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Father's Day with Fabric.com: Digital Tablet/Device Sleeve

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You've decided to give Dear ol' Dad something handmade from the heart this year for Father's Day. But finding great gift ideas for guys can be tough, starting with the search for perfect fabric, which can be challenging in a world that seems populated solely by pretty posies and polka dots. Luckily for us, our Father's Day series this week is sponsored by Fabric.com; we had an amazing inventory from which to choose. The right fabric makes all the difference in how a project turns out; it can even spin something that might have originally been designed with a feminine appeal into a completely different, more masculine look. What's Dad's favorite color, hobby, or sports team? The fabric choices are wide and varied, so you can search for and find the perfect combination of colors and textures. This week we have five Father's Day projects to choose from, starting with a little something for Techie Dad: a sleek device carrier to hold an iPad® and cell phone or file folders and homework to correct for Teacher Dad. The finished look is ultra-professional, as if you just grabbed it off the shelf at Eddie Bauer®, but thanks to S4H's great step-by-step directions, you can make it yourself in perfect Dad fabrics, like the great olive twill we chose paired with a fantastic patterned cotton for the lining.

Our thanks to Fabric.com for sponsoring this week of Father's Day gift inspiration. Their selection gives you endless combinations. A great way to see how your selections look together is to use the Fabric.com Design Wall function. It's easy to add and delete swatches. You will see an "Add To Design Wall" button accompanying each product description. The first time you click on it, you create your Design Wall; additional items are then added from there.

We recommend medium to heavy-weight fabrics to insure the finished sleeve has the stability and durability Dad needs for active, on-the-go use. The case finishes (when closed) at approximately 12" side x 9" high x 1" deep. 

Sewing Tools You Need

  • Any Sewing Machine (we recommend the Janome Horizon Memory Craft 8900 QCP
  • Walking foot (the MC8900 QCP has the built-in AcuFeed Flex™ system, which we used - and love. If you do not have a built-in feeding system, we recommend a Walking foot or similar for working with the tricky and/or thick layers.)

Fabric and Other Supplies

  • ½ yard of 54"+ wide medium to heavy weight cotton fabric for the case exterior; we used 58" wide medium weight Eco Twill in Olive Drab (item #ET-191) from Fabric.com
  • ¾ yard of 44-45" wide standard weight cotton fabric for the the bag and the pocket; we used 44" wide Aubrey in Checkered Olive by Whimsies & Wishes for Studio E Fabrics (item #0279505) from Fabric.com
    NOTE: The amount shown above allows you to create the matching bias binding. We feel the matching binding is the most professional finish for the flap, however, you could also use packaged ½" double-fold bias tape if you can find a close color match. 
  • ½ yard of 45" heavyweight fusible interfacing; we used Pellon's 809 Décor Bond® firm fusible
  • ⅜ yard of ¾" webbing for the handle; we used black
  • 1 yard of 1½" wide webbing to back the accent ribbon; we used black
  • 1 yard of 1½" decorative accent ribbon; our "camouflage-style" ribbon was purchased locally 
  • ONE 1½" wide side release buckle; we used black
  • All-purpose sewing thread in colors to match fabric
  • Scissors or rotary cutter and mat
  • See-through ruler
  • Straight pins 
  • Seam gauge 
  • Seam ripper
  • ½" wide bias tape maker (optional but quite helpful)
  • Iron and ironing board

Getting Started

  1. Download and print TWO copies of the Laptop Sleeve Flap pattern.
    IMPORTANT: This pattern download consists of ONE 8½" x 11" sheet. You must print the PDF files at 100%. DO NOT SCALE to fit the page.
  2. Cut out each pattern piece along the solid line. Flip over one and butt together (do not overlap) the two pieces along the center line (following the arrows). This creates your full flap pattern. 
  3. From the fabric for the exterior (Eco Twill in Olive Drab in our sample), cut the following: 
    Using the flap pattern, cut ONE piece
    TWO 11" high x 14" wide rectangles
    ONE 6½" x 6½" square for the pleated pocket
  4. From the fabric for the lining (Aubrey in Checkered Olive in our sample), cut the following: 
    Using the flap pattern, cut ONE piece
    TWO 11" high x 14" wide rectangles
    ONE 6½" x 6½" square for the pleated pocket
    ONE 1" x 24" bias strip (can be cut and sewn from shorter strips)
  5. From the heavy-weight interfacing cut the following:
    Using the flap pattern, cut ONE piece
    TWO 11" high x 14" wide rectangles
  6. From the ¾" webbing, cut ONE 10" length.
  7. From the 1½" webbing, cut ONE 25" length.
  8. From the 1½" accent ribbon, cut ONE 25" length.

