Bird and Polka Dot Pencil Bag 1 The Prudent Homemaker


Fabric for outside. I cut two pieces 10″ by 4″.

Fabric for lining, cut the same size as above.

9″ zipper



Sewing Machine


Sewing pins



I like both this tutorial and this one for making a lined zippered case. I sewed the project with a 1/2″ seam allowance.

Bird and Polka Dot Pencil Bag 2 The Prudent Homemaker


30 minutes. The tutorials that said this was a 15 minute project, and if you just count sewing time, it is, but it also takes time to iron, measure, and cut your fabric.

Bird and Polka Dot Pencil Bag 3 The Prudent Homemaker


I used scraps from another project for the outside, fabric that was given to me for the inside, and a zipper from my grandmother’s collection, so this cost me $0.

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  1. I’ve just started making these. Well…not pencil bags per se, but little bags for make-up, etc.
    I am having the worst time making them. *laughing* I’m not sure what I am doing wrong, but they just aren’t quiet squared off when I get done. I sew for a living so I should be able to make these and I am so put off by the fact that I’ve made 3 of them and they just look a bit wonky.
    They sure aren’t as gorgeous as yours.
    I will have to try again since I have tons of scraps and 2 friends gave me their zippers. It is all free except for my time.

  2. That is very pretty fabric. I love it when I can make something from a scrap I saved–clearly, I liked the fabric in the first place or I wouldn’t have saved the scrap–so it’s a good feeling to use every last bit. I haven’t tried zippered pouches, but have a lot of zippers, so might try them after I get my Christmas projects done.

  3. These are beautiful! With a more masculine fabric, they would even be great for the boys/men in our lives. Speaking of boys/men, what other ideas do you have for frugal gifts for the guys . . . say in the tween/early teen and 50+ age range? I’ve got your camping pillow “on my list,” but I’m running short on other ideas these days. I’m always so impressed by your creativity and your ability to get so much done!

    Have a blessed Christmas!

  4. Those bags are so cute. I made a couple a few years ago and put some lip balm, some hand lotion, and Tinker Belle perfume in them. I also put in a gift card. That is what I gave for Christmas to my nieces. They were a huge hit that year.

  5. Well, I was going to say this may be my first project with zipper, but Becky’s comment has made me think twice! I knew I didn’t want to sew my first zipper on a piece of clothing, so thought a make up bag for myself might be just the thing. I’ll probably try it anyway. I have to start somewhere, right?!

  6. A friend gifted me with a huge bag of surplus zippers a few years ago when I put a new zipper in her daughter’s winter jacket. I have enough to do hundreds of pencil cases!! Too bad we have dozens of makeup cases already in the house—my DD and DGD both love to buy their Clinque makeup when the free gifts come with it.

    I do intend to do some other sewing with my scraps and zippers one of these days. Judging from my lack of enjoyment of mall shopping this year, I expect to be making more gifts for next year, starting shortly after the coming holidays.

  7. These pencils bags are so gorgeous! I don’t know where you find such lovely prints but I enjoy looking at whatever you create with them. Do your children use these bags even if they are homeschooled or are they gifts?

  8. Fun how the colors came together, and that you even had a turquoise zipper!
    I made some out of leftover oilcloth, just sew some wide bias tape on the unfinished top edge, then sew the bias tape edges on the zipper, it’s great for make-up, and they go quick because you don’t have to line them. I did find that I needed to add a ribbon or rick-rack pull to make zipping easier.
    Looks great Brandy, I love seeing how you pull what you have together so beautifully.

  9. I am venturing in and trying to make these for gifts next year. I have not sewn seriously for a few years now (read that as over 10) but I am certainly heading back to it in the New Year.

    It is a lovely pencil case Brandy I am sure whoever receives it , will love it

  10. Roberta, I went through the same dilemma as you this year. I made 2 boys polar fleece scarves (we do live in Canada, so they come in useful here). I was going to make pillowcases for the other two, with cute embroidered saying/quotes along the hem. However, the rest of my family thought the boys wouldn’t like it, so I caved and bought them a gift.

    In the past, I did give all the boys (and niece) a shaving kit/toiletry bag filled with things they might need while traveling (personal hygiene items from the dollar store, small sample bottles, small sewing kit, etc.). I bought the toiletry bags, but they could have easily been sewn, similar to the pencil case above, but maybe larger so it holds more.

    I have also tossed around the idea of making them a rag quilt using plaid flannel, recycled jean and/or t-shirt material. There are lots of tutorials on how to make rag quilts on Pinterest and they look easy enough. A matching throw pillow would be a nice compliment. I just have to start earlier in the year as I would need to make 2 or possibly more. I had 2 nephews that are the same age and 2 more nephews plus a niece that are the same age…the younger three are in their senior year of high school this year. SO glad the teen years are almost over for them. Now it’s my daughter who is entering the teen years. I just can’t win!

  11. Brandy, I am guessing this pencil case is for Wren? What a lovely piece of scrap fabric you used. I’m also guessing that you cut the fabric to specifically highlight the bird and the floral pattern. Beautifully done!

  12. We have a large family and I give many handmade gifts. In the past, I have made pajama pants and after-shower towel wraps for the men/boys in our family.

  13. Every November, runs a Handmade Holidays series with links to tutorials for gifts to sew. Each day has a theme with 4 or 5 projects. They’ve been doing this for 9 years, so there are hundreds of project tutorials available.

  14. These are nice for slipping into your purse when you need to carry something you don’t want the world to see, if it falls out. The one posted here is super cute. I really need to get a sewing machine and learn to sew.

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