SMP Craft
4 Sep

Project of the Month: Pencil Case

Happy September!

It’s officially that time of the year again. It’s back-to-school week here in New York City and we’re reminiscing about all those ‘first days’ of school once again. A new year means all new supplies, clothes and accessories. For me, my pencil case was the highlight of all of the back to school supplies I badgered my mom into getting for me. So, our Project of the Month is in honor of those that want something different from their pencil cases. We pulled this Pencil Case pattern from Sweet & Simple Patchwork Gifts by Hisako Arai and Yoko Sanjo because it offers not one but two methods of making the case – one with a zipper and one with a spring clasp!


This charming collection of delightful, easy-to-make patchwork projects, originally published in Japan, is perfect for creating gifts for loved ones. Using five classic quilt patterns—simple squares, hexagons, log cabins, stars, and polygons—the projects range from pincushions, potholders, and pillows to handbags, coin purses, and a variety of zippered cases that are quick to make. This is the perfect book for beginner quilters or veterans looking for small projects and fun ways to use up their fabric stash. 

(Note: Instructions below are for the spring clasp pencil case but the pattern download includes both)

Materials (for spring clasp pencil case)

  • Fabric a, backing, and casings (plaid)
  • 9 3⁄4″ x 11 3⁄4″ (25 x 30 cm)
  • Fabric b (pink print)
  • 2 3⁄4″ x 3 1⁄2″ (7 x 9 cm)
  • Fabric c (yellow print)
  • 2 3⁄4″ x 3 1⁄2″ (7 x 9 cm)
  • Fabric d (floral print)
  • 4″ x 7 3⁄4″ (10 x 20 cm)
  • Fusible batting 6″ x 13 3⁄4″ (15 x 35 cm)
  • Lining 6″ x 13 3⁄4″ (15 x 35 cm)
  • Clasp
  • One 4″ (10 cm)–long spring clasp

pencil case1img_Page_1

Cut the fabric.
Trace and cut out templates A and B on page 17 (following template cutting instructions on page 107).

Cut fabric pieces adding a 1⁄4″ (0.7 cm) seam allowance:
• 2 A pieces of fabric d
• 2 B pieces of fabric a
• 2 B pieces of fabric b
• 2 B pieces of fabric c
• 2 casing pieces of fabric a: 1 1⁄4″ x 4 3⁄4″ (3 x 12 cm)
• 1 backing piece: 4 1⁄4″ x 6 3⁄4″ (12 x 16 cm) of fabric a
• 1 lining piece, cut without seam allowance: 4 1⁄4″ x 12 3⁄4″ (12 x 16 cm)

pencil case2

1. Make the pencil case top: Sew the pieces together as shown in the patchwork diagram on page 15. Sew the case top to the case backing along the short edge. Press the fusible batting to wrong side and quilt as shown in the above diagram.

2. Fold the pencil case in half with right sides together. Sew both sides and press the seams open. Miter corners by stitching across each corner at 3⁄4″ (2 cm).

pencil case3

3. Repeat step 2 for the pencil case lining.

pencil case456

4. Make the clasp casing by folding each piece in half lengthwise with right sides together. Sew both short sides and turn right side out. Fold in half again and sew 1⁄4″ (0.7 cm) along the raw edges. Make second casing.

5. Position the raw edges of the casing on right side of the pencil case top. Sew the casing to the top of the pencil case, then repeat for second casing.

pencil case6

6. With wrong sides together, insert the lining into pencil case. Fold over the seam allowance on the lining and hemstitch to the case. Insert spring clasps through casings to finish.

Et voila! Your pencil case is ready to rock ‘n’ roll!

pencil case

Each project in Sweet & Simple Patchwork Gifts by Hisako Arai and Yoko Sanjo is accompanied by clear construction diagrams, with easy-to-follow step-by-step photos for how how to cut, arrange, and sew up the project, making this the perfect book for beginner quilters or veterans looking for fun ways to use up their fabric stash. Also included are complete instructions for inserting zippers, plus many other techniques to help you give all your gifts a professional-looking finishing touch.

Can’t wait to get your own copy?

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Check out our new September and October titles!




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