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Picture of Lap Top bag from Suit coat
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This Lap Top bag is "Suit"able for a man or woman. I made this for my Lap top with these measurements, 14" x 10" x 1-1/2". My Lap top is quite heavy and I wanted to make a sturdy bag with handles that went all the way under the lap top. You can find a good suit coat at the Thrift shop. When choosing one, make sure it doesn't smell like cigarette smoke or have any obvious stains. These Suit coats are usually not machine washable, especially the wool/tweed ones and it would be expensive to have one dry cleaned.  Also, look at the front pockets, make sure they have flaps. The condition of the lining doesn't matter, but the lining in the pockets needs to be in good shape. Find a long sleeved mens shirt to use for the lining of the bag. Large or extra large size. I found a red/black plaid that went well with the grey suit coat. You will need 2 sheets of plastic canvas and 4 inches of hook and loop closure. Sewing machine, scissors and pins. Also, I cut up an old skirt to cover the plastic canvas. the pattern doesn't matter for this step because it is placed between the bag and lining. The bag with the purple trim was made first and I didn't like the placement of the pockets, thought they were too low, so I adjusted the next bag.
 
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Step 1: Deconstructing the coat

Picture of deconstructing the coat
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Remove the buttons and save for another project. Cut out the lining and shoulder pads. Cut the coat apart at the shoulder seams, side seams, cut the sleeves off and cut the sleeves open at the seams. Before you begin cutting, read through the directions and figure what pieces will be cut from which sections. There will not be much left of the coat when you are finished. Lay out the front sections of the coat, this is what you will work on first.

Step 2: Sewing the bag

Picture of Sewing the bag
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Measure up from the top of the pockets 3". Place straight pins across to mark cutting line. Measure the pocket flap across, mine was 6-1/2", divide by 2 and find the middle of pocket, mark with pin. Measure to each side of the center of pocket 5-1/2" mark with pins. From the top of pocket down 9-1/2", mark with pins. You should now have a rectangle 11" across by 12-1/2"  top to bottom. Cut out and use this to cut out the other pocket. Using newspaper, cut out a 4-1/2" x 12-1/2" piece. This is the pattern for the sections that will be sewn to the sides of the pockets. Cut 4, 2 for each pocket. With 1/2" seam allowance, stitch the side panels to the pocket sections. Press seams open and top stitch. Repeat for other side of bag.

Step 3:

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Cut up an old skirt or dress, I find lots of lightweight denim dresses at the thrift shop. Pin one of the pocket panels that you just made onto this lightweight denim and cut out, repeat with other pocket panel. Stitch around all 4 sides. This will strengthen the bag and make it more durable. Place front and back of bag right sides together, pin. Sew sides and bottom of bag with 1/2" seam allowance.  To make the bag 3 dimensional, open up and flatten the side seam down, laying it against the bottom seam. Stitch across the corner. Repeat to the other side and clip corners.  Turn right side out. 

Step 4: Lining for bag

Picture of Lining for bag
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The finished measurements for the lining pieces are 13-1/2" tall x 18" wide. Incorporate the small pockets from the coat and shirt, one on each side of the lining. This will give you 2 pockets in the lining and 2 exterior pockets for a total of 4 pockets. pin the lining pieces right sides together. Stitch the bottom only with 1/2" seam allowance. Press seam open. Set aside.   

Step 5: Handles

Picture of Handles
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From the coat back sections, cut 2 pieces 6" x 20". Save the rest of the back sections for the velcro flaps. From the shirt, cut 2 pieces 6" x 20". Pin each shirt rectangle to coat rectangle. sew around all 4 sides. If the coat is a heavy wool tweed, you can skip this step, this is just to reinforce the handle. Fold each in half lengthwise and press. Open and fold both outer edges to the center and press. Fold in half again and pin. Set aside. Cut 2 pieces from shirt 6" x 22". Fold each of these in half lengthwise and fold again, pin. tuck 2" of a shirt strip into a coat strip, pin. Repeat with other strips. Connect the ends and making a large circle. The only part of this that will be visible will be the coat parts of the strip. Top stitch all the way around on both sides of the circular strip. This will go under the lap top,between the outside of the bag and the lining, making very secure handles. 

