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3 tips for sewing perfect strip sets, sewing a quilted laptop sleeve

by Jennifer Houlden

Already, I’m dreaming of spring. This week’s project is a quilted laptop sleeve with a big flower to call spring forward. While I’m sewing a quilted laptop sleeve I’m also having some fun playing with some products I picked up at my local quilt shop. A new fusible product from HeatnBond as well as a few different Gütermann threads.

This week's project

This week’s project

Gathering supplies

I gathered my supplies to create the quilted laptop sleeve – fabric, thread, batting and fusible web are the main ones for this project.

Flannel is my choice of fabric for the sleeve. The reason I chose to work with flannel is that I want the cover to be soft with a little extra added padding for the laptop.

Supplies to make the quilted sleeve

Supplies to make the quilted sleeve


Gütermann has all kinds of threads ranging from basic sewing threads to specialized sewing threads and embellishing threads. This project is going to incorporate a wide range of threads from cotton to polyester to rayon and even metallic. Okay I just saw everyone cringe when I said metallic but there’s no need. Later in the week I’ll give you some tips on how to be successful with metallic thread.

Cotton – a 50 weight thread available in every color under the rainbow and more, has a silk-like luster and is made from 100% long staple Egyptian cotton, spool color is brown, comes in a variety of spool sizes but not all 180 colors are in each size.

Sew-All Thread – a 50 weight thread available in every color under the rainbow and more, is made from 100% polyester, spool color is beige, great for machine and hand sewing, comes in a variety of spool sizes but not all 297 colors are in each size.

Glorious colors of Gütermann cotton and polyester thread

Glorious colors of Gütermann cotton and polyester thread

Dekor – a 40 weight machine embroidery rayon thread which has a high luster and shine, spool color is gray and it’s available in 198 solid colors and 13 variegated colors

Sparkle – for decorative stitching, recommended for hand sewing only, a combination of polyester and polyamide fibers, spool is off-white and is available in 5 colors

Dekor Metallic – a 40 weight ‘metallized’ polyester thread for use on medium to heavyweight fabrics, spool is gray and it’s available in 24 solid colors and 5 variegated colors

Gütermann decorative threads

Gütermann decorative threads

HeatnBond – Soft Stretch

This is a new product that comes in Lite which is sewable and Ultra which is not sewable. I’m looking forward to using it for the applique portion on my laptop sleeve. Tune in later this week to learn all about Soft Stretch and how it works. This product is suppose to work great with stretchy fabrics and flannel is more stretchy than regular cotton.

HeatnBond Soft Stretch

HeatnBond Soft Stretch

Getting Started

First of all I need to measure my laptop which is 13″ in length x 9″ in width. I want to make a checkerboard background for my piece and was thinking that I wanted the pieces to be a decent size so I wouldn’t be sewing forever.

I originally thought 2½″ squares for the checkerboard but neither 13 nor 9 is divisible by 2.5 so decided to go with a 1½″ square as I’ll need to add some size to the dimensions to allow for seams and bulk of the laptop.

My laptop isn’t that thick so I’m going to add 2″ to the length to make it 15″ and 1½″ to the width to make it 10½″. There’ll be 7 squares across the width and 10 squares down the length of the project.

I’ve cut my 2″ strips from my fabrics and sewn them into strip sets. One set with 4 strips of fabric A and 3 strips of fabric B while the other is the opposite.

Strip sets sewn together

Strip sets sewn together

Tips for sewing strip sets

A couple of tips when sewing these strip sets together to prevent wonky seams and a crooked strip set is to:

  1. Sew seams in the opposite direction to the last seam sewn.
  2. Use a dry iron to press the seams towards the darkest fabric – steam will warp the fabric and cause stretching.
  3. Press from the center of the seam out to each edge. This is especially helpful when the length of the fabric is a full WOF or longer.

I’ll see you tomorrow to continue on with sewing the quilted laptop sleeve.

This is part 1 of 5 in this series.

Go to part 2: 5 easy steps to quilting a checkerboard background

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Susan Ottwell February 13, 2020 - 11:55 am

As a retired computer tech and a long-time quilter, I have to express some doubt about using flannel for a laptop case, or for any machine or electronic devide covers. Flannel produces a great deal more lint and dust than does regular cotton. I prefer a good-quality polyester batting over cotton and blends for the same reason. The less lint and dust it’s exposed to, the happier your electronic equipment will be. A gradual buildup of lint and dust inside a machine will cause overheating, causing intermittent failures and shortened lifespans.

Carla A. Canonico February 25, 2020 - 5:51 pm

Thank you Susan, interesting.

Christi April 3, 2018 - 12:13 am

That center to out is really important. I like the finger press first, stops distortion.


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