I was making a small bag using the beautiful text fabric my friend Kris sent me, and I ended up cutting the fabric too big. The trimmed extra was too small for anything usable, but too pretty to throw away. So I kept on pondering what to make with it that would be very fast and super easy to sew.
Since we live on the Pacific coast, any overseas travel ends up being a very long affair. First, it’s about a 5-hour flight coast to coast across the US, then crossing the Atlantic takes another 8+ hours depending on the destination. I always pack in a sketchbook and pencils to keep myself occupied.
I started this painting of the Dryburgh Abbey in Scotland during one of those long flights. I was using Derwent watercolour pencils and I dropped a couple of them under the seat. I finally ended up recovering them, but it was really difficult in the confined space of an airplane.
It occurred to me that a small pencil case would be nice as a temporarily storage. That way, I wouldn’t have to keep holding them in my hand and also wouldn’t risk dropping them.
The grey one was so easy to make that I decided to make another one using the space fabric and share a tutorial with you.
The one I made is 3.0 inches wide and holds 7-8 pencils. You can adjust the width to add more pencils, of course. Substitute the 3.5 inch with your own number for the adjusted width. Just remember to add 0.5 inch for seam allowance (0.25 inch on each side).
You don’t have to be too exact with your measurements for this pencil case. There is room for mistakes and you can always trim to align the sides. I used 0.25 inch seam allowance.
Outside Fabric (space fabric in the pictures) –
7.0 x 3.5 inches – 2 pieces, one for the back side and one for the front side
Lining Fabric (light grey/silver fabric in the pictures)
A contrasting colour works well for this project.
7.0 x 3.5 inch – 1 piece
4.0 x 3.5 inch – 1 piece
10.5 x 3.5 inch – 1 piece
Iron-On Interfacing –
Light-weight interfacing, just stiff enough to provide stability.
7.0 x 3.5 inch – 1 piece
10.5 x 3.5 inch – 1 piece
Button – 1 medium to large size
Cord – 16.0 inch
1. Place the 4.0 x 3.5 inch lining fabric on top of the 7.0 x 3.5 inch outer fabric that is for the back side, right sides facing together, aligned at the top. Sew the 3.5 inch top edges together. Note – If you are using directional outer fabric, make sure to stitch the lining piece to the top edge of the outer fabric. Press the seam.
2. Iron on the 10.5 x 3.5 inch interfacing on the back of the above piece. This is the finished back piece. Set it aside.
3. Take the 7.0 x 3.5 inch outer fabric that is meant for the front side, iron on the 7.0 x 3.5 inch interfacing on the back of this fabric.
4. Place the 7.0 x 3.5 inch lining fabric on the piece from step 3, right sides facing together, aligned on all sides. Sew the 3.5 inch top edges together. Note – Here also, if you are using directional outer fabric, make sure to stitch the lining piece to the top edge of the outer fabric.
5. Fold the lining fabric behind the outer fabric, iron the seam and top stitch. Measure approximately 2.5 inches from the bottom (open edge) and sew a button in the middle. I stitched the button only to the outer fabric. This is the finished front piece.
6. Place the 10.5 x 3.5 inch lining fabric wrong side up beside the finished front piece from step 5, aligning the bottoms. Mark a spot in the middle of the lining fabric such that the spot is at least 0.5 inch under the top edge of the front piece on the right side. Sew the cord on the wrong side of the lining fabric on that marked spot. Note – Make sure the cord is pointed upward, away from the bottom edge, as shown in the picture.
7. Lay down the long back piece right side up. Place the smaller front piece on top of it with the lining fabric side facing up, outer fabric side facing down. Then place the cord-stitched lining fabric, wrong side up, as shown. Note – Make sure the cord is pointing toward the top side. I offset the pieces in the picture to show you the placements. Align all sides. Sew the bottom side (opposite the cord) first, then sew the two long sides together. Leave the top open so you can turn the pencil case out.
8. Trim the bottom corners and slowly turn the pencil case out.
9. Place a pencil in the pocket now and fold the flap over for sizing. Trim the edge if you want a shorter flap. Note – If you trim, make sure to tuck the cord in between the lining and the back piece to keep it out of the way. Fold the open edge in 0.25 inch all around and iron. You can now top stitch the top gap to close it. I didn’t like that look, so I blind-stitched mine. Make sure the cord is in the centre as you stitch the gap shut.
That’s it! This is the back of the case.
Fill the case with pencils, loop the cord around the button a couple of times and tie a knot. I used a cord instead of velcro or a push button because I wanted the opening to be versatile. This way I can use it for pencils or pens of different lengths and still be able to close the case snugly.
I hope you find this tutorial useful. I am sure you can think of many things to store in them other than pencils and pens.
I really liked the steampunk charm pieces, but I needed buttons. So I drilled holes in them to make buttons out of them. My local craft store didn’t have any grey cord, and I really wanted to use a silver/grey cord for the space-themed one. I cut a piece of black cord, taped the two sides to a piece of paper, then brushed silver acrylic paint on it. It worked out wonderfully. This whole project ended up being completely improvised, starting with a wrong cut of fabric!
I am linking up with the linky parties on my Events And Links page. Please pay a visit to some of them.