When Stephen’s pencil case started looking the worst for wear, I chose to make a new one from scratch. This is what we tend to do here whenever anything useful breaks or wears out. If it can be repaired, we try to fix it ourselves. If it’s beyond our capabilities, there is often someone nearby who is willing to help. The next best option is a visit to a local op shop for a second hand replacement. By avoiding new purchases, we reduce our consumption of energy from fossil fuels.
Looking through my fabric stash, I found a denim fabric from an old pair of jeans. I cut two rectangles from the cloth to match the size to the original case. The original zipper was fine and removing it was quick and easy. I pinned the zipper to the fabric and inserted a zipper foot in the sewing machine.
Then it was just a matter of sewing the zipper to the denim fabric. I pinned and sewed the sides closed with the fabric inside out and opened the zipper to turn the fabric to the right side. If you are new to sewing and need more detailed instructions there is a good tutorial at Zippered Pencil Bag Pattern – Crazy Little Projects.
The metal handle used to open and close the zipper was also broken so I attached a small bead to a piece of wire and threaded it to the zipper end. This idea works well on all sorts of items, including dresses and pants. It’s an easy way to extend a garment’s life without putting in a new zipper.
I briefly considered lining the case with remnants from an old blue, striped shirt but decided this was not necessary. The denim was sturdy enough and no one would stop long enough to admire the nicely matched lining inside the case. Besides, I had already spent half an hour on this project and I was ready for a cup of coffee.
The best part about this little make do and mend effort was the look on Stephen’s face when I presented him with his ‘new’ pencil case – priceless.