A creative mess is better than tidy idleness. ~Author Unknown
Any day spent sewing, is a good day. ~Author Unknown
I love sewing and have plenty of material witnesses. ~Author Unknown

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Pencil Pouch Tutorial

My goal to embellish the back of the required pencil pouch failed.  You have to take it apart to much to be able to sew on the back.  So what's a mom to do with a mostly disassembled pouch?  How about finish the job and take some measurements. =)  Besides, if all else fails I bought two of the pouches (on sale) so my daughter could take the other one to school.

To make one you will need:

1/3 yard fabric
3 - 1/2" grommets
12" zipper
10" card stock
6"x 9" vinyl

ribbons, patches, rhynstones, rick-rack, ect...  Basically whatever you would like to embellish it with.

Because I used quilting fabric I chose to double my fabric to make sure the pouch would be durable.  The Kindergarten teachers complained last year that the kids would drop the pencil boxes and the lids would break off; I didn't want them to find fault with my pouch saying it wasn't as strong as the required one.  Also, doubling the fabric made it so when looking through the window you are still looking at the right side of the fabric.  I'm going to show you what I did, but know you don't have to double the fabric. 
Pieces already zig-zag stitched together. Vinyl on top of Back piece (hence the white "glare").

Cut fabric:
  • Back 9 3/4" x 10 3/4" (x2)
  • 2 Side Panels 1 7/8" x 5 3/8" (x4)
  • Top Panel 1 3/8" x 10 3/4" (x2)
Cut vinyl window : 5 3/8" x 8 3/8"

Zipper: cut to 11" and either melt or use fray check on the ends to prevent fraying.  Zigzag stitch the zipper together to prevent the zipper from pulling apart before you can sew it on; this will later be removed.  To get a matching zipper I had to buy a 22" zipper and cut it down to 11".  The original zipper didn't have the stops so with mine being longer I cut them off. 
 Both ends are zig-zag stitched together.

Card Stock: 1 1/8" x 9 7/8"

Have some fun on the back!  Remember the top will fold over perhaps 3/4" and the bottom a couple inches so 4" from the top is right at the center of the back.

Because I have tonsillitis I really didn't feel like being creative so a quick visit to Hancock Fabrics and Hobby Lobby gave my daughter plenty of patch options to chose from.  They were all iron on, which I did, but given that it's going on a pencil pouch I also sewed around each patch

If doubling, pair each piece up with wrong sides together and zig-zag or serge stitch all edges to both bind them together and prevent fraying.  If only using one layer you will still need to zig-zag or serge the edges.


Iron one long edge of each side panel under 1/4" then lay it on top of the vinyl ends, overlapping 1/4" and top stitch.  If you're like me and using re-purposed vinyl you will face the same issue of the vinyl sticking to your machine.  I cut a straight line on a coffee filter, marked 1/4" (needed to see my seam allowance) and used a glue stick to get it to stay on my vinyl.  It worked amazingly well and after each seam I pulled the paper off and wiped the vinyl with a damp cloth to get the glue off.

Now that you have the two sides on it's time to add the top the same way as the sides; iron under 1/4", overlay it 1/4" onto the vinyl and top stitch.

Are you ready to tackle the zipper?  If you've never done one, it's really not hard.

Fold the Top piece over 1/4" and iron.  Slip the zipper under the Top piece until the fold almost touches the zipper (just like the one original) and pin like crazy. =)  Top stitch.  Now look at that you're halfway done with the zipper.  Good job!

The Back piece is sewn on just like the Top piece.  Fold the top edge under 1/4" and slip it up to the zipper just like the Top piece and top stitch.  Congratulations you just put in a zipper!

Fold the pouch inside out and line up the Back piece with the bottom of the Vinyl and Side Panels; sew 1/4".

Ready to sew up the sides?  Line up the Back panel with the back edge of the zipper just like in the photo; yes this means part of the back will wrap over the top of the pouch.  Once you have it lined up sew 1/4" seams down each side.  Make sure your zipper is open BEFORE you sew the sides together or you will have a lot of fun trying to get it open.

Clip the corners and turn right side out.

The bottom card stock is the original piece I took out of the pouch.
Slip the Card Stock into the bottom of the pouch and top stitch all the way around the Card Stock.
The animal print pouch is NOT by Elmer's; the card is only in there to show the size.

And there you go, you have a pencil pouch the same size as the required one.  The top corner looks wonky in the photo, but that's only because the zipper is making the fabric stand up.

I have yet to put the grommets on the pouch, but will just so the teacher won't say it's not the same as the required pouch.  On the store bought pouch the center of the grommets are 3/4" from each edge and 5".  I've never done it, but my husband said he's put them in before with a harmer and the little thing they come with.  I guess I'll see how easy they are. =)

Unless you have everything on hand or just want a cool pouch it's cheaper to buy the real deal.  The zipper cost me more than the whole pouch I purchased.  But... my daughter will have the coolest pouch in Kindergarten.


Robin (RsIslandCrafts) said...

Great tutorial Jennifer! It may not be cost effective for a young child but it would be fun for a college student.

Unknown said...

Great Tutorial.. thank you for sharing with us. I know your little one will be the envy of all the children in her class. Great way to create!!!

Heather said...

Great tutorial, you daughter will be the envy of her classmates, and you might even have to take orders, LOL! Thanks for visiting my blog, it is nice to hear from others who care! Hugs.