At Your Sewing Machine & Ironing Board

Fusing

  1. Following manufacturer's instructions, fuse the interfacing to the wrong side of each exterior case piece (the two rectangles and the flap).

Bias binding

  1. Find the 1"x 24" bias strip.
  2. We used a bias tape maker to create the narrow folds needed (helps you keep from burning your fingers). You can also fold the strip in half and press to set a crease, unfold, then press in each raw edge ¼", and press again. 
    NOTE: For this short length, the standard bias tape maker a great solution. If you have much longer lengths, you may want to investigate the awesome Simplicity Automatic Bias Tape Maker. 

Create and bind the flap

NOTE: As mentioned above, we used the built-in AcuFeed Flex™ system on our Janome MC8900 QCP with the optional narrow foot VD throughout the entire project. If you don't have a built-in feeding system, attach a Walking foot or similar. It helps keep all the layers involved in this project feeding more smoothly.

  1. Place the interfaced flap exterior and the flap lining WRONG sides together, matching the raw edges all around. Pin in place.
  2. Working on the exterior side of the flat, open out one folded side of the bias tape and align the raw edge of the binding to the raw edge of the fabric. Pin in place.
  3. Stitch the binding in place, following along in the crease line. 
  4. Fold the the bias tape over the raw edge to the lining side of the flap. The folded edge should cover your first line of stitching. Pin in place. 
  5. Flip the flap back over so the exterior is facing up. Edgestitch the binding in place through all the layers. 
  6. Keep your stitching as close to the original seam as you possibly can to insure you catch both the front and back in your seam. 

    NOTE: If you are new to working with bias binding, check out our tutorial: Bias Binding: Figuring Yardage, Cutting, Making, Attaching. In addition, if you are worried about keeping your stitch line straight with this narrow binding, you can use a zig zag stitch. A zig zag is more 'forgiving' than a straight stitch; in other words, your seam line can wobble a little without it being noticeable on the finished piece.
  7. Find one of the 11" x 14" exterior panels. Center the flap along the top of the panel, right sides together and with raw edges aligned. Pin in place.
  8. Using a ½" seam allowance, stitch across the flap through all the layers. In other words, your seam should start and stop at the outside bound edges of the flap.
  9. Flip up the flap; this will cause the ½" seam allowance to fold to the inside.
  10. On the right side, measure and mark along the flap seam for the handle placement. The pins should be 7" apart, centered on the flap seam. 
  11. Using a seam ripper, open the seam 1", starting at each pin point and working toward the center. This will allow for the insertion of the handle in a latter step.
  12. Set aside.

Create and place pocket

  1. Find the two 6½" x 6½" pocket squares: one exterior and one lining. 
  2. Place the squares right sides together. Pin in place, leaving a 2" opening along the lower edge for turning. 
  3. Using a ½" seam allowance stitch the pocket seams, remembering to pivot at all the corners and to lock your seam at either side of the 2" opening left for turning. Clip the corners.
  4. Turn the pocket right side out through the opening and press well, pressing in the seam allowance at the opening so it is flush with the sewn seam.
  5. Create a 1" box pleat at the center of the pocket. Pin in place. The pocket should now measure approximately 3½" wide. 
  6. Edgestitch across the top to secure.
  7. Find the 11" x 14" exterior panel without the flap.
  8. Position the pocket on the right side of the panel. It should sit the lower left corner, 1½" up from the bottom raw edge and 1½" in from the left raw edge
  9. Edgestitch the pocket in place along the both sides and across the bottom, leaving the top open. Remember to pivot at the corners. This stitching also closes the opening left for turning. We used olive green thread for our edgestitching. 

