Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Handsewn Pencil Pouch

At the request of Erica from Caught on a Whim, I present to you, my most recent DIY project!

As some of you may know, I'm prepping to board a ship for 85 days to sail around the world while interpreting (Japanese/English). As an interpreter, we're not only in charge of actual communication, we also participate in creating and running some activities on board.

Needless to say, I need to carry around a lot of stuff, including pens/pencils/stapleless staplers/Japanese masking tape/etc. More importantly, since I'd already gathered the supplies, I needed a bag to put it all in. Pencil pouches are much more common in Japan than in the US, but it would still be a struggle to find just the right size.

Confession: I didn't really put much energy into trying to find one of the right size since I had some relatively stainless placemats I'd made before that I no longer needed laying around my apt. I stopped by a fabric store just to pick up a YKK zipper, and voila!

It was my second attempt at using a zipper, but I think it turned out alright.

I'm also packing up my whole room right now and keep finding knick knacks that I don't really know what to do with. In the case of this little badge depicting london sight-seeing buses that I got in a tiny countryside town in Japan, I pinned it on my brand new pencil case to add a little flair!

Country-chic seems to be quite popular in Japan right now, which is why I'd originally picked up the fabric I used on the outside and I added the rabbits with moons on the inside for a more traditional Japanese print/feel. At the time that I bought these fabric scraps, I figured that I'd go for things that felt more or less Japanese since I was buying them in Japan. It'd be much less fun if I bought a pattern that could be purchased just anywhere.

PS- For anyone who thinks that they can't sew: I started sewing in Tokyo, where I don't have a sewing machine. If I can do it, you can too. I mean, this isn't perfect in any way, but it's fairly sturdy so it does the trick!


  1. Oh, so cool. Thanks for sharing. This is a great way to re-purpose placemats. I always wished I learned how to sew better, but like you said I just need to keep trying.

    These little pouches have got to be so great for traveling. :)

    Can't wait to hear more about your trip! :)

    1. I should show you my first projects. Little (accidentally) asymmetrical coasters that took waaaay too long to do. As long as you're the one using it and it's usable, it doesn't have to be perfect :)

      They are! And they're fun to accessorize and play with. I put a pleat in one that I made for a friend!

  2. Oh la la. Love this pencil pouch. I too could use some work on my sewing skills.

    1. Thanks for stopping by the girly side of travel! This pencil pouch was definitely good practice, and is very usable even though it's not perfect. I actually just started trying to knit again, too! :)