Step 6: Sewing the lining

Picture of Sewing the lining
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Lay the lining face down and lay the handle section on this with the coat sections extending beyond the lining. Find the center of the lining and measure 3" out from this. measure 3" in the opposite direction and place the handle here. This will give 6" between the handles. Pin handle to lining. Machine stitch shirt part only of handle to the lining, leaving the coat sections of handle loose. fold lining in half wrong sides together and sew up side seams with 1/2" seam allowance. make a flat bottom for the lining by opening and flattening the side seams down against the bottom seam. Pin. sew across the corner about 1" above the corner. Repeat with other side. trim corners.  

Step 7: Plastic canvas

Picture of Plastic canvas
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Cut the plastic canvas into 2 pieces 10" x 13-1/2". Cut 2 rectangles out of scrap fabric 22" x 15". fold these in half so that they are each 15" x 11". Sew up 3 sides of each, so that they resemble a pillowcase. slip plastic canvas into each "pillowcase" and sew the end shut. Hand stitch a plastic canvas section to each side of the lining. This will add structure to the Lap Top bag.

Step 8: Binding for bag

Picture of Binding for bag
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Cut 2-1/2" strips out of the coat, you will need a total length of 38 or 40" long to go around the entire top edge of bag. I sewed 3 strips together to get enough to bind the raw edge. I cut the ends diagonally so that when it is folded over to the inside I didn't have all the bulk in one place, it helps distribute it more evenly, making a better finished look and prevents the sewing needle from breaking. Press the seams open and then place right side to the right side of the top of bag. Stitch around the top edge with 1/2" seam allowance. Fold the binding over to the inside of bag and pin. Machine stitch binding all around. 

Step 9: Closure

Picture of Closure
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For the closure, cut a piece of newspaper 4" x 6". Use this as a pattern and cut 2 pieces from the coat and 2 pieces from the shirt. Pin each shirt piece to a coat piece, right sides together. Stitch both short sides and one long side. clip corners and turn right side out. Press. Sew a section of velcro on each flap, one on coat side and the other on the other flap, shirt side. Place the lining inside the Lap Top bag. fold top of the lining down 1" to the inside between bag and lining. Pin. Put your Lap Top inside the bag so you know where to place the closure sections with velcro in between the bag and lining. Pin. Remove Lap Top. Machine stitch around the entire top edge of the Lap Top bag securing the handles and closure flaps. 
parisusa1 year ago
So Neat!
fishydrew33 years ago
This is soooo perfect!! I just made this...
http://www.instructables.com/id/Checkpoint-Charlie-Hat/?&sort=ACTIVE&limit=40&offset=40
And only used the sleeves for the project. Now I have a excellent idea for the rest. Thank you:)
katvanlew (author)  fishydrew33 years ago
The checkpoint Charlie hat is quite nice, I think it would look great with a matching Laptop bag! The bag takes most of the suit coat but a person could get 2 contrasting coats and make maybe the hatband and the side panels and handles of the bag out of the same coat and the rest of hat and bag out of the other one. I think that would be awesome!
Very nice work! I couldn't tell if you used both coat pockets, one on each side?
katvanlew (author)  CountSmackula3 years ago
Yes, both pockets are used.
This is one of the best reuses I've seen. Such a neat idea - I've always loved the the look and feel of old suits and this is a great way to take advantage of that. :D
katvanlew (author)  jessyratfink3 years ago
Thank you for the kind words. I made a couple of these with a long shoulder straps which looks nice too, but the strap is wider and sewn along the side seams. Before you begin cutting up the coat, figure out what pieces you're cutting from what sections. Almost nothing was left when I was finished.