Sew this custom laptop sleeve using a basic, at home sewing machine with these helpful bag making tips and tricks to make your own leather patterns! We’ll add magnetic closures to your laptop bag, a front flap, pockets, and learn how to sew leather and faux leather and suede without expensive equipment.
Today, I thought with back to school just around the corner, we would make this awesome the faux leather & real leather custom laptop sleeve! This project looks advanced, but I’m going to hold your hand and walk you through each step. You’ll learn how to work with these different materials, how to add Magnetic Button Clasps, how to sew pockets, and how to make it the perfect size for your specific laptop and notebooks.
So let’s get started!
In this tutorial, will be working with both real leather and faux leather. While you can customize your leather laptop pouch however you like, I chose to make the main body of the bag in faux suede because it comes pre-lined and is far less expensive than the real thing. The pockets and front flap of the bag will be made of authentic deerskin leather to show you how to work with both.
Leather Laptop Pouch Supplies
- Basic Sewing Kit & Sewing Machine (see my post on the best machines for less than $150 here)
- Tailors Chalk
- Heavy Duty Sewing Machine Needle
- Walking Presser Foot
- Grid Ruler
- Upholstery Thread
- Magnetic Button Clasps
- Jewelry Pliers
- Old Earrings, Buttons, or gemstones
- 18″ x 36″ Faux Leather
- 18″ x 20″ piece of Real Leather (see the resource below to order some for less online)
Authentic Leather You Can Buy Online
How To Make A Custom Laptop Sleeve
To begin, lay your laptop out on the faux suede. Use a Grid Ruler to make straight lines with Tailors Chalk on all sides around your bag, leaving about 3/4″ on either side.
Once you have everything outlined, it’s time to cut! Be sure to use sharp scissors and make sure to cut about 1/2″ outside of your chalk lines. This will leave you with a seam allowance to work with. Now that the basic shape of our bag is made, it’s time to create more pieces. To simplify this process, we’re going to use this cut piece as a template.
To use this cut piece as a template, just line it up on top of another piece of faux suede and cut it out. This will leave us with two identical pieces.
Next, cut a rectangle out of leather using the length measurement from our faux suede pieces. You can make the height as wide as you like to create a deeper pocket. To add pockets, we’ll be sewing basic stitches down vertically to attach the leather to your suede in a minute.
To create the flap, feel free to play around with your deer hide and create a unique shape. You could always cut it to fit your bag like a standard messenger bag flap, but creating a cool design just makes it more fun! When you are coming up with your front flap design, I prefer having it fall over the front pocket so there’s a lid over your small pockets and things don’t fall out as easy.
Now that your bag is beginning to take shape, it’s time to plan the placement of your Magnetic Button Clasps. I prefer to put magnetic clasps into the front pockets so it’s not going to be rubbing up against my laptop for any reason. Once you have the basic shape of your front flap, use the top edge of your suede as a guide to trim the excess leather to fit. You can mark your magnet placement with a pencil or Tailors Chalk for now.
From here, set the backside of your custom laptop sleeve aside, and let’s secure your front pocket.
Tip: Whenever you’re working with leather, suede, or vinyl, use binder clips or quilting clips to hold your fabric in place instead of sewing pins. The reason is simple. Every time you press a needle through your fabric, it’s going to leave a permanent puncture hole.
After the sides of my pocket are secured with quilting clips, use a Grid Ruler and Tailors Chalk to create straight lines in your leather to mark your stitch lines to make pockets. In my bag, I’m making sure to create a pocket large enough to hold my charger and my journal. The beauty in creating something by hand is designing it fit your lifestyle exactly. If I loved pens, I might create several thin pockets to hold a variety of pens. If I didn’t also carry a purse, I might make thin card slots to hold my license, cards, etc.
Once those lines are traced, set your stitch length to slightly wider and use a leather or Heavy Duty Sewing Machine Needle to sew a straight stitch along your chalk lines and make those pockets permanent.
Next, we get to move on to the front flap!
Use a similar method to sew the right sides of your flap together (with quilting clips or binder clips) and sew the top edge at 1/2″ seam allowance.
Be sure to use a Heavy Duty Sewing Machine Needle and a slightly wider stitch length. Once the initial stitch is done, finish the seam by finger pressing the seam allowance down and then topstitching over it again. This extra touch gives it a little more polish and looks a little bit more pretty.
Now, we’re going to take our other piece and use more quilting clips to fold the top edge down and sew.
From here you’ll be able to see that the two pattern pieces that you have are beginning to take shape. Now, it’s time to sew them together to create the main body of your custom laptop sleeve. Do this by placing the right sides together and adjusting your quilting clips so they secure the side and bottom of the bag in place for sewing.
Tip: Whenever you’re sewing authentic leather, suede, or imitation leathers, be sure you use a leather or Heavy Duty Sewing Machine Needle and a walking foot. A Walking Presser Foot basically adds an additional set of feed dogs to your sewing machine which allows a basic sewing machine to feed heavier fabrics through without the struggle. Before sewing leather or other thick fabrics, lengthen your stitch length to about 3.5 or if you’re using either Upholstery Thread or heavy-duty thread. This will make your project a lot more secure.
Once your bag is sewn together, we’re going to trim the inside corners really close to the threads so that when you flip your right side out, you’ll have some nice, crisp corners. From here, our bag is really starting to take shape and it’s looking really awesome!
One of our last steps is to add magnetic clasps to the front. This will help the front flap stay down and fall even better. To do this, we’re just going to get a basic kit of Magnetic Button Clasps. Magnetic clasps work by bending the two metal prongs to either side to hold them in place. All you need to do to install them is open each prong with Jewelry Pliers, remove the small metal disk, and then line it up on your bag wherever you like.
Next, use small scissors to create a small cut just large enough for the metal prongs can poke through. Once you slide the metal disc back over your leather prongs, bend those prongs out to the side to hold everything in place using Jewelry Pliers.
Now that we have one Magnetic Button Clasps done, just repeat the same process until there are two magnetic clasps on the front of your laptop bag before we move on to the opposite magnetic pieces. To install the matching clasps so they lineup correctly, just attach it to one side and see where it falls on the bag. Then, cut the small slits into my pocket of the bag so you can easily slide into them. Using this method will make sure the flap closes naturally in line with the other clasps.
We’re going to use the exact same process installing the last Magnetic Button Clasps.
Now that your magnetic clasps are installed, your bag is looking really awesome…. except for the visible backside of your magnetic clasps. Those can look a little bit ugly so let’s cover them!
To finish the front of your new laptop bag, take some old earrings and use Jewelry Pliers to remove any hooks or loops that make these pendants earrings. We’re going to recycle these earrings to cover up the ugly magnetic clasps and give your bag some really cool details.
To attach the earrings to your magnetic clasps, use E6000 glue. Put a small amount on the back end of your earring and place it over your metal clasp. Be careful because this adhesive is really strong. Make sure that you only use it in a well-ventilated room. Open a window or something while you wait a few hours. Once it’s dry, this bond is definitely going to be permanent.
After your glue is dry, your new custom laptop sleeve is complete! I love how the pockets turned out, it’s the perfect size all my journals and pens and I love love love how well this bag fits my brand new MacBook. I really hope you guys love this tutorial! thank you so much for reading and I can’t wait to see how your laptop bags turn out!
Be sure to post your finished projects on Instagram and tag me at @creativefashionblogger so I can share your projects as well!
Other Tutorials You May Like:
Custom Laptop Sleeve Video Tutorial