Assemble the exterior and attach the strap and handle

  1. Place the two exterior case pieces right sides together, matching the raw edges. Pin in place along the bottom edge only.
  2. Using a ½" seam allowance, stitch the bottom edge. Press the seam open.  
  3. Find the 25" lengths of 1½" decorative ribbon and 1½" webbing.
  4. Place the ribbon over the webbing. Pin the two layers to keep them from shifting.
  5. Find the side release buckle. Pull it apart. 
  6. Insert one end of the ribbon/webbing into each half of the buckle. Adjust the length to measure 20" when the buckle is closed. Pin in place. There should be 3½" - 4" of extra length at the male end and 1½" of extra length at the female end. Trim down if necessary.
  7. Fold back the extra length on each end to the back of the webbing. Add a few extra pins to hold these "fold-backs" in place.
  8. Lay the case exterior right side up and flat on your work surface. Find the exact center through both panels and the flap. 
  9. Place the strap along this center line. Position the female end of the buckle so it just clears the edge of the flap. If you measured correctly above, you should have 20" from the end of the female end of the buckle to where the ribbon/webbing folds back through the male end of the buckle. Pin in place. 
    NOTE: In the photo below, we left our ribbon/webbing tales long so you could get a better idea of the layering. As mentioned above at the female end, fold back and under about 1½". At the mail end, fold back and under about 3½" - 4" - trim any excess.
  10. At the male end, measure 3" up from where the ribbon/webbing folds back through the buckle. Draw a horizontal line or place a pin across the ribbon/webbing at this point; it is where you will stop sewing and turn to go across and back down the opposite side.
  11. Edgestitch the ribbon/webbing in place. We lengthened our stitch and use a black thread. 
  12. Start at the flap end, getting as close to the buckle as possible. We were able to get within about ¾" of the female end of the buckle. Stitch up one side, stop at the 3" mark from the male end, pivot, stitch across, pivot, and stitch down the opposite edge to complete. 
  13. Pull the 3" free end away from the fabric so you can create a final "box" of edgestitching to keep these layers together. The bottom of our box starts and stops at the horizontal line of the previous edgestitching. The sides of the box are perfectly in line with the previous edgestitching, and the top of the box should be as close as you can get it to the buckle. We were able to get within about 1". We switched to an olive green thread for this final box. 
  14. Find the 10" length of ¾" webbing.
  15. Insert one end into each of the small openings in the flap seam you made earlier. Pin in place, making sure the webbing forms a nice handle and does not twist on itself. 
  16. Flip over to the wrong side and re-stitch the flap seam to secure the handle ends in place.

Final exterior assembly with box corners

  1. Fold the front and back exterior panels right sides together. The bottom seam should be at the exact bottom and the raw sides should align.
  2. Using a ½" seam allowance, stitch both sides.
  3. Our bag is designed to have 1" sides and base. To create this width, we figured our corners at ½". 
  4. Measure and mark each corner.  
  5. Flatten and double stitch the corners.
  6. If you are new to boxed corners, check out our tutorial for step-by-step instructions

Lining assembly with box corners

  1. Find the two 11" x 14" lining panels. 
  2. Place the panels right sides together. Pin in place. Using a ½" seam allowance, stitch along both sides and across the bottom, remembering to pivot at the corners.
  3. Box the bottom corners, using the same method as above. 
  4. Again, if you are new to boxed corners, check out our tutorial for step-by-step instructions.
  5. Fold down the top raw edge of the lining ½" and press in place.

Final assembly

  1. Find the bag exterior. It should be right side out. Push out the box corners so they are nice and square. Fold down the top raw edge ½" to match the lining and press in place.
  2. Find the lining. It should be wrong side out and its box corners should also be nice and square.
  3. Slip the lining inside the exterior so the two pieces are now wrong sides together. 
  4. Align the side seams and the bottom box corners. At the back, the lining should just cover the flap seam. Elsewhere, the two folded edges should be flush. If they aren't, re-fold one or both as necessary so they are flush. Pin in place all around. 
  5. Working on the right side, edgestitch around the entire top opening through all the layers. You are catching the lining as you sew and will be sewing across the decorative ribbon and handle. If you have a free arm machine, this makes sewing the edges together much easier! We used the same olive green thread we used on the pocket edgestitching for this final seam. Again as mentioned above, we used the built-in AcuFeed Flex™ system on our Janome MC8900 QCP with the optional narrow foot VD. If you don't have a built-in feeding system, attach a Walking foot or similar. 
  6. We added our SewHome label to the top inside edge.

     

Contributors

Project Design: Alicia Thommas 
Sample Creation and Instructional Outline: Michele Mishler

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Comments (29)

Marleene said:
Marleene 's picture

i would love to make this for my husband to carry his MacBook Air. It needs to be a little bigger. Can I increase pattern size?

Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home said:
Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home's picture

@ Marleene - you can adjust the pattern on your own, but we don't provide additional sizes. There are so many variables in devices, fabric, stitching precision, etc. that adjusting up or down long distance is simply too difficult. Rather than trying to enlarge on a copy machine, we would suggest tracing your husband's MacBook Air and then hand drawing the additional needed all around. The main thing to keep in mind is to simply keep the enlargement even on all sides. 

