On my Christmas gift sewing this year were zipper pencil cases. There are heaps of tutorials to follow if you want to make one. There are 2 versions you can make – One that is completely zippers only or one that is only zippers on the front with fabric on the back.
I purchased my zippers late last year from a small local fabric shop when I restocked my zipper stash. The shop has made up pencil case bundles which consisted of a bunch of zippers all the same length in coordinating colours. This saved me doing all the hard work of picking colours and lengths.
Sewing zippers don’t phase me, some people struggle with them but I’m very comfortable with them. For each pencil case the first thing I did was lay out the zippers alternating the zip ends. It worked out that all the zipper ends of one colour faced the same direction. I chose a colour as my top one and all of that colour was stitched as the top layer when I overlapped them to sew together. Before I got to the sewing machine I hand basted the zippers in pairs so that they wouldn’t shift at the machine. I regularly hand baste my zippers so this was just 2nd nature to me. At the sewing machine I stitched all the pairs together using a 3.0mm stitch length then repeated the process until all the zippers were sewn for the front.
For the backing fabrics I found leftover fabrics from previous gifts I had made the same children and used them. This uses up fabric that is ready to go as it has already been prepped plus links gifts I have made at different times together. I waited until after I had finished the zippers and I had my measurements of 10.5” x 9.5” before cutting out the backing fabric. I cut out 2 rectangles and stitched them right sides together before turning out and closing the turning gap closed with the zipper foot. To attach the zippers to the backing fabric I opened the centre zipper then flipped the zippers over so they were faced down. I stitched all around the zippers and turned the pencil case right side out through the centre zipper. All the zippers were doing my head in and I was convinced I stitched the open zipper the wrong end, it was only once it was closed did my mind relax. If my construction method sounds confusing there are lots of YouTube clips which will show you how to do it.
This did take more time to sew than a regular pencil case and originally I thought I would get all my zippers sewn in one day but after the first lot of zippers I had to stop for the day as I wasn’t enjoying it (I stop sewing if it isn’t fun) but it was worth it. I would like to make the version where it is only zippers but I think you need to have more zippers or it have it as a smaller pencil case (I struggle to keep anything on the small side) If you buy your zippers cheap this can be an inexpensive gift to make. If you need to post your gifts in the mail even if you added in extra items like pencils and markers this is an inexpensive gift to post as it is small and light weight. Unfortunately with the rising costs of postage and transport you do need to take into consideration how you will get your gift to the recipient these days if you won’t be giving them in person.