How to sew a pencil case for your binder (tutorial)
When all the ads on TV start playing the back to school tune, I can’t help but remember the thrill of getting new school supplies. Mmmm, fresh Laurentien pencil crayons and brand new ultra fine point pens. This weekend I was motivated to put together a new sewing tutorial and what better project than a swank pencil case! This one will go perfectly in my quilting designs binder. (As always, click the photos to embiggen. For more detailed photos check my flickr set)
Here’s what you’ll need:
- piece of vinyl cut to 10″ x 10″
- scraps of vinyl for your motif of choice and for your sewing tension swatch
- 8″ zipper
- exacto knife
- rotary cutter
- zipper foot
- 3/8″ grommets
- painter’s tape
1. With a pencil, mark off the zipper placement on the backside of the vinyl by drawing a line at 4″ in from the edge and another line at 4 and 1/3.” Mark the top and bottom cut lines 1″ from the top edge.
2. Using the exacto knife cut the short end lines as well as a little ways into the long line. This will give you a precise cut when you go in with your rotary cutter to trim out the rest.
3. Center the zipper in the cut out area and tape it down with the painter’s tape. When you’re sewing with vinyl you can’t use pins because they leave permanent holes. That’s why removable tape is your new best friend.
4. Before you sew the zipper in, test out your thread tension on a piece of scrap vinyl. When I’m top stitching on vinyl I like to double the thread for that extra pop of colour (and I’m too cheap to spring for thicker thread.) You might have to futz around with the tension for this to be perfect too.
5. With your zipper foot on, sew around the zipper opening. This will be your easiest zipper install ever. It stays flat the whole time. Bliss! I avoid sewing over the tape, it’s better to peel it up and stick it back down after.
6. Now that the zipper is in, put whatever embellishment or motif you want on the bigger side of the vinyl. You could sew buttons on, a silhouette of some random woodland creature (like all the kids are doing!) or be like me; argyle! Be sure to leave an inch free of embellishment at the bottom; that’s where the grommets will be.
7. Fold the pencil case in half so that the zipper is at the back. Tape the whole thing together with that magic painter’s tape. I even put some inside in the middle to keep the whole thing stable. (I told you it would become your best friend)
8. Sew up the sides with a 1/4″ seam allowance and the bottom with a 1/2″ seam allowance. I like to keep the top stitching on the zipper side for added interest, but it’s not a hard and fast rule. At the bottom, add 1 more line of stitching 1/2″ inch in from the previous one. This will create the bottom of the pouch and add stability.
9. Measure and mark for your grommets. A standard 3 hole binder’s rings are 4.25″ apart. Mark for the first hole in the center of the first line of stitching at the bottom and measure out from there.
10. Cut away the vinyl with the exacto. Put the grommets through and hammer ‘em in according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
11. Square up your edges with the rotary cutter and you’re finished! I got a cool pinking blade for my rotary cutter, but plain edges work just as well. Put it in your binder and you’re set!