Keeping It Simple – Easy Embroidered Laptop Sleeve

Last week my laptop began making very strange noises.  It is a few years old so I decided to replace it rather than have it repaired.  Now there is a brand new Surface Pro to waiting to be set up.  The sleeves in the computer store were basic and boring.  And the few nice ones I found on-line were quite pricey so I decided to make my own.  I wanted something simple and classic enough for business trips so although I usually tend to gravitate towards bright colors when choosing fabrics and designs I selected a gray wool felt and floral design for this project.  I used leftovers from other projects to make mine Here is the finished sleeve.


Here is what you need:

½ yard wool felt

½ yard cotton for lining

1/2 yard fusible soft interfacing

Magnetic clasp (or several inches of Velcro would probably work)

Coordinating cotton sewing thread

Embroidery design of your choice (we used one from the Morango Lacey Accents Collection)

Cutaway stabilizer

Embroidery thread

Lapel stick or other temporary adhesive (I love my lapel stick because I can control exactly where the adhesive goes and avoid the needle area if desired)

Here is what you do:

1.        Measure your laptop (mine measured 11 ½” X 8”).  Add two inches to each measurement (so my working measurement was 13 ½” X 10”).


2.       Cut your pieces

a.       Front cut 1 piece from wool felt at your working size (so mine was 13 ½ X 10”).

b.       Front cut 1 piece from the cotton lining at the same working size.

c.       Front cut 1 piece from interfacing at the same working size.

d.       Inner pocket cut 1 piece from wool felt at working width but 1” less than working height (so mine was 13 ½ X 9).

e.       Inner pocket cut 1 piece from cotton lining at the same size as the inner pocket wool felt piece.

f.        Inner pocket cut 1 piece from interfacing at the same size as the inner pocket wool felt piece.

g.       Back (add 4” to the height of your working measurement) cut 1 piece from wool felt (mine was 13 ½ X 14)

h.       Back cut 1 piece from cotton lining at same size as the back wool felt piece.

i.         Back cut 1 piece from interfacing at the same size as the back wool felt piece.


3.       Iron interfacing to back sides of the cotton pieces.  Set aside.   Note: Reserve a couple of 1 1/2” square scraps of the interfacing for later.


4.       Embroider your chosen design.


a.       Print a template from the software of your choice (Alphabet Xpress or the Amazing Designs software products are great for this).  Pin as desired on your front wool felt piece.

b.       Hoop cutaway stabilizer.  Align your template and adhere the wool felt in the hoop using the lapel stick.

c.       Slide the hoop onto the machine with the design loaded and ready to embroider.  Make sure the needle above the center of the template.  Remove the template and embroider the design.

d.       Remove the embroidered piece from the hoop, flip over and cut away the excess stabilizer.


5.       Add the magnetic snap to the front.

a.       Find the horizontal center by folding the felt in half.

b.       Measure down from the top 2 ½” and mark.

c.       Iron a scrap of interfacing on the backside centering at the mark for reinforcement.

d.       Mark the interfacing where the two prongs will go through the fabric and cut using small sharp scissors.

e.       From the front side insert the snap.  Flip to back, add the back support piece and bend the prongs down. 


6.       Place the front face up on a flat surface.  Lay the front lining piece face down on top and pin.  Sew ¼ “around leaving a 4” opening to turn. 


      Clip corners and turn right side out.  Press.  Top stitch all the way around closing the opening as you go.  Set the front piece aside.


7.       Repeat number six above for the inside pocket.  Lay the pocket on a flat surface with the cotton lining side up.  Place the front cotton lining side down on top and align the bottom and sides.  Top stitch along original stitching lines around the three sides creating a folder.     


 8.       Add the magnetic snap to the back inside.

a.       Find the horizontal lining on the cotton lining piece.  Measure 2 ½” from top and mark.  Follow the steps in number 5 above to complete the snap.


9.    9.       Lay the lining face up on a flat surface.  Lay the back wool felt piece face down on top and align edges.  Sew ¼” seam around leaving a 4” opening to turn.  Clip corners, turn and press.  Topstitch close to edge all the way around closing the opening as you go.


2.      10.  Lay the back side lining side up with the snap at the top.  Lay the front folder piece front side up, with snap at top, on top aligning bottom and sides.  Stitch around the three sides just inside the current stitching lines.  Go slowly if needed as this is fairly thick.


