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Hand-Stitched Home & DIY Pendleton Laptop Sleeve

by Grace Bonney

For as long as I can remember, I’ve had some form of Pendleton plaid in my life. It’s a look that’s so warm and classic that its appearance practically announces winter to the world. I so associate their wool fabrics with colder months that it felt like perfect timing to get my copy of Susan Beal’s Hand-Stitched Home, a new DIY book dedicated to home sewing projects that use Pendleton fabrics. With support from Pendleton, Susan shares 30 different ideas for bringing their heritage fabrics into your home, from hand-sewn ottomans and blankets to pillows and scarves.

Hand-Stitched Home Cover
This project was my favorite from the book. Created by Sarai Mitnick of Colette Patterns, this simple sleeve can be used for carrying a laptop, magazines, books or anything else you can fit comfortably in a soft zippered pouch. You could easily swap in a different fabric or material to suit your style and budget, but the look is straight-forward and functional – exactly what you want from something you’ll be carrying around on a daily basis. Thank you so much to Susan for sharing this with us today. Click here to check out her book and order online. xo, grace

Click through for the full how-to after the jump!

Excerpted from Hand-Stitched Home, written by Susan Beal and published by The Taunton Press in 2014. All photographs by Burcu Avsar.

Laptop Sleeve/Zip Clutch

This simple zippered sleeve can be made to fit any laptop or e-book reader, and can even be used as an everyday clutch. The sleeve is cut a bit longer than your device, letting you slide the device in and out of the zippered opening easily. As with any simple design, the quality shines through in the details. A panel of canvas, wool, leather, or vinyl reinforces the bottom for durability and style. A heavy metal zipper is finished with contrasting ends for a professional look. The pouch is lined for even more durability. Designed by Sarai Mitnick.

• Pendleton Blanket Fabric or Jacquard Fabric for the main fabric (or mid-weight to blanket-weight wool); Sarai used Condensed Black and White
• Wool, canvas, waxed canvas, leather, or vinyl for the contrast fabric
• Nylon ripstop for the lining

You’ll need
• 1⁄2 yd. wool for main fabric
• 1⁄2 yd. lining fabric
• 1⁄4 yd. contrast fabric
• Heavy-duty metal zipper, at least 1 in. longer than your laptop
• Scissors
• Measuring tape
• Pattern paper
• Ruler
• Rotary cutter and cutting mat (optional)
• Coordinating thread
• Sewing machine with straight stitch foot and zipper foot
• Pins
• Water-soluble fabric marker
• Steam iron
• Bamboo point turner or knitting needle
• Hand-sewing needle


Measure and Cut the Fabrics

1. Using a measuring tape, measure the width of your device across the side the zipper will go on.

2. Measure the depth of the device by laying it flat on a table and measuring from the table to the highest point of the device.

3. Add the width and depth measurements, then add an additional 3 1⁄4 in. to that measurement (1 1⁄4 in. of this is for seam allowance and 2 in. is for ease and zipper tabs). This measurement will now be your total width.

4. Measure the length of the device. Add the depth and the length measurements. Add an additional 2 1⁄4 in. to this measurement (1 1⁄4 in. of this is for seam allowance and 1 in. is for ease). This measurement will now be your total length. With a ruler and pattern paper, create a rectangle that measures your total width by total length. This will be your main pattern piece. Create another pattern piece that measures your total width by 5 in. This is your contrast pattern piece.

5. With a ruler and pattern paper, create a rectangle that measures your total width by total length. This will be your main pattern piece. Create another pattern piece that measures your total width by 5 in. This is your contrast pattern piece.

6. Using your main pattern piece, cut two large rectangles from the main fabric and two large rectangles from the lining fabric.

7. Using the contrast pattern piece, cut two rectangles from the contrast fabric.

8. Cut two 2-in. squares from the contrast fabric to form the zipper ends.

Attach the Contrast Fabric

9. On each main outer piece, mark a line 3 3⁄4 in. from the bottom.

10. With right sides together, align the contrast panel with the line you drew. The contrast panel should be lying flat near the middle of the main outer panel. Stitch using a 5⁄8-in. seam allowance.

11. Fold the contrast panel down and press.

12. Baste the contrast panel to the main outer panel along the remaining three sides to hold it in place.

13. Edgestitch the contrast panel along the top seam. Topstitch a second row 1⁄4 in. from the first row.

14. Trim the zipper so that it is 1 1⁄2 in. shorter than the total width. You may need to cut off the zipper stops, but these will be covered again later to prevent the zipper head from coming off. In the meantime, take care not to slide the zipper head completely off the zipper.

15. Fold each of the 2-in. squares of contrast fabric in half. Then fold the raw edges toward the center and press. Your squares should now look like small lengths of binding.

16. Wrap the binding around each end of the zipper to cover and stitch in place.

17. Lay out one piece of lining, right side up. With the wrong side of the zipper facing the right side of the lining, pin to the top, centering the zipper. Baste.

18. Place a main piece on top of the lining, right sides together. The zipper should now be sandwiched between the lining and main pieces.

19. Using a zipper foot, stitch through all layers along the top. When you reach the zipper head, sink your needle down into the fabric, lift the presser foot, and move the zipper head by unzipping. Lower the presser foot and continue stitching until you reach the edge.

20. Press the seam allowance toward the lining. Understitch the seam allowance to the lining. This will help prevent the lining from rolling and getting caught in the zipper.

21. Press the lining and outer panel away from the zipper.

22. Repeat this process to sew the remaining lining and outer panels to the other side of the zipper.

23. Open up the zipper completely. With right sides together, pin the two lining pieces together. Pin the two main fabric pieces together. Make sure seams are aligned near the zipper tabs and the contrast panel.

24. Stitch around the edges, leaving an opening at the bottom of the lining. Don’t sew through the tabs, but sew close to them.

25. Clip the corners and trim the seam allowances to 1⁄4 in. Turn the entire bag through the opening you left in the lining. Use a bamboo point turner or knitting needle to gently push out the corners. Press.

26. Slipstitch the opening in the lining closed by hand.

Illustrated Steps:

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  • I am sooooo doing this! I have never been able to find a laptop case for my old 17″ MacBook. Thanks so much for the tutorial. And I love the Pendleton and leather together. Really cool look!

  • LOVE anything Pendleton! I have been wanting to make something with Pendleton and leather. Will definitely give this pattern a try! Thanks so much for sharing!

  • Tutorial was extremely hard to follow because you’re photos were not beside the instructions so I had to keep scrolling up and down to follow. Also, you left out some seam allowances and other small things I found myself confused about. Good tutorial but this bag took me 2.5 hours to make!! And this isn’t my first time sewing…
    Thanks anyway for posting.

    • Andrea

      I’m sorry about the frustration with this project. We’ll keep this in mind for future posts and when working with projects from books.


  • Awesome bag, but took me FOREVER to make because the images were not beside the posts, and you forget to mention seam allowances at some parts, so my bag ended up about 1.5inches too large… Oh well. Good post.