How to Make a Pencil Case | Back to School

It is only a couple of week’s to go until the kids go back to school. While some of you may have been hyper organised and bought school shoes and stationary back in July, others are just starting to think about it.

I am one of those people. Eek! And battling for the last pencil cases in the shop doesn’t sound fun, so I am going to grab a couple of fat quarters from my stash and make a pencil case instead.

This Quirky Pencil Case pattern has been excerpted from 50 Fat Quarter Makes.

The diagonal zip and bold fabrics make this pencil case truly stand out from the crowd. Two fat quarters provide enough fabric to make three cases, or simply cut the exterior and lining from the same fabric and make one case using a single fat quarter.


Download the template here

1 Using the template provided cut two panels from the right side of the main fabric and two panels from the wrong side of the lining fabric (these will be mirror images of the exterior panels).

2 Cut four 2 x 1in (5 x 2.5cm) zip ends from the main fabric. Fold under 1/2in (1.2cm) at one short end of each zip end and iron. Pin a zip end to each side, leaving an 8in (20cm) zip length between the creases (see Fig 1).

3 Sew along the creases at one end to join both zip ends to the zip. Repeat at the opposite end and finger press the zip ends out. Refold the zip ends out of the way then trim 1/4in (6mm) beyond each seam. Open the zip ends out again to conceal the raw ends of the zip.

4 Place the zip right sides together with one of the exterior case panels, aligning it with the slanted edge of the panel (see Fig 2).

5 Place a lining case panel wrong side up on top, aligning its edges with the exterior panel and sandwiching the zip between. Pin the layers together along the slanted edge. Using a zip foot, sew along the slanted edge, stopping with the needle down to move the zip pull behind the needle when necessary. Open out the exterior and lining panels and iron. Repeat to sew the remaining exterior and lining panel to the opposite zip tape. Open all panels out (see Fig 3).

How to make a Pencil Case

6 Topstitch along each side of the zip through all layers. Trim the zip ends flush with the edges of the exterior and lining panels.

7 Bring the 9in (23cm) edges of the exterior panels right sides together and pin. Sew together, backstitching at both ends and finger press the seam allowances open.

8 Open the zip at least halfway. Bring the long edges of the lining panels right sides together and pin. Sew together, leaving a 4in (10cm) turning gap. Finger press the seam allowances open.

9 Arrange the exterior panels so the seam falls in the centre of the underside; the zip will run diagonally across the top. Sew both short edges together between the zip seam and the bottom corner of the exterior panels. Repeat to sew the short edges of the lining panels.

10 At each end of the zip, sew all layers together between the zip seams. Clip the corners to reduce bulk. Turn right sides out through the opening and gently push the corners out. Fold in the seam allowances along the gap in the lining and sew closed. Stuff the lining into the exterior and iron.

This project has been excerpted from 50 fat Quarter Makes. We all love fat quarters for their amazing value, effortless coordination and buy-me bundling, but knowing what to do with them (other than sitting and stroking them from time to time) can be a dilemma. Not anymore! This unique collection of quick-and-easy sewing projects includes contemporary ideas for DIY home decor, accessories, gifts and more, all made from fat quarters.

So there you have it, a quick, easy and fun pencil case to send your little one off to school with. Have you made any other school items for your children? We’d love to see. Tag us on social using #SewandSo.

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About Nadine

Nadine dabbles in a wide range crafts. If it's pretty and she wants to make it, she'll learn the technique to do so. She is also never without a cup of tea in her hands.