The Pencil Bag Postmortem

Hey all,

Life took me away from the sewing machine, and I didn’t like it, no sir, not one bit.  But over the last 3 days I completed another project, this time a pencil bag.  This one right here:

Pencil bag

Now that I’ve had a chance to sleep on it, I decided a recap, a postmortem might be helpful to you and to me.

I got the pattern from this blog post just passing it along to anyone else who wants to try it out.  I learned a lot in this project, and that’s the point right? Here’s what I learned:

I hate using duck fabric, I felt like I was a in a race again time the whole time as it was fraying from the moment that I cut the pattern out.  I think using pinking shears would have helped in this regard.  If I ever try and use duck again I’ll make sure to use pinking shears.

Making a fabric tube is hard, like whoa.  I must have pinned and repinned the sides 3 or 4 times for each of the 4 round panels.  That brings up another point, making a panel that’s 4″ diameter.  Remember how we thought we never needed geometry when we learning it in school? I tried printing out a circle that was 4″ in diameter, but that didn’t work, then I started looking around for something that fit the bill.  I ended up using a roll of blue painting tape that was just about perfect.  If you all have a different idea, let me know.

Zipper foot! After trying to do the piping in step 9 with a normal presser foot and not getting as close as I wanted to the piping cord, we bought a zipper foot from a local store in Austin called Austin City Stitches. Nice ladies there with a good selection. Anyway after installing the foot which was really easy, I did a test run and with the foot and I quickly learned that it’s nothing like a standard foot.  The fabric didn’t advance unless I guided it through the machine, I’m not sure if that’s normal or not.

Sewing the zipper closed was another challenge as I didn’t baste the zipper and instead pinned it, I had an issue of trying to maneuver the bag around the machine.  Next time, I’ll just baste and be done with it.

I learned a lot on this, and I think I will be redoing the zipper sewing as it’s a bit well, gross.


That’s it for now.  I’m working on another project starting in the next day or so.  I’m going to be deconstructing a dress I bought at the goodwill for 2 reasons, 1 for a pattern, and also so I can get a better idea on how it was constructed.

Keep Crafty,

The Dude.


6 thoughts on “The Pencil Bag Postmortem

  1. haha aww, that zipper is pretty jacked up 😉
    That is weird, the zipper foot shouldn’t effect your feed dogs, I wonder if you accidentally had them down? What kind of machine do you own?
    It IS hard to sew curves so kudos to you for trying as one of your first projects! I do that all the time, it is way more fun to challenge yourself than to sew a bunch of straight lines 🙂

    1. I use a Singer Simple, the dogs don’t have a lever to adjust them up and down, when I say simple, even Singer acknowledges it’s a basic basic machine. Sewing the circle was a challenge, but after some help with Mrs. Dude, I was able to get it pinned correctly and managed to only mess up once.

      As for the zip, I’m going to play around with the zipper foot a bit and see if I can figure out what’s going on.

      THX for the comment!!

  2. Don’t be too hard on yourself – putting a zip in is one of those things that most sewists hate until they finally work out what works for them. I have avoided zips for years but finally found some great tutorials online and have gradually worked out my own version for putting in pouches/pencilcases/etc. If you want some tips I posted some links for making zipped pouches etc a while back – – and they might help.

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