September 13, 2008

Zippy Pencil Case For your 3 Ring Binder

Filed under: Uncategorized — laupre @ 10:00 am

With school back in session you’ll be hauling your pens, pencils, and other new supplies all over and will need to have something to carry them in.  It’s a great opportunity to craft your own pencil case and use it as a way to express yourself.  This easy to follow tutorial will help you create a zipped pouch that will fit into your 3-ring binder, hold your supplies, and look great doing it!

Click More… to view the full tutorial.

Step 1

Gather your supplies!



To make this pencil pouch you’ll need:

-Fabric for the body of the pouch.
You’ll need two pieces of fabric.  I suggest a sturdy material like canvas or cotton duck.  Use a regular piece of paper as a pattern or measure the rectangles to about 8.5″ x 11″.

The zipper should be around 11″ long.  If you’re using a pre-cut length be sure to get one just a little bit longer than that and cut in down after it’s sewn in place.

– 3 Grommets and the tool to set them.
The grommets will have to be large enough so that the clasps on your binder will fit through them.  you’ll want the two part grommets and not small eyelets.

-Bias tape
store bought or make your own

– Decoration for the pouch.
For this tutorial I’ve used a length of ribbon and some pieces of cotton fabric to applique my design.  You can use whatever you’d like to get the look for you… The possibilities are endless.

Step 2

Add your style.

Decorate your 8.5″x11″ rectangles to suit your taste.  You can choose to add embeleshment to just one or both pieces. Remember that the zipper will be placed on one side of the pouch, and the three gromments will sit along the edge of the other side, so take that into consideration when placing your elements.  I decided to applique circles of varying shades of purple to complement the fantastic piece of ribbon that was the inspiration for the design.  I placed them just where I wanted and secured them with a zig zag stitch all around.

Step 3

Add the zipper.
Take one of the rectangles of fabric and cut a straight line for your zipper along the long edge, about 2″ from the edge.

With a hot iron or by finger pressing, press the edges of your new cut to the underside of the fabric.

Stitch the zipper in place.  For any unlined zippered pouch I like to secure the zipper with two rows of stitching on each side.  One is placed as close to the fold line of the fabric and as close to the zipper teeth as I can get.  The second goes just along the outside line of the zipper tape.  I think this makes the zipper very sturdy and keeps the underside of the zipper tape from flapping around or getting in the way when you’re removing items from the pouch.

With your zipper in place be sure to check and see that the dimensions of the piece aren’t different from your other rectangle.  If there is a little difference you’ll just have to trim away the excess on the wider piece, but they should line up just fine.

Step 4

Bias tape time.

I decided that I would like rounded corners for my pouch, so before preceding I cut the corners into curves.  To get a good even curve for all four corners you can use a round object like a cup and trace a line for cutting onto your fabric.  (I used a tuna can and a pencil to make my cutting lines.) Next, with the two pieces of fabric together, with the right sides out, sew a line all around the outside edge to secure the pieces to each other.

Fit your bias tape around the edges and stitch that in place.

***  To keep it neat and without bumps or wrinkles around the curved corners you should iron the bias tape while shaping it around the curve.  Tape cut on the bias will stretch and take the shape easily with a little coaxing, and taking a few moments to do this will make a huge difference in the quality and look***

Step 5

The final step is to add the grommets into place so that the pouch can be kept convenietly inside your three ring binder.  The widths for the three holes are pretty standard so that notebooks, papers, folders, and dividers can be interchangeable among them, so you can use any of these to mark the placement for your holes.  You can also simply measure and place the centers of the holes 4.25″ from each other.  I prefer to mark my centers by placing the pouch directly into the binder, closing the rings onto the pouch.  I use a piece of chalk to quickly mark a spot where the rings sit.  This will work well for binders that are not to the standard sizes as well.

Remove the pouch from the binder and collect your grommets.  Place one on top of each of your marks and make sure that it looks balanced and that they are in a straight line parralell to the edge.  In addition to the chalk dots I have on the fabric for placement, I also like to trace the inside circumference of the grommet as a cutting guide so that I don’t cut away too much or too little for the grommet piece to go through. 

I’ve found that the less that you have to cut away, the more secure it will sit and the longer the grommet will last.  I think it should take just a little effort to get it through the hole and you should see some of the threads around the hold being pushed to the sides by the grommet before it is set (They will be hidden once the grommet is finished).  Start with a smaller hole and trim it so that the three grommets just fit into their places.

Now use your grommet tool according to manufacturer’s instructions and secure them into place.

With your grommets set securely in place, your pencil pouch is ready for service!  Pop it into your binder, fill it full of your supplies, and enjoy your one of a kind, “just for you” version of this back-to-school classic.

By experimenting with fabrics, designs, decorations, and styles you can use this basic tutorial to create some really different looks!  Have fun!


  1. wow!i love it it’s so cool!great job on it its so great it looks store bought.i want one do yoku sell them?

    Comment by elana — February 22, 2009 @ 1:55 pm

  2. Lovely tut! I posted a link on my site. Will be making some of these as birthday gifts for the older kid crowd.

    Comment by metrosupialdesigns — February 28, 2009 @ 7:11 pm

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