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Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Practically Perfect Pencil Case

I've had my eye on a bow clutch for some time now, but just couldn't get up the nerve to attempt one. I was really afraid of botching it and then being left with a "bleh" purse. I realized yesterday that I could try it on a smaller scale - I could make a pencil case instead!

A pencil/pen case is a must have for a teacher. I often get fed up digging around in my bag for a pen, and this year I won't have a homeroom with a handy pencil cup at my elbow. This project took me about an hour to make, and I already owned the fabric. Winning! 

(Note: I dubbed this the Practically Perfect Pencil Case after the Broadway Mary Poppin's song. As MP is the epitome of chic orderliness in my mind, it seemed perfect. If you haven't heard the song, you should check it out.) 


2 - 3.5" x 9" outer fabric 
(I used a bottom weight fabric)
2 - 3.5" x 9" lining
2 - 3.5" x 10" bow
9" zipper
(you do not need an invisible zipper - that's just what I had and I'm cheap!)

With right sides together, stitch the 3.5" x 10" bow pieces together (long sides only). 

Do not sew the other two sides!

Trim the seam allowances. 

Turn right side out, center, and pin onto the front of one outer piece. The bow pieces will extend past the casing. 

Stitch 1/8" seam down the short sides and trim excess. 

Turn that piece over, wrong side now up. Lay one piece of lining on top, right side up. (Wrong side of lining and casing should be facing.)

With the wrong side of the zipper facing you, align the top with your fabric and pin. 

I actually sewed from this side (not sure what I was thinking....not enough coffee?).

Stitch down the top edge of the zipper, as close to the teeth as you can (I used a zipper foot). 

Ta da!

Now it's time to layer those pieces. From the bottom: 1) piece with the bow-to-be (and zipper attached) right side up, 2) remaining piece of outer casing, right side down, and 3) remaining piece of lining, right side up. Line those two top layers up on the other half of the zipper and stitch. 

Now you your lining and casing attached to either side of the zipper. The hard part is over. :)

Before you go any further, make sure you unzip the zipper about halfway. 

Flip the lining to one side of the zipper and the outer casing to the other side. 

Stitch around the outer edge of the casing, making sure you don't catch your bow fabric (I pinned mine back).

Next stitch around the outer edge of the lining, leaving a 3-4" gap in the center of the long side. 

Through the gap (you left a gap, right?), pull the casing through and turn the bag right side out. Stitch the raw edges of the lining together. Trim the ends of your zipper. 

To form the bow, I accordion pleated the fabric and gave it a couple stitches. That wasn't quite enough to make it look finished, so I ended up taking one of the discarded edges and tying it around the middle (hiding the knot behind). 

I know there are other ways of putting in the lining that would not leave raw edges around the zipper, but it just wasn't a priority on this project. Maybe I should have named it the "Super Fast, Super Cute Pencil Case". This is a great project if you (like me) want to practice making a zippered, lined bag with no pressure. 

Sweet Anne Designs - Sweet Sharing Monday



  1. Super cute, I love the little bow! You did a great job :-) Thanks so much for sharing this at The Fun In Functional!

  2. Wow. This is amazing! I bet it would be totally doable to make it on a smaller scale for lip gloss and hand lotion. I think you just inspired me to spend my afternoon doing this. :) Eek, I've never, ever sewn a zipper before, though, so I guess this will be my experiment.

    1. Yeah, I was thinking about that too! It could easily be made any size. Tell me how it goes!

    2. I finally made one! I'm in love.
      I struggled a little bit with the zipper, but it ended up turning out good. :)

  3. that's adorable! and I love the gray + yellow color combo!

  4. Sew Cute! Sorry, couldn't resist. This is adorable. I saw it on Friday Flair at Whipperberry.Have a great weekdend! ~ Nici

  5. So cute!! I love the colors and patterns you used. Thanks for linking up at Pin It Thursday!

  6. This is a great pencil case and I love the fabrics you chose. Thank you for sharing this at Simply Creation's Link Party!

  7. So pretty! My daughter will love this for the first day of school. thanks for sharing!

  8. This is a super cute pencil pouch! I saw Mary Poppins in NYC in January and after reading the "Practically Perfect" part of your post... Oh my, that's so cute! Thanks for linking up at Doodles & Stitches. I hope you are having a great weekend!

  9. Super cute! The pencil size is so versatile. Thanks for the great tute too :D

    Melissa L.
    I signed up to be a follower on your blog, and I would love and apprecaite you to become a follower on mine!

  10. This is really cute! Looks easy too..

  11. That is just the cutest thing! Thank you for sharing. Visiting from Homemaker on a Dime. Would love it if you would share this post at my Make it Pretty Monday party at The Dedicated House which goes live at 8am CST on Monday. Hope to see you at the bash! Toodles, Kathryn @TheDedicatedHouse

  12. This is so cute! I love yellow and gray together! would love for you to come link up your homepage at my Get Social Sunday party and show off your blog!

  13. That IS super cute - great colors too!
    Thanks for sharing!
    Stacey of Embracing Change

  14. VERY cute!!!! I am going to have to give that a try. I have only worked with zippers in clothing and I have wanted to try it out on bags but have been a little intimidated.....
    THANK YOU for sharing!!
    I found you through Talent Tuesday!

  15. Wow very cute pencil case, one time i want making pencil case own my design. Thanks for sharing beautiful and cute post with us. :)

  16. I saw this at

    Both of yours look amazing! You are two talented bloggers. Keep it up ladies!



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