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4 Projects and 13 Favorite Fabrics equals 1 Happy Girl

2015 November 11

When my oldest went back to school I got a burst of sewing energy and decided to make her several school-related projects. There’s something very satisfying about sending your child to school with unique and useful things. I’d love to make her backpack one year, but I’m worried it would get beaten up really quickly, and they like to pick them out store-bought anyhow.

Each project is made with fabric she chose herself – after a bit of (possibly unwanted) consultation with me about matching/not matching combinations. We used some of my favorites, since I’ve decided that stashed fabric is not useful fabric, and should be off the shelf. Easier said than done when acquiring new fabrics is kinda my job!

1) Pencil Case: This one is my favorite, took the longest and looks the least exciting when photographed. (#argh!) I love how this little case turned out. It’s so cute! Now that the pattern is drafted for one, they would be really quick to make again. The front and sides are stabilized by a rectangle of vinyl place mat so they stay up. The inside raw edges are finished with bias tape. I even got to use the fancy letter stitching on my Janome Skyline S5. Each project has our last name stitched right into it! The only thing I think I would change is to add a tab to each end of the zipper, so it is easier to open and close.

2) Marker & Pencil Crayon Case: The most annoying thing when making art is having to find colours when they are all lying down. Many thanks to ikatbag for posting instructions on how to make this amazing stand-up marker case!  It zips-up flat and then the sides fold back to let it stand up. The base has a piece of plastic in it as well, similar to the pencil case, to allow it to be stable. The inside of the case is made with rip-stop nylon – wipe-able to keep it clean. The construction, let alone the pattern drafting, is not the simplest. It’s easy in theory, but has lots of layers and finicky bits, including the bias tape edge finishing. Definitely worth making, but be prepared to spend lots of time on it.

3) Dry Erase Marker Eraser & Storage: Sorry, I’m not quickly coming up with a better name for that one! They use dry-erase pens instead of chalk boards in her school, so she needed “an old sock for erasing” and dry erase markers to take to school. Of course my child is not going to use “an old sock” to erase with! (Hee hee!) I made a little lined zip pocket for the pens and backed it with a piece of a towel. Erase with the towel, store the pens for next time. At least I imagine that is what she is doing… though I can’t be certain until everything comes back home in June!

4) Clear Binder Pocket: This project was meant to be for teacher notes and homework. Unfortunately, there’s a pocket in her agenda book for that, so currently it is in her binder looking pretty. Ah well! I got to use scraps of her favorite unicorn fabric in it. And it reminds her that her mom loves her when she sees it, right?! Maybe she’ll need it next year?

I have in the back of my head that it would be fun to make a sale-able pdf pattern for the Pencil Case and Clear Binder Pocket. (Maybe the Dry Erase Eraser as well if it looks useful to someone else.) Would that be something many of you would be interested in? Maybe in time for next year’s back to school push…

What handmade items do you send your kids back-to-school with? Or do you prefer to buy everything?

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9 Responses leave one →
  1. Sarah J. permalink
    November 11, 2015

    Love these! My oldest went to Kindergarten this year and I wanted to make her a pencil case, but couldn’t figure out how to make is useful (i.e: open enough to see in and stay up!)– this would be a very welcome pattern! We bought everything this year and I just sewed a few dresses instead. Oh and I can really relate to the “fabric consultation” part of sewing for a little one- lets just say we have some artistic differences :)

  2. Nicole permalink
    November 12, 2015

    The stand-up pencil case is totally brilliant! I’ll definitely be making this for my kids at some point. I think a good mix of making and buying is good. My kids feel special getting to pick their own things at the store, but they also love being presented with something made just for them (and perhaps being involved in choosing fabric). I also worry about making a backpack and having it get beat up.
    I’d love patterns for any of these items. Did you use that Heat Bond Vinyl product at all? Saw it demonstrated at the creativ festival and it seemed super useful!

    • November 13, 2015

      Hi Nicole, Your kids will love it! It’s so practical :) I have seen the Heat and Bond Vinyl – but haven’t used it… hmmm… something to look into! So sad I missed Creativ this fall. I’ll be looking forward to the spring one for sure!

  3. Mel Henry permalink
    November 13, 2015

    Each piece looks fantastic! Congrats!

  4. November 13, 2015

    I love these all! I made my son a pencil case, but it got returned the first day, apparently they need to stick to the supply list pretty strictly – boo! But I did make him a backpack, which is still going strong and getting lots of love.

  5. Debbie Rogowski permalink
    November 15, 2015

    I love the pencil case, and yes would love to see a pattern for it. I’m thinking it can be altered a bit to make a makeup case for a young teen too.

  6. Janette permalink
    November 18, 2015

    That stand up pencil case is amazing!! Also, I’m not sure when on earth she got old enough to need school supplies…so crazy!

    • November 24, 2015

      I love it too! It’s really useful and she says she really likes it! I know about the school supplies… too fast!

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