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)!

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