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Zipper Mouth Pencil Case {girl version}


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.


You’ll need:

  • Faux Leather/Vinyl (if you’re buying new, all you’ll need is a 1/4 yard)
  • zipper, at least a 9 inch
  • scrap felt for eyes
  • 2 buttons for eyes
  • ribbon for hair
  • scrap fabric for bow


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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    Amei so que eu vou fazer com tecido ja que nao tenho este material agora e vou fazer pra dar de lembrancinha no aniversario do meu sobrinho ,Bj.

  2. Dee says:

    Well, I guess that this project is not for me. I don’t have the patience and there are too many variables. I tried to locate where the mouth might go and while I think that I did ok with that, not only couldn’t I cut right on top of my pencil line(s) . but that left me with pencil lines to remove and I erased and tried Ivory soap which was marginally successful.Then the 3/8 inch opening to accomodate the zipper seemed too much. I apparently am too much of a perfectionist or I don’t want to spend all of this time agonizing over this little stuff. It’s a wonderful idea and cute as can be, but it’s too much for me. I guess that I’m just a quilter and I’m not sure about that either. Not a good day!

  3. Dee says:

    Does anyone know WHERE EXACTLY I should pencil in the first line for the zipper mouth in order to get a good result? I’ve gone to the trouble and expense of getting the materials to make these but now I’m very nervous about making that first line. I really don’t want to misplace that line an essentially wreck the little face.


  4. Amanda says:

    Just stopping by to let you know that I have featured your project on Fun Family Crafts! You can see it here

    If you have other kid friendly crafts, I’d love it if you would submit them :) If you would like to display a featured button on your site, you can grab one from the right side bar of your post above.

  5. Tracy from Attalla Ala. says:

    Brilliant. Can’t wait to make one for my grand daughters.

  6. Laura says:

    Oh my! I teach Kindergarten and your post just made me smile!!! I may need to make a few little monsters-for me um… i mean for my class…yeah, for the little cuties! Your daughter will love Kindergarten! You will miss her but maybe enjoy having just one child for part of the day?

  7. kat says:

    So awesome/funny: Azriella just picked up one of these in Target the other day and I told she couldn’t have it because mommie could make her one and here you are with a tute! Completely reading my mind, Ashley!!!!

  8. Christine says:

    So cute!

  9. Lindy says:

    Awww how cute, I love this. It looks great for kids starting school.

  10. Vone says:

    Love it, super cute. My youngest is starting kindergarten in the fall and she can’t wait either.
    I haven’t gone back to school shopping yet but I’m sure as soon as I do she will be asking everyday when schools starting.

  11. Beth says:

    Hi! I’m in love with your blog! Betcha hear that a lot. : ) I’ve used your tutorials before (Prince Charming! Gah!), and most recently, um, today, the see-through vinyl bag for my boys’ little toys. I made two during the day, and I’m making oh-so-many-more now that the kids are in bed, for all those little things they like to carry around. (They do that, don’t they! I never really though about it until I found a link to your tutorial on Pinterest.) And now my big guy has seen this cute pencil case, and wants one for his colors. (I have a blog, but mostly I just post what I’ve made, the materials and patterns, my thoughts on the difficulty since I’m new-ish to sewing, not tutes. And I’m so inconsistent about posting! I’d rather be crafting…) Anyway, I just wanted to share. : )

  12. paula says:

    Suggestion (for older boys): add a nose with nostrils big enough to sneeze (slime green) colored pencils. Sorry but I couldn’t sit back and NOT make that comment.

  13. Melanie says:

    What a fun way to make each child’s pencil case their own. I can hardly wait to make one for my niece’s birthday.
    Thank you for sharing your talents!

  14. julie marie says:

    Oh. I need to make a birthday gift for a boy for this saturday. Do you think your tutorial would be up tonight ? Would love to see it.

  15. Allie says:

    This is so cute!! Any kid would think this was hilarious. Great tutorial, too!

  16. SeiCreativ! says:


  17. Jessica at Me Sew Crazy says:

    GAH! I love this!!! So stinking cute!!! I hope you will consider uploading a photo of it into SewSet – a new on-line sewing pattern & tutorial search engine. I would love to have this in there!! SO CUTE!

    Thanks so much for sharing!
    – Jess

  18. Andrea from TheTrainToCrazy says:

    Ashley, you never cease to amaze me. This is so, so awesome!

  19. Betsy M says:

    Oh my, now I have to make these for my kids and nieces and nephew. They are going to be thrilled. Thanks for the instructions!

  20. Kati says:

    This is cute! Great job!

  21. Aneta says:

    That is super cute ! My girls will be working on this project, they are already designing their own cute pouches.Thank you for great instructions :)

  22. Tiffany says:

    LOVE THIS! I bought a TON of vinyl to make my daughter’s quiet book and have a bunch left over. I think I’d put her name on the back too. Very cute idea! Can’t wait to see the “boy” one. I have lime vinyl, thinking alien one. :). Joann’s has some amazing tropical colored vinyl- pink, orange, yellow, lime, turquoise. I’ve even got some red sparkle! Yeah, I love vinyl. I found that the quilters washable tape is WONDERFUL for sewing with vinyl too! :)

  23. Leia says:

    My mom use to make pencil bags for my siblings and I. They were awesome and lasted forever.

  24. Jennifer C. says:

    Awesome job! My daughter’s heading off to Kinder this year too, but she has to have a specific (and boring) pouch which isn’t fun for us crafty moms. I had to stay as true as possible to the original pouch while making hers slightly spruced up. =) Here’s mine…

  25. Kristina Noall says:

    I think it’s great that your kids can see their mom’s talent, and the value of homemade things!

  26. Cari says:

    I am making some church bags for my son and daughter and had planned to make crayon rolls but now I think I’m gonna make these. My kids are gonna laugh their heads off when they see them. I think I’m gonna add some hand stitched lashes to the girl one.

    1. Brittani says:

      Oooh, lashes! Great idea! You should post a picture on flickr or something!

    2. Brittani says:

      Awesome! This will be a great way to store crayons! Much better than the tupperware sitting next to the printer! I’ll make mine big enough to hold a little paper pad, too – voila! Car toy! Super glad you’re doing a boy version, since that’s the version of child I have. :D Can’t wait to get started!

  27. tinajo says:

    Oh my – so darn cute! :-)

  28. Rose D. Frenchtown, NJ says:

    I LOVE this!!!!!

  29. Jessica says:

    I like that at the end of this post, the instructions become keyboard mashes. ;)

    1. Ashley says:

      Ack! That was totally an accident…..haha! My sister texted me and said, “Ash, your tutorial is all random keystrokes at the end!” Yeah, those are just place holders until I finish writing the tutorial. Whooops, I actually hadn’t finished before hitting “publish”. :)


    2. Jessica says:

      Tee hee. Too funny! I was mostly hoping you decided to write the last steps in code…Good thing your photos are always so self-explanatory.

  30. Mandy says:

    That is so stinkin’ cute! I have been toying with the idea of sewing vinyl. This would be a nice little project to try it out :)

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Hi, I'm Ashley

Hi, I’m Ashley—the DIY-enthusiast behind this crazy blog!

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