Sewing up a sharp-looking pencil case for back-to-school

Happy Tuesday! Today we’re sewing up our pencil case. Yesterday we gathered up supplies and discussed the cutting instructions. Check out yesterday’s post if you missed it. Today, I’m using HeatnBond Lite Iron-On Adhesive Sheets, COSTUMAKERS General Purpose Closed End Zipper, Fairfield Quilter’s 80/20 Quilt Batting, UNIQUE sewing Wash-out Marker and FabricFuse by HeatnBond Quickbond Fabric Adhesive to complete this cutie.

Pencil case for school

Sewing instructions

Step 1

To prepare the appliqued name on my pencil case, I used the Britannica font in Microsoft Word sized up to 150 as shown.

Settings on my computer to design my name applique using Britannica font size 150

Step 2

Change the name print to a blue outline and then print it out on a printer. Cut out the name leaving a ¼” border. Place on the right side of the lettering fabric. Get ready to fuse with FabricFuse by HeatnBond Quickbond Fabric Adhesive and HeatnBond Light Iron-On Adhesive as shown below.

HeatnBond Lite, FabricFuse and printed name ready for machine applique

Step 3

Using the FabricFuse place a few dots of glue on the corners of the paper and in between the letters to hold the name in place on the wrong side of the paper. Glue the paper glue side to the right side of the black letter fabric.

TIP Make sure the glue is not directly on the letters as this is great fusing glue and it will make the paper stick to the fabric. The glue is used to hold the name pattern in place and will be cut away after fusing. It’s very effective glue and takes very little time to dry (5 minutes).

Using FabricFuse by HeatnBond to secure a name pattern to fabric makes it easy to cut out

The Eli name applique is now secured to the fabric and ready for the letters to be cut out individually

Step 4

Cut the HeatnBond Lite slightly larger than the name paper pattern and fuse this glue side to the wrong side of the fabric with a hot dry iron. Press down for about 10 seconds. Don’t move the iron.

TIP Use parchment paper or a Teflon pressing sheet to avoid getting glue on your iron.

Glue side of the HeatnBond Lite is fused to the wrong side of the fabric

Step 5

Cut the letters out accurately through all layers, peel off front paper and paper backing for HeatnBond Lite Iron-On Adhesive. Set the letters aside.

Letters to be cut out individually through all layers

Step 6

Center the name in the top ½ of the yellow fabric as shown and fuse with a hot iron.  Use a small zigzag or satin stitch to adhere the letters to the fabric.

Centering the letters on the top half of the fabric

Pressing the letters

Step 7

Sew the 3” x 8” gray strip of fabric and the 1½” x 8” piece of tan (wood grain) fabric to the 7½” x 8” yellow fabric as shown.

Sewing the gray and tan strips to the pencil body fabric in yellow

Step 8

Sandwich the front of the pencil case fabric with the 8” x 12” batting and lining as shown and quilt as desired with matching thread.

Quilting Design Tip: I used my UNIQUE Sewing Wash-out Marker and a ruler, drew horizontal lines on the yellow fabric and vertical lines on the gray fabric to mimic what a pencil looks like and then quilted it with matching colored thread.

Marking the fabric with a UNIQUE sewing Wash-out Marker, ready for quilting

Quilting is complete

Step 9

Square up the pencil case sandwich even with the edges of the pencil case front.

Step 10

Quilt as desired the pencil tip circles (5”) sandwiched with batting and the 4” eraser circles sandwiched with batting as shown. If you want to, you can also zigzag the edges.

Quilting on the pencil tip and eraser end circles

Step 11

Add the zipper extension fabric by marking a line on the zipper as shown, ¼” from the zipper stop. Pin the fabric ¼” above the line and sew with a ¼” seam allowance to sew on the marked line and avoid hitting the zipper stop. Fold and press the zipper extension fabric towards the end of the zipper (it will be slightly long and can be cut off after the zipper is sewn to the pencil case).

Marking for the zipper extension with the UNIQUE sewing Wash-out Marker

Pinning the zipper extension

Sewing line for the zipper extension

Step 12

To baste the zipper in place and make it super easy to sew, using FabricFuse, place a thin line of glue along the top right side of the pencil case as shown. Place the right-side edge of the zipper on top of the glue as shown matching the ends and upper edge. Once the zipper is down, let it dry for about 5 minutes (you can even use a blow dryer to speed up the process).

Using a bead of FabricFuse for zipper basting is an effective way to have it hold the zipper in place so that the zipper can be sewn without moving.

Zipper glue basted in place with FabricFuse by HeatnBond prior to machine zipper foot sewing

Step 13

Sew the zipper close to the zipper prongs with a zipper foot and needle position to the far left. This may vary by machine so check your own settings.

Zipper machine-sewn on one side with a zipper foot

Step 14

Roll up the bottom side of the pencil case front, match and hand sew-baste the other open zipper right side edge to the right side of the pencil case fabric as shown.

Note: The reason for hand sewn basting is, this side will have more stress when trying to sew it. It is difficult to hold in place with pins or glue so sew-basting takes very little time and insures accurately sewn results.

Rolling the other side of the fabric to prepare to line up the zipper and sew it

Hand sew basting the other side of the zipper to prepare it for machine sewing with a zipper foot

Step 15

Sew the other side of the zipper with a zipper foot and sewing machine as discussed in step 13. Once the zip insertion is complete you can remove the basting stitches easily by just snipping them out.

TIP Move the zipper pull out of the way as you sew, so that it does not distort your sewing lines.

Sewing the hand sew basted side of the zipper with a zipper foot and sewing machine

Step 16

Leave the pencil case wrong side out and sew the eraser circle right side of fabric to right side of pencil case gray end, pin, gather if necessary and sew with a ¼” seam allowance as shown. This is the trickiest part of this whole pencil case project; sew slowly through all layers of fabric. It is recommended to use the free arm of your sewing machine to do this.

Sewing the eraser end circle right sides together with gray end of pencil slowly and carefully

Step 17

Cut the 4” tan pencil tip circle fabric in half. Fold it again in half right sides together and sew the straight edge with a ¼” seam allowance as shown.

Cutting the pencil tip in ½ to ready it for sewing on the pencil case

The folded pencil tip right sides together

Sewing the seam on the pencil tip with a ¼” seam allowance

Step 18

Once the pencil tip fabric is prepared, turn it right side out and insert it inside the pencil end of the pencil case right sides together. Make sure the seam for the pencil tip fabric is opposite to the zipper to reduce sewing bulk. Pin and sew with a ¼” seam allowance.

Pencil tip fabric pinned right sides together with the pencil tip fabric strip

This is what your pencil case should look like with all components sewn.

The completed pencil case shown from the lining side

Step 19

Turn your pencil case to the right side and add pencil lead to the tip with a permanent marker.

Pencil lead drawn in with a permanent marker

Step 20

Admire your efforts!

The completed pencil case so versatile for snacks, pencils and school supplies.

Garner some more enthusiasm for back-to-school with an adorable school bus pencil case I’ll be demonstrating tomorrow. A free pattern download is included. It could be a fantastic little starting school gift for the little people in your life. Again we will be working with the fantastic HeatnBond Lite Iron-On Adhesive Sheets, COSTUMAKERS General Purpose Closed End Zippers, Fairfield Quilter’s 80/20 Quilt Batting, UNIQUE sewing Wash-out Marker and FabricFuse by HeatnBond Quickbond Fabric Adhesive and even more tips for effective machine applique and zipper insertion.

This is part 2 of 5 in this series

Go back to part 1: Sewing up 3 Too Cool for School pencil cases

Go to part 3: Using applique to make a zippy school bus pencil case

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