Spoonflower team member Michelle shows us how to sew up a quick pencil case using one of her favorite cut & sew kits from our recent design challenge. Pick your favorite kit, learn how to install a zipper, and fill your new handmade pencil case with back to school goodies!


This tutorial shows you how to create a pencil case using one of my favorite designs from the top ten Pencil Case Cut & Sews from our recent design challenge. Even if you are a little nervous about installing a zipper, these bags sew up fast and easy! I taught students how to whip up these sweet bags in a class our community crafting space, The Greenhouse, this past Tuesday. Even the most apprehensive students walked away with an adorable bag. If you’re nearby, check out the schedule for more fun classes in the Greenhouse!

Once you learn to make a lined zippered bag, you will be dreaming up all of the possibilities– from coin purses to large zippered tote bags!


• Your pencil case cut & sew pattern

(I used Heidi Kenney’s pencil pouch printed on Linen Cotton Canvas. You can find lots of ready-to-sew pencil case kits in the Spoonflower marketplace, or design your own!)

• Scissors

• Matching thread

• Ruler

• Fabric Marker

• 12” Zipper

• Zipper foot for your sewing machine*

*If you don’t have a zipper foot, don’t fret! This can be done with a regular presser foot as long as you go slowly.


How To:


Mark seam allowances at ¼”.


1. Cut out all four pieces.


2. Place your outer fabric face up, and your zipper face down aligning the top edges.


3. Place your lining fabric on top face down.


4. Using your zipper foot, sew close to the zipper teeth. Don’t sew too close! It is better to stitch a little farther away at first and go back and re-stitch than to have to pick out stitches when your zipper won’t open! This can be a little tricky– don’t worry if it takes a few tries.
Repeat steps 2-4 for the other side.


5. Open your fabric so that the wrong sides are together. Make sure your zipper moves up and down. Iron the zipper on a low heat setting. The hardest part is over!


6. Unzip the zipper two thirds of the way. This is very important! You will not be able to turn your bag right side out unless you unzip it!


7. Placing right sides together, stitch all the way around the edge with a ¼” seam allowance. Leave a 3” gap on the long edge of the lining pieces.


8. Clip your corners and notch the curved pieces.


9. Turn your bag using the gap you left in the lining. It will be tricky, but it can be done! Use a point turner, bone folder or large, blunt knitting needle to push the corners out.


10. Iron the seams.


11. Stitch the gap in the lining closed. I like to do this by machine because it is inside the bag, but you can hand stitch it for a neater finish.


12. Push the lining down into the outer bag.


Fill with all of your back to school goodies and admire your new pencil pouch! For more nifty back to school tutorials, be sure to check out our Pinterest board. 

Need more DIY projects? Check out our Back to School DIYs roundup for 41 awesome projects to get your creativity flowing!

About Our Guest Author

HeadshotMichelle heads up the customer service team in Berlin. She is a maker of things, and learner of new crafting skills.