Introduction: Zippered Pencil Case

Picture of Zippered Pencil Case

This pencil case is a great beginner's sewing project! If you make this zippered pencil case you'll learn to put in an easy zipper and how to turn a normal zippered pouch a boxy one.

This zippered pencil case is lined and just the perfect size to throw in a backpack or purse. :)

And once you master something like this, it'll be easy to more on to more advanced and nicely finished bags.

Step 1: What You'll Need

Picture of What You'll Need
  • 2 - 9.5 x 5.5 inch pieces quilting cotton lining
  • 2 - 9.5 x 5.5 inch pieces mid- to heavy-weight cotton exterior
  • 9 inch zipper
  • pins
  • scissors
  • sewing machine
  • water soluble pen for marking (or whatever else you have on hand!)
  • quilting ruler
  • pinking shears (good for finishing the seams)

Since this is the most basic of zippered pencil cases, we're going to be relying entirely on the stiffness of the exterior fabric to make it hold its shape - no interfacing is used!

I used a quilting weight cotton for the lining and a slightly thicker and stiffer cotton for the exterior. :)

Step 2: Lay Out Your Pieces

Picture of Lay Out Your Pieces

Zip the zipper up all the way before you start.

Lay your lining fabric down on the table right side up (really only matters if it's printed, otherwise whatever side you want up is right. :D) and lay the zipper down on top with the pull as shown. Line the zipper and fabric up at their right edges.

Optional: To make it easier to sew, tack together the top of the zipper using some needle and thread. It can be tricky to sew this all together if those ends are flapping about and separating. (See photo 3)

Lay the exterior fabric wrong side up on top of the zipper and lining. Line up all the edges and pin in place.

Step 3: Sewing

Picture of Sewing

Use a regular foot for this!

Place the pinned fabrics under the presser foot and line it up so the left edge of the foot is right up against the zipper. (This will leave you with a pretty teeny seam allowance, a little over 1/8 inch - that's okay!) Backstitch at the edge of the fabric and then stitch down the edge until you get a few inches from the other end and backstitch again.

Now you'll want to pull the work out of the machine - unpin the bottom and lift the exterior fabric. (See photo 2) Now, upzip the zipper and pull it so that it goes up and into the already sewn area of the pouch.

Repin and line up the right edges again. (See photo 3)

Continue sewing where you left off - just put the needle right down in your backstitching. Backstitch at both ends again on the second half of the stitching. :D

Step 4: Sew the Other Side of the Pouch

Picture of Sew the Other Side of the Pouch

Repeat what you just did using the other side of the zipper. :D

Just line everything up on the right edge and pin and sew.

Step 5: What It Should Look Like Now

Picture of What It Should Look Like Now

Both exterior and lining should be sewn to the zipper and nicely lined up. :)

If the ouside edges are a little wonky, feel free to straighten them up using the ruler and some scissors.

Step 6: Sew the Bottom of the Pouch Together

Picture of Sew the Bottom of the Pouch Together

Pin the edges opposite the zipper together with the lining on the outside.

Sew down this edge using a 1/4 inch seam allowance, backstitching at both ends.

You can trim the excess seam allowance with pinking shears if you have them - they'll stop it from fraying and make it look a little nicer.

Step 7: Sew the Ends

Picture of Sew the Ends

Flatten the pouch out so the zipper is sitting directly above the bottom seam.

Unzip is about half way.

Sew across both ends using a 1/4 inch seam allowance, backstitching at both edges. Yes, you're going to sew over the zipper and everything! Just take it slow over the zipper and you'll be fine.

When sewing across the edge with the open zipper, make sure both sides of the zipper fabric are touching as you sew over it. Otherwise, you'll sew it in a way so there's a big gaping hole. :(

Once both ends are sewn, trim the zipper so it lines up with the fabric. You can also trim the seam allowances with pinking shears. :)

Once all the trimming and sewing is done, turn it right side out!

Step 8: And You Have a Pouch!

Picture of And You Have a Pouch!

If this looks fancy enough to you, call it a day.

But if you're wanting to make it boxy, have a look at the next step. :D

Step 9: Making the Corners Boxy

Picture of Making the Corners Boxy

The pictures will probably explain this better than I can. :D

Take one end of the pouch and flatten it out. Line up the zipper and bottom seam. Now you'll want to take off the corners. Taking off more of the corner will result in a tinier, boxier pouch.

As you can see, my vertical line was about 2 1/2 inches long - I would recommend keeping it a 1 1/2 inches or smaller - otherwise you might have issues with getting full size pencils in.

You can pin the seams and try it out before you mark and sew too!

