Sewing with children – the Pencilcase Project

posted in: Quilting, sewing | 3

Every school holidays our youngest son (who is now 16!) gets the itch to join me in my Sewing Studio and sew something – he has made napkins, a cushion, a pair of shorts, and a quilt so far!


Chemistry Teacher Quilt - Cassandra Madge


There were a lot of scraps and leftover pieces of fabric from his epic Chemistry teacher quilt, so he decided to make something for himself. He is starting at a new school this year, but it will feel like he has something of his favourite teacher with him!


Pencilcase project - Cassandra Madge


Enter the pencilcase project. Using offcuts, selvedges and pieces, we treated it as part patchwork and part quilt-as-you-go, sewing strips and pieces down directly onto batting.


Pencilcase Project - Cassandra Madge



Apart from technical advice, my major design contribution was adding this fun little name-badge to the front using double-sided fusible web and a bit of freemotion quilting to outline the letters.


Pencilcase Project - Cassandra Madge


He made full use of all the fun selvedges that we had. I love the fact that manufacturers have ventured way past coloured dots and now use little graphic designs to complement the fabric in the selvedge information.


Pencilcase Project - Cassandra Madge


He couldn’t resist a bit of fussy placement, and we added some decorative machine stitching as well.


Pencilcase Project - Cassandra Madge


Unfortunately, I forced him to make his pencilcase  too small to hold ALL his stuff – this kid carries 2 calculators to school every day. Yeah. That’s my son. So, the calculator cosy was born!


Pencilcase Project - Cassandra Madge


This time he wanted to make something using all the tiny triangle offcuts – so he patiently sewed them together, got a little help with the trimming, and pieced this panel out of 1″ finished half square triangles.  To help secure the panel to the batting, he used another decorative stitch from my Janome to decorate the plain grey strips in his design.


Pencilcase Project - Cassandra Madge


He added some grey sashing around the outside of the triangle panel to extend the size and protect them from being cut off by the binding.


Pencilcase Project - Cassandra Madge


The back of the calculator cosy was pieced with more scraps, focusing on his favourite prints of the whole collection. Fabrics used include Robert Kaufman’s Mod Geek and Science Fair. Both lines were purchased from Clair’s Fabrics in Australia. I’m not affiliated, just a regular customer and I love Clair’s service and prices.


Pencilcase Project - Cassandra Madge


The top of the front piece was bound using a small strip of the diagonal plaid, then the two panels, linings together, were bound all the way around with pieced scraps. I admit that I completed these steps as they were crucial to the whole pouch staying bound safely together. Finally I hand stitched velcro pieces to the front and the inside of the top flap to secure. Both calculators fit sweetly inside and are protected from the knocks and grime of the bottom of his schoolbag.

He can start off fresh in his new school knowing that he has some accessories that are unique and certainly reflect his fun and quirky personality.



Do you sew with children? I would love you to share what sort of challenges you find, and what are your favourite parts of passing such valuable skills on to the next generations?



 Happy Crafting - Cassie.

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3 Responses

  1. Cathy ewbank

    He’s done a great job! I hadn’t appreciated all the details in these projects from your photos on IG … Looking forward to seeing his next creation(s) 😊

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