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DIY Pencil Case in 10 minutes – Perfect for School

A quick and easy project to use up odd bits and pieces of fabric or faux suede or leather, the DIY pencil case should take around 10 minutes of sewing once the material has been selected and cut to size. You can scale the pencil cases to suit various requirements. For home offices, and for school,  you’ll need to create a pencil case with a bit of extra space for a mini stapler, a small punch, various pens, pencils and sharpies. In certain places the case you take into an exam room needs to be see-through so the examiner can see there are no crib notes – in this case you’ll only need space for a pen, ruler, sometimes a calculator, pencil, and eraser, and that’s about it.

how to make a pencil case

The pencil case can either be made from faux leather or suede, or a neoprene type material which means no need for seaming edges that can fray or creating a lining. This tutorial will give you the step by step method for creating a pencil case from a fabric that can fray and from a non-fraying material.

diy pencil pouch

The finished size will be 8.5 inches by 3.5 inches, but you can create virtually any size you want to accommodate the type of stationery you plan on storing inside.


Below you will find my step by step written tutorial with VIDEO instructions for all the visual learners.

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How to make a Pencil Case

Supplies and tools

pencil pouch pattern and supplies

  • fabric – faux leather, suede or home decor fabric
  • small scrap piece of cotton fabric for the tab (optional)
  • a zipper
  • matching thread
  • scissors (or rotary cutter and a cutting mat)
  • my free pencil pouch pattern (link below)
  • ruler or measuring tape
  • iron and ironing board
  • sewing clips or pins
  • sewing machine

DOWNLOAD: fabric pencil case pattern (Free PDF file)

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How to Sew a Pencil Pouch

Watch the diy pencil case video first and then follow the written step by step instructions below.
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DIY Fabric Pencil Pouch VIDEO TUTORIAL


What you need:

  • A piece of 7 inch by 9 inch fabric for a 3.5 x 8.5 inch finished size (FS). If you want to make the pencil pouch larger you can go with either 8 x 10 inches (4 x 9.5 FS), or 12 x 14 inches(6 x 13.5 FS).
  • A piece of cotton fabric to make the pull tag that is 3.5 x 1.5 inches. This is optional.
  • a 9″ zipper. If making a larger pencil case keep in mind that the zipper length has to be the same as the length of the fabric – so either an 9 inch, 10 or 13 inch one.

The fabric should be a non-fraying upholstery fabric – the faux suedes are a suitable weight, whereas some of the vinyls can be quite thick and awkward to work with. For a see-through pencil case a clear PVC works well.  The material should be thicker than you average quilting cotton however, so it has some body to it. If you are planning on using quilting cotton then use a medium to heavy fusible backing to give it some added body. Any medium weight upholstery fabric will work well and if it is a fraying type then before you commence making the DIY pencil case,  use an overlocker around all four edges, or use a zig-zag stitch to prevent fraying. You can also use pinking shears to prevent fraying

STEP 1: Cut the fabrics according to the pencil case pattern

Cut your two rectangles – one for the body of the pencil case and one for the tab to hang up the pencil case – which is optional. If using a fraying material then overlock, or zig-zag the edges

You can either use the measurements given above or download and use the fabric pencil pouch pattern. It’s a simple pencil case sewing pattern (just rectangles) but it’s great for those of you who make more than one pencil pouch or those who prefer to work from a template.

pencil case pattern dimensions and cut fabrics

STEP 2: Attach the zipper to the top of fabric

Place the 9 x 7 inch rectangle right side facing upward, and clip or pin the zipper with the wrong side facing upward to the 9 inch edge of the fabric so the edge of the zipper tape lines up with the edge of the fabric. Clip or pin in place, then using a zipper foot, run a stitch, back-tacking at start and finish along the length of the zipper close to the teeth of the zipper.

sewing the zipper of the pencil case

this is how it should look like at this point

sew the zipper to the pencil pouch


Flip open the piece you have sewn and taking the other side of the zipper tape line it up with the other 9 inch side of the fabric, so the other zipper edge is placed wrong side up on top of the right side of the fabric. Sew the zipper in place back tacking at start and finish.

pin the zipper to the homemade pencil pouch

STEP 4: Create the pull tab (optional)

Creating the pull tab. Take the 1.5 x 3.5 inch piece of fabric and fold in half along the length so you have a piece that is .75 inches by 3.5. Press the fold into place with an iron.

