Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Post 92 - pencil case tutorial

For what it's worth here is the pencil case tute. I had this all ready to go on Wednesday night - clicked publish and poof!!!!! It all disappeared into no-man's land.

I used two kinds of vinyl. One is zephyr vinyl from spotlight -usually lives down with the plastic tablecloths etc. It is the black in this tute. The red vinyl is much thinner, it came from lincraft and would be used for dress-ups I think - very soft and drapable - sorry I don't know the name.

Step 1

Start with the decorative bit - simply cut it out with very sharp scissors and stitch it on (or like the skipping girl pencil case in the last post you can cut it out of the pencil case and sew some vinyl in behind.) Lay it out and sew as much of it together as possible so that you don't have too many layers when you sew it to the pencil case. I sewed the small grey bit to the white dial and then the dial to the telephone. Pull your threads to the back and trim / tie.

To sew I use a Teflon foot and to get a nice sewing line I line up the outside of the design with the inner edge of the foot and then I move my needle position over to the left a little . So as long as I stay on the edge my sewing is in the right spot ! (see pic above)

Step 2

This case is two pieces of black measuring 7 1/2 x 8 1/2 inches. You might want to make them longer - just make sure your zipper is as long as your vinyl squares (or way too long like me ) .

Sew your design onto one piece of the vinyl leaving at least an inch from the sides top or bottom.

Step 3 - the zip (stay calm)

This is what we want to achieve with the next step.

I like to sew the zipper and vinyl right sides together and then open it out and top stitch it but you can simply sew it together as laid out in the previous photo if you want to as the vinyl won't fray.

Top stitch as before by lining up your edge and moving your needle position over.

Yippee - That is about as hard as it gets - I hope I haven't lost anyone yet -

Step 4

Now you need 2 inch strips of vinyl for the ends - I use the thinner vinyl here. I found that if I used the zephyr vinyl for the whole pencil case (like the monkey one in the previous post) it is just too thick. The length of these will be determined by the width of your zip. I tend to just cut them long and then trim them to fit.

With right sides together, sew them to your case- aha I hear you cry - that makes sense!!!!

On the zipper tail side I like to sew up the side as close to the zip as possible then back stitch a bit to secure your thread before jumping over the zipper and continuing on your merry way . (if you bought the right size zip this may not be a problem). I used big chunky zips and they prove disastrous if you accidentally sew over them. guessed it finger press those seams out and top stitch , avoiding the zipper tail again if you need to.(maybe I was a country and western singer in a past life- I sure do love my top stitchin').

You may need to stitch the tail of your zipper closed and chop off the excess if you happened to get the wrong size. I mean I have heard that people sometimes do things like that !

Step 5 - getting it all together

Now you have to OPEN the zipper - I repeat OPEN the zipper before folding your pencil case in half along the zip .

Yes i do realise that the zip is closed in the photo- the resulting swear words meant I was sure to include the OPEN the zipper instruction once or twice in the tutorial.

With the zipper OPEN sew around the remaining sides and turn the pencil case right side out through the OPEN zipper.

Optional step

You don't have to do - the pencil case is just fine if you leave out this step. I call it paper bagging the corners. That was how it was once explained to me so I just go along with it.

To do this you fold your side seam of the pencil case against the top seam (yes it is an imaginary seam-just along the line of the zip). to form a triangle. Stitch across about 1/2 inch from the edge or wherever you like - just make sure it is the same for all four corners.

Make a few - fill them with hair ties, pencils, matchbox cars and give a bit of handmade this holiday season !!!!!! I am off for a cuppa - sheesh that took a while !


  1. Wow, what a great tutorial!!! You never cease to amaze me with your incredible talent. I can't wait to get home and get started on one straight away!!!!
    I've been getting a bit worried... Have you recieved any mail from me yet?? I sent it 9 days ago and thought that you would of had something by now.. Everyone else that I sent to has recieved their's. I do know what our postast service can be like at times, but 9 days??? I could've sent it overseas quicker. LOL!!


  2. What a great tutorial - I can't wait to try it!!

  3. Hey Jod, Love your work as usual. Would love to try as they look way easier than I thought. Won't be till after Christmas though! Take care Shaz

  4. Thanks for sharing this!

  5. Post 91....
    Post 92....
    Post 93....
    and counting - your on fire Jodie. Fantastic tute and I can't wait to get stuck into one. I'm still laughing at some of your directions particulary the 'stay calm' direction for the zippers. Why do zippers do our heads in??
    On the subject of vinyl how did you go with the tote you posted a while back that you reckon you got wrong - the one with the pic on the outside - did you finish it? Would love to see it. Hope you are feeling better today.

  6. You have made zippers make sense Jodie. I am looking forward to having a try. Your photos of the tute are terrific. Well Done!

  7. Jodie
    even with your 'stay calm' warning, I dont think Lissa + Zippers = good idea.. I am actually thinking I should stay clear of zippers! :O) zippers and lycra are not Lissa Friendly.. thats why god invented seamstresses who live up the street and are happy to rescue you...

    thanks again for a great tutorial and hope the cuppa was 'riffic..

    nearly back from the dead...

  8. Jodie you make it look so easy, somehow I don't think it will be that straight forward for me! however I am going to trust you and give it a go (when I get 5 mins) I need a bag for my buttons.

    Angela xx

    P.S thanks for stopping by my blog I haven't had much time to stop by lately. market wasn't too great but I did get a really big order off of the back of it so it was worth going.

  9. Thanks for the tutorial. I love tutorials. I hope I can get cured from by fear of sewing zippers!

  10. Brilliant! I love all the black, red and white!

  11. Hey Jodie! I love the clunky retro phone; would our kids actually know what it was? it would be fun explaining what we all used to do to make a call.

  12. Great tutorial Jodie! I love the bit about adding the end pieces to the case after doing the zip coz that would stop that horrible curvy, lumpy, bendy bit at the top! Now I need to work out how to incorporate that into my fabric purses with linings! (Any tips gratefully received!!!) Lucy x

  13. You certainly need a cuppa after that!! Great explaining-very clear instructions thank you for sharingyet again :)

  14. Hi Jodie great tutorial I will have try it, I was going to do pencil rolls for some of my Christmas presents, I think I might do personalised pencil cases instead.
    Cheers Christine.

  15. Nice one Jodie! And you made it to CraftZine!

  16. That's a great tutorial. I loved the "stay calm"...I was hyperventilating waaaaay before that stage!

  17. Great tutorial ! I am normally so rubbish with zips but I may jut have another go.


  18. You are v. creative and talented!

  19. Thanks for sharing - you do make the whole zip thing seem quite easy.

  20. Thankyou for being so generous and sharing your brilliance - i am going to attempt a pencil case for christmas presnets - zip and all!!Scary - but i will concentrate on breAthing!!

  21. Hello Jodie!
    You make a lot of things, and all of them very nice.
    Thanks for share

  22. Thanks Jodie for the great tutorial. Love the OPEN the zip instructions! Just made it with some material that I had here. Thanks Again Kylie

  23. I just saw this through Sew, mama, sew! - what a great tutorial, I can't wait to get my supplies and get to work


  24. Hi Jodie! Wow, congratulations on being the very first tutorial listed for SewMamaSew's November Handmade Holidays! You've done the Aussie girls proud. Your tutorials are always so well written & imaginative. Glad they are being appreciated worldwide. Now sit back, tell yourself how wonderful you are & enjoy watching your stats go through the roof!


Hellloooooo !!!!