Pencil Case Tutorial (Zipper pouch with squared off corners)


Finished size: Approx 14cm x 22cm (5.5” x 8.5“)



24.5cm x 16cm (9.75” x 6.5”) x2 in your external fabric and x2 in your internal fabric.

2 x 5cm x 7.5cm (2” x 3”) tabs (these appear at each end


This is a matter of personal choice, I wanted a squidgy but smooth feel to the pencil case, so opted to add two layers, the first was medium weight fusible interfacing and the second low loft fusible fleece (H630).

Each piece should be 22cm x 13.5cm (8.75” x 5.5”).


1 zip 21.5cm (8 and 5/8ths”) long (you could get a larger one and cut the end off).



Cut all your fabric and interfacing pieces as indicated above.

Iron your interfacings onto your main fabric pieces.  Each piece of interfacing is smaller than the main fabric pieces.  Place the interfacings centrally onto the back of each of your main pieces and iron into place, you will have an interfacing free border of approx. 12mm (1/2”) on each side.

Take one of your pieces of tab fabric, fold in half lengthways and iron.  Open the fabric out and fold the raw edges, on the left and right into the centre fold line.  Iron.  Fold in half again, along the first crease line and press once more.  Repeat with the second zipper end piece.

pencil case tutorial-sewing-zipper-pouch-flat-square-corners-making-tabs

Unfold one of your tabs and place centrally under one end of your zip.  So that you are looking at the front of the fabric and front of the zip.  The end of the zip should be in line with the top raw edge of the tab.  Sew across the top, 6mm (¼”) in from the raw edge (before the first crease line in the fabric piece).

pencil case tutorial-sewing-zipper-pouch-flat-square-corners-attaching tabs

Fold the piece of fabric back up, following the original crease lines, capturing the zip end in the middle (see images below).  Sew across the fabric, close to the folded edge.

pencil case tutorial-sewing-zipper-pouch-flat-square-corners-attaching tabs2
MAKE SURE THE ZIPPER PULL is attached to the tape.

Now attach the second tab, line your zip up against one of your fabric panels, you need to leave 1.4cm (1 and 6 8ths of an inch) slightly more than 1.2cm (1/2”) of main panel fabric clear before and after the zip, this is very important as it allows the zip to sit squarely in the finished pouch.

When you are happy that the length of the zip is correct, add the second zipper tab as above.

pencil case tutorial-sewing-zipper-pouch-flat-square-corners-finished zipper tape
Take one of your external fabric pieces, place the zip onto top, so that:-

  • you are looking at the back of the zip
  • you are looking at the front of the fabric
  • the long edge of the zipper tape is lined with the top raw edge of the fabric piece.
  • There is approx. 1.4cm (1& 6/8ths”) of the main fabric showing at each end of the zip.

pencil case tutorial-sewing-zipper-pouch-flat-square-corners-adding zip

Baste the zip into place 3mm (1/8th”) from the top edge.

Place one of your internal fabric pieces on top of the zip, so that the zip is sandwiched between the two pieces of fabric the right sides of the fabrics are facing each other, and the raw edges are lined up on all sides.  Sew together, so that the sew line is a few mms (2/8th”) from the zipper tape teeth, on the side closest to the raw edges (the top edge).

Fold both the fabric pieces back along the seam lines, so you are looking at the right sides of the fabric and can see the zip, press.

Top stitch along the fabric pieces, approx. 3mm (1/8th”) in from the seam line (this step stops the fabric getting eaten by the zip when in use).

pencil case tutorial-sewing-zipper-pouch-flat-square-side1

Place the remaining main piece on top of the zipper tape, so that:

  • the right sides of the fabric pieces are facing each other.
  • The left and right edges of the top piece line up with the fabric piece underneath.
  • The top is lined up with the top of the zipper tape.

Baste into place.

Turnover and pin your internal fabric piece on top, so that the zip tape is sandwiched between the external and internal fabric pieces.  Ensuring that:

  • the right sides of the fabric pieces are facing each other.
  • The left and right edges of the top piece line up with the fabric piece underneath.
  • The top is lined up with the top of the zipper tape.

Sew together.

Fold both the fabric pieces back, so you are looking at the right sides of the fabric pieces, and press.  Top stitch just below the seam line.

pencil case tutorial-sewing-zipper-pouch-flat-square-corners-second-side


Arrange the fabric pieces, so that the internal pieces are on top of each other, and the external pieces are on top of each other (right sides facing).  Pin each pair together, taking care around the zip to make sure each set is perfectly lined up.

Sew together LEAVING a turning gap of 5cm (2”) half way up one side of the lining fabric pouch.

pencil case tutorial-sewing-zipper-pouch-flat-square-corners-sewing-together
Trim the corners, on the raw side of the seam lines, into triangles (to cut down on the bulk in the seams).  Then turn the pencil case out the right way by pulling the fabric through the gap you left in the lining.

Make sure you push all the corners out, including those around the zip.

Fold the raw edges at the turning point into the gap, iron and then top stitch this section closed, as close to the edge as you feel comfortable.

pencil case tutorial-sewing-zipper-pouch-flat-square-corners-turning-out
Push the internal pouch inside the external one and you’re done!


Click on tutorials on the menu at the top of the page to download other pouch tutorials, including one with several internal pockets and instructions for adding box corners (to give the pouch a wide base).

This pencil case was made using Riley Blake’s Modern Minis and Kona Solid – both available at

Click here to download a printer-friendly version of this pattern.

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