Finding great gift ideas for guys is tough, starting with the search for the perfect fabric, which can be challenging in a world that seems populated solely by pretty posies and polka dots, but it is possible! The right fabric makes all the difference in how a project turns out; it can even spin something that might have originally been designed with a feminine appeal into a completely different, more masculine look. What’s your guy’s favorite color, hobby, or sports team? The fabric choices are wide and varied, so you can search for and find the perfect combination of colors and textures. This sleek device carrier can hold an iPad® and cell phone for Techie Guy or file folders and homework to correct for Teacher Guy or art paper and drawing tools for Artist Guy.
We paired a great solid twill with a fantastic patterned cotton for the lining and binding. The cotton we selected is not currently available, but we chose a three new options from Shaman by Parson Gray for Free Spirit to go with our Olive Drab Eco Twill as well as two additional twill/cotton pairings.
The finished look of the device sleeve is ultra-professional, as if you just grabbed it off the shelf at Eddie Bauer®, but thanks to Sew4Home’s great step-by-step directions, you can make it yourself in your favorite fabrics.
We recommend a medium to heavy-weight fabric for the exterior to insure the finished sleeve has the stability and durability needed for active, on-the-go use. The case finishes (when closed) at approximately 12″ side x 9″ high x 1″ deep.
Sewing Tools You Need
- Sewing Machine and standard presser foot
- Walking or Even Feed foot (the MC8900 QCP Special Edition has the built-in AcuFeed Flex™ system, which we used – and love. If you do not have a built-in feeding system, we recommend a Walking foot or similar for working with the tricky and/or thick layers.)
Fabric and Other Supplies
- ½ yard of 54″+ wide medium to heavy weight fabric for the case exterior; we used 58″ wide medium weight Eco Twill in Olive Drab
- ¾ yard of 44-45″ wide standard weight cotton fabric for the bag and the pocket lining; we used 44″ wide Aubrey in Checkered Olive by Whimsies & Wishes for Studio E Fabrics – this fabric is no long available. See our altenative options above.
NOTE: The amount shown for the cotton fabric allows you to create the matching bias binding for the flap. We feel a matching binding is the most professional finish, however, you could also use packaged ½” double-fold bias tape if you can find a close color match.
- 1 yard of 1½” decorative accent ribbon to coordinate with your exterior and lining fabrics; we use a camouflage style ribbon purchased locally
- ½ yard of 45″ mid-weight fusible interfacing; we used Pellon Décor Bond
- ⅜ yard of ¾” wide polyester webbing for the handle; we used black
- 1 yard of 1½” wide polyester webbing to back the accent ribbon; we used black
- ONE 1½” wide side release buckle; we used black
NOTE: Webbing and buckles in black are available at many sewing and craft stores. If you have trouble finding them, we recommend The Rainshed as an online option. They sell all kinds of fabric and notions for outdoor gear and more.
- All-purpose sewing thread in colors to match fabric and ribbon
- Scissors or rotary cutter and mat
- See-through ruler
- Straight pins
- Seam gauge
- Seam ripper
- ½” wide bias tape maker (optional but quite helpful)
- Iron and ironing board
- Download and print TWO copies of the Laptop Sleeve Flap pattern.
IMPORTANT: This pattern download consists of ONE 8½” x 11″ sheet. You must print the PDF file at 100%. DO NOT SCALE to fit the page.
- Cut out each copy of the pattern piece along the solid line. Flip over one and butt together (do not overlap) the two pieces along the center line (following the arrows marked on the pattern). This creates your full flap pattern.
- From the fabric for the exterior, cut the following:
Using the flap pattern, cut ONE piece
TWO 11″ high x 14″ wide rectangles for the exterior
ONE 6½” x 6½” square for the pleated pocket
- From the fabric for the lining, cut the following:
Using the flap pattern, cut ONE piece
TWO 11″ high x 14″ wide rectangles for the main lining panels
ONE 6½” x 6½” square for the pleated pocket
ONE 1″ x 24″ bias strip (can be cut and sewn from shorter strips)
- From the interfacing cut the following:
Using the flap pattern, cut ONE piece
TWO 11″ high x 14″ wide rectangles
- From the ¾” webbing, cut ONE 10″ length.
- From the 1½” webbing, cut ONE 25″ length.
- From the 1½” accent ribbon, cut ONE 25″ length.
