How to sew a pencil case

Get that back-to-school feeling with this cute pencil case designed by Jennie Jones.

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