Slim laptop bag

I’m finally in the new millennium, about a dozen years late, and have my own laptop. My husband is annoyed by it permanently squatting on the kitchen table, so I decided it needed a nice, cozy home of its own. I wanted something slim that also held the power cord and my wireless mouse. This is what I came up with. 

You can make it to fit your laptop. It’s got a zippered top, it’s fully lined (no ugly raw edges) and the outside pocket closes securely with a long strip of Velcro.



(Click fabrics for direct links for purchase at Warehouse Fabrics Inc.)

Dandelion White/Black

Disco Denim Red

Craft Fuse interfacing



Metal swivel hook

Metal rings or D-rings

I had 1 yard of the white fabric and 3/4 yard of the red. I used 1 yard of Craft Fuse interfacing, a nice stiff interfacing and 1 yard of the batting. For my bag, I used 10 inches of Velcro, 2 metal swivel hooks and 2 metal rings, obviously ones that match. I just have generic examples pictured above. Choose a zipper that’s a little bit shorter than the width of the fabric you’re placing it on.

The pattern


Measure and cut out the following pieces:
Main bag pieces

2 lining and 2 main fabric – measure your height and width.
Add 1″ to each for seam allowance. Add 1″ to each for “wiggle room.”
Measure the thickness of your laptop and add that to each, also.



example. My laptop measures 13.5″x9.75″x1.5″

Height = 13.5″+1″+1″+1.5″=17″
Width = 9.75″+1″+1″+1.5″= 13.25″

So my bag pieces are 13.25″x17″. Notice I have the bag going lengthwise, so you’ll need to orient your fabric correctly.

Pleated pocket
Visible pleat pieces (3) – I made all of my pocket pieces 13″ high. You need three pieces about 1/3 the width of your bag (in my example the width is 13.25″) plus seam allowances. As you’ll read below, I always mess this up.
I recommend dividing your width by 1/3. To that number add 1″ for seam allowances and cut one for the center piece (13″ high). For the two side pieces, cut two more but add a couple of inches to the width for safety. You’ll trim the extra off later.
Or maybe you’re better at math than I am and can get it perfect the first time!

Hidden pleat pices (2) – I cut them 5″x13″.

Pleated pocket lining – Final measurement of completed pleated pocket once you know it fits.

Strap tabs (2) -3.5″x4″

Strap (1) – I made mine 4″x34″ and it’s nice as a cross-body strap, but just over one shoulder it’s a bit long. If you plan to wear it over one shoulder perhaps cut it 4″x30″.

Use 1/2″ seam allowances.

The process


First, iron the interfacing to the wrong sides of the outer fabrics. Place the fleece on top of that. If you have fusible, iron it on. If you don’t, you can baste it. I didn’t baste, I just pinned until I sewed it in place while sewing the bag together. Whatever works for you.
Let’s start the outer pocket. It’s pleated and has contrast fabric inside the pleats. Sew it together in this order. 

Confession: I always do horrible math on these kind of pockets. I did my calculations so carefully and it still wound up way too narrow, so I replaced my side pieces with pieces that were wider and made sure to leave an extra inch or so that I could just trim off at the end.

I have marked the center of one of the red parts with a pin (you can also see how I apparently burned an iron mark into this fabric! Oopsies), left. 

At right, I have brought the seam where the red piece joins the white pieces on either side to the center of the red part and pinned at top and bottom. So the red part is essentially hidden right now.

Repeat on other red part.

Baste across top and bottom within seam allowance to secure the pleats.
Remember what I said about how I made this a little extra-wide to ensure that it won’t end up too narrow? At left, I have laid it on top of the outer bag piece and it is about 1 inch too wide on either side. 

I centered and pinned it, then flipped the whole thing over and trimmed off the extra on the pocket, right.

Left: Cut an inside pocket piece (lining) out of your contrast fabric the size of the pleated pocket you just made. Add a long piece of sew-on Velcro about an inch or 1.25 inches from the top. You’ll sew the other side of the Velcro in a minute. 

