This project is one that came to me through the A Beautiful Mess e-course, DIY Dress-Up. I love working through this online resource. It really got me to think outside my usual ‘pattern from an envelope’ box and really got me sewing for fun in Montreal last summer. I am so proud of the things I made using their tutorials. (This e-course is now retired, but they have many more awesome and inspiring ones here. I also have BlogLove, and Art Journal Everyday.)
The tutorial in the e-course was actually for a laptop case using suede fabric with fringe. it had a really rustic feel to it that just wasn’t ‘me’, nor did I actually need a laptop case. I looked over the directions to get an idea of the process but I kind of took this project on it’s own path. That’s the great thing about DIY isn’t it? You can really take anything and turn it around completely to be your own.
I chose the fabric for this project somewhat by accident. Last summer one of my favorite fabric stores in the city, Sig Plach, closed down, so I snagged a whole bunch of fabric for various projects while I could. I intended to use the ivory microsuede on the outside and find a cheap fabric for the inside, but when I placed the navy fabric next to the ivory when I was digging through my box, there was no way I could do anything different. I was kind of hesitant to keep the microsuede from taking center stage since I spent a bit more on it, but really, if you leave fabric sitting on your shelf for long enough, you forget how much you spent and you can use it in any way that you truly want to.
Anyways. Onto the project.
1) Since I was making the pattern for my Bamboo Drawing tablet instead of a laptop, I also wanted to include space for the cord and the pen. I measured the entire area of where the tablet would sit and added seam allowances , then multiplied the height by 2, so it would fold like a little pocket, and accounted a little extra triangle at the top to be the flap.
I also suggest having feline helpers on hand to assist.
2) I then realized it made more sense to take these measurements on the lining fabric instead. Sewing is a funny thing. You really need to think about order of operations. I marked the measurements with a chalk pen and cut away.
3) Now would be a better time to take the outside fabric measurement. I placed the lining on top of the outer fabric and added an extra 2cm seam allowance to allocate room for padding and general movement of the fabric. I didn’t want it to be so tight my inner fabric would get bunchy.
Note: You’ve probably heard this from day one of basic sewing class. but make sure you cut on the grain line. I had gotten so excited that I didn’t think much of it, until I tried to see what it would look like folded up. It didn’t affect the overall design *too* much, but it did skew my bag just a little. Something like this would probably make more of a noticeable effect on a garment. I didn’t want to waste fabric and re-cut, since it is just a project for me, but it is something I am definitely going to be more aware of in the future.
This is what happens when you shoot photos in your basement. Orange lighting! yay.
4) To make sure my tablet pen and cord wouldn’t roll around and possibly damage my drawing pad, I decided to make little pockets. I simply measured the size of them and pinned then stitched them onto my lining fabric.
5) Now the assembly really begins. I folded my outer fabric and pinned it right-side-in and my inside fabric right-side-out. By then turning them around I could see what they would look like after sewing. I tucked them inside each other to make sure they would fit, and then stitched it up.
6) To give some more protection from wear and tear, I wanted to add some padding. I (unfortunately) did not have any batting on hand, so I used some good old fashioned felt in some of the less popular colors to ‘fill’ in. (ha.) A single sheet was too short so I added a little extender piece to cover the whole length, then made a second one for the other side.
7) I had intended to sew the two layers together and then stuff in the padding, but realized that if I wanted to anchor the padding that wouldn’t work. So I sewed them onto the outside of my lining panel, so they wouldn’t bounce around.
8) I then slipped the layers inside one another like in step 5, but in reverse so stitches wouldn’t show and sewed all along the top and flap perimeter, leaving a 10cm section open so I could turn it inside out. Once I flipped it, I closed the whole with a simple whip-stitch (in matching thread so you can’t see my crappy hand sewing).
9) Now the tough part. Choosing buttons and a closure thread! I opted out of doing a button hole on this project, and decided on a button and string closure that is kind of like envelopes. (Now again, if you do planning from the start you would have sewn the buttons on the outer fabric first, so you can’t see the stitching on the inside. But whatever, you can’t really tell unless you look inside the bag.)
10) Et voila!
I love how it turned out and how functional it is (and fashionable too). I brought it to Blogshop and was so chuffed to have it. You can easily adapt this project in a million different ways to accommodate any of your tech items. Or you can also use it as a fashionable oversized clutch. Multi-purpose!