Friday, September 9, 2011

Back to School Pencil Case

I have always thought that the best thing about starting school are the new school supplies.  I'm sure I'm not alone.  Right before the start of the year, Ava had her 12th birthday party and since she only wanted to have 4 kids I thought it would be fun to make the goody bags more functional than years past.  And, since the theme of her party was "Japanese cute", these little binder pencil cases were perfect.  I swear they didn't take long, and besides, Ava helped me and we got to really hang out before she headed off to middle school.  So. Much. Fun.  Ava drew the little cute characters and I cut and sewed them up.


back to school pencil cases

What you'll need:

- cotton canvas
- velcro
- vinyl
- contrasting thread
- grommets (and a grommet setter)
- some art


1) Cut your pieces. 
   Canvas: 5" x 8"
   Vinyl:  8" x 10", then fold in half
   Velcro: 7.5" x 1/2" (I cut a 1" width in half the long way)
   Canvas strip: 1" x 8", the press in half long wise

 2) Fold the vinyl in half, sandwiching the little piece of art in the middle.  Smooth out any bubbles and insert cut edge of vinyl into the canvas strip that has been pressed in half.  One side of the velcro strip (it doesn't matter if it is the loops or the fuzzy side) will be sewn onto the back of the canvas strip.  
note: I find pins get in the way, so I am just careful and sew this together without them.
3) Topstitch along the perimeter of the canvas strip with a small zig zag, being sure to grab the velcro into the stitch.

4) Sew the velco onto an 8" side of the backing canvas in the same manner, then press the velco sides together so they are secure.

 5) Using a zig zag stitch and starting at an edge with velco, sew around the three raw sides of the pouch.  Be sure to backstitch at the beginning and the end.
Set your machine to a straight stretch stitch (it's a utility stitch that goes forward twice, back once, forward twice, etc.)It makes a nice bold line. Stitch right along the edge of the zig zag on the first side, about 3/4" from the closed 8" edge (this will allow space for grommets, and then back up along the edge of the zig zag on the other side.  This reinforced line will make it so pencil tips don't get stuck in the zig zag stitching.  The zig zag makes it unnecessary to hem, which, as you might already know, I am all about avoiding.

6) Add grommets following the manufacturers directions.  They are very easy to do and the whole kit for setting them costs only a few dollars.  You will need a hammer.  Don't be scared off.  You'll want to find loads of ways to use them because they are really quite handy.

The kids loved them and everyone got their favorite animal.  We filled them with paper covered pencils (made by Ava), japanese erasers (of course), and little paper wind spinners that had their names stamped on them (Ava made them with a circle paper punch and stamps and then we sewed them together in the blink of an eye).


  1. very cute. love the idea of double vinyl to put a picture in between. thanks for the tutorial.

    one question... does the velcro lose its stickiness in day-to-day use.. with the dust and debris sticking to the loops?

  2. I think the velcro will last for a while. It hasn't appeared to be a problem at all so far. It is all I can so not to say it has "sticking power". There, I said it. Ha.

  3. Very nice and cute. I will definitely try to make one!

  4. Thank you! Grazie! I'd love to see what you make so send me a link! xo

  5. This is so so so cute! I loved it! I would love it if you could make a tutorial for something classy like these pencils cases ! They are so so trendy and classy!