Ode to Sewing: Padded Laptop Case

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Transportation can be hard on electronics. Being rubbed up against keys, a spiral notebook, or  its own battery pack can scratch even the most durable surfaces. The backpack I own has an internal pocket for computers but it isn’t quite big enough to completely protect it. I decided to whip up a padded case for my laptop as an extra layer of protection. 

For this project you will not only need a few basic sewing skills, you will need to know how to sew a zipper.  It isn’t as terrifying as it sounds, if you have a zipper foot for your sewing machine and know how to sew in a straight line, you’ll do fine.  If you are a visual learner, as I always suggest, check out YouTube for how-to videos. 

This pattern can be adjusted to fit any electronic you want to create a padded case for: laptop, ipad, kindle, etc. I will explain how to customize it below. 

For style purposes you can use all matching patterns, like I did, use coordinating patterns for the exterior and the lining or use a mess of different patterns to put your own unique twist on this case.  So, gather your supplies and let’s get to work!

Supplies:

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  • 1/2 yard outer fabric
  • 1/2 yard lining fabric
  • 1/2 yard quilt batting
  • A zipper that measures a few inches longer than your finished width
  • Coordinating thread, I like to use 100% cotton
  • Sewing machine
  • Zipper foot
  • Piecing foot
  • Pins
  • Scissors
  • Iron

Instructions:

1. Measure the item you will be using the padded case for by noting the length and width (including depth) and adding 1.5”.  For example, my MacBook measures 15”x 11” so I will cut my fabric to be 16.5”x 12.5”.

2. Iron out any wrinkles or creases and cut your outer, inner and batting pieces to your specific measurements (if you need to iron the batting, place it under a towel as you iron so you don’t burn or melt it)

3. On a flat surface begin layering your pieces as follows:

  • batting
  • outer fabric, face up
  • zipper, face down
  • lining, face down

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4. Pin all the layers together and head over to the sewing machine. Using the zipper foot, sew along the zipper

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5. Flip over the fabric so all of the layers are on the same side of the zipper and press the seam flat with your iron

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6. Repeat layering with the remainder of your pieces as follows:

  • batting
  • outer fabric, face up
  • zipper, face down
  • lining, face down

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7. Sew along the zipper to secure all layers together

8. Flip over the fabric so all of the layers are on the same side of the zipper and press the seam flat with your iron

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9. Unzip the zipper halfway – this is important so you can flip the bag right side out when you finish sewing the edges

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10. Bring the right sides of the outer pieces together (including the batting) and the lining pieces together

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11.  Starting at the bottom of the lining pieces, pin all the way around your edges, leave a 6-10” gap at the bottom, mark with crossed pins (this is how you will flip it right side out). Start sewing at the left set of crossed pins, sew all the way around the edges to the second set of crossed pins. 

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12.  Using a piecing foot, sew the layers together starting at the left set of crossed pins around all four sides to the second set of crossed pins leaving a 1/4″ seam allowance

  • Back stitch at the beginning and the end
  • Make sure to pivot your corners (leave the needle in place while turning your work)
  • “Walk” your needle over the zipper – use the dial on the side of the machine to manually move the needle over the zipper. If you sew over the zipper I guarantee you, you will break your needle and send it flying into your eye, so don’t do it!

13. Trim the zipper to size with a sharp scissors and cut the corners. Be sure not to cut through the stitches

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14. Flip the bag right side out by reaching through the hole at the bottom of the lining, then reach through the open zipper and grab the outer lining.  Carefully pull it through

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15. Push out the corners so they lay nice and flat

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16. Sew the open hole in the lining closed either by hand with a blind stitch, or a straight stitch with the machine

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17. Push the lining into the case, pop out the corners and admire your work

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The size of this case is roomy. I was able to fit my laptop, its plug, a notepad, book and my phone inside with no issue – if you prefer something more snug, adjust the seam allowance by a 1/4 inch.

This case works wonderfully. Not only does it protect my computer in-transit, it gives me a nice cushy surface to set it on when I’m working. Now that I’ve used it a few times I think my next one will definitely include a divider pocket. 

Remember, this pattern is just a “basic,” so change the size, add a fancier zipper, embellish the outside with appliqué or embroidery….it’s really up to you. Make it your own!  Happy sewing!

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Cheers,

Amy

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