On Tuesday, I showed you how to make a quilted laptop sleeve using the lovely HGTV Home fabrics from Jo-Ann. Today, we’ll make the matching tote bag that holds it.
This tote bag is lined with the same fabric I made the laptop sleeve with bright cheerful flowers on the outside. I made this one a total electronics bag and added pockets to fit an iPhone and Ipad mini. Of course, you can just make the tote and use it to hold whatever you want too.
A very stiff interfacing at the bottom helps the bag keep it’s shape even when full. I finished the bag off with straps that I also found at Jo-Ann. I love the way they look compared to straps just sewn from fabric or webbing (though they were a little tricky to attach). This bag is for my cousin Jenny and I think it’ll be perfect for her when she travels.
Laptop Tote Bag
- two 16.5″ x 18.5″ pieces of the outer fabric
- two 16.5 x 18.5 pieces of the inner fabric + extra for pockets if desired
- thread to match
- very firm interfacing (you can find some that is specifically for things like the bottom of bags and it works great)
- 4 large grommets
- 2 purse handles
- 4 metal rings about 1″ in size
- straight pins
- sewing machine
- grommet attachment tool
Use a 1/2″ seam allowance unless otherwise noted.
1. Cut your fabric to the specifications in the supplies list.
Since my outer fabric has such a big pattern I was glad I had a yard to play with. I was able to cut the pieces in order to show off whole flowers on the front and back of the bag instead of just getting little bits.
2. Pin the outer pieces together right sides facing. Sew along the two long sides and one short side. This will be your bottom and sides. Repeat with the inner fabric but sew a 5/8″ seam allowance.
3. Now you will make gussets at the bottom corners of both the outer and inner pieces. At each corner make a triangle, lining the bottom seam up with the side seam. I pin it together at the seam. Do not open your seam allowances just fold them to one side.
Measure down to where the triangle is 3″ across the bottom with the seam in the middle. Mark that line and sew across it. This will square off the bottom of your bag.
On the inner piece, fold those triangles to the bottom and tack in place
4. Cut a piece of the interfacing the size of the bottom of the outer piece. My interfacing was sew-in so I sewing it in place along the bottom seam of the outer piece. If you use iron-on you can just iron it in. You can use multiple laters for an even stronger bottom.
5. If you want pockets inside your tote bag, cut pieces of your inner fabric at are about 1″ wider than the item you want to put in that pocket. You can make them as long as you want. Hem all four sides of the pockets then sew into place on your inner piece
You can do this before you sew your inner piece together as well. I just wanted to place mine on the sewn piece.
6. Fold both pieces in towards their wrong sides 2.5″.
Place the inner piece inside the outer piece with the wrong sides together. Pin in place. Topstitch along the top of the bag, then stitch again 2″ down.
7. Decide where you want your grommets at the top of the bag. Mine are 3.5″ from the center (7″ from each other). Use the front of the grommet to mark the hole you need to cut for it. Carefully cut out the hole. I found an exacto knife and embroidery scissors helped with this. I cut through one layer at a time. It is best to start small an make the hole bigger if you need to. You want the grommet to just fit in the hole.
Follow the instructions on your grommet tool to secure the grommets.
8. Open a ring and put it through the grommet and the end of the purse strap (my straps also had rings on the ends). Close the rings.
These rings were so hard to open. My husband had to help me and we couldn’t get the rings on the straps themselves open at all. My backup plan was to make fabric loops that went through the grommets and the rings on the straps.
© 2005 – 2013 Kathy Lewinski & Susan Cornish