Enjoy your new laptop sleeve.  This was really easy.  I will be making one for the girls as well.  One wants hers to be hot pink with a black kitty on it and the other wants teal with and owl.  Maybe we will do one for papa for father’s day – we’ll see.

Take care,


Comments (1) -

Ultra cool! It is simple and so handy.

May you be blessed in ways you have not yet imagined.  


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Piggyback Hooping

Piggyback Hooping

     Individual characters (letters, numbers and punctuation marks) from my alphabets can
be found on my Stock Design Page.  My designs are also available in packs, as described in
this blog.  Those can be found here.  For designs and packs available in multiple sizes,
choose the size you want in the drop down menu box.

     Machine embroidery is an expensive craft.  We have to buy our embroidery
machines, then designs and/or software for creating and adapting designs, special threads,
and finally stabilizers.  It is difficult to reduce expenses on most of these necessities and still
get good results, but I’ve figured out a way to economize on stabilizer.  I would like to share
this technique with you, and have written a lesson (see below) for this purpose.

     I named my technique Piggyback Hooping because one design rides right behind another. 
The technique—in which multiple designs are stitched in a single hooping—not only uses
the hooped stabilizer more completely, but reduces the number of times we must hoop in
order to stitch the same number of designs.  Moreover, the amount of stabilizer that sits
outside the hoop is not wasted multiple times as it would be if we hooped each design

     The figure below shows examples of some common hoop sizes.  Note that two or more
designs can fit in the hoop, depending on the size of the hoop and the sizes of the designs. 
For the Piggyback Hooping lesson I used the 150mm x 240mm hoop and the three designs
you see pictured in it.  However, you can easily adapt my instructions to any size of hoop.

3 hoops

     To decide if my technique will help you, here are some things to consider when you set out
to embroider.  First, each design must use only a small portion of the available hoop area. 
This is just a matter of real estate!  If one design nearly fills the hoop, there will be not
enough room for another design.

     Second, the fabric must be open and easy to maneuver in the hoop.  It is easier to sew
designs on two pieces of fabric for tote bags than it is to hoop two tote bags.  I would not
suggest Piggyback Hooping for embroidery on winter coats, quilts, or other bulky items.

     The hoop would not be able to support the weight of all that fabric and it would be very
hard to position the second design.  You will need to move the excess fabric aside after
em-broidering a design, in order to make room for the next piece of fabric.

     Finally, the same type and weight of stabilizer must be appropriate for all the designs and
fabrics.  Tearaway, cutaway and washaway stabilizers work best for different types of
embroideries and fabrics, as we sometimes learn the hard way.  There is no economy if our
designs stitch out poorly.
     The embroideries you will see in the lesson are for my Zip-Around Eyeglass Cases.  (I plan
to tell you more about those in a future blog—please stay tuned!)  However, the Piggyback
Hooping technique is just as useful for many other small designs and projects.  For
example, the pillowcases and the double pockets projects I shared in the past are suitable for
small embroidery designs; I’m sure you’ll think of many other projects, too.  In fact, with all
the money you save on stabilizer, you’ll be able to acquire more of my alphabets! Smile

     You will need the following items:

  • Embroidery thread.
  • Embroidery designs such as my Fancy Jumbles, Pinstripes, and Contour Script alphabets.
  • Stabilizer
  • Fade-away or Wash-away marking pen or tailor’s chalk (for marking right side of fabric).
  • Fabrics required for projects.
  • Flexible plastic ruler with 1/8” grid (available at office supply stores).
  • Finally, you can download the complete instructions here.

— Carol

Comments (16) -

This is such a good idea, Carol. I think I'm going to make up a bunch of bookmarks this way.

I am new to this embroidering, but as I cut away stabelizer from finished embroidery I felt that I should be able to use more of it in the hoop.

What I have done is place two of leftovers together and sew them on my regular machine, then hoop them.  this does use larger pieces.and works fine.

It looks like I would save more by using a larger hoop and doing more than one embroidery in it at a time  Northwnd

serenemachine2 11/1/2008 3:09:46 PM

I have found that this method works really well doing the sucker covers and other FSL designs.  I will keep this!

measurecutsew 11/1/2008 3:22:56 PM

I can't download the instuctions by clicking on "here".

that is a great idea. I have done several fsl bookmarks with this method. Sometimes, tho, you have to keep an eye on things, because the stabelizers will tear and therefor the registration will be off.

