Introduction: Pouch for Collecting Small Stones

Hi all.

Our beautiful daughter loves collecting stones and was always putting them in their pockets, which then got torn. The holes things made will swallow almost everything. In one of her ski suits (at age 6) I found around 15 stones up to her fist size along with twigs, branches, toys form her school and various plastic pieces that she had found when playing outside. All that entered mainly through one pocket and ended up in the bottom, by her ankles..

I started considering strengthening her pockets with some strong and durable cloth, but, there are a lot of pockets to cover.. No, something more simple was needed, so when I spotted a pencil case in some durable fabric, I knew I could use it, but the sharp edges would probably tear some new holes from the inside shortly, so I decided to add some padding and another layer of durable fabric inside. A plan came together along with an idea for this instructable.

Here is how I converted the pencil case into a stone pouch and made my daughter happy :-)


1 pcs. pencil case with strong and durable fabric such as that found on backpacks. I found one at the price of DKR 10,- (around USD 1,50) and I believe that you could find something similar at a reasonable price near you.

1 pcs. leftover fabric from an old backpack - I have a habit of saving (more or less) useful stuff from whatever is discarded.

Some soft foam. I took the foam block filler from the new pencil case.

My home made wire cutter inspired by DemolisionWolf ("Easy Hot Wire Cutter Guide (AC Adapter, Guitar String or Nichrome").

1 pcs. leftover strap from my mother-in-law's handbag (I switched the strap for another that fit her better)

Needle and thread

xacto knife

Step 1: Preparing the Padding

So, first step was to cut the soft foam block that came as a filler in the pencil case. I used my foam cutter to cut some slices of the block. I wanted the thickness of the slices to be just about half as thick as the distance from the inside of the case to the zipper. I aimed at 1 cm, but as I haven't yet made any kind of structure to hold the wire cutter, I just locked it to the step with my foot (softly) on it and used my hands to cut the slices from an awkward angle (no photo :-P). I didn't measure the end results but it was close enough.

I made 3 slices of foam and put them in the pencil case, one in the bottom and one on each side. I also made some square sections for the ends.

Step 2: Fitting the Inner Fabric

Second step was to position the inner fabric. With uniform fabric this would be easier, but I decided to use a piece that I saved from an old worn-out backpack, so I spend some time and used a needle to hold it in place.

On a side note: Yes, I am a Chicago Bears fan and my daughter's name is Caroline, so this was a win/win. It would be unique and definitely hers alone.

Step 3: Transforming the Pencil Case Into a Stone Pouch

Third step was sewing. I started near the bottom stop of the zipper and followed the existing thread. I chose a strong black thread because it would blend in with the original and hide my mistakes and uneven sewing. If you're new to sewing then remember to use a long thread; mine was around 1 meter (3 ft) for the first side. Also remember to once in a while let the needle hang freely, so that the tension built up in the thread can unwind. The curling of the thread can cause knots to form when pulling it through. I often forget this myself so it happens on a regular basis for me. I opted for a backstitch pattern as this is the one that I most often use without a sewing machine...

I first followed the existing thread on one side from end to end and then I loosely followed the outside contour of the C on the same side. For this I avoided the outer fabric and only caught the padding, so that the sloppy work wouldn't show and I figured that it wasn't necessary to be very precise as this was mainly done to adhere the padding to the fabric, so it could not slide anywhere.

The small pieces of foam for the ends were quickly squashed and I concluded that they were useless, but decided against removing them. They were already in place and no hindrance at all.

Side note: I should have used some extra needles to hold the inner fabric in place because the position of the C was a bit off-center and I had to correct it later..

Step 4: Mending the Old Fabric

Forth step: I realized quite early that the torn holes in the old piece of fabric would need to be mended somehow, so I turned the pouch inside out and sewed them with the backstitch pattern with each stitching shifted slightly to the side until I had covered the hole from end to end making sure that the gap was closed. Then I changed direction and covered the same hole back to the beginning. I used one long thread for all the holes and in between I made sloppy stitches to hold the padding in place.

Step 5: Finishing the Inner Fabric

Fifth step: I again chose a long thread but this time I started sewing the part of the inner fabric that had folded over from fitting inside the pouch. I again followed the lines of the original pencil case. Then I proceeded as before with the backstitch pattern along the zipper and finished sewing the folded fabric at this end into place.

As sewing was done, I used my xacto knife with a fresh blade and carefully cut off excess fabric.

Then I tested the stone pouch so far and I was satisfied, but it needed some strap for easy carriage.

Step 6: Preparing the Holes for the Strap

Sixth step:

I decided to make holes in the opposite corners of the pouch, two in each end for the shackle to go through and attempted to place the holes around the corner for at good fit for the shackles.

First I marked where I wanted the holes with a permanent marker. Then I sewed a circle that would more or less form the outer edge of the hole using the backstitch pattern and proceeded with to form a star from that. I attempted to place two or three points next to each other with the other ends of the backstitch pattern in the same (or as close as possible) point. This allowed for a circle of stitches going inward/outward.

As I finished a hole I used my Xacto knife to cut a cross in the middle being very careful to avoid cutting the threads

Step 7: Adding the Strap to the Pouch

Seventh step: I used a couple of tweezers to pry open a shackle and then presses one of the ends through the two holes. Once succesful I used the tweezers to close the shackle. This took some effort to get just right and I found that I needed a piece of leather to protect the metal from the tweezers..

I repeated this for the other end while making sure that the strap was straight so that it didn't have any twists.. I took my time as I really didn't want to pry open one of the shackles again.

The whole project of ensuring our daughter pockets worked out great. She has been using it for a while and the number of new holes in her pockets have been reduced to ... zero!