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!




Gadget Holder Tutorial

finished front with kobo
This Gadget Holder is a quick and easy sewing project. So quick in fact you’ll be whipping these up in multiples for your home.  You will probably find friends and family taking notice with special interest so if your looking for a clever gift for someone who has everything then you may have found it with this multipurpose holder.

Initially I intended this to be for the sole purpose of holding my e-reader at the dining table. Up until now I awkwardly used a rolled up tea towel to prop the device to a comfortable reading/viewing angle.

Before holder

Upon completion I found it to be exactly what I needed and I became increasingly happy to discover several other handy uses for it.  At first I kept it on my kitchen counter as a home for my mobile phone so I could easily find it when I needed to. From there I found it useful to keep online recipes held on my phone or another device nearby in the kitchen. Keeping it on my desk while working in the office for easy viewing has also proven to be convenient.  And because it doesn’t take up to much space it works equally as well on a nightstand or side table.


You can keep one next to your sewing machine to easily hold your phone or tablet, keeping online sewing patterns and tutorials conveniently at your fingertips.

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It also does double duty as a ruler holder and/or a pincushion.

ruler holder

It doesn’t take much to put one of these together.


    • one fat quarter and matching thread
    • polyfill or another stuffing
    • 4″ square of cardboard (for a base)
    • uncooked rice or something to be used as a weight
    • marking pen or pencil
    • 1/2″ diameter wood dowel (optional).  Approx. 7 1/2″ long

Let’s get started

Cut your fat quarter into a 15″ wide by 13″ long rectangle.  (Ignore the white glare of the sun)

Fold the fabric in half right sides together, then sew one short edge and the open long edge leaving one short edge open (my rectangle shows longer as I was still tweaking the pattern).

fold over with stitch line

Now fold the fabric as shown keeping the seam centred.  The remainder of the seam (not shown) is on the underside and should be placed down facing the table.

funny fold

Place your ruler so that it lays from the left corner of the square to the opposite right corner.

ruler centred over square

Now fold the top corner down to the ruler (or centre of the square) and finger press.

finger press Mark this folded line with a marking pen or pencil…

Mark and pin fold…and stitch on the line.

Stitch fold lineTurn the fabric right side out.  With the seam facing down on the table you can now slide the cardboard base all the way to the back to rest against the just stitched seam and stuff with fibrefill.

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When it is filled close to the edge of the cardboard base you can add approximately one cup of uncooked rice for weight. You need to manipulate the rice to the top and corners as best as you can to keep it from falling out while stitching it closed.

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Mark a straight stitching line along the edge of the cardboard and pin keeping the rice and stuffing to the inside.

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Stitch on the line close to the edge of the cardboard.

Stitch closed.

Fold the fabric at the opening to the inside to measure 3″ from the just stitched line and press.

fold-inside3inches copy

Turn the gadget holder over and measure in 2″ from the pressed edge and mark.

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Fold the pressed edge over to meet the marked line and stitch close to the edge creating a tube.

stitch tube

Slide the dowel, chopstick, pencil etc. into the tube and you are done.
*optional – you may fill the tube with fiberfill and handstitch the ends closed.


Here is the finished project front and back.  What I especially love about this holder is that the channel between the angled back and the dowel accommodates my e-reader with the cover on.

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This is my first attempt at a tutorial.  It took a lot longer then I expected as I tweaked the pattern and found I needed more photos for those awkward to explain steps and so on.  Hopefully this project will be easy to follow and enjoyable to create.  Please feel free to ask questions if necessary.