So here's the tutorial - sorry, once I got onto the lining I kind of ran out of steam with taking photos. If anything's not clear though please let me know and I'll do my best to explain. I do have a pdf copy I could email if anyone's interested - you can pm me. Hope this helps anyway!Laptop Bag – Tutorial
You will need:
Fabric (equivalent to just under 4 fat quarters)
Low loft batting and/or fleece
Thin piping cord for piping
Thick soft cord for handles – maybe you can get this in a curtain shop?
2 x 45cm zip (or a 90cm zip with two slides)
1 x 20cm zip
Measure your laptop to see how big you need to make your bag, and add a good inch or so for ease. So my mum’s laptop was 15” across so I aimed for a finished width of 16”. When you measure how thick the laptop is remember that you’ll be putting the adaptor and the mouse in the pocket in with the laptop so you’ll need extra room in there. I went for a finished width of 4”.
Cut two pieces of fabric to size (I did 16.5” x 12”) or assemble patchwork pieces to achieve that size. These pieces are Front A and Back B.
Curve the corners of these pieces slightly using compass or french curve. Make a note of how much you curved off so that you can repeat that on the lining.
Cut two pieces of fabric 56” x 1”. Fold around piping cord, wrong sides together, and stitch ¼” from edge. I don’t have a piping foot so I used my zipper foot and that worked fine.
Cut two pieces of fabric 13” x 2” for handles. Fold fabric lengthwise with right sides together and stitch 1/4” from edge. Then stitch one end closed. Using a thin paintbrush or something like it, poke the closed end in on itself, and carefully turn the whole length inside out. Unpick the stitched end of the tube and press the whole thing.
Tape the end of the thick cord tightly so that it will enter the fabric tube more easily. Take a 16” length of thread and hand sew a few stitches through the end of the thick piping cord, wrap the thread round the cord a few times and stitch through a few more times, then attach the thread to a large mattress or doll needle and poke it carefully through the length of fabric and out the other end. Gently pull the piping cord through the tube of fabric. Wow – is there an easier way to do this?!
Slide the fabric back from each end towards the middle of the tube so that it’s a bit scrunched up – this is so you can finish off the ends. Measure the cord to 12” and bind and hand stitch tightly about 1cm from each end to stop it unraveling. Then cut the cord, and slide the fabric back over each end so there’s an even amount of fabric either end of the cord. Stitch ends closed, ¼” from edge of fabric.
Cut two pieces of fabric 2.5” by 55” (or join to achieve length). These are pieces C and D – they make up the top, sides and bottom of the bag. Lay your zips along the length (zipper slides together in the centre) and mark where they stop at each end of the fabric.
Place pieces C and D right sides together and stitch ¼” from edge from one end to your mark, baste until you reach the next mark, then stitch again to the end. Press open the seam and baste the zips to the fabric (zipper slides together in centre). Sew the zips in place.
Cut out a piece of batting to 13” x 17” (or slightly larger than your assembled front piece). I used a piece of fleece and a piece of iron-on low-loft batting to give a bit of extra protection. Lay the Front A onto the batting and pin in place. Quilt as you like. Repeat for the bag Back B.
Place the bag Front A and the zip section C&D right sides together, with the piping in between them. In the photo below the red fabric in the middle is my piping. Make sure to tuck the handles down inside the layers, between the zip section and the piping.
Sew the layers together, stitching as close to the piping cord as possible. I kept nice and close to my piping by keeping my finger on it so I could feel where it was!
When you need to join the piping cord you could line it up with a seam, or just join it in the centre bottom. You can join the piping cord by just overlapping it a bit like I did in this photo.
To get the zip section the right length, I started sewing from the top centre and stopped when I got close to the bottom centre, then I did the same in the other direction – starting at the top centre again. Then, when I was confident how much of a gap I had left I joined the ends of the zip section, stitched those, then carried on stitching the zip section to the bag front.
Repeat for Back B, placing the bag Back B and zip section C&D together, right sides facing, with the piping in between the layers and stitch. Remember to put the handles in between the zip section and the piping.
Go over the seam by the handles a few times to reinforce them.Lining
For your lining, cut 2 pieces 16” x 11.5” (just ½” smaller than your bag pieces) These are Front E & Back F.
Place a pocket on Front E if you like. Heart of Mary had a link to a good zipper pocket tutorial. Attach Velcro to ribbon (or to some fabric if you can be bothered!) and pin to Back F at top and bottom – check that they’re going to overlap and join correctly.
Cut two strips of lining fabric 3” x 55”. These are the partners of the zip pieces and we’ll call them G and H.
Cut two strips of fleece or batting 2.5” x 55” and lay one along each fabric strip G and H.
Measure the length of one zip on piece C&D, mark that at either end of pieces G and H. Place G and H right sides together, and stitch between your marks. Wow – hard to explain, much easier to do – here’s the diagram!
Place the pieces Front E and G&H right sides together and stitch (like you did with the outside of the bag). Repeat with pieces Back F and G&H. Press the outside edges of piece G&H under and pin to the main bag wrong sides together. Top-stitch all the way around the edge, joining the lining to the bag.
And you’re done!