I love projects that reuse things and make them into something entirely new! And that’s just what this project does! In this post I will teach you how to make a pencil case from a reusable shopping bag and a zipper rescued from a piece of clothing destined for the trash! I used a zipper from a sleeper that my son had blown the toes out of.

Supplies you’ll need:

  • sewing machine with regular and zipper feet
  • a zipper at least 13” long
  • reusable shopping bag
  • thread
  • scissors
  • pen
  • ruler
  • pins

Step One. First, you’ll need to cut two large rectangle pieces that are 12″ x 6″. Then cut two small rectangles that are 2” x 3″.

Step Two. Next, take your large rectangles one at a time and put them face down on your table. With your ruler mark two lines on all sides of the large rectangles. One line will be 1/4” away from the edge and the other will be 1/2” away from the edge. It should look like this:

Step Three. Then you will place your zipper on one of the large rectangles between the two inner lines and cut it to length.

Step Four. Set aside the large rectangles for now. Then you will fold the small rectangles in half lengthwise like this:

Step Five. And then fold again, like this:

Step Six. Next you’ll fold it again tucking the raw edges in and inserting the zipper into the fold.

Step Seven. To secure the small rectangle to the zipper you’ll sew along the edge close to the edge of the small rectangle. Repeat this process on the other end of the zipper so that both ends have a small rectangle sewn on.

Step Eight. Trim off the excess and set the zipper aside for now.

Step Nine. Working with the large rectangles again you will now need to fold the edge over on one of the longest sides. Fold in on the 1/2″ line you drew previously. Repeat on the other large rectangle. Do not fold any other sides only the top edge.

Step Ten. Turn your rectangle over and pin it to the edge of the zipper fairly close to the center of the zipper.

Change your sewing machine foot to the zipper foot to sew the zipper on in the next step.

Step Eleven. Sew along the edge of the zipper removing pins as you go.

Step Twelve. Repeat on using the other rectangle until you have both sides sewn on like this:

Step Thirteen. The next step is VERY IMPORTANT. OPEN your zipper. If you forget this step then you won’t be able to turn your piece right side out after the next step.

Step Fourteen. The next step is to fold your piece in half with the right sides facing in. Sew along the 1/2” line you drew previously on three sides of the pencil case. Make sure you back stitch at the beginning and end to lock in your stitches.

The next part is a bit fiddly but once you get it gets easier!

Step Fifteen. Open your pencil case and press the seams open as they are below and match up the seams to form a point.

This is the view from the inside. See how the seam lines are lined up?

Step Sixteen. Next mark a line 1 1/2” from the corner of the pencil case.

Step Seventeen. Sew along the line and then trim off the excess. Repeat this process on the other corner.

Step Eighteen. Then turn your pencil case right side out and voila! You’ve learned how to make a pencil case! You can also use it to store make-up or anything else you’d like! I like that it’s water resistant so if a pen or some make-up leaks nothing else in your bag gets ruined!

What projects do you like to do that reuse items you can find around your home?

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