Sew Your Own: Zippered Laptop Sleeve

There it is!
There it is!

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.

Finished applique on one exterior piece
Finished applique on one exterior piece

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.

Here are all the layers, ready to sew. The gray is the interior.
Here are all the layers, ready to sew. The gray is the interior.

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. 

Here's what it will look like if you've sewed the zipper on correctly, no seams visible from the top or the bottom.
Here's what it will look like if you've sewed the zipper on correctly, no seams visible from the top or the bottom.

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.

Here it is sewn all around the edges. I used this opportunity to make sure my laptop would fit!
Here it is sewn all around the edges. I used this opportunity to make sure my laptop would fit!

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!

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Comments 15 comments

ripplemaker profile image

ripplemaker 6 years ago from Cebu, Philippines

If I can sew my own laptop sleeve, that will be the day to have a fiesta! Hahahahahah I enjoyed reading through your hub and am again amazed at one can do in this life! :)

From the Hubnuggets Team we send your our congratulations for being a Hubnugget Wannabe! Oh yes, any free laptop sleeves you can make for the Hubnuggets Team would be welcome too! :)

To the Hubnuggets voting center:

Sage Williams profile image

Sage Williams 6 years ago

What a great little hub. I am not a sewer but know many people who are. Thanks so much for the awesome directions for making your own laptop sleeves.

I just may pay one of my friends to make me one. Congratulations on being nominated for a HubNugget and Welcome to HubPages.


On a Lark Design profile image

On a Lark Design 6 years ago from USA Author

Thanks Sage and Ripplemaker! I'm hoping to put up some more tutorials soon, I always spend a lot of time on trial and error in sewing projects, so hopefully others can benefit from my (many) mistakes!

betherann profile image

betherann 6 years ago from Montana

I'm not crafty, but I enjoyed reading this. Congrats on the HubNugget nomination!

shazwellyn profile image

shazwellyn 6 years ago from Great Britain

What a nifty thrifty idea! Im off to make one! Thanks x

Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 6 years ago from United States

This was a good idea and an interesting hub. I haven't sewed in a while but I could do this. Congratulations for your nomination to Hubnuggets.

Faybe Bay profile image

Faybe Bay 6 years ago from Florida

For the really crafty, you could design a line of these. Sell at flea markets, take orders... Excellent hub.

jayjay40 profile image

jayjay40 6 years ago from Bristol England

Brilliant hub, you should sell these on E bay. Well done

salt profile image

salt 6 years ago from australia

thats fantastic, you could use recycled fabrics etc and make some really unique designs.

profile image

PWalker281 6 years ago

Great hub, excellent instructions. I'm gonna bookmark it just in case I get inspired to make one. Congrats on your nomination!

On a Lark Design profile image

On a Lark Design 6 years ago from USA Author

Thanks everyone! Glad you liked the hub!

LPogue profile image

LPogue 6 years ago from Missouri

I enjoyed reading your hub. I love to sew and have been looking for a project I could do to make something for my grandchildren. They will all have laptops by next Christmas, so I will just have to be sneaky enough to measure them for their personalized sleeves without the grandchildren noticing. Thanks!

Tracy Monroy 6 years ago

This would be a great thing to do with your leftover scrap fabrics. Thanks so much for the great idea!

Sarah Jones 6 years ago

Just stopping by to let you know your tutorial was fantastic!! I searched google high and low for a laptop sleeve tutorial and found yours which looked the best for a measly beginer sewer like me! Heck, I've never even sewed with a zipper before! BUT i followed your tutorial and it only took me two nights to finish my sleeve! I only Brooke one needle with my thumb(first tile for that too!) and I looove my new laptop sleeve since I bought a $40 one that my dogs ate for a snack. The only thing I did differently was I bought the foam pad and used that as batting instead. It's study but was a pain to flip inside out. Thank you again and I really appreciate this!!

Loi-Renee profile image

Loi-Renee 5 years ago from Jamaica

Great Hub! I love sewing and will definitely try this.

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