Sew Your Own: Zippered Laptop Sleeve
Let's Get Started!
Want to make your own laptop sleeve as durable as what you could buy in the store but more amazing? All it takes is a little outdoor fabric, some zippers, some batting, and some applique. Before you get started, make sure to wash, dry, and iron all of your fabric.
1. Measure your laptop. Mine is 13" x 9", so all of the measurements listed here are for my MacBook. If yours is a different size, just add on as I did. For example, I cut a 16" long exterior, 3" more than my laptop. If you have a 17" laptop, cut an exterior piece that is 20" long. So here are the pattern pieces you need. Remember to adjust for your individual computer!!
1- 18" zipper (choose a sturdy zipper, not a thin apparel zipper)
NOTE: I use zipper by the yard, which you can find at outdoor fabric warehouses. You cut the zipper to whatever length you like and sew carefully a few times over each end to keep it together while you sew.
Several cut out shapes of fabric that you would like to applique onto your sleeve. I chose little leaves because they are easy for beginners, but the possibilities are endless!
2- 16" x 12" pieces of exterior fabric
2- 16" x 12" pieces of quilt batting
2- 15.5" x 11.5" pieces of interior fabric
4- 15.5" x 11.5" pieces of quilt batting
NOTE: the amount of batting you cut depends on the thickness of the batting you are using. I used a relatively thin layer, similar to fusible fleece in weight. If you are using a thicker layer, you may choose to only have two or one layers of padding.
2. Do your applique. In the simplest sense, applique is when fabric is sewn to other fabric to form designs. Here's how. Lay out the pieces you cut for the applique on your fabric. Make sure you're happy with the design. You may use a spray on fabric glue to help you while you stitch, but if you're using small pieces, it's not really necessary. Using a zigzag stitch and a short stitch length, carefully stitch around the edge of each piece. Repeat until you're happy with your design.
3. Baste on your layers of batting. This will help all of the layers stay together as you sew. Here's how you baste. Pin one layer of batting to each exterior piece and two layers to each interior piece (or however many layers of batting you are using). Using a long stitch length, sew along the edges of each piece as far out on the edge as possible. You won't see this stitch in the finished product.
4. Attach your pieces to your zipper. To do this, lay one piece of your interior fabric right side up. Lay the zipper right side up on top of the interior piece. The top edge of the interior fabric should be lined up with the top edge of the zipper, and the zipper should be centered. Then lay one exterior piece on top of the interior and zipper, right side DOWN. Line it all up and pin.
5. Sew along the edge that you pinned. Use a zipper foot! It is very difficult without it. Once you've sewed the edge, and backstitched a few stitches at each edge, turn it over to see how you like your seam.
6. Flip the pieces you just sewed over and repeat with the other interior and exterior piece.
7. If you're happy with the seams along the zipper, iron them in and pin. Topstitch along the very edge of the seam next to the zipper. This will give it a finished look.
8. Now it's time to make the sleeve. Pin the two exterior pieces wrong sides together and the two interior pieces wrong sides together, the zipper will be in the center. Make sure that the actual zipper goes towards the lining pieces where the interior and the exterior meet. IMPORTANT NOTE: Make sure that the zipper is at least halfway unzipped before you sew up the exterior. If you don't you WON'T BE ABLE TO TURN IT INSIDE OUT. And you will feel sad.
9. Sew the exterior pieces together first. Begin at the zipper seam where all of the pieces meet. Backstitch a few stitches and sew, using a 1/2" seam allowance down the side, along the bottom, and up the other side.
10. Repeat with the interior, but this time, the first few stitched should catch the zipper. Also, you should leave most of the bottom unsewn so you will be able to turn it inside out. To do this, sew down the side and sew a few inches along the bottom. Backstitch at the end. Then sew the other side, starting at the zipper again and sewing down the side and a few inches down along the bottom.
11. Before you turn it inside out, clip the corners close to the edge, taking care not to cut the stitching. This will create sharp corners.
12. Now pull it inside out. Reach through the hole in the bottom, up through the zipper, which you so cleverly unzipped before you sewed, and carefully pull the exterior through.
13. So now you're pretty much done, but you still have a length of seam in the interior that you didn't sew. You could slipstitch this closed, but I just carefully pinned in the raw edges and sewed along the seam at the very edge. It's at the bottom of your sleeve, so no one will see it.
14. Now push the interior into the exterior and push out all the seams, especially around the edges of the zipper. And you're done! You have your very own laptop sleeve!!
Feel free to contact me with any questions!
Some more links that might help with this project
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