How to Make a Patchwork Laptop Case

comments (16) May 3rd, 2013     

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kaytet kayte terry, contributor
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Photo: Sloan Howard

A laptop bag is a must for protecting your computer, but who says that "practical" has to mean "boring"? Why not make a vibrant, colorful patchwork bag with a pretty button closure? Fat quarter packs are your best option for this project, especially because they often contain various prints and solids in the same color family. Or, you could use smaller scraps from your sewing stash.

I recommend walking feet for all machine-quilting projects because they step over batting and fabric with ease. But if you don't have one, a standard presser foot will do.

What You'll Need:
Button
Cotton batting, such as
Warm 'n Soft
Cotton fabrics, a variety of prints and solids
Cutting mat
Iron and ironing board
Lining fabric
Rotary cutter
Ruler
Sewing machine
Thread
Water-soluble pen
Optional: Walking foot

Prep your fabrics
The amount of fabric you need depends on the size of your laptop. Measure carefully to ensure a good fit.

1. Measure the length and width of your laptop. To calculate the amount of fabric you'll need for the bag: add 2 inches to the width, double the length, and add 8 inches for the flap so it will accommodate the laptop's depth.

2. Cut the lining and batting. Cut one piece of lining fabric and one piece of batting to the measurements calculated in step 1.

3. Cut the fabric. Cut your selected fabrics into strips of various widths to the length calculated in step 1. The strips should total the width measurement plus 1⁄4-inch seam allowance on both long sides of each step.

   


Make and quilt the patchwork

Sew the strips together, stack your quilt sandwich, and topstitch to quilt the layers. I prefer random decorative quilting stitches on my bags, but you can stitch-in-the-ditch (sew between two pieced fabrics on the finished seam) if desired.

1. Sew the outer fabric. Sew all the strips together lengthwise from left to right. Press each seam toward the darker fabric.

   


2. Quilt the patchwork. Place the batting on the wrong side of the patchwork, and pin it in place from the right side. Install a walking foot (if desired), and machine-quilt the patchwork on the right side through both layers. Stitch with a series of vertical lines or "in the ditch" if you prefer. For perfectly straight lines, use a ruler and a water-soluble pen to mark the stitching lines before you sew.

  +


Finish the pouch
Line and finish sewing the bag, and then choose a color-coordinated button for your closure to round out the look.

1. Cut the patchwork piece and lining. Draw a curve for the flap on the wrong side of your patchwork piece and lining. Use fabric scissors to cut along the line through all layers.

   

2. Line the patchwork. Lay the patchwork right-side up on your work surface, and place the lining fabric wrong-side up on top of it. Pinch an 1⁄8-inch tuck across the lining at the flap fold, and with all edges and seams matched, pin. Sew around the edges with a 1⁄2-inch seam allowance. Stop 4 inches before the starting point. Trim the seam allowance on the curved flap to 1⁄8 inch. Turn the bag right-side out through the opening. Press the opening shut, pin, and topstitch. Finger-press the flap edge to the right-side of the bag so it looks like piping, and topstitch.

   


3. Sew the buttonhole. Find the center of the flap, measure up 1 1⁄2 inch from the edge of the curve, and mark the buttonhole position with a water-soluble pen. Sew a buttonhole on the flap with your sewing machine.

  Measure for the buttonhole placement.


4. Attach the button. Fold the flap to determine the button position. Sew the button to the bag under the flap and aligned with the buttonhole.

   

excerpted from SewStylish Quick Stuff to Sew, Vol. 3, p. 24

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posted in: sewstylish feature, bag, laptop, case, computer, laptop case

Comments (16)

