Pencil case / Make up bag / whatever you want it to be, tutorial.

Super hero pencil case.

I finally made time to sew, yay!
Today I bring you the super simple, super easy, super pencil case.  Too many supers?

I was sorting out my 12 year old sons bedroom (the joys of motherhood) and he has so many pens it’s ridiculous. I decided he needed a pencil case and I had the perfect fabric for it!

This is so simple I made it up as I went a long, no tutorials which is a first for me. So now, I’m going to share with you. It was so quick and easy I decided I would also make a small make up bag that I’d been promising my little sister for a while using almost the same steps. 1 tutorial, lots of uses!

You’ll need:

  • Main fabric
  • Lining fabric
  • Zipper
  • Interfacing, medium (I didn’t need this for my pencil case as my lining fabric was quite thick)
  • Zipper foot (can be done without but much easier with one)
  • Then the usual, thread, pins, scissors, sewing machine.

No need to give you a pattern for this, just decide how big you want it to be and cut out 4 pieces, 2 in the outer fabric and 2 in the lining fabric, remembering to add a seam allowance.
My fabric measured approximately 11″x6″ and the finished case measures 10″x5.5″ for the pencil case. For the make up bag my fabric measured approximately  6″x7″ and the finished bag measures 5.5″x6.5″.

Marvel fabric, perfect for a pencil case for a 12 year old

Marvel fabric, perfect pencil case for a 12 year old

I didn’t have a zipper long enough for this project, instead of ordering one I decided to just extend the ends with fabric. I have no idea of the correct way to do this, but my way worked fine and was simple enough. I measured the distance from the start/end of the zip to the edge of the fabric and cut 2 pieces of my lining fabric the same width as my zip and to the length of the gap I just measured. If your zipper is long enough for your case, skip this step and ignore any references to the tabs in another step.

If you are using a fabric that frays for the tabs, you will need to fold over the edges and sew them down. I was using a reversible bonded micro fleece fabric so no need.

Using a needle and thread I sewed the ends up so they were straight and easier to line up with the tabs I cut.

This bit won’t show on the outside so don’t worry about matching thread.

If you are using  interfacing apply to the wrong side of your main fabric now.

Iron on interfacing as per the instructions that were supplied.

Iron on interfacing as per the instructions that were supplied.

Place one lining piece right side up (the side you want to show) and place the zip on top, in the centre and lined up at the top.
Place the 2 tabs you just measured and cut on the 2 ends right side up, making sure the ends of the zips are covered.

Make sure your tabs are going to be sewn onto the ends of your zipper and are lined up with the edges of the fabric.

Place your outer fabric on top of this so that it is right sides together with the lining (the side you don’t want showing facing outward), pin together and using a zipper foot sew together close to the zipper teeth. Because I used the tabs it was a little harder to judge where to start sewing but I found having the foot lined up with the edge if the fabric worked out quite well for me. Try placing your foot where the zip is first and see what you can line it up with.

Line the outer fabric wrong side up and pin into place.

Line the outer fabric wrong side up and pin into place.

Using the zipper foot sew all the way across close to the zipper teeth.

Using the zipper foot sew all the way across close to the zipper teeth.

Turn the zip around, moving the pieces you have just sewn out of the way. Put the other piece of lining right side up and line up the other side of the zip to the top of the lining. If you are also using tabs line these up also. Put the outer fabric wrong side out on to and repeat the above, sewing close to the zipper teeth.

Open up so your zipper is exposed and you have your fabrics either side, attach the tabs to the zippers going back and forth a couple of times.

You might want to have matching thread for this step.

Iron the 2 sides down, pulling away from the zipper. Make sure you lining and main fabric are lined up and top stitch down each side.


Iron flat.

Top stitch both sides. You may want to go a bit nearer, my fabric was very bulky and I found it easier going further out from the zip.

Top stitch both sides. You may want to go a bit nearer, my fabric was very bulky and I found it easier going further out from the zip.

Open your zip at least half way (don’t forget this step or you’ll find it very tricky to turn your project right way out at the end.) Fold your pieces in half right sides together, line them up and pin.

Line edges up then pin to hold in place.

Line edges up then pin to hold in place.

Start at the top and sew all the way around, making sure you back stitch at the beginning and end. When you reach the corners, make sure your needle is down and raise your presser foot, pivot your fabric round and continue to sew.

If you don’t have the tabs make sure you sew from the very top over the zipper – going back and forth a few times and end the same at the other end of the zipper, again going back and forth a few times.

To reduce bulk trim the edges close to the seams and cut the corners off – again not cutting the stitches. When cutting down the edges, if you have any, cut the excess zipper off.



Through the opening in the zip, turn your case right side out.

That’s it. You’re done!








Perfect to pop in your handbag on a night out!

I hope my tutorial was helpful and any questions please feel free to ask in the comments section.



I linked this tutorial to Made by you Mondays link party 🙂


  1. Elizabeth says:

    Love the fabrics you chose! I used to be much braver with the sewing machine but since I had kids I just haven’t had the motivation to take it out during nap time to try to do anything… maybe when they are in school LOL. Thanks for sharing! #bloggersbrags

  2. Evija says:

    Such a great tutorial.. Thank you for sharing and joining our Oh My Heartsie Girl Wordless Wednesday Link Party. Have a great day, co-host Evija @Fromevijawithlove

  3. Shanice says:

    Awesome post! I would love to invite you to my new link party The Beautifully Creative Inspired. The party launched on Friday and will continue every Fridays at 9AM eastern time on 5 BLOGS! It runs until Wednesday night 😀 Hope you can party with us!

    • Giraffes Can Sew says:

      Oh that’s cool, my kids would love to make one of those, will check it out 😀
      This pencil case is so quick and easy, definitely a must if you get do get a sewing machine x

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