Shelley Made: Zippered Pencil Case Instructions

Wednesday 8 August 2012

Zippered Pencil Case Instructions

This is the tutorial for sewing up my Zippered Pencil Cases and Coin/Treasure Purses, available at Spoonflower here

Finished dimensions approx 9 inches by 5 1/4 inches for Pencil Case
Finished dimensions approx 4 1/2 by 3 3/4 inches for the Coin/Treasure purse.

Illustrated here is the Pencil Case, but the construction method is identical for both.


  • Zippered Pouch Cut and Sew Panel from Spoonflower
  • Optional fusible interfacing if using a lighter weight fabric such as quilting cotton or sateen
  • Coordinating zipper at least the width of the outer fabric panel
  • Coordinating thread


Cut out the matching labelled fabric panels
You will end up with two outers, two lining and two zip end covers

If you are not using linen or one of the heavier weight fabrics, I would recommend you apply fusible interfacing to the outer fabrics before starting.
We first need to add the zip end covers.  Take each cover piece, and fold it in half - wrong sides and short ends together.

To find out where to sew the end covers - place the zip on the top of one piece of outer fabric.  Align the ends of the zip covers with the edges of the outer fabric, as shown in the photo.

Top stitch these in place close to the folds.  Make sure that the zipper pull itself is well inside the opening between the two ends you are attaching. Make sure you are also well clear of the metal end - you do not want to sew over that! I prefer to use a longer zip, and cut off the extra. Trim off the extra fabric on both sides.

Next - we create a sandwich of sorts.  Place one outer of fabric face up.  Place your zip face down and aligned with the raw edge at the top, and your zip covers at each side edge. 

Place a lining piece of fabric over the top of this - to complete the "sandwich".

Put a zipper foot on your machine.  Sew a 1/4 inch seam all the way along that top edge to secure the layers - making sure to more the zipper pull out of the way as you go. 
Fold the pieces right sides out.  You will now have this - one side of the pencil case done:

Next, we will repeat with the other side.  Make another sandwich - exactly the same as before...but on the other side of the zip.  Place your other outer piece right side up, then the zip face down just like before (so both outer fabrics face each other), then finally your other lining piece face down.  Sew another 1/4 inch seam.

Now, we should have something that looks like this...


and bottom..

Now is a good time to give it a press.  Pull the four pieces of fabric away from the zipper.  Press along the folds.

 Next - we will topstitch around the zipper (still using the zipper foot).  I used about 1/8 inch, and a longer stitch - about 3.5).  This will help keep everything nice and firmly in place - and will stop anything from catching in the zip.

Finally - sewing up the sides.  Switch back to your regular foot.  With right sides together, outer to outer, and lining to lining - sew a 3/8 inch seam around all edges.  In the photo below I've folded back the linings so you can see which fabrics are matched together.  Leave a gap of 1.5 inches on the long edge of the lining so you can turn through.  Make sure you have opened the zip before you do this - or you will have all sorts of difficulty turning through otherwise!  

Sew very slowly over the bulk at the zip ends...and make sure you "squash" the zip towards the lining on both sides - not towards the outer fabric.   The zip teeth should be next to the outer fabric, and the zip fabric is inside the lining...  See photo for details...

After sewing around - it will look like this.  The arrow indicates where my opening for turning is.

Trim off all four corners, so your corners will sit nicer after turning.  I also like to trim out some of the bulk where the zip ends are to get a better finish on the zip ends once turned.  Clip off any zip ends that overhang if you used a longer zip like I did.

Turn out through your opening.   Poke the corners out with a knitting needle, or other blunt instrument. 

Sew closed the opening in the lining with a very small seam. 

Push the lining into the outer.  I like to give it a little press just to finish.

You are done!


  1. Wow great pencil case,i want this.Thanks for sharing.

  2. Very clever! Love the back to school ideas! I am a new follower!