Pencils wear down. You get stubs. You don't have anywhere to put them. But I do. Because I made a felt pencil case with different sized slots for different sized pencils.
Now all my pencils, even my shortest stubs, have homes.
The flexible format allow you to hold all different sizes of pencils and keep them all easily accessible, and also allows you to utilize all the space in the case so you don't waste and entire slot on one tiny stub.
Here's how I made it.
Step 1: Materials
Felt (thin craft felt is better than thick industrial felt for this--those little squares of felt they sell for craft projects are the perfect size)
Fabric marking pencil
Step 2: Mark & Cut the Felt
You can go crazy and make a huge pencil case, but for my average, everyday case, I kept mine fairly compact.
If you want to do it a fast simple way, you can just mark and cut out two 8-1/2" by 8-1/2" squares.
But if you want to a custom case, it's pretty simple to figure out how big to cut your pieces of felt.
To determine the length, figure out how long your longest pencil is and add about an inch to allow for seams and trimming (my longest pencil was 7-1/2" long, so I needed a length of 8-1/2").
To figure out your width, decide out how many pockets you want (you'll be able to use some pockets for more than one pencil) and multiply by 3/4", which is the width needed to snugly hold a pencil, then add about an inch total for seams and trimming. I went with 10 pockets, multiplying by 3/4" (.75") and adding an inch, for 8-1/2" wide felt.
Once you know how big you want it to be, mark it out with a fabric pencil and cut to size.
Step 3: Mark the Pockets & Cut the Holes
Set aside one piece of felt for the back of your case.
On the other piece, mark 1/2" from the edge (waste area), then mark every 3/4" across the entire width of your felt (you should end up with 1/2" left on the other side).
After making these marks, decide where you want your pencils to go, based on the length of your pencils. How?
Your pencils will nestle into the pockets that your form by sewing along the lines, with the points touching the ends of the case. The other ends will stick out of holes, so you'll want to place the holes the length of the pencils, minus about 3/4", from (either) end of the case, so they'll stick out enough to remove them easily. Be sure you mark them in the center of the area between two lines or they won't fit in.
For long pencils, place one hole about an inch from one edge; for stubs, you can fit a couple in a single pocket facing in opposite directions--place two holes near the center of the pocket, about 1-1/2" apart. Vary the hole placement throughout the pockets, leaving some for long, some for short, and some for combinations.
Once you know where you want them all, punch them out with a regular hole punch. If they hang on, just cut them off.
When you're done, you'll have a piece of felt with at least one hole between each set of lines.
Step 4: Sew the Pencil Pockets
Pin the panel with the holes to the other panel, leaving the lines you marked facing up.
Sew along the marked lines. Then sew across the top and bottom.
When done, trim the felt approximately 1/4" from the seams on each side to create even edges.
Step 5: Attach the Closure
To add a closure that will allow you to roll up the case, cut a piece of ribbon at least 1' long.
Find the center of the ribbon by folding it in half, and mark it. Find the center of the back of the pencil case (the side without holes).
Stitch the ribbon to the back of the case--sew just enough to sturdily attach it (about 1/2" long will be fine)--don't go all the way across the back. Be sure you only go through the back panel of the case or you won't be able to put a pencil in the front. Tip: stick a pencil in the compartment where you'll be stitching--that will keep the front of the case out of your way so you won't catch it.
Step 6: Insert Pencils & Roll Up
Load your case with pencils. Point in to the edges of the case and ends sticking out of the holes.
For pockets with two holes, point one pencil in each direction, or if don't have enough short pencils, just put a long pencil in one hole and out the other.
Then just roll it up and tie the ribbon. You're pencils are ready to take with you.