Saturday, June 16, 2012

Bella Parade: Chevron Laptop Sleeve Tutorial

Do you have a laptop that needs to travel? I do, I've got big plans to get a lot of things done on my laptop in the comfort of a cozy chair at Starbucks this summer whilst my munchkin has fun at his half-day summer camp. And I don't want to just cart around my laptop all naked and exposed to the elements! I needed a laptop sleeve, but I wanted a pretty one, so I put together this simple, patchwork laptop sleeve, a short project that took me an afternoon.


Chevron Laptop Sleeve Tutorial

You'll need:
Exterior fabric
Flap fabric
Lining fabric
For patchwork on exterior front:
- long scrap for patchwork frame
- various scraps for chevrons, 2 1/2" x 10"
1 package of velcro, or 10" if you find it by-the-yard
1 yd fusible fleece

1. Every laptop is a different size, so you will need to tweak this pattern to fit your laptop appropriately.  First, let's do the pattern math.  Begin by measuring your laptop and noting the dimensions shown below.
To figure the size of the exterior and lining pieces, follow this simple formula: L + H + 1" x W + H + 1". We're adding that one inch on all sides of the bag to allow for seam allowances, but I can assure you that you will get a nice, snug fit. For my laptop, which is 15" (width) x 10" (length) x 1"(height), that meant that my exterior pieces were 17" x 12".

Use the same dimensions you determined previously for the exterior for the lining.  The flap will be 5.5" long, but for the width, use the W + H + 1" measurement. The flap will attach to along the width of the bag.

2. Make exterior front.  To create your 6 chevrons, you will cut 2 sky pieces and one geese piece from each fabric you're using, for a total of 6 geese and 12 sky pieces.

Geese: 3" x 5 1/2"
Sky: 3" squares (2 per flying geese unit)

NOTE: My exterior front finished at 17" x 12". If your laptop is a different size than mine, you can alter the patchwork frame by making it smaller or larger to best the dimensions you created in Step 1.

Be sure to trace a diagonal line on the wrong side of each sky square once you've cut them.  Next, lay out your chevrons so you can plan the order.


To piece the geese, line up a sky piece with a geese, aligning the raw edges, and sew along the diagonal line you drew.  Trim the excess sky on the back side and press the seam open. Repeat on the opposite side of the geese unit, making sure that the sky units cross in the top center of the geese unit.


Repeat to make a total of six flying geese units. Seam all six units together in order to create the chevron pattern, using a scant 1/4" seam.


Next, from your patchwork frame fabric, cut two pieces 1" x 4 1/2" and two pieces 1 1/2" x 17". Again, you may need to adjust these numbers so that your patchwork will finish at the correct width for your laptop, based on the dimensions you determined in step one.  Seam the short pieces on each end of your patchwork strip, then the longer pieces to the top. Press seams open.


From your main exterior fabric, cut two pieces to add to the top and bottom of the patchwork frame, the top piece measuring 3 1/2" x 17" and the bottom piece measuring 2 " x 17". Seam the top and bottom pieces to the chevron patchwork and press seams open.

Let's add the Velcro to the exterior front piece. To find the appropriate placement first fold your exterior front piece in half to find the center. Place a light crease, above the patchwork, where you'll be placing the Velcro. Next, using a ruler, measure 1" up from your finished patchwork frame. Using a water soluble fabric marking pen or other marking device, draw a small dot or X on the crease.


Next, fold the fuzzy Velcro piece in half to find its' center and line it up the bottom center of the Velcro with the mark you've just made. Stitch in place, using a tight zigzag stitch all the way around.


3. Cut fusible fleece to match the dimensions of your exterior front and back pieces. Adhere fleece to the wrong side of your exterior front and back pieces, using a hot dry iron. Set your finished exterior pieces aside for the moment.

4. Let's make the flap piece now. First, we need to add the corresponding Velcro to the flap. Using the flap panel lining piece, fold it in half just as you did with the exterior front to find the center. Crease lightly.  Make a mark or X 1" from the top of the flap piece, and center the top of your sticky Velcro with this mark. Stitch in place, again using a tight zigzag stitch.


To finish the flap piece, pin the two flap pieces together, right sides together, aligning raw edges. Do not pin the top opening, which is opposite where you've placed the Velcro.


Using a 1/4" seam, seam around the three sides you've pinned and backstitching at the start and stop. Turn the flap right sides out and press well. Topstitch around the sides of the flap, taking care to skip the open side of the flap.



Center the flap along the top of the exterior back piece and baste in place, using just an 1/8" seam and a long stitch length.

5. To finish the exterior, align the edges of exterior front and back pieces, right sides together, with the Velcro at the top of the front, and the basted flap also at the top. Pin around the other three sides, skipping the top for now, and seam around the three sides, using a 1/2" seam, backstitching at the start and stop. Press seams open and flip right side out.


6. Repeat step 5 for the lining with a few exceptions - leave a gap of about 5" at the bottom of the lining and double pin the start/stop of the gap to remind you when you're stitching. This is the hole that we'll pull the exterior through to finish the sleeve. Use a slightly larger seam allowance, like a 5/8" seam allowance, to insure that the lining is slightly smaller than the exterior for a snug fit. Press seams open, but do not turn the lining right side out.


7. Place the exterior, right side out, inside the wrong side out lining - this will put the right sides together, trust me! Pin around the top opening, taking care to match the seams on the sides. For this step, I highly recommend using a walking foot as it will help insure that the thick layers of fabric will move through the foot at the same speed.  Stitch all the way around the top using a 1/2" seam allowance.


8. Time to pull reach in the hole you left in the interior to pull the exterior through!  Pull gently. Be sure to push the corners of the lining and exterior out nicely. Press.


9. Stitch the opening in the lining closed - you can do this by hand or by machine, it's totally up to you. Remember, it will be on the inside of the sleeve, so no one will ever see it but you!


10. Tuck the lining inside the sleeve and topstitch around the top of the sleeve, to keep everything in place nicely. Place your laptop inside and enjoy!!



I hope you enjoyed this tutorial, and if you have any questions as you make your own chevron laptop sleeve, don't hesitate to let me know! I always love to see what you make, please feel free to add your creations to my Flickr group.


  1. Cool idea! I have the makings of a laptop bag about 1/3 done that sits ans smirks at me. I've put it in time out for rudeness...

  2. What a very nicely done tutorial! If time allowed, I'd love to make this laptop sleeve. I'll bookmark it for some rainy, rainy day. Thanks!

  3. Elizabeth this is fabulous!! We must be thinking on the same wavelength - just last week I was putting together some solid chevrons by pieceng them in flying geese units! I'm thinking that wally's going to love the pretty laptop case when I make it for ours! :)

  4. Yay! Thanks for the tutorial :-) I might make a version for my iPad!

  5. Very cute! Cracks me up you didn't iron the material before you made it...totally something I would have done :)

  6. That's so awesome! Love the exposed to the elements comment. I love the fabric on the chevrons you made =D


Thank you for leaving a comment for me! I appreciate each and every one of them and try to respond when time allows. Your comments totally brighten my day :)

Welcome! I'm Elizabeth, mom to a mood teen boy and a chatty six-year-old girl and I sew for my sanity. Let's get to quilting, shall we?
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