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How to Sew a Zippered Pen Pouch & A Give Away

How to Sew a Zippered Pen Pouch & A Give Away

Okay, so I am gonna try something totally new for me here.

I love sewing, and a lot of what I’ve learned I’ve picked up from tutorials around the web. I thought I would try my hand at doing one. Let me say, OH LAWDY! Taking pictures, sewing a thing, and posting directions is a lot harder than it looks. Make sure that you comment and give love to the tutorials you use and love, because seriously, those people worked hard trying to teach you something!

I have this great set of pens I love to use, but I really dislike the box they came in. I have wanted to make something to keep them in for ages, and I thought that this project would be a great one to share. I have looked all over the internet and I couldn’t find a tutorial for a bag like this, but I did find one that I leaned heavily against when it came to actually sewing up the bag. So this project was partly inspired by the one at: If you get at all confused during the last stages of the bag completion, please go there and see her instructions.

On with the show… Please let me know if something does not make sense.

Here’s what you will need to make this bag:


– 1  back piece: 8 3/4″ x 7″

– 1  piece for below the zipper: 8 3/4″ x 6″

– 1 piece for above the zipper: 8 3/4″ x 2″


– 1  piece: 8 3/4″ x 7″

– 1 piece of fabric for your pocket measuring the same

– 1 piece for below the zipper: 8 3/4″ x 6″

– 1 piece for above the zipper: 8 3/4″ x 2″


– 1 piece for the exterior back: 8″ x 6.5″ (That’s what I did in this tutorial, though if you were being accurate you would do 8 1/2″ x 6 1/2″ but either way will work).

– 1 piece for the exterior below the zipper: 8″ x 5 1/4″

– 1 piece for the exterior above the zipper: 8″ x 1 1/2″


– A 12″ zipper

I used a 1/4″ seam allowance for the entire project.

You might notice that the lining pieces are off in the picture on the left, I didn’t have them cut out correctly for this first picture. Whoops!

Step 1: Fuse the interfacing to the exterior pieces.

Step 2: Fold pocket piece in half with wrong sides together. Top stitch about 1/8″ from the folded edge.

Step 3: Measure slots for your pens at 5/8″ apart. Remember to add 1/4″ to each side for the seam allowance. I made a line on the left side there, but it’s not for sewing on. I made dots at the top and the bottom of the pocket so I could make my channels straight, but you can just eyeball it if you aren’t type A like myself.

Step 4: Place your marked up pocket right side up with the top stitched part at the top on the lining. You can see that I have right side of the big lining piece to the wrong side of the pocket piece. Pin these together and get yourself ready to sew!

Step 5: Sew along the lines you have just marked. Make sure you go back and forth at least once at the top of each line to reinforce it a bit.

I have made a lot of pencil cases like this, and I have found that I hate stitching up and down and breaking my thread every time. So I like to sew in kind of a zig zag pattern hopping over the top of each channel so that you don’t sew the pocket closed. Completely confused? Have a look at the next picture to see what I mean:

You can see that there is a little bit of excess thread where I have lifted the foot and the needle and started on the next line.

Make sense? I hope so.

Step 6: After you have finished stitching over every line, place that piece aside and pull out your zipper, your smaller exterior pieces and your smaller lining pieces. We are gonna do some zipper sewing! Wahoo!

Step 7: We are going to make the first of our zipper sandwiches. We are going to use the bottom lining and exterior pieces first. Put the lining side right side up, and then place the zipper right side up on top of it. Line the lining (whoa, that’s crazy talk right there) top and the zipper top up. You can have the zipper pull off to the side and out of your way for now. That’s why it’s nice working with a larger size zipper. Take the exterior fabric piece and put it right side down, so that the right sides of the fabric are touching, and both pieces are lined up all the way around with the zipper at the top. You’ve just made a zipper sandwich. I hope I don’t have to tell you not to eat it. That would be embarrassing.

Step 8: With a fancy zipper foot, if you have one, sew down the top side of the zipper.

Step 9: Open up your pieces so that the zipper is now sandwiched between the fabric with the wrong sides together.

Step 10: Using your zipper foot again, top stitch that thing. This will give it a nice finished look, but also keep the fabric from getting pulled into the zipper. Practical and pretty!