Center: With right-sides together, sew your pocket lining to the pleated pocket along just the top edge, then flip open and press (shown).

Right: Turn lining to other side, press and top-stitch to secure.

Left: Place pocket on outer bag piece, lining up edges and bottom. Fold back the very top of the pocket so you can see the top edge of the Velcro and using a fabric marker, mark the top edge of the pocket Velcro on the bag. 

Center: Line up the other piece of Velcro on this mark and sew to bag piece.

Right: Place pocket on bag, lining up edges, Velcro and bottom, and baste around edges.

Make your strap tabs. These are the little pieces that stick out from the top of the bag and have the metal rings attached to them. 

Left: Fold your tab in half and press.

Center: Open and fold each raw edge to the pressed center fold. Press again.

Right: Fold on original pressing line and press again. Sew along each long edge.

I think it makes everything work better when I add a little tab of fabric on either end of the zipper. I take a width of fabric the same as the width of the zipper, place it right side down on the zipper and sew. 

Then I flip it over and press the tabs out. Before doing it on the side with the zipper pull (which separates open), I tack the end of the zipper tape closed so it stays put. This little bit of fabric just helps with any gaps and keeps you from having the ends of the zipper right in your seam allowances.

Remember those little strap tabs you did two steps ago? Fold them in half and loop them through the metal rings. Measure 1″ from the top left side of each outer bag piece and baste in place as shown.
Left: Place your zipper facedown on the top of your bag, centering it. Those little fabric tabs will hang over the ends and that’s OK. Pin in place. 

Center: Sew, using a zipper foot. You might have to start below the zipper pull and go to the end, then unzip and do the top. When you press it open, it will look like the center photo.

Right: Sew the other side of the zipper to the other outer bag piece. In this picture, I’ve pressed each side away from the zipper and the zipper is running down the center of the picture.

Now we will add the lining. This is where it can get confusing till you get the hang of it. Pay close attention to the photos. In the end, you’ll have a lovely lining and no raw edges visible on your bag. 

Left: I have the right sides of the outer pieces together and we are looking at the wrong side of one of the outer pieces and the wrong side of the zipper.

Center: Take one lining piece and place it right side down and line up the top with the top of the wrong side of the zipper.

Right: I like to pin it and sew it from the other side. It’s the wrong side of one of the outer pieces. That way I can sew along the stitching line where I sewed that side to the zipper.

Left: After the last step, you then have this. 

Center: And if you flip it away, you see half of your lining sewn to your bag.

Right: It’s dark, but the zipper is at the top. You still have one “raw” ugly edge on your zipper. On the other side of that is an outer piece. You’ll now sew the other lining piece to it. Place it facedown and align the top edge with the edge of the zipper. Sew as with the other lining piece.

Are you following me?

Left: As you can see, you have the outer pieces facing right-sides together and the lining pieces facing right-sides together. 

Center: When opened up, you get this on one side …

Right: … and this on the other side. Again, it looks like I burned this with my iron! But it appears to have disappeared with time.

With the bag spread out as in the last two photos (on the left side of the zipper is an outer piece and a lining piece, wrong sides together. Same on the right), top stitch on either side of the zipper through both the outer piece and the lining. Make sure your little tab is out of the way and doesn’t get stitched down.
Left: Now flip the pieces the other way so that like fabrics are matched, right-sides together. 

NOW: unzip the zipper at least most of the way. Maybe keep the zipper pull a few inches from the seam allowance. You must do this or you won’t be able to turn the bag around after you sew it.

Right: Pin all the way around and sew all the way around, but be sure to leave a space at the bottom of the lining to turn the whole thing.

Make your strap. Use the method I showed above with the tabs, or see our tutorial on the Non-Turn Strap

Left: Since the ends won’t be hidden in a seam allowance, you must fold them under and press first.

Right: After creating the straps, fold the ends through the end of the swivel hook and sew.

Other views


(Click for bigger views)