New Easy Sewing Project: Zipperific Pencil Case

sew a pouch with a zipper
sew a pouch with a zipper
my first attempt at sewing a zipper

My latest sewing project is the Zipperific Pencil Case from Sew Everything Workshop by Diana Rupp. This simple project does not have (or need) a paper pattern. This project is simple. Start out with a small amount of scrap fabric plus a zipper, and end up with a handy pencil case. My bag is a little shorter than the original design because I couldn’t find the right size zipper.

I thought that working with a zipper would be very difficult, so I was reluctant to try it. I am glad I finally did. I used some plain canvas, which was left over from my Tote-ally Awesome Tote Bag. I wanted a fabric that was stiff and sturdy enough to have some structure. In the future oilcloth would be a great choice.

Sew Everything Workshop Zipperific Pencil Case
Basting on the Zipper. So far, so good.

For this beginner-level sewing project, you simply cut out two pieces fabric, with the length of one side matching the length of your zipper. Baste the two pieces of fabric together, and press the seams open. Then, align your zipper (face down) with the center of the pressed open basted seam. Baste stitch the zipper in place. Measure a quarter of an inch in from the edge of each side of the basted seam, and use the zipper foot to permanently attach the zipper to the fabric. Open the zipper one inch (so you can open the zipper later), sew the remaining three sides of the zipperific pencil case shut, open up the zipper, then turn it right side out, and you are done!

Or so I thought! I had a problem with this project. The directions unfortunately omit at what point you are supposed to remove the basted seam that you sewed first. Or did I somehow completely miss this step?? In any case, in the future I will remove the basting for the pressed open seamafter you have used your zipper foot to permanently attach the zipper to the fabric.

Sew a Zippered Pencil Case
This zippered pencil case is extremely secure.

I was stuck with a pouch that was completely sewn shut, and there was a considerable amount of wrestling with the semi-closed zipper (because the zipper clap was unreachable). I’m getting pretty good at using the seam ripper too.

This project was a good introduction to how to sew on a zipper, but the lack of clarity for when to remove the basting so you can actually turn the pouch right side out is annoying. Where did I go wrong? Plookiss’ Threadware has a post about the zipperific pencil case that includes unpicking the basting stitches, so I will have to use this as a reference for next time. Using oilcloth, Cup and Penny made this pencil case and also had much more luck with it then I did.  Since I am just a beginner I will take it as a learning experience.

For next time it would be great to have a lining inside the bag instead of raw fabric and fraying, exposed edges. I saw a great tutorial for a lined zippered pouch on Skip to My Lou. The tutorial is pretty clear and the end product is definitely something I would use. I think I will try this version the next time I want to attempt a zipper challenge.

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