Wednesday, August 12, 2009

School Days

Schools Days
Good Old Golden Rule Days.

Not sure about that but with less than two weeks before school starts in my area, the Once Upon Time Bee of the KAQG had a sew-in to make pencil cases for kids in the area. The incomparable Ms. M. came up with the idea and we got lots of supplies from many members of the guild.

We were able to make over 30 pencil cases in an evening of wackiness. Wacky because we actually ran out of fabric to make these cases (we were using recycled denim) and there was more food than we have ever had at one of these events. I stuffed myself on fried chicken, hummus, water crackers, sushi, cheesecake, mango salsa, sweet potato chips, chicken salad, lemon pie and the list just goes on and on.

I did not take even one picture of our output but here are the instructions we used to make the pencil cases.

Denim Pencil Cases

Supplies needed -

4 – 1 ½” x 1 ½” pieces of fabric for the zipper tabs
1 – 18” x 20” piece of denim for the pencil case body
1 -18” zipper - any style but separating is easiest
1 – 5” piece of ribbon – zipper pull
Sewing machine or serger
Matching thread
Zipper foot – optional


Using two of the 1 ½” square zipper tabs for each end of the zipper, sandwich the end of the zipper between the right sides of the tabs. Sew securely about ¼” from each end of the zipper. Flip over the tabs, right sides out and re-sew about 1/8” from the fold.

Attach the zipper to the 20” sides of the fabric using your favorite method.

For example: place one long edge of the zipper, right sides together, on the denim with the zipper mostly open. Sew the long sides together about ¼” from the raw edge. At some point the zipper pull will need to be moved to sew around it. To do this easily, stop sewing in the needle down positon, turn the zipper and fabric sideways under the sewing machine foot, pull the zipper towards the previously sewn area, turn the whole thing back to where it can be sewn and continue sewing. Fold the fabric, right side up and top stitch about 1/8” from the zipper teeth. Repeat for the second side… just be aware that the top stitching can be a pain for the second side… just take it slowly and it will work out just fine.

Turn the case wrong side out lining up the zipper to the middle of bag, not the top.

Keeping the zipper mostly open, sew a ¼” seam along the open ends. Fold the sewn seam against the top edge and sew another seam across the triangle you have made, about 2 ½” from the top of the triangle. Repeat until all four sides are done.

Turn ride side out, attach ribbon to the zipper pull and you are done.

Website illustrating this technique:
These instructions make a really large pencil case and can easily hold packages of pencils, crayons, glue bottles, twelve inch rulers and lots of other stuff. When they were dropped off with a local group supporting kids who need school supplies they said that the need has doubled this year from last year... and that is just from families who have asked for help. How many more will struggle through without asking for help?
If school hasn't yet started in your area, consider contributing some pencils and such to the local charity helping kids start school with the right supplies. Locally, packs of pencils hae been sold for as little as $0.03 a pack with a notebook purchase or boxes of crayons as little as $0.25.
A little impact to our budgets, a big impact for some needy kid.
Have a good rest of the week!

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