Sewing with Kate: Pencil and Notebook Case Tutorial

The gift giving season is fast approaching, so Kate wanted to make a project that she could give to her friends. Kate loves to draw, so we designed a fabric case that will hold colored pencils and a notebook that she and her friends can carry with them from house to house. Kate loves to pick from her mom’s different fabric lines to create these one-of-a-kind cases for her special friends.


  • 1/2 yard fabric for outer/inner case
  • 1/2 yard fabric for pocket
  • 18″x10″ craft fusible interfacing (Pellon 808)
  • 20-26″ of 1/2″ ribbon for tie
  • thread to match

Less fabric can be used if the pattern is non-directional (1/3 yard)

Step One: Cutting Fabrics

  • Cut 2 rectangles 18″ wide by 10″ tall from the outer/inner fabric
  • Cut 1 rectangle 18″ wide by 11″ tall from the pocket fabric
  • Cut 1 rectangle 18″ wide by 10″ tall from the interfacing

Step Two: Prepping Fabrics

  • Iron the fusible interfacing to the wrong side of the inner rectangle
  • Fold the pocket fabric in half, lengthwise (like a hot dog bun)
  • Press
  • Top stitch along folded edge

Step Three: Creating Case

  • Place the pocket along the bottom edge of inner fabric right side up (the one with interfacing)
  • Pin. Baste along the raw edges to hold the pocket in place
  • On the wrong side (the interfacing side) of the inner fabric, mark your pocket lines (see diagram below)
  • Use long ruler and pencil
  • Stitch along the stitching lines to create the pencil and notebook pockets
  • Remember to back stitch at the beginning and end
  • Stop at the “top” of the pocket (5 1/2″ up from bottom edge)

You made 7 smaller pencil pockets and 1 larger notebook pocket. Trim the thread as needed.

Step Four: Attaching Ribbon (2 options)


  • Attach 2- 10″ ribbon pieces, one on each side (right and left), where the top of pocket meets the inner fabric
  • The ribbon will be pointing toward the center of the case, raw edges together
  • Pin and stitch in place
  • This option allows the case to fold in half


  • Fold the 26″ ribbon piece where one tie will be 10″ and the other 16″
  • Place the fold where the top of pocket meets the inner fabric on the right
  • Ribbon will be pointing toward the center
  • Pin and stitch in place
  • This option allows the case to fold in thirds

Step Five: Finishing the Case

  • With the inner fabric and pocket facing up, place the outer rectangle on top, RST
  • Pin along edges
  • Stitch all the way around with 1/2″ seam allowance, leaving a 4″ opening at the top for turning
  • Keep ribbon clear of stitching
  • Clip corners to remove excess fabric being careful not to cut your stitching
  • Turn right side out
  • Use chopstick or finger to push out corners
  • Press flat. Do not iron ribbon (it may melt)
  • Top stitch around all edges, closing 4″ opening
  • Press again

Once you have your cases made, you can fill them with pencils and a notebook. (We put two pencils per pocket.) You could even write a special note to your friends in the notebook. Tie them up, and they are ready for giving. Kate and I hope you have fun choosing your fabrics and making these cases for your special friends this holiday season (or any time of year)!

Looking for more fun designs? Explore all of my digital downloads here

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