Hello again! Deborah here, back from Fish Museum and Circus. I have had my laptop for almost four years and have never had any kind of case or cover for it. Whenever I want to bring it somewhere I just stick it in a totebag or some other equally unprotected bag. After all this time tempting fate, it was time for a smarter solution. Enter the Just Like Papa Briefcase Pattern by Amy Macdonald for Momma Quail Patterns.
As soon as I saw this pattern I knew that with a few simple changes, this could work for my laptop. Out came the prized Mochi Linen Dots and Marrimekko! I only had fat quarters of the Mochi so I did some creative figuring with the amounts needed for the various pieces. The pattern provides both pattern pieces and a cutting chart. I used the measurements from the cutting chart (except for the changes I made below) but not the layout since I was using a larger variety of fabrics in smaller size cuts.
First, I made the briefcase an inch wider. My laptop is an 11" which means the outside measures 12" x 7 1/2". The original briefcase is sized at 12" x 9 1/2", so I cut my pieces at 14" where the instructions said 13" to make sure my laptop would fit. An easy fix that would work for any size laptop you have.
Next, since the purpose of the briefcase is to protect my laptop, I wanted to add some padding. I used Soft and Stable from by Annie. This addition made the whole thing a bit trickier to sew, but it worked out great. I cut the Soft and Stable pieces to the same sizes as I cut the Main Fabric Main Piece, Short Sides and Long Sides. Then I pinned them to the wrong side of the corresponding pieces and treated them as one unit. Next time I would take the time to baste them together.
The inside of the briefcase has room for all kinds of things in addition to my laptop. One side has the book pocket, now the laptop pocket. It also has pencil or crayon pocket. I used the height measurement indicated for the crayon pocket and changed the spacing of the stitched dividing lines. Now I can have a few pens or pencils as well as a pocket for my charger, a spool of thread, earbuds, scissors, whatever.
The other side of the briefcase has a big pocket with a zipper. And wouldn't you know it but my laptop also fits into that pocket. If I had realized that I would have moved the zipper up a bit so it would be easier to get the laptop in, but it still works and gives the added security of the zipper to hold it in. It works great for books also. The original pattern has a fun vinyl pocket so you can see what's inside, but I decided to leave that out. I did, however, add a lining to the pocket to give it some more weight.
For the handles, I discovered a soft piece of leather in my stash. I cut the handles at 3" x 9 1/2", folded them in half lengthwise and then topstitched both long edges. Then I added them to the briefcase according to the instructions.
I also made some leather pulls for the zippers.
An interesting discovery: Not all zippers are the same even when they say they are. For the outside of the briefcase I bought two zippers as indicated. Same brand, same size, same color. After installing them I realized that they are not really the same color and have different pulls and stops. I can live with it, but its a good thing to remember.
The Just Like Papa Briefcase could be sized and retrofitted to hold all kinds of things from embroidery, English Paper Piecing and other on-the-go sewing projects, to tablets, notebooks and paper, and kids car activities. We would love to see what you can do with the Just Like Papa Briefcase!