Monday, September 24, 2012

DIY pencil case

I'm kicking off Back to School Month (er....14 days) with this simple but oh so useful pencil case tutorial!
I've included two examples here, the first is a see-through vinyl case (which will require a 7x4 piece of vinyl and a 7" zipper) and a fabric pencil case (which will require a 9 x 6 piece of fabric and a 9" zipper). 

For the sake of simplicity, I'll demonstrate the how-to using the vinyl pencil case, but if you choose to make the larger, fabric one (or a larger vinyl one for that matter) it's the same instructions minus the size of the fabric and zipper. 

Here we go!

Materials Needed:
1 piece of 7 x 4 clear vinyl
1 7" zipper
matching thread

Cut your piece of vinyl into a 7 x 4 rectangle. (My piece had creases in it, which is hard to avoid if you fold it up for long periods of time. You can avoid these creases by not procrastinating or by placing the vinyl under a few heavy books for a few days.)

We're going to begin with the sipper. Place the zipper, right side facing up (see the part you pull over there on the left?) Line the top edge of your vinyl with the top edge of the zipper and pin. 

Sew down the zipper (I like to get pretty close to the teeth.)

Now loop your plastic vinyl all the way around forming a tube and pin the same way you did last time but on the other side. So you want to line up the other edge of the vinyl with the right side still facing up but on the side of the zipper you have not sewn up yet. 

Pinning this is one thing...sewing it is a whole other story. If you don't undo your zipper about halfway, your intended pencil bag will forever remain a weird tube. So to offset this happening, unzip your zipper halfway before you sew. 

As you are sewing, that stupid zipper is going to get in your way and you're going to want to move it up to an area you've already sewn. This is fine. Simply stop your machine, move the zipper up and then keep sewing (otherwise the presser foot will get caught on the zipper)

You can see in the photo below that I stopped sewing midway through to move my zipper. That's the point where that extra piece of thread is hanging out midway through. 

Okay, the hard part is done. Now you just need to sew up the sides! (Hopefully you remembered to unzip a bit or else you're cursing my name!)

Do the same to the other side! Then cut all your strings. You can cut as close to your sewn seam on each I cut away all the vinyl you see below my blue seam line. (including the extra zipper bulk.)

Now you're happy you left the zipper partway open because you can stick your hand in there, unzip it all the way, and turn it right side out!

Use something (one of these tools below, or a pen or pencil) to push the corners out neatly. 

Load up on some school supplies and you are set!

I think these would also make nice teacher gifts....or gifts for friends in school!

Come back Wednesday for my first giveaway of the series! I'll give you a clue.....Kate Spade!


  1. This is a great idea! I'll have to try these sometime. And that is so smart to think of giving this to a teacher. I'm sure they'd love it! I'm visiting from a link party. Thanks!

  2. I've never considered making those myself, it turned out so great!

  3. I love the vinyl one, I have issues with not being able to tell what's inside.

    We'd love for you to link up to our Finished Friday Blog Party.

  4. Awesome tutorial, and so useful! Thanks for sharing at The Fun In Functional!

  5. Thank you! My pencil cases for school always rip and now I have simple inexpensive way to make my own!!

  6. Lovely...I am always digging around in my bag for my pen.

  7. LOVE how this turned out and I love that you sewed the ends to finish it off!!!


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