Whenever I switch on my laptop or log on to my area of our home PC, I am greeted by my iGoogle page. This contains my Google Reader, my Yahoo mail, a calendar, calculator, the weather forecast and time for Birmingham and Madrid and the headlines from BBC news and CILT as well as more frivolous things like Penguins and Shakespearean Insults. I’ve also got widgets called Quote of the Day and How to of the Day which offer both amusement and food for thought.
Today’s How to of the Day (there are two!) are How to create a butterfly garden and How to make a laptop tote bag. Thought the later looked interesting and wondered if anyone fancied making one? I’m not very handy with a Singer but I guess if it’s only straight lines I might manage. Perhaps something to save for a rainy day ….
Other useful tips offered on the site include all sorts of cheats and hacks, helpful household tips (personal favourite – how to fold a Towel Elephant) and more wacky suggestions such as Turn an old TV into a fishtank.
At its simplest, a laptop carrying case is little more than a padded tote bag. While it will require some careful cutting and thought out sewing procedures, it is a fairly easy project that a beginner could have success with.
- Select your materials.
- Launder and iron the fabrics to be used.
- Measure the laptop to be carried. The author used a Cardboard Laptop Case as a guide for size. Measure all the way around the laptop, from the hinge side to the opening, and then back to the hinge, not just the top. This will be the length of the fabric. Then measure the width of the laptop plus each side. This will be the width of the fabric.
- Cut two layers of cloth: One layer large enough to cover the laptop all the way around, PLUS an inch (2.5 cm) in every direction, and the other layer half an inch (1 cm) larger than the first all around. One will be the outside and the other will be the lining. They can be the same colors or different, coordinating colors. If the outside layer is a durable water-resistant kind of fabric, so much the better.
- Cut two thicknesses of quilt batting the size of your smaller (inner) piece of material.
- Cut a layer of interfacing material the size of the smaller (inner) piece of material.
- Sew the sides of the outer layer of material, leaving the top open.
- Miter the corners.
- Sew the tips of the miters to the seam line.
- Turn “right side” out and test fit.
- Layer the interfacing, batting, and inner material.
- Align them carefully.
- Quilt the three layers together by hand or by machine.
- Sew the sides of the quilted layer, leaving the top edge open.
- Clip the batting and interfacing close to the seam.
- Miter the corners, sewing the mitered tips to the seam line.
- Test fit by sliding your laptop (or box) into the inner layer and then into the outer layer.
- Make any necessary adjustments for proper fit at this point.
- Clip the inner layer two inches from the edge of your laptop (or box, in this case.)
- Clip the outer layer two inches (5 cm) from the edge of the inner layer.
- Fold the outer layer twice, once in and over itself and then again over the inner layer and pin for sewing. (This forms a roll of cloth, hiding the raw edges of both layers.)
- Sew the layers together along the inside, lower edge of the rolled/folded outer edge.
- Cut 4-5 inch (10-13 cm) wide strips for your handles. Make them of a length that is pleasing and comfortable for you (12 inches or 30 cm for a short handle, 24+ inches or 70+ cm for a shoulder strap).
- Fold and iron the handle strips.
- Top stitch the strips to hold their shape.
- Measure the top of your bag and divide by 3. Mark the thirds with pins.
- Place your handle ends just outside the pins along the edge.
- Pin the handles in place.
- Fold the raw ends of the handles under themselves.
- Pin in place.
- Topstitch the handle ends in place. (It’s zig-zagged across the top edge in pictures, single stitched the rest of the way. Choose whatever appeals to you.)
- Trim all threads and there’s your new custom carrying case for your laptop
Modified steps for creating a cleaner looking or more finished project:
As far as the cutting and pre-construction goes, the above steps are very well written and easy to follow; however, if you’re looking to create a cleaner or more finished project you can follow the guidelines below for the assembly of your tote:
There’s a much cleaner way to do this which will hide the attachment of the straps and the raw edge/seam of the inner/outer layer.
When sewing the lining leave a hole in the bottom. Then sew the handle to the lining with right side facing in. To assemble, flip lining right side out with strap/handle on the inside. Put exterior shell inside lining, also with right side out. Sew seam around the top connecting the inside and straps of the bag to the exterior shell.
What you’ll have now is a tote with the lining on the outside (right side out), the exterior on the inside (looking down in to the tote you’ll see the wrong side of the exterior fabric), and the strapped sandwhiched between the two.
So, how do you get it to look like a tote? Remeber the hole you left in the lining? Reach in that hole and grab the strap or exterior fabric and pull it through. That will put the strap and the exterior fabric on the outside (right side out) and the lining on the inside (right side showing). You’ll have to machine sew or hand sew the hole shut in the bottom of the lining. It doesn’t matter if it’s not perfect because that seam will be on the inside of the bag.
If you use batting or foam rubber to reenforce the bag keep that in mind when you’re leaving the hole in the bottom of the lining. You’ll have to pull that bulk through to complete the bag. There is really no right or wrong size for the ‘pull through’ hole. It just depends on the project and materials being used.
- This can be done b
y hand, but is best sewn on a machine.
- This can be done without padding; see How to Make a Tote Bag.
- This works very well coordinated with the cardboard laptop carrier’s inner layer and adding this project as the outer layer for greater stability with a ‘finished’ look.
- Depending on the amount of padding you use, this laptop bag may not be as protective as some store bought alternatives.
- Use appropriate care when handling scissors and needles.
Things You’ll Need
- Two yards of material. May be a yard each of different materials if desired.
- One yard of Quilt Batting
- One yard of interfacing material or similar, thin fabric.
- Sewing Machine
- Tape Measure
- How to Make a Laptop Bag from Cardboard
- How to Make a Tote Bag
- How to Clean a Laptop Screen With Household Products
- How to Find and Purchase a Very Inexpensive Laptop
- How to Take Good Care of Your Laptop Computer
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