Open out the small piece of fabric and fold each long side to the central fold, and press in place. Now fold over one more time so that you have a piece of 3.5 inch fabric that is just .375 of an inch wide. Press folds in place.

Machine stitch down one side as close to the edge as possible, then lift the zipper foot and turn and do the same on the other side.

create the pull tab


Open the zipper about half way down the length of the pencil case. This is important as it enables you to flip the case right way out when you are finished. Fold the 3.5 inch piece in half to make a loop and position at the side where the zipper pull starts, about .5 of an inch down from the zipper, and clip or pin in place with the loop facing in towards the main piece of fabric and flush with the side.

adding pull tab to the pencil case


On the side, where you have placed the tab, pinch the ends of the zipper tape so that they lie flat on top of each other and the sides line up, then stitch down the side, back tacking at start and finish.

Repeat with the other side, where the zipper ends, pinching to lay the zipper tapes flat and stitching along the seam, back-tacking when you start and when you finish.

diy pencil case - sewn sides

STEP 7: Clip the corners and turn around

All that remains to be done is to snip off any loose threads, clip the corners, turn the bag right way out through the half open zipper and zip it up. Voila! One pencil case done.

pencil case view from above

STEP 8: (Optional) Add a leather pull tab

Cut a long thin piece of leather, fold it in half and thread the loop through the zipper pull. Insert the ends through the loop and pull to tighten.

add leather pull tab to the pencil case

Clip the ends at a 45 degrees angle.

hands holding the diy pencil case

That’s it your fabric pencil pouch is ready!

These DIY pencil cases make great presents for the start of the school term, filled with shiny new stationery. For teacher appreciation days a pencil case with a couple of pens and highlighters, and a mini-box of Swiss or Belgian chocolates will be welcome. Home offices all need one of these to keep supplies together, and co-ordinated to the color scheme of the office. It is advisable for kids to have one case for home and one for school use, stocked with exactly the same items so they don’t have to carry cases back and forth and there can be no excuses about not being able to do homework because they left their stationery at school or vice versa.

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Click Here to Leave a Comment Below 11 comments
Lisa - September 29, 2021

I see you topstitched the zipper but I don’t see the instructions.

    Helen - September 30, 2021

    It’s totally optional (and a bit tricky). Most of the time, you don’t need to topstitch.
    My fabric was pretty sturdy and I opted to topstitch it after I sewed the zipper. Basically you just remove the free arm of the machine, fold under the seam allowance and push it under the presser foot

Esmé Slabbert - November 3, 2021

One can never have enough of these pouches.
Thank you so much for sharing your post at our Senior Salon Pit Stop.
Pinned to Senior Salon Pit Stop InLinkz Linkup Shares board and tweeted @EsmeSalon with #SeniorSalonPitStop

pat - November 3, 2021

Thanks for the tutorial…it’s an awesome pencil case!

Donna @ Modern on Monticello - November 9, 2021

Even if you don’t need a pencil pouch this is still a great project for a pouch for your purse or travel bag. Thanks for linking up each week and sharing your creativity. #HomeMattersParty

LydiaF - November 10, 2021

Fun project. I haven’t tried sewing with faux suede and this looks like a good way to practice. Plus the end result looks fab!

Thanks for sharing with us at Creatively Crafty #ccbg 🙂

stephanie - November 10, 2021

The possibilities are endless – especially with the amount of fabric I have! #PoCoLo

Chickenruby - November 11, 2021

Thanks for sharing this with #pocolo it’s a ready. good guide for me to remind me how to do zips, i struggle with this.

Jayne @ Sticky Mud and Belly Laughs - October 2, 2022

A lovely little project. I should start making these, I have so many pens and pencils! X #MMBC

Carolyn Newsome - February 3, 2023

I just watched #135 which is similar, but a couple of steps up from this bag. However, I could not find the pattern or any written instructions for that “boxing”(?). It’s also lined. Help!

I like to work your patterns and collections. Thanks for doing it.


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