AmandaMac writes: This is a great idea, and also useful for the new iPads. One could even recycle and cut down a suitable sized old tote bag and build the patchwork layer on top. Thanks so much for this.
Posted: 8:26 pm on February 5th
susan72 writes: Just want I want to do. I have a 17" laptop & I love using patches Ive collected. You look very young???? But Im 72 yrs. young??? HaHa. Susan
Posted: 7:02 pm on January 11th
AlwaysJer writes: I love this..a wonderful tutorial ang you used a well thought out group of fabrics..I noticed how well the print is reflected in the colors chosen for the solids..and that querky little dot print...just gives it the adorable touch. Sometimes I think it is hard to find a great project/tutorial as it is to have a trained enough eye to figure out the fabrics that can really bring it to life. MUG know someone that makes pretty quilts but if she would just expand her fabric choices a bit more they would be incredible ;). Thanks for the superb work!
Posted: 11:10 pm on December 4th
AlwaysJer writes: I love this..a wonderful tutorial ang you used a well thought out group of fabrics..I noticed how well the print is reflected in the colors chosen for the solids..and that querky little dot print...just gives it the adorable touch. Sometimes I think it is hard to find a great project/tutorial as it is to have a trained enough eye to figure out the fabrics that can really bring it to life. MUG know someone that makes pretty quilts but if she would just expand her fabric choices a bit more they would be incredible ;). Thanks for the superb work!
Posted: 11:10 pm on December 4th
nengdabags writes: Use diving material will better protect your computer.

With more and more of the size of your notebook, computer bag out of the manufacturer also in a rapidly launched the size of the match the bag: 10.6, 12.1, 13.3, 14.1, 15.2, 15.4, 17 inches, etc have been listed, materials bag (cloth) : at all levels of ballistic nylon twill nylon fine wen nylon, strengthen DuoYuan fat cloth, nylon, g d zi skin, really cowhide, etc. This is NengDa BAGS for new design.sales at nengdabags.com.

Posted: 2:05 am on September 19th
JDpenelope writes: This tutorial is very helpful -- Nicely written, complete, simple, with great illustrations. Of course, the choice of fabric -- and whether or not to piece it -- is up to each sewer.

I like the curved flap and how easily it can be constructed. Anxious to try it.

One thing I might do differently -- for easier sewing, I find that cutting the batting (or fleece or whatever you use for cushioning) OUT of the seam allowances reduces the strain on your sewing machine. And your needle won't have to negotiate so many layers, either.

In my experience, a walking foot is pretty essential.

The piped look around the flap is a nice touch.

In case anyone wonders, I believe the tuck in the lining makes the underside of the flap fit better.

Thanks again for a great tutorial.
Posted: 8:08 am on September 10th
ColorMe2 writes: Your colors are outrageously wonderful!!! Just delicious!
Posted: 3:15 pm on September 9th
MercedesViking writes: To each her own. I think your colors are just fine. I must agree with UniqD -- just got a new laptop, but no case. I really wanted to make one and now I have no reason not to! Thanks. Very timely.
Posted: 2:25 pm on September 9th
Amy12345 writes: I LOVE this bag! It is amazing! Do you know how i could add pockets to it for the plug etc? Will the batting protect it enough? Thank you.
Posted: 4:57 am on July 26th
kaytet writes: hey cookies 13- it's not piping- just the color of the lining on the inside.
i like a bit of it to peak out so when i topstitch, it just flatten it out that way to sew.
Posted: 12:21 pm on May 8th
Cookies13 writes: OMG i love this case!! am a bit confused about bit at bottom that looks like piping though and how to make it look like that? please help! love the colours though- amazing!
Posted: 11:47 am on May 7th
AlisSews writes: I absolutely LOVE this pattern.
The colours you chose are gorgeous. I can't wait to get the fabric and give this a shot.
Posted: 9:07 pm on April 23rd
kaytet writes: churunga- Sorry you feel that way. I like the colors, so to each her own i guess. You can really use any color story you would like and also make it more of a patchwork.
The fabric is not waterproof because I try not to use plastic in my sewing but it is washable. I have one of my own that I also made and have washed it before. Good as new right out of the wash.
Posted: 11:19 pm on April 18th
churunga writes: I am sorry. The colours are ugly. I think one could have made it with a patchwork design rather than just strips. The fabric is not waterproof which would be a big plus.
Posted: 7:25 pm on April 17th
Sorka9 writes: Very cool! I might just whip one of these up for a friend who I know is looking for a case for her little net book! Thanks!
Denise
Posted: 11:11 am on April 15th
UniqD_1Nonly writes: This is most mysterious. I was just saying last week, "I need to make a case for my Laptop". Is this ESP? I am going to print this and will probably alter this by adding exterior pockets and a carrying strap. Thanks for helping me not second guess my design and having to waste my precious fabric stash.
Posted: 10:43 am on April 15th
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