Step 11: Now you do the same with the smaller pieces. You put the new, smaller, unsewn lining face up, and then take the zipper with the piece you’ve already sewn right side up and place that on top. Line up the edges as best you can. Then you take the new, smaller, unsewn piece of exterior fabric and place that wrong side up on the front. If you are using a directional print, make sure that when the piece is flipped up it will be the direction you want to go.

Step 12: Sew that side of the work the same way you did the first side. Open up and top stitch it as well.

Step 13: Move the zipper head into the middle of your work and trim the zipper edges off. DO NOT FORGET that there are now no ends to the zipper and accidentally unzip the head right off. I have done that before and it totally sucks. You can stitch over both ends of the zipper to make sure that doesn’t happen.

Step 14: Time for more sandwich making! Put the lining right side up, the zipper piece you have sewn also face up on top of the lining so that the lining right side pieces are touching, and then the exterior back piece face down so that the exterior pieces have right sides facing each other. At this time you can also trim up all the pieces so that they are relatively the same size.

Step 15: Take that yummy yummy sandwich you just made and sew along the top edge above the zipper. I didn’t do this in my pictures, but I am still posting them because I want you to see how it will KIND of looked opened up, keep in mind the top won’t open as well because you want to sew everything above the zipper together, like in a small U shape. 

Step 16: Open up the zipper about halfway. Trust me you want to do this. You will be very grumpy if you don’t do this now. I know we’ve been working on this project for a while now and you are looking to skip steps, but this is not the one. Don’t skip this step. NO REALLY.

Step 17: Pin the lining bottom pieces together & sew. You want to leave about three inches open in the middle here. I do almost all of my sewing late at night after my kids have gone to sleep. Sleep deprivation makes for fun party tricks, but can make precision work a little tricky. I have devised a little system for myself to remember when to stop sewing. I only use a certain kind of pin when I need to leave something open. So you see those round-headed pins there? They are a visual cue to myself to stop sewing right there. It works 80% of the time! The rest of the time I have to pick it out and do it again, but before I came up with that bright idea I only remembered to leave things open 10% of the time, so hey! It’s an improvement.

Step 18: Sew up the bottom of the exterior fabrics.

Step 19: Sew up both sides of the bag.

So now your piece should look like the one on the left.

Step 20: Trim the edges of your piece to make it less bulky when you turn it inside out.

Step 21: Reach through the hole you left in the lining all the way through to the opposite side and pull this bag right side out! This is the time that you will thank yourself for remembering to unzip the zipper, or if you didn’t, you will cry and then pull apart some seams and fix it. I have this awesome tool called a bone folder that my mom made me it works for paper and fabric, and this is when I gently use it to push my corners out and make them pretty. I have heard tale of people using knitting needles or pencils to do the same. So whatever tool ya’ got, GENTLY make your edges nice and crisp at this point.

Step 22: Take your lining and fold in the edges of the hole you left, and top stitch it closed. Push that lining back in that bag & zip that sucker up!

Step 23: PARTY HARDY because your bag is done! WHOOOOOO!

Step 24: Place your pens in your new bag and marvel! I made an extra slot for a pencil, but I can also stick an eraser or another few tools in front of the pens as well. Hooray!

Are you still with me? That was one looooooooooong tutorial! I would like to reward you for all your hard work readin’ or even just scrolling through this post. How’s about a little give away?

Tell me what other kinds of tutorials you are interested in seeing here, and you will automatically be entered to win your own (smaller and without a pen pocket) zippered pouch! Made with Melody Miller’s Ruby Star Shining Line for Kokka and lined with purple herringbone. You can also tweet about the giveaway to add your name into the pot more than once.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Please enter only if you are in the U.S. please. If you don’t respond to our emails within one week we will redraw a new winner.

Melissa (158 Posts)

Melissa, known to the world as the foremost Glitter Technician, is the mother of two beautiful children and has two beautiful buckteeth. She currently spends her time making all kinds of quirky items and selling them in her Etsy shop. You can find more of her writing & her wares on her self titled site Melissa Nelson-Stippich.


  • Please train me in your glitter ways.

    • Oh! That’s a fabulous idea. I will, I WILL!

  • Very cool!! Thanks!

  • […] have measurements on how to recreate the project pictured. I made a similar tutorial and posted it right here at On The Rag Mag! On of my favorite places with tons of tutorials is the Sew Mama Sew […]

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