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Pencil Case ~ How to make your own lined Pencil Case with Zip and Piping with free tutorial

April 22, 2013

I made a couple of lined pencil cases with piping at the end of last week and they were so fiddly to make! Since then, I’ve been trying to work out if there is an easier way to do it, and there is! The upshot is that you have a seam on the bottom of the pencil case, but I really don’t think that matters, and it saved my machine from hearing a few choice words too.

I promised a tutorial if I did come up with a better way, so here it is…

Materials Needed

(My pencil case is quite slim – if you want to make yours fatter, increase the short measurements of the fabric rectangles, and increase the cord piping: If you stick to ¼” seams, then the length of cord piping will be 1″ less than the sum of the two short ends of rectangle (so here, my fabric pieces are each 4″ on the short ends. The sum of these two short ends is 8″ so my cord piping is 7″.) If you want a fatter pencil case, using 5″ for the shorter ends, your piping will need to be 9″ (and your circle diameter wider again, although you can measure this out later for accuracy)

Two rectangles of outer fabric (mine are 4″ x 10.5″)

Two rectangles of lining fabric (same size as outer)

Zip (mine was 8″)

Two pieces of cord for the piping(mine were 7″)

Two strips of coordinating fabric for piping (1.5″ x 7.5″)

Two fabric circles in outer fabric (mine were approx. 3″ in diameter – but I cut these once I was sure of piping size – see steps 8 & 9 for this)

Two fabric circles in lining fabric (same size as outer)

Here’s how I made it – really very easy;

See the accompanying slideshow for a visual step-by-step tutorial

  1. Cut your rectangular pieces of fabric and iron if needed. If you need to add interfacing, do that now.
  2. Fold and press a ¼” seam along one long side of each of the four large rectangles.
  3. Pair up one outer fabric rectangle with one lining fabric rectangle. With Wrong Sides Together [WST] and folded edges matching up, pin one side of the zip in place, sandwiched between the two different fabrics.
  4. Repeat with the other side, and check now that the zip runs smoothly without catching on any fabric.
  5. Using your zipper foot, attach the zip with the zip open. Start from the closed end of the zip and sew towards the open end. Half way along, put the needle down into the fabric and ease the zip up past the zipper foot. Continue sewing along and over and down the other side.
  6. To neaten up the appearance of the top of the pencil case, open up the fabrics now so that the Right Sides of each fabric are together [RST]. Pinch the raw ends of fabric together (the bits on either side of the zip ends) and sew these together (I did this by hand) along the pre-pressed folds to ¼” from the end.
  7. With the fabric pieces still RST, sew up the long side of the outer fabric with a ¼” seam.
  8. To make the piping, lay the cord along the centre of your coordinating fabric strip. Fold the fabric in two length-ways and sew it up, with your needle in the left hand position (but still a bit away from the cord edge). Sew the length of the fabric, leaving ½” at the other end. Fold back ¼” of this end in on itself, insert the other (raw) end into the fold to create a full circle. I did this while the fabric was still in the machine which made for a neater finish. Sew over the open ends to complete the circle.
  9. Place this circle onto your scraps of fabric (both outer and lining) and draw round it with an extra ¼-½” round the edge. Cut out two circles in each fabric.
  10. Insert the piping circle inside the outer fabric tube (matching up raw edges with raw edges) and then place the circle of fabric (with the RS facing inwards) inside the piping circle. Using your zipper foot (to get as close to the piping as possible), sew the three layers of fabric together.
  11. Repeat with the other end of the outer fabric. Turn the RS out to check the piping is correctly placed – make any adjustments now.
  12. Using your normal foot again and keeping RST, sew a ¼” seam along the length of the lining fabric, keeping a 3″ gap for turning later.
  13. Attach the two lining fabric circles in a similar way to step 10 (without the complication of piping).
  14. Pull everything through the gap and sew the gap in the lining fabric closed. You can do this with a blind stitch, or just a very small seam with top stitching as it’ll be out of sight in the bottom of the pencil case anyway.
  15. Tuck the inner fabric in place inside the pencil case.
  16. Ta Daaah! You’re done! Made By Yours Truly. Sit back and admire your work with a nice cuppa!

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