BelindaM said:
BelindaM's picture

Lovely project. I am looking for fabric to make one for myself. Your instructions are so clear and easy to follow. Many thanks.

carol at esprit said:
carol at esprit's picture

Just found this tutorial.  I am an experienced seamstress, but truly appreciated the beautiful pics and the well-presented instructions.  Am looking forward to making this great piece for my new tablet.   Now....to choose a fabric!

lawful_cynthia said:
lawful_cynthia's picture

Have you tried designing your own material?  You can scan images and edit them in various graphic editing, layer, programs, then insert into Word and use to create 'rows' or 'columns' then print either color laser printer, or treat first 'bubble jet' liquid - then print on inkjet.  Just be sure to first cut out to smaller than 8.5"x11", iron the 'wax' side without steam to wax paper - then the double layer mask tape edges to regular paper or card stock so that the cloth does not bunch up in the printer - and print.  May seem complicated the first or second time, after that it is easy enough as if you were printing on regular paper... sky is the limit on designing your own cloth - and sewing together the pieces... (smile)

anne.adams said:
anne.adams's picture

@lawful_cynthia: It's a creative way to make something uniquely yours. Technology has made it easier, hasn't it! Actually doing some fabric designing is on our "to-do" list. One of these days, with the right project...

Dave said:
Dave's picture

My wife and I created fabric cases for our e-readers. The following technique may be useful to add stiffness with softer fabrics.  We have some thin, flexible but stiff plastic posters (leftover from some ad campaign).  When sewing the case a pocket was created to accept a piece of this plastic. This stiffens the case and also serves to protect the glass display of the reader from impact. Our pocket is left open as the insert stays put.  This also allows adding additional inserts for added protection when travelling. It could be sealed with velcro or a few basting stitches.

Nancy N. said:
Nancy N.'s picture

Father's Day Tablet Sleeve.

I've just completed the sleeve in a beautiful pink print. As you can tell, it's not for Father. I followed your great tutorial and used the products you listed.

When the case is picked up by the handle,, it kind of crumples. Decided I would put velcro on each end of the flap, but that really is not the solution I am looking for. Can you please tell me what to do to correct this problem. Wish I could send a photo so you could see what I am talking about. Thanks.

Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home said:
Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home's picture

@ Nancy N. - It's hard to tell long distance what might be causing that. It might be the fabric. The exterior fabric should be a heavy one -- important even with the interfacing. It might be the width of the handle.You could try narrowing the base of the handle, eg. moving the ends closer together. We'll do some additional experimenting and let you know if we come up with any additional ideas. 

Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home said:
Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home's picture

@ Nancy N - we looked at your question again, and again, it's really hard to tell without seeing the exact fabric combo you are using. However here are some additional thoughts: If you start over, try doubling the amount of iron on interfacing on each piece so it is super stiff, or use a fusable fleece. To improve the stiffness after the fact, try removing the lining, and adding a 2" strip of interfacing to the upper edge of the lining, then sew the lining back in place again. 

BeaJ said:
BeaJ's picture

This has really inspired me to have a go. Just have to find a decent fabric shop/haberdasher's; they seem to be few and far between around here!

Anonymous said:
Anonymous's picture

Why do I have to print on "ONE 8½" x 11" sheet." ? I live in Germany and there we have A4.

anne.adams said:
anne.adams's picture

The page is set up as 8½" x 11" but should print out fine on A4 paper.

MarciaFlorida said:
MarciaFlorida's picture

An Auntie like me would like to use this too. Stylish and durable -- great job.

Lynn R. said:
Lynn R.'s picture

Could you please make your patterns available "print friendly".

Patricia Turman said:
Patricia Turman's picture

Is there a way to print directions with out the pictures?

Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home said:
Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home's picture

@ Patricia Turman - Printing without pictures is not a built-in option we offer. You can click the print and/or pdf option and it will remove all the advertising banners surrounding the post. We feel our pictures are an integral part of the instructions and so prefer they always travel together. 

CarolineW said:
CarolineW's picture

Fantastic!! I love the style and choice of materials. My Dad would love it and I want one too!!

Nancy E Brennan said:
Nancy E Brennan's picture

This is great and so adaptable for others, but showing the guys great!  Thanks Nancy

 

SomeBunnyWhoSews said:
SomeBunnyWhoSews's picture

That's awesome!  Thank you for the great project!

crescentcity1 said:
crescentcity1's picture

Wonderful idea for Father's Day!!. Thank you for the tutorial.

mpistey said:
mpistey's picture

Great tutorial, and beautiful project!  Who wouldn't want one?

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