Sunday, August 26, 2012

A Little Back-to-School DIY

This week I went to pick up the kids' school supplies and Target was decimated.
It was like the grasshoppers had been there but instead of eating up all of Pa Ingalls' crops they ate notebooks and folders.
The supply lists were pretty specific, down to brands of pencils and erasers and particular colors of binder dividers.
Unfortunately the Pink Pearl erasers were completely sold out, so it was Target brand on that one.
Also the supply list called for a pencil pouch that could fit into a 3 ring binder, but it had to be cloth and not plastic.
The shelf was full of plastic ones, and the only cloth one was covered with violent images, so I thought to myself - "Self, there is one thing we can make at home."
So I went to my stash and pulled out some things that I thought would make a sturdy pencil pouch.
The Elder and I went through my collection of oilcloth and vinyl-coated cotton and found a lovely rose-patterned oilcloth (which is, of course, plastic, but I'm hoping that restriction was referring to durability and not a philosophy about renewable materials) and then we began.

The first step was to cut two 8.5" x 11" pieces.
I set one aside for the back and then we cut the second piece into two pieces, one 6"x11" and one 2.5"x11"  to insert a zipper.
We used 1/4" double-sided tape to adhere the oilcloth to the zipper, so we didn't need any pins, The Elder was in charge of that part.

Next ,we cut out filler pieces for the ends of the zipper.

Next, with me guiding and The Elder on the pedal, we sewed across the long pieces and attached the zipper. No need for a zipper foot, I wasn't sewing close enough to the pull. Also, I have my mother's machine from high school and presser foot heads were smaller then. Mine is just about 1/8" wide, so it's perfect for top stitching. I always miss this foot when I am using one of the machines at Treadle when I am teaching a class.
In a perfect world, one where I thought ahead, I would have sewn across the ends of the zipper first, and then sewed the long lines. However, as it happened, I forgot those and we sewed them second.

(Sorry for the blur, the lighting in my sewing area is atrocious)

Here is the completed front.

Since it was late, and I had to take a nursing break in the middle here, I don't have a photo of the next part, which was trimming off the excess fabric at the top of the front, then lining up the back and the front (wrong sides together) and top-stitching around the whole shebang.
Then I sewed a second seam-line across the bottom to separate the grommet section.

I borrowed a grommet setting plier from my mom and it's the coolest tool. Part hole-punch, part pliers, it did the trick. This morning I'm wracking my brains to think of something else that needs grommets because it was really just that fun.

I did manage to put in the first grommet upside down, but maybe that's just an opportunity to make a second one?
This year is the first in The Eldest's school career that she will have any school supplies that are hers alone and not communal, so I hope she enjoys this and is excited that she helped make it.
Any last-minute school DIY in your lives?
This is kind of a tradition in my world.


  1. I love it! She's going to feel so happy every time she uses it.

  2. we went back to school supply shopping at Super Target & there were a few items we couldn't find.
    great job on the pencil holder, I'm really impressed with the grommets !