Positioning a zipper on a pencil case PLUS the finishing touches [tutorial]

Personalized pencil case ready for Back to School

In yesterday’s post, I showed you how to create the postcard-valentine embroidery using the delightful limited edition PFAFF creative™ ambition™ 640. Today I’ll show you how to finish this wonderful pencil case project just in time for Back to School. To start, remove the embroidery arm on the machine and grab the Invisible Zipper Foot that’s part of the 5-piece bonus set included with the machine.

The PFAFF creative ambition 640 comes with 5 bonus presser feet.


Marking the center of the fabric and edges of the zipper to ensure the zipper is well centered

To make sure the zipper was well centered on the fabric, on the back of the embroidered fabric, I marked the center and the edges of the zipper. I did the same for one of my other fabric rectangles. Then I stitched my 2 rectangles together, right sides facing each other, using a ½” seam allowance. I stitched a regular solid stitch on both edges, but simply basted the section where the zipper goes. Meaning that for the regular stitch, my stitch length was 2.5 while the basting stitch was at 4.

Applying HeatNBond Quilter’s Edge Iron-On Adhesive Tape onto the seam allowance to secure the zipper

Now here’s my new trick to easily position a zipper onto a project.

  1. Iron the two pieces together and, on the reverse side, press open the seams.
  2. Apply a piece of ¼” HeatNBond Quilter’s Edge Iron-On Adhesive Tape in the center of each seam allowance, in the basted section, by gently pressing for two seconds with your dry iron using the silk setting.
  3. Let the fabric cool off, remove the paper backing on the adhesive tape and then position the zipper. Press once more with your iron for 4 to 6 seconds.
  4. Using the Invisible Zipper Foot, sew the zipper into place.
  5. Flip the project over and carefully remove the basting to reveal the zipper.

Carefully remove the basting to reveal the zipper.

Adding a lining

Now, you can finish the pencil case at this stage, but I prefer adding a lining to hide the backside of the embroidery. All you need to do is position another rectangular piece of fabric with the right side facing the zipper and stitch once more.

Adding a lining to the pencil case

Repeat for the other side. Your lining is now set on your pencil case.

Both linings added to the pencil case

Adding a strap

Once more, you can be ready to finish the project at this stage. However, I decided to add another touch to the project, a strap! I thought it would add a nice touch and a way to easily carry the pencil case. I took a 3” x 12” piece of fabric and folded it in half lengthwise. I then folded each edge toward the center (first fold crease). Once pressed into place, I stitched a straight line on each edge. You can also use a fancy decorative stitch available on the machine or even better! Why not stitch the name of your child on the strap? It’s all possible using the PFAFF creative ambition 640.

Folding a piece of fabric to create a strap

Securing the strap with a straight stitch on opposite sides

Finishing the pencil case

The next step is to fold the pencil case into its finished look, the right side facing you. Pin the edges together, all 4 layers, ensuring they’re nice and flat. Add the strap to an edge facing inward and secure it with pins. Stitch into place.

Pinning the pencil case together for final stitching

Cut any excess fabrics around the stitch line so you only have a ¼” seam allowance all around. Then open the zipper and turn the pencil case inside out, ensuring the strap lays nice and flat inside. I like to press the seams and corners to ensure they also lay nice and flat. Stitch once more at ⅜”. This method gives you a nice smooth finish without having to add a binding.

Flip pencil case inside out and stitch edges at ⅜” for a nice smooth finish.

All you need to do now is flip the pencil back to the right side and you’re done! You have a personalized pencil case ready to head to school with even if your child isn’t that ready!

Personalized pencil case ready for Back to School

Hope you enjoyed making this pencil case project. I sure enjoyed creating it while testing the new PFAFF creative ambition 640. I just love how easy it is to use the machine to embroider cool projects with it. Please do post your finished products on your favorite social media using #Thesewgoeson so I can see them too.

This is part 5 of 5 in this series

Go back to part 4: Embroidery personalizes an essential Back to School pencil case [easy]

Related posts

Embroidery personalizes an essential Back to School pencil case [easy]

Creating a label is a cinch with the PFAFF creative ambition 640

More great features on the PFAFF creative ambition 640 [easy to use]