How to make a pencil case

Get that back-to-school feeling by stitching your own pencil case! This simple sewing project is easy enough for beginners to make

How to make a pencil case

This simple pencil case is an ideal gift for a child and can be made in an afternoon. Why not personalise it by adding an initial using these free templates?

Alternatively, you can change the fabric and pick more grown-up colours to make this pencil case for an adult, or try our other free pencil case sewing pattern that you’ll find at the end of this tutorial.

Read on to learn how to make a pencil case with Jessica’s handy guide.

If you’re new to sewing, check out our how to use a sewing machine guide, beginners guide to sewing and sewing patterns for beginners.

Fabrics used

The fabrics used are from the Les Petits collection by Amy Sinibaldi.

  • Main fabric: Petits Strokes, Coral.
  • Contrast fabric: Petits Checks, Sky.


Use a 1cm (38in) seam allowance.


You Will Need

  • Main fabric (24x24cm (9 1/2x9 1/2in))
  • Contrasting fabric (64x64cm (26x26in))
  • Iron-on interfacing (24x34cm: (10x14in))
  • Zip (35cm (14in))
  • Matching sewing kit
  • Basic sewing kit

Total time:

Cutting out

Step 1

From the contrast fabric cut: Lining: 24x24cm (912x912in). Ends: four 10x10cm (4x4in).

Step 2

Press interfacing onto the wrong side (WS) of the main fabric and two of the contrast fabric ends.

Step 3

Draw a 9cm (358in) diameter circle on paper and cut it out, then trace around it in the centre of each of four contrast fabric ends and cut out.

Making the main body

Step 1

With the interfaced main body right side (RS) up, pin the zip centrally along the top edge with the teeth facing down.

How to make a pencil case step one

Step 2

Using a zip foot, sew into place. Press and then topstitch along the joined fabric edge close to the zip.

Step 3

Wrap the main body to the other side. Sew on the zip and topstitch as before.

How to make a pencil case step two

Step 4

With the zip slider in the centre of the fabric, sew the zip teeth closed by backstitching over them and then cut off the excess zip.

Step 5

Take the two interfaced ends and mark their quarter points. Mark the quarter points on the ends of the main body piece.

Step 6

Place the ends and body pieces RS together, matching the markings, and pin.

How to make a pencil case step three

Step 7

Sew the ends into place and then clip the curves.

Adding the lining

Step 1

Fold the lining in half RS facing and sew it together with a wide stitch length. Press the seam open.

Step 2

Stitch the non interfaced circular ends in place as before.

Step 3

Undo the long stitched seam and remove any loose threads.

Step 4

Turn the lining RS out and place the pencil case outer inside it so they are WS facing.

Step 5

Slip stitch the lining to the zip tape so your stitches can’t be seen from the front.

How to make a pencil case step four

That’s your pencil case finished! Now that you know how to sew a pencil case, why not try this free pencil case sewing pattern.

Free pencil case sewing pattern

How to sew a pencil case

Raid your stash for a pretty fat quarter and sew up this handy zip case with neat box corners by Jennie Jones.

You will need

  • 1 fat quarter
  • Zip: 10in (25cm)
  • Ribbon scrap
  • Basic sewing kit


Use a 1cm (38in) seam allowance.

Fabrics used

Sweet Notes from the Cotton Candy range by Susan Driscoll for Dashwood Studio.

Designer Jennie says: “For this handy box case, you’ll make the outer and the lining separately for a nice, neat, seam-free finish.”

How to sew your own pencil case

How to sew a pencil case

Cutting out

Step one: Cut the fat quarter into four pieces, each measuring 17x27cm (612x101/2in). Two pieces are used for the pencil case outer and two pieces for the lining.

Inserting the zip

Step one: Place one piece of fabric right side (RS) up then place the zip centrally across the top length RS down, matching the raw long edge of the fabric to the edge of the zip tape.

How to sew a pencil case step 1
Top tip: if you’re using a different lining fabric, make sure it is of a lighter weight than the outer.

Step two: Stitch the zip into place along this pinned edge using a zip foot.

Step three: Take another piece of fabric and repeat to pin and stitch the other side of the zip tape RS together to this fabric.

Sewing the side seams

Step one: Place the two fabric pieces with the zip attached RS together along the bottom long edge and stitch together. Press the joined fabric pieces flat, matching up the zip with the bottom seam.

How to sew a pencil case step 2

Step two: Sew both short ends and over the zip ends in the centre. Turn RS out and press.

How to sew a pencil case step 3

Making the box corners

Step one: Turn the pencil case wrong sides (WS) out and pinch one corner as shown so the seam runs up the centre to form a triangle.

Step two: Measure 3cm (114in) up from the point of the triangle and sew right across the corner at this point to make a box corner.

How to sew a pencil case step 4

Step three: Trim the excess fabric off outside the line of stitching.

Step four: Repeat this to make three more box corners on your pencil case.

Making the lining

Step one: The remaining two pieces of fabric are used to make the lining. Turn one long edge of one piece under by 1cm (38in) to the WS and press. Repeat on one long edge of the other piece of fabric.

Step two: Place these two fabric pieces RS together along the bottom long edge and stitch together. Press flat, matching up the turned-under edges with the bottom seam.

Step three: Box the corners of the lining in the same way as the pencil case outer.

Joining it together

Step one: Pin the lining inside the outer with WS facing and topstitch together along the zip edge to hold the lining in place and neaten.

How to sew a pencil case step 5

Step two: Loop a scrap of ribbon through the zip pull to finish.

Finished pencil case