Pencil CaseTutorial

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Originally this “pencil case” was a back to school project.  Once completed I immediately filled it with sewing tools.  It was in that moment I decided it would probably never make it to school.  Instead it will likely find it’s way into my sewing room for storing marking pens and pencils, a seam gauge, chopstick, That Purple Thang tool etc.  Of course you can make it a carrying case for just about anything simply by changing the size of your rectangles.  Perhaps a cosmetic bag, travel pouch, or anything and everything you can think of.  Let’s get started.


  • two rectangles measuring 5×11 inches for the exterior fabric
  • two rectangles measuring 5×11 inches for the lining fabric
  • two rectangles measuring 4 3/4×10 3/4 inches lightweight fusible interfacing
  • one rectangle measuring 3×5 inches for the end tab
  • one 35cm (14″) zipper or longer
  • coordinating thread

STEP 1:  Select your fabric and cut it to size (tab piece not showing in this picture)

1 cutoutsSTEP 2:  Fuse the interfacing to the wrong side of the lining following manufacturer’s instructions.

fusible interfacing

STEP 3:  Lay your lining fabric on the table right side up.  Place your zipper on top of the lining right side up and then the main fabric on top of the zipper right side down.  Line up all the edges and pin.  Let the ends of the zipper extend past the ends of the fabric.  The excess will be cut off later.

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STEP 4:  Make sure you have the zipper foot attached to your machine and stitch the zipper in place.sewing zipper side 1

STEP 5:  Remove from the machine…

ZIPPER 1 side sewn

…and fold both the main and lining fabric back exposing the zipper.  Give it a light press.

zipper 1 sewn and folded into place

STEP 6:  Next you need to layer the fabrics for the other half of the case.  Place the main fabric right side up on the table, place the sewn half of the bag on top ZIPPER FACING DOWN.  Then place the lining right side down on top of the zipper.  Pin, stitch and fold the fabric away from the zipper teeth and press as you did in steps 4 and 5.

zipper side 2 placement azipper side 2 placement b

zipper side 2 sewn in

STEP 7:  Topstitch next to the zipper teeth and give it a test zip to make sure it works smoothly.

zipper topstitched

zipper test

STEP 8:  Pin the two main fabric pieces to each other and the two lining pieces to each other. Stitch the long side of the main fabric and on the long side of the lining leave a 3 inch opening for turning.

stitsh long sides

STEP 9:  Next you will need to cut out a 3 inch x 5 inch rectangle of fabric for the tab.

3 x 5

STEP 10:  Fold in half right sides together and stitch the long side with a 1/4″ seam allowance.

making the tabSTEP 11:  Turn right side out, center the seam and press.

tab turned and pressed

STEP 12:  This next step is tricky to explain so I am depending on the photo to help with this part.   Open your zipper an inch or two.  Position the main fabric so the seam is centered over the top of the zipper teeth and the lining seam is centered over the bottom of the zipper. Pin in place at the closed end of the zipper.

funny fold

STEP 13:  Now fold your tab in half bringing the raw edges together and sandwich it between the main fabric layers at the open end of the  zipper.  Line up all the raw edges keeping the loop inside the bag and centered over the zipper.  **AGAIN MAKE SURE YOUR ZIPPER PULL IS OPEN PART WAY so you don’t sew it outside of the bag.

stitching tab end

STEP 14:  Stitch both ends closed backstitching over the zipper to reinforce it.  Trim off the excess zipper.

stitch ends closed

STEP 15:  Turn the case right side out through the opening you left in the lining and push the corners out with a chopstick or That Purple Thang tool and hand stitch the opening closed.

hand stitch opening closed Or if you prefer go ahead and machine stitch the opening closed like I did in the picture below.
machine stitch opening closed

STEP 16:  Now you need to stitch the corners to give the case it’s box shape.  Take one corner and pinch it into a triangle.  Position the seam so that it is centered straight down from the point of the triangle.

pinch corners

STEP 17:  Pin the corner approximately an inch or so down form the point of the triangle to hold the shape and repeat with the other four corners.

pinned cornerspinch and pin all corners

pin corners

STEP 18:  Lay a ruler on one triangle (remove any pins that are in the way) measuring in 1″ from the point and two inches across and mark with a marking pen or pencil and pin in place.  Repeat with the remaining corners.mark the corners

STEP 19:  Stitch on the line of each of the four corners.

corners stitched

STEP 20:  If you would like you can trim and serge, pink or overlock the raw edges. Turn right side out and you will have completed your very own handmade sewing tool bag…er…uhm….I mean pencil case!




39 thoughts on “Pencil CaseTutorial

  1. Hi, thank you very much for your tutorial and your great inspiration. I made a pencil case and made a tutorial for my german blog “tschessilicious”! I found the link to your side via Pinterest. 🙂

    You can check mine via:

    It’s in german, but I made tons of pictures so you can see the similarities easily.

    Best wishes from your new german follower Tschessi 🙂

  2. such a nice tutorial with clear pictures. Pictures are so helpful in sewing so thank you for taking the time to show them.


  3. The first time I saw this tutorial [pencil case] I started making them They are so cute and easy to make; my first couple didn’t turn out…but I have perfected them. I sent them to my g-sons/ other family members; fill’em with pencils etc. They love’em~now I’m making some for the church bazaar. Thank you~

    I am a beginner and fell in love with this pattern. This is my 3rd project and it turned out great!
    Thanks for the extremely clear instructions and fantastic photos!
    I will be making this again and again.

    • Andrea I have not tried to hide the seams on the boxed corners of this particular project. Please let us know how it turns out for you.

  5. Fantastic tutorial. I had great success first go. Just fill them with pencils and they are great Christmas gifts. Just wondering if it there is a downloadable version of this?
    My sewing machine is in a room without internet. Had to keep running back and forth to check what was next.

    • If you’re on a desktop computer, saving a web page is quite simple. Just open up your browser, navigate to the page, and go to File > Save Page As. Save it as “Web Page, Complete” somewhere in your documents. You’ll get an HTML file and when you want to see the web page, just double-click on the HTML file and you should be able to see it just as it was when you saved it, whether you have a connection or not.

  6. Pingback: Pouzdro na pastelky - Ježíšek do školky - Budilka

  7. What a great tutorial! Thanks for sharing. I was thinking of making a small size pencil case to fit in my purse. Do you know what the finished dimensions are if we follow the pattern exact? Thanks.

  8. Thanks for this great tutorial! I followed the directions but made the pieces 11×9 instead, to make a bag for my Copic markers, since they wouldn’t fit in a regular sized one. I also made a normal one for my other supplies. Great job! 🙂

  9. Can the box corners be left on the inside of the linning too? Will it work if I sew them before turning it right side out?

    • Hi Elis, Both the outer fabric and lining are sewn together when closing up the ends are then treated as one when making the “box” corners. If I am understanding your question correctly that you would like the corner ends tucked inside and hidden the answer is no in this particular project.

  10. Thank you for this tutorial. I have been looking for a small sewing tool case to fit in the compartment of my new Baby Lock Jazz sewing machine and this will fit perfectly!

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