. Press the zipper tape under, exposing the coils. Edgestitch along the fold.
6. Close the zipper and match the two sections. Stitch the other side of the zipper in place as above.
7. Make ring holders: Fold each in half lengthwise, wrong sides together.
8. Fold again, matching raw edges to the center. Stitch close to the folds on each side.
9. Slip the holder through the ring, and sew the ends together with a 1/4-inch seam. Turn so the seam allowance is on the inside.
10. Sew each holder in place as marked on the pattern, with the ring at the top.
11. Fuse two layers of batting to the wrong side of the Bottom/Side (B) lining piece. Fuse interfacing to the wrong side of the Bottom/Side (B) fabric piece.
12. Place the fabric and lining together with batting and interfacing in the middle. Pin one long edge of this strip to one A section, right sides together, raw edges matching with 1 inch extending at the top on each side. Stitch in place, pivoting at the corners.
13. Sew the other long edge of the strip to the remaining A section.
14. Finish the seam allowances by serging or binding.
15. Turn in the ends of the strip at the top and hem.
16. Trim the extended end of the zipper, if necessary, and sew a folded scrap of suede in place to prevent the slide from coming off.
17. Make the straps the same way as the ring holders. Feed through the rings, fold under 1-1/2 inches, and sew in place.
Here's a tip: If you make your laptop bag from fabric, spray it with a fabric protector like 3M's Scotchgard so it will repel stains and water.