Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Simple Pencil Case Tutorial

My four year old daughter went to a Sledding Party (aka Birthday Party) a couple weekends ago. The little girl and my daughter have been fast friends throughout daycare and now JK. This little girl has the most enthusiastic mommy :) Last years birthday party saw my daughter home with a wonderfully handmade denim bag that showcased a lovely appliqued letter J on the front (her first initial), carrying a colouring book and crayons! What a lovely parting gift!
This year my daughter came home with a cute little handmade fabric pencil case with markers inside (washable ones too! Smart mommy :)

My older daughter asked me about a week later if I could make her one too. Why not?, I said.
So yesterday we picked out our fabric and went to work. I decided to share a little tutorial on how to make it...
You will need:
8" x 10" piece of cotton or fabric of choice.
9" zipper
Sewing machine with zipper foot.
Ruler or tape measure

First I have cut out my fabric to 8" x 10".

Next I surged around all sides. If you don't have a surger you can zigzag the edges. This prevents fraying on the inside.

I pressed it flat and then folded and pressed my long sides in 3/8" to the wrong side.

Next, with right side facing, I pin one of the folded edges along one side of the closed zipper. Make sure that you center the zipper to the length of the fabric. You need to pin it so that the folded edge is almost touching the teeth of the zipper. 

Attach your zipper foot to your machine.

Now, top stitch close to the folded edge attaching it to the zipper.
Be sure to reverse a couple stitches at the beginning and end of your seam to lock your stitching from coming out.

Like so...hopefully your stitching will end up a little straighter than mine did! LOL!

Next, with the right side still facing you, fold the other folded edge over to meet the zipper opening the folded edge so that the serged edge is along the zipper edge and the fold is along the other side of the teeth. The right sides will be together. Pin the fabric to the zipper.

Now, still using the zipper foot, sew along the fold next to the teeth. You will need to move the zipper pull down some (opening the zipper) to start your seam. Sew to just before where the zipper pull is and then leaving the needle in the down position, lift the presser foot...move the zipper pull up to where you have already sewn, lower the foot and continue sewing. Remember to lock your stitching at each end.

It should look like so.

From the other side.

Now, holding your piece like a tube, position the zipper so that it runs down the center of the tube. Press the sides flat.

You will now need to open the zipper part way...very important! If you don't, you won't be able to turn it right side out after it is sewn :) I would open it about half way...I didn't open it far enough in the picture and had a bit of a struggle to get it opened a bit farther to turn it out side right.

Now, holding the open end of the zipper together, you will need to pin the end closed. This is so you don't end up with a gap at the beginning of the zipper.

Using your regular foot, sew the end closed using a 1/2" seam. I reversed over the zipper to re-enforce the opening. Make sure that you don't sew on the metal ends on the zipper. It will break your needle! The 1/2" seam should just miss them but if not just sew to the outside of them disregarding the measurement.

Repeat for the other end.

Now the fun part...creating the box corners!
You will want to grab the end of your seam and sort of position it so it folds the fabric to either side making the seam run down the middle. Use the picture as a guide. I suck at describing some things! LOL!

Now, fold open the seam and pin through all layers. Press down the corner flap.

Repeat on the other side.

It should look like so.

Now, sew across at the edge of the flap on both sides. Make sure to lock your seam at the beginning and end.

Now, repeat on the other end :)

Once you have sewn all four box corners you can turn it right side out and you are done! Easy Peasy!


  1. I wish I'd seen this post last week when I was trying to install velcro in some bags for my boys. I kept wishing I knew how to install zippers. This looks so easy!

  2. Lovely tutorial :) Thanks for sharing!

  3. Love..really simple...thanks for sharing...

  4. very nicely donw pencil case.