Easy fabric pencil case

I’ve been sewing on and off for a couple of years now. Zippers are something I’ve always been afraid of. I figured the best way to overcome my fear of zippers would be to try working with a few. Guess what? Few projects later I can proudly say I haven’t had wasted even one zipper.In fact, learning how to attach one was a pretty smooth ride. I am so hooked on to them now, that I want to use them any chance I get.

I found that zippers are pretty expensive in stores, each one costing upwards of $1.50. If you’re a beginner wanting to try working with zippers and want to feel less guilty about wasting a couple here and there, I would suggest you buy them in bulk online. I bought a set of about 25 zippers in varied colors for about $16 from Amazon.com.

Today I am going to take you through  the process of making a simple case with a zipper closure. You can make these in any size.  I’ve been collecting fabric scraps like crazy since a few years, thanks to the various projects I’ve been trying. They are so pretty I just don’t have the heart to throw them away. I figured the best way to use these are to make purses and pouches. If you are an organization fanatic like me, you just can’t have enough of bags and pouches.


Anyway, here goes the tutorial. This is the tutorial for the easiest pencil case EVER. It is an easy four step process (yes just 4!) and it’ll hardly take you a half hour from start to finish 🙂

Supplies you need:

  • Two layers of fabric, one for outer and another for the lining
  • A zipper that is at least 2 inches longer than the size of the bag that you plan to make.  You’ll learn why, soon.

Step 1: Cut fabric

Cut two layers of fabric each measuring 10″*10″.


Step 2. Attach fabric to zipper

Place the lining fabric wrong side facing down. Now line one side of the zipper along the edge, wrong side facing down.


 Place the outer layer fabric on the zipper right side facing down so that the zipper is now sandwiched between the two fabrics. Ensure both ends of the zipper extends outside the fabric.


Pin these 3 layers together and run a straight stitch along the edge.

Now turn the fabric so that the right side is facing up and press along the  zipper.


Run a straight stitch along the side. This ensures that the zipper slider doesn’t get caught in the fabric as you open and close it.


Now, to do the same thing for the other end. Fold the fabric, wrong side showing up and place along the other side of zipper. Make sure the zipper is sandwiched between the outer fabric and lining.


Pin and run a straight stitch along the side.

Open the zipper up and lay the fabric flat. Given the width if the case, you should have enough space to get your hands in and do this.

Press along the side and run a straight stitch along the edge just like you did for the first side.


p. s: If you notice, the slider was always out of the way when you were stitching along the edges. For a beginner, sewing around the slider gets a little tricky esp. if you use the regular foot. This is why  I suggested using a zipper longer than the fabric. Regular presser foot works great for most cases but it might not work for all. I did a few experiments with zipper foot and wasn’t very happy with the result.  I’ll share my experience as I learn more.

Step 3: Seal the ends

Position your zipper anywhere you want, you could keep it in the center, make it off-center or just move it to the top.

Turn the bag inside out ( lining facing out) .


Bring the zipper to half open position. Very very important step. This will give you an opening to turn your case over.


Pin the sides and seal them with a straight stitch.

Cut out the zipper ends that protrude out and seal with a zigzag stitch.


Step 4: Turn the case right side out. 

Turn the case right side out. Poke the corners to create clean vertices and press.  Your pencil case/mini make up pouch is ready!


 Gift them to a little girl to keep her pencils or hair accessories or make this your mini make up purse and throw it into your handbag. These bags are pretty versatile, super easy to make and super cute to look at.

Update: I tried another of these last week with crisp backing and also gave the bag a 1 inch wide base ( see Grocery bags tutorial to learn how to make the bottom) . The backing was pretty easy to attach and the result was pretty satisfactory, I should say. See pic for the brand/type of backing I used.

Until next time, Happy making!


5 thoughts on “Easy fabric pencil case

  1. Nice! This is so cool! I like the one at the bottom the best. You know, the one that says “Manya”. You probably know why…. ;D!


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