At Your Sewing Machine & Ironing Board
- Following manufacturer’s instructions, fuse the interfacing to the wrong side of each exterior panel (the two rectangles and the flap).
- Find the 1″x 24″ bias strip.
- We used a bias tape maker to create the narrow folds needed (helps you keep from burning your fingers). You can also fold the strip in half and press to set a crease, unfold, then press in each raw edge ¼”, and press again.
NOTE: For this short length, the standard bias tape maker a great solution. If you have much longer lengths, you may want to investigate the awesome Simplicity Automatic Bias Tape Maker.
Create and bind the flap
NOTE: As mentioned above, we used the built-in AcuFeed Flex™ system on our Janome MC8900 QCP SE with the narrow foot for the entire project. If you don’t have a built-in feeding system, you may want to attach a Walking or Even Feed foot or similar. It will help keep all the layers involved in this project feeding more smoothly.
- Place the interfaced flap exterior and the flap lining WRONG sides together, matching the raw edges all around. Pin in place.
- Working on the exterior side of the flap, open out one folded side of the bias tape and align the raw edge of the binding to the raw edge of the fabric along both sides and across the top. Pin in place, being careful to ease the binding around the corners.
- Stitch the binding in place, following along in the crease line.
- When stitched in place, fold the bias tape over the raw edge to the lining side of the flap. The folded edge should cover your first line of stitching. Pin in place.
- Flip the flap back over so the exterior is facing up. Edgestitch the binding in place through all the layers. You are stitch right along the original seam within the binding strip.
- Keep your stitching as close to the original seam as you possibly can to insure you catch both the front and back of your binding in the seam.
NOTE: If you are new to working with bias binding, check out our tutorial: Bias Binding: Figuring Yardage, Cutting, Making, Attaching. In addition, if you are worried about keeping your stitch line straight with this narrow binding, you can use a zig zag stitch. A zig zag is more ‘forgiving’ than a straight stitch; in other words, your seam line can wobble a little without it being noticeable on the finished piece.
- Find one of the 11″ x 14″ exterior panels. Center the flap along the top of the panel, right sides together and with raw edges aligned. Pin in place.
- Using a ½” seam allowance, stitch across the flap through all the layers. In other words, your seam should start and stop at the outside bound edges of the flap.
- Flip up the flap; this will cause the ½” seam allowance to fold to the inside.
- On the right side, measure and mark along the flap seam for the handle placement. The pins should be 2″ in from each finished edge of the flap and 7″ apart, centered on the flap seam.
- Using a seam ripper, open the seam 1″, starting at each pin point and working toward the center. This will allow for insertion of the handle in a later step.
- Set the flap aside.
Create and place pocket
- Find the two 6½” x 6½” pocket squares: one exterior and one lining.
- Place the squares right sides together. Pin in place, leaving a 2″ opening along the lower edge for turning.
- Using a ½” seam allowance, stitch the pocket seams, remembering to pivot at all the corners and to lock your seam at either side of the 2″ opening left for turning. Clip the corners.
- Turn the pocket right side out through the opening and press well, pressing in the seam allowance at the opening so it is flush with the sewn seam.
- Create a 1″ box pleat at the center of the pocket. Pin in place. The pocket should now measure approximately 3½” wide.
- Edgestitch across the top to secure the pleat in place.
- Find the 11″ x 14″ exterior panel without the flap.
- Position the pocket on the right side of the panel. It should sit the lower left corner, 1½” up from the bottom raw edge and 1½” in from the left raw edge. Pin in place.
- Edgestitch the pocket in place along the both sides and across the bottom, leaving the top open. Remember to pivot at the corners. This stitching also closes the opening left for turning. We used olive green thread for our edgestitching.
Assemble the exterior and attach the strap and handle
- With the flap up and out of the way, place the two exterior case pieces right sides together, matching the raw edges. Pin in place along the bottom edge only.
- Using a ½” seam allowance, stitch the bottom edge only. Press the seam open.
- Find the 25″ lengths of 1½” decorative ribbon and 1½” webbing.
- Place the ribbon over the webbing. Pin the two layers to keep them from shifting. You could also use a fusible seam tape or similar to hold the ribbon in place against the webbing.
- Find the side release buckle. Pull it apart.
