Elli keeps asking me how many more days until kindergarten begins. She can hardly stand waiting. She keeps looking at her new school clothes hanging in the closet apart from everything else, her new school shoes waiting to be worn for he first time, her brand new back pack ready to go, and her pile of sweet little school supplies. The anticipation is killing her. :)
While picking up school supplies at the store last week, she saw this little pencil case that she liked……..but she said it looked like it was for a boy. I could have bought the case (because it didn’t cost much) and then added to it BUT I knew I had all the supplies at home, to make our own. So I stored that little idea away in my brain. (I’ve ruined my kids. They never settle for plain ‘ol stuff anymore. “Mom, can you fix this and make it better?!? Little monsters! ;) )
And then this morning, I grabbed a bit of faux leather (vinyl) from my stash, a few other odds and ends, and got to work.
And now Elli has her own little Zipper Mouth Pencil Case…..similar to the one we saw at the store.
Just more girly.
It’s just the right size for her colored pencils.
See? All nicely stored inside.
Elli giggles each time she puts pencils inside. She thinks that little zippered mouth is eating them right up.
Okay, Elli’s all ready for school. (Oh gee, but am I? Nope. She’s my first…..I’m a wreck!)
Would you like to make your own?
By the way, a boy version is on its way (tomorrow? friday?). My little Connor is so excited about his!
FYI: Using vinyl is perfect for this project. It doesn’t fray so you don’t have to worry about the mouth opening fraying. You can buy new vinyl at fabric stores or you can cut up old purses or handbags. I have re-purposed old bags into other things many times (here, here, here, and here) and usually prefer to do so…..because there are more colors available. Also, sewing with vinyl can be tricky, but don’t let that scare you. Read some of my tips here before beginning, and then you won’t have any troubles at all.
First, decide how large you’d like to make your pencil case. Then cut out a squashed oval shape out of paper first, to use as your pattern. (My pattern piece was about 9.25 x 6.25 inches.)
Then cut 2 layers of vinyl from your paper pattern.
Then, draw a line on the “right” side of the front piece, where your zipper will go. My line was about 6.75 inches long.
Then, depending on the size of the teeth of your zipper, cut right along that line but increase the opening. I made my opening about 3/8 of an inch tall. Next, if your zipper is too long, you’ll need to re-size it. As long as you clamp two ends of the zipper with a stationary zig zag stitch, it will be fine and won’t open at the ends. (Turn your zig-zag stitch on, increase stitch width all the way up, decrease stitch length all the way to zero. This will keep the zig zag stationary.) So lay your zipper down next to the mouth opening and place your zig zag ends about a 1/4 inch longer at each end, then the length of the mouth. Cut the excess zipper ends off.
Then, turn the vinyl piece over and place the right side of the zipper downwards as well and then center the zipper over the mouth opening. Now tape your zipper down with a little scotch tape. (Need more help with zippers? Go here.)
Now, sew your zipper in place, sewing with the vinyl facing upwards. If your vinyl is sticking to your presser foot, here are some tips here. Also, try increasing your stitch length if your vinyl is stretching at all. Increasing the stitch length will help hop over more fabric at a time, eliminating some of the pulling.
Then, cut out some felt circles for eyes and sew them right down to the vinyl, with a long stitch length (a long stitch length makes it easier while sewing on vinyl). Then hand sew two buttons on top of the felt. The eyes are now complete.
Next, cut some strips of grosgrain ribbon and arrange them how you’d like them……….but lay them downwards so that they’ll be included in the seam when you sew the pencil case together and will pop outwards after turning the case right side out. To help keep the ribbon in place, use scotch tape to hold them in place temporarily…….because pins will make permanent holes. Use a basting stitch (a really long stitch) and sew them down, using an 1/8 inch seam allowance. Now peel the tape off. Cool trick? :)
Now, place the two vinyl pieces together, with right sides together and sew together, using a 1/4 inch seam allowance. BE SURE that your zipper is open before sewing these two pieces together, so that you can turn it right side out through the zipper opening.
Then, clip the curves just a bit, so that it will lay flat later on (more on why you do that, here)
Turn the case right side out, through the mouth, then press all the edges flat with your fingers. If it’s still not quite laying flat, you can set your iron on medium low and then place a piece of thin fabric over the case, and iron the edges a little at a time. WARNING: vinyl will melt so just do a little portion at a time, check on it, and then continue.
Also, you’ll need to seal the edges of your ribbon that are outside of the case, otherwise they will fray. My preferred method is slightly melting the edges with a lighter (or a candle). But you could also use fray check on the edges. Or make each piece of ribbon longer and tie in a knot. YOU PICK! :)
Lastly, grab some scrap fabric and create a simple little bow and hand stitch it on. (Need help understanding a basic bow shape? Go here.)
And that’s it. A girly little pencil case……all ready to gobble up some pencils/crayons/markers.
And don’t worry……a BOY version is on its way. My little Connor was totally jealous of Elli’s “pencil eating case” and asked for one too. I’ll have that ready tomorrow. Or the next day! :)
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