This project is written for the absolute beginner in mind; chances are you have only sewn one or two projects and are wanting to branch off into something a bit more complex without being overwhelmed.
What You Will Need
All pieces are cut at 10 6/8″ in length. Cut the same sized interfacing for each piece, with the exception of the ruffles.
- 2 pieces of 1 6/8″ for contrasting ruffles.
- 2 pieces of 1 1/2″ for zipper fabric.
- 2 pieces of 2 1/2″ for top side fabric.
- 2 pieces of 3 1/2″ of contrasting top lining.
- 1 piece of 5 1/2″ bottom fabric.
- 1 piece of 5 1/2″ contrasting bottom lining.
- 1 standard 10-12″ zipper.
(Optional). From each edge, mark onto your ruffle pieces your stitching lines at 5/8″ deep. This should give you a 1/2″ finished ruffle.
Sew a basting stitch by increase your stitching length to 5mm or longer. Stitch along your marked lines, or at 5/8″ depth. Using your fingers, pinch one thread and then gently slide it against the fabric, creating gathers. Did you know that this is the same way that you can create ruffles!
Repeat this for both sides of the strips.
Just be aware that there is a sewing machine presser foot called a ruffler foot; these are great feet that automatically ruffle your fabric for you as you sew. If you sew a lot of ruffles or gathers, it can be a valuable investment.
Attach the fusible interfacing to the wrong side of the fabric pieces. Ideally you should let it cool completely without touching or moving it; this helps the glue to properly seal to the fabric.
Pin your gathered strips to your smaller top fabric pieces, right sides together. You may need to release your gathers to match the length. Stitch your smaller top fabric pieces to your gathered strips.
Pin the larger fabric strips to the gathers, right sides together. Stitch your larger fabric pieces to your gathered strips. If done correctly, your gathered stripes should now be 1/2″ wide. Don’t worry if your basting stitches are seen; we can carefully remove those in a few steps.
Iron your top pieces, pressing the ruffle open so that your fabric lays flat. Using a seam ripper, carefully unpick your exposed basting stitches. You don’t need to remove them completely – they just shouldn’t be visible from the front side.
Carefully stitch your main fabric as close as you can to the ruffles, following the edge of your gathers; this is known as topstitching.
Unzip your zipper. Using a sharp pair of scissors, cut your zipper down to length.
Note: please pay attention to whether the fabric’s correct side is facing up or down in these next steps.
Place your lining right side up. Align the zipper with the lining edge, right side facing up.
If you want to add the fabric zipper stops, line the raw edges of the zipper stops with the raw edges of the lining, so that the fold is facing towards the centre of your pencil-case.
Align your top fabric with the edge, this time right side down.
Carefully stitch all these layers together.
Sorry, I forgot to take a photo here….
You will want to repeat the last step for the other side of the zipper. If you are sewing the zipper stops, you will need to fold the stop over so that it neatly between your zipper and main fabric. It may help to pin the fabric pieces together so that you don’t accidentally sew the other side…
Iron the pieces of your pencil-case, so that the zipper lays nice and flat. Important: if your zipper is plastic, you will need to iron with a low heat and high steam setting.
Fold your lining in one direction, and your main fabric in the other. Pin the raw edges together for each likewise type of fabric, leaving a roughly 2″ gap in the stitching line.
IMPORTANT: I left a gap in the lining section, later I realised I should have not done so. Please only leave a gap in the main fabric.
Since our pencil-case features boxed corners, you will need to mark your corners. This step can be a bit fiddly.
Work your fabric between your fingers until you can line side seam with side seam. Then measure 1.5″ along the seam, make your mark and then square off. Stitch this line. Trim the corners close to the stitched lines.
Repeat this step for all four outer corners of the pencil-case: two on the main fabric and two on the lining.
Your bag should now look a bit like a jumbled mess. That’s ok; anything worth anything needs to go through a complete crazy stage before refinement can begin.
Remember those holes that we left unsewn? Push your bag through that hole to turn it right side out. Finally, blind stitch the seam closed with hand-stitches.
Enjoy!!! Go ahead, fill your new pencil-case with your favourite pens and pencils and impress others with your skills of art.