- Insert one end of the ribbon/webbing into each half of the buckle. Adjust the length to measure 20″ when the buckle is closed. Pin in place. There should be 3½” – 4″ of extra length at the male end and 1½” of extra length at the female end. Trim down if necessary.
- Fold back the extra length on each end to the back of the webbing. Add a few extra pins to hold these “fold-backs” in place.
- Lay the case exterior right side up and flat on your work surface. Find the exact center through both panels and the flap.
- Place the strap along this center line. Position the female end of the buckle so it just clears the edge of the flap as shown in the photo below. If you measured correctly above, you should have 20″ from the base of the female end of the buckle to where the ribbon/webbing folds back through the male end of the buckle. Pin in place.
NOTE: In the photo below, we left our ribbon/webbing tales long so you could get a better idea of the layering. As mentioned above, at the female end, fold back and under about 1½”. At the mail end, fold back and under about 3½” – 4″ – trim any excess.
- At the male end, measure 3″ up from where the ribbon/webbing folds back through the buckle. Draw a horizontal line or place a pin across the ribbon/webbing at this point; this is where you will stop sewing and turn to go across and back down the opposite side.
- Edgestitch the ribbon/webbing in place. We lengthened our stitch and use a black thread for a bit of decorative contrast against the ribbon.
- Start at the flap end, getting as close to the buckle as possible. We were able to get within about ¾” of the female end of the buckle. Stitch up one side, stop at the 3″ mark from the male end, pivot, stitch across, pivot, and stitch down the opposite edge, pivot at the point directly opposite your starting point, and stitch across to complete. Lock your seam at the seam line. If possible use a locking stitch for the neatest finish. If you do not have this feature, you can leave the leave tails long, pull them to the back, and knot to secure.
- Pull the 3″ free end away from the fabric so you can create a final “box” of edgestitching to keep these layers together. The bottom of our box starts and stops at the horizontal line of the previous edgestitching. The sides of the box are perfectly in line with the previous edgestitching, and the top of the box should be as close as you can get it to the buckle (just as you did on the female end). We were able to get within about 1″. We switched to an olive green thread for this final box for a best match against just the ribbon.
- Find the 10″ length of ¾” webbing.
- Insert one end into each of the small openings in the flap seam you made earlier. Pin in place, making sure the webbing forms a nice handle loop and does not twist on itself.
- Flip over to the wrong side and re-stitch the flap seam to hold the handle ends in place. The final edgestitching done below will additionally secure the handle.
Final exterior assembly with box corners
- Fold the front and back exterior panels right sides together. The bottom seam should be at the exact bottom and the raw sides should align.
- Using a ½” seam allowance, stitch both sides.
- Our bag is designed to have 1″ sides and base. To create this width, we figured our corners at ½”.
- Measure and mark each corner.
- Flatten and double stitch the corners.
- If you are new to boxed corners, check out our tutorial for step-by-step instructions.
Lining assembly with box corners
- Find the two 11″ x 14″ lining panels.
- Place the panels right sides together. Pin in place. Using a ½” seam allowance, stitch along both sides and across the bottom, remembering to pivot at the corners.
- Box the bottom corners, using the same method as above.
- Again, if you are new to boxed corners, check out our tutorial for step-by-step instructions.
- Fold down the top raw edge of the lining ½” and press in place.
- Find the bag exterior. It should be right side out. Push out the box corners so they are nice and square. Fold down the top raw edge of the exterior ½” to match the lining and press in place.
- Find the lining. It should be wrong side out and its box corners should also be nice and square.
- Slip the lining inside the exterior so the two pieces are now wrong sides together.
- Align the side seams and the bottom box corners. At the back, the lining should just cover the flap seam. Elsewhere, the two folded edges should be flush. If they aren’t, re-fold one or both as necessary so they are flush. Pin in place all around.
- Working on the right side, edgestitch around the entire top opening through all the layers. You are securing the lining as you sew and will be sewing across the decorative ribbon and handle. If you have a free arm machine, this can make sewing the edges together easier. We used the same olive green thread we used on the pocket edgestitching for this final seam. Again as mentioned above, we used the built-in AcuFeed Flex™ system on our Janome MC8900 QCP SE for the entire project. If you don’t have a built-in feeding system, you may want to attach a Walking or Even Feed foot or similar.
- We added our SewHome label to the top inside edge.
Project Design: Alicia Thommas
Sample Creation and Instructional Outline: Michele Mishler