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Design and make a pencil case

21 July 2014 09:00

We have designed a cut-and-sew pencil case for you to colour and make.  There are two designs - flowers and fish.  The pencil case doesn't fit onto a 20cm square, so we have put two onto a fat quarter.  You can choose two of the same design, or one of each.

You can colour them with fabric paints or pens.  Paints are usually more expensive, but there's a better choice of colours.  However, fabric pens are much easier to use!  I used a mixture of both.  I found a pack of fabric pens in basic colours, and then used paint to add an extra colour.  Be aware that the paint/pen may bleed through the fabric, so cover your worksurface before you start!   Don't forget that the paint may need fixing (usually with a hot iron) before you sew.

Once you're happy with the colouring on your pencil case, you can start to sew.

You should have two pieces of fabric 8" x 8½” ; one is the outer shell, the other is the lining, and 4 triangles measuring 2¾” on each side for the ends of the pencil case.  You will also need a piece of wadding or thick fabric 8” x 8½”, or slightly bigger, thread and a 7" -  8" zip.  (The original instructions on which our pencil case is based came from an Australian web site, A Spoonful of Sugar Designs, so all measurements are in inches.  If you prefer to use metric measurements, 8" is approx. 20cms.  Make sure all the edges match.)

Sewing instructions:

Centre the two outer triangles on the short sides of the outer main piece and stitch in place. Fold open the triangles and press.

Lay the pencil case on the wadding and pin in place.  Quilt the layers together, and trim the wadding if necessary.  You can quilt in straight lines, round some of the flowers or fish, or freehand, by hand or using the machine.

Mark a point ¼ inch down from the tip of the triangle.  Pin the side of the triangle to the side of the pencil case.  Stitch in place stopping at the mark. Repeat for both sides of each triangle.

With the pencil case inside out, pin the zip in place on one side, right sides together, and stitch. Open the zip and repeat for the other side.  Turn the pencil case out the right way and press. Top stitch around the edge of the zip.

Stitch the lining pieces together in the same way that you stitched the outer of the pencil case.  Press under ¼ inch along the opening.  Pin the lining inside the pencil case (inside out) and hand stitch in place. 


Of course, you can design your own pencil case from scratch, either using these instructions, or others.  (You can find some here.)  Use outlines if you want to colour your design by hand, or fill in the colour before it's printed.  Or you can use scraps of fabric left over from another project, or off-cuts from a fabric shop.  You need a fairly firm fabric - our 195gsm cotton is ideal.  The original design was for a patchwork pencil-case.  Using those instructions means you can use even smaller scraps of fabric.  Our pencil case was based on this one.