Once you're happy, mark and sew along the seams.

Repeat for the other end of the bag. :)

Step 10: Trim It Up and Turn It Right Side Out

Picture of Trim It Up and Turn It Right Side Out

Once it's all sewn, turn it right side out and double check everything. If it's wonky, rip out the stitching and try again. If you're happy with it, trim off all the corners.

BOOM! You just made a super cute pencil case. :D


RowanH9 made it! (author)2017-12-01

Looks awesome! I used a cactus print on the exterior, a teal zipper and a teal lining. The only problem was the width, which was a bit too wide. Thank you very much for this awesome pattern!

stellastark made it! (author)2017-08-30

Thanks for the tutorial! I added an old belt as an decorative piece and a matching pompom for fun on the zipper. I can't believe how much stuff this fits!

Wonderbuilder (author)2017-06-25

I thought it would be more complex but not at all

MossyH (author)2017-05-14

thx i can make it at school now thx

emmille (author)2017-05-10

So I made this twice, but I had to go a bit off on my own when it came to the first set of instructions for sewing. I am apparently the only one judging from the comments, but I found instruction three to be very confusing and I could not follow. I wasn't sure if I was supposed to sew the zipper edge first (which I did) and then sew all the rest? Otherwise great instructions, but it got a little unclear for me there. More specifics in that step (and subsequent sewing steps) would be helpful.

bananachild (author)2016-10-18

so cool, what is the material for the outside and the inside :-)

bananachild (author)bananachild2016-11-08

Sorry that was my sister

bananachild (author)bananachild2016-11-08

It says at the top dumdum

Redouane (author)2016-08-31

thank you

Lucy135 (author)2016-08-29

Hi, what are the dimensions of the finished box pencil case? Thanks

jaydeechick made it! (author)2016-07-24

Please take this as help, not criticism. What I'm going to say comes from a perspective of sharing and helping. Here goes....

I'm one of those crafters who likes things to be straight and aligned. An easy way to make your ends square is to measure. Lay your pencilcase down flat and measure across (for me it was 4 inches) Divide this number by 4 (now 1 inch). On all corners measure down (1 inch for me) from the end stitching and across from the outside and mark. with a dot. Do this on all corners and on both sides (top and bottom).

Now fold, as shown in the instructable, and use the dots as the end marker for your stitching line.

Hope this helps. ❤

Handmade_With_Care (author)2016-07-23

awesome I tried this 2 times without a pattern, then came to this. Third time Lucky! Also really easy as I am only 12 and managed to do this ? I used a pretty stripe/spot fabric ? Love how it turned out xx

Eimearrr made it! (author)2016-04-09

Great size X Fits all my pens in ??

charliefarlie (author)2016-04-04

Thanks! Much better size than any I've found in the shops :)

ManzanasyPeras1 (author)2016-03-19

Check this out!!!!!

ManzanasyPeras1 (author)2016-03-19

Check this out!!!

EmmaG28 made it! (author)2016-01-22

Love this pattern so much! Made this pencil case using a super cute dragon pattern.

ליטלק made it! (author)2015-08-11

greate project! thank you :)
this is my zippered pencil case

Hs Dad (author)2015-01-24

Thank you. I am going to try this with my daughter. It is by far the most complicated thing e have tried but the instructions look clear and the end result fabulous.

selmakiyas (author)2014-10-29

very useful tutorial :)

jessyho862013 (author)2014-09-23

nice job (voted)

MerlinTheGreat (author)2014-09-12

Good job!

The cool thing about this pouch is that you can also make it higher but narrower or the other way around when making it boxy.

The box doesn't need to be square, it can be a rectangle too. :)

That way it can be adjusted to the space you have for placing it.

KookyKreations (author)2014-09-11

Oh so easy, and such a nice result. I am thinking of all the things that could use a fancy pouch!.

shazni (author)2014-09-11

I like the square shape and how you have done it . Thank you

creativity123 (author)2014-09-10

This is a really cool idea! I like the pattern too.

Summer Skies (author)2014-09-09

You are awesome. That's all I can say.

lindarose92 (author)2014-09-09

This is so well done! I wish I was that good at sewing!

BLR_RAVI (author)2014-09-08

very beautiful..nicely made..small handy bag can be used to organize many stuffs

seamster (author)2014-09-08

I love the boxy corner trick. Love it!

loompiggytutorials (author)2014-09-08

This is an amazing project! A must make for anyone who loves to sew!

About This Instructable




Bio: I work at instructables by day, and turn into a stitch witch by night. follow me on instagram @makingjiggy to see what i'm working ... More »
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