As you said, make sure the stabelizer will hold up to the projects you do.

great idea

cme   8^)

Years ago I bought a box of waxed paper squares.  I hoop the waxed paper square and then use adhesive to attach the small amount of stabilizer needed for the project.  I then use adhesive again to attach what I am working on.  This works great when you are not doing mutliple projects and cannot use the piggyback method and saves alot of $$$$ on stabilizer.  It took me three years to use a big roll.

Ann and CME, bookmarks should be very easy to piggyback since there isn't even a lot of excess fabric to worry about.  FSL types wouldn't have any fabric and even fabric ones would be fairly compact.

CME, you are right that some stabilizers might tear from the weight of multiple projects.  I mostly use cutaway types so don't have a problem.  I haven't tried FSL projects so don't know how the stabilizers for those would perform.

Shutterbug, I have joined pieces of stabilizer, too.  When I cut a project out, I don't cut from the edge of the stabilizer, but start the cut next to the design and just cut away the rectangle.

On occasion I trimmed the rectangle a little bigger and zigzagged a new piece of stabilizer into the window.  I cut the patch big enough to allow some overlap but keep the overlap away from where the stitching will go.

serenemachine2, are the suckers you cover lollipops?  I haven't seen anyone embroider covers for them but they sound cute.

measurecutsew, have you been able to download pdf files from other sources?  I was able to make the download myself, so the link is active.  What did happen when you clicked on the underlined word "here"?

drr270, I am amazed that the waxed paper wouldn't tear when you press down the inner hoop.  The waxed paper itself would give an additional layer of stability, and the cost would be minimal for the stabilizer you do use.  Do wax bits ever get into your sewing machine bobbin area?

Carol B.

I would like to know if any of the embroidery software can take an image from computer design software like autocad and use it for the foot print of its design?

You see I just got my first embroidery machine, I have been sewing and doing embroidery for 46 years by hand. My occupation is E/M designer where I use Autocad and Inventor all day, so I want to put the two together in the computer just like I do by hand.

I hate to ask this, but, What are FSL designs?


pwdesign, there are software programs that will convert an imported image to an embroidery design automatically, and others that will let you make the design using the image.  I prefer to control the design myself because I like to play with fills and textures rather than have solidly filled designs that look like girl scout patches.

I do not know if the formats used by Autocad and Inventor will be compatible with embroidery software, but the software can use common formats like .jpg and .bmp.  If you can convert your image to one that the software recognizes you will be all set.

Here is an autodigitizer alone">

and bundled with other products">

Your embroidery machine manufacturer will also offer its own brand of software.  I suggest you learn all you can before deciding what is right for you.

motsmith, FSL stands for FreeStanding Lace.  The designs are embroidered on dissolvable stabilzier but hold together even without a fabric supporting them.  Here are some examples:">


I have done this by moving the design to one side or top or bottom of hoop.  I do have to pay attention that I don't stretch it.  I find myself saving the used pieces of stabilizers & use when I am not in a hurry (which is never it seems HA!).  Wouldn't it be nice to go away & just get to do all the projects you would like? What a vacation to have meals delivered & just sew!!!!!


I am happy you are on board.  I love learning.  I am interested in everything (which is a distraction).



I also keep stabilizer scraps.  I sometimes use the tearaway kind for sewing buttonholes, but mostly just keep them so I don't feel I'm wasting resources.  I mean to use them for my 40 mm spring hoop but never seem to use that hoop.

I thank you for your welcome.  There is so much to learn and so much to embroider.  It would be wonderful if our other responsibilities would just take care of themselves.


jalcumbrack 11/4/2008 3:54:10 PM

Hi Carol,

I have been doing this for a long time, I just assumed other's did as well. I did it more to save on product than anything. You have some wonderful ideas and I will be keeping them in my file for future use. thanks for helping us to understand so clearly. Looking forward to more of your wonderful blogs.



I expect that other experienced embroiderers would also find a way to economize on stabilizer.  I presented this lesson for the newbies who visit and might like learning a trick the easy way.  Sometimes we don't realize how much we know until we see it in print, too.

Thank you for your kind words about my blogs.


motsmith  FSL is free standing lace

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