Sew a Pencil Roll to Keep Your Colored Pencils and Crayons Organized With This Free Sewing Pattern and Step-By-Step Tutorial.
This Crayon Roll-Up even makes for a great Christmas gift because it can be easily personalized for the recipient. Add in a few boxes of Crayola Crayons or Colored Pencils and you have a thoughtful Christmas gift!
Today I'm sharing my free beginner-friendly sewing pattern that you can use to make a fun (and useful) crayon or pencil roll.
This is a sponsored post on behalf of JOANN. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
I teamed up with JOANN to bring you this tutorial and help you find all of the supplies you'll need for this project. JOANN is my one-stop-shop for all of my sewing needs.
Table of Contents
What is a Pencil Roll (and Why Do You Need One)?
A pencil or crayon roll is a soft fabric organizer with pockets to hold pencils, crayons, paintbrushes, knitting needles, or any other narrow items you need to store. Once your pencils or crayons are placed in the pockets, the fabric is rolled up and tied in a nice compact roll.
This is a great portable way to organize crafting supplies - it's easy to throw a pencil roll into your kid's backpack or your purse. It also helps to keep all your crafting spaces clean by keeping those messy crayon and pencil ends safely out of the way inside the fabric roll when not in use.
Plus, once you've made one roll-up pencil case, you'll want to make more! They make wonderful gifts and are great stocking stuffers. And don't forget to throw in a box or two of Crayola crayons or pencils to go with the gifted roll-up case!
About the Easy Pencil and Crayon Roll Sewing Pattern
This pattern includes 2 different roll-up case sizes - one intended for colored pencils and a shorter one for crayons.
This case includes ties on the left side to hold it closed when rolled. It also has a hanging loop on the right side that the pencil roll can be hung from when in use.
Both sizes hold 36 crayons or pencils. However, if you'd like to make a roll that holds more pencils or crayons, simply add 3/4 inch to the length of the front and back pattern pieces for each additional pocket. Similarly, if you want fewer pockets, remove 3/4 inch for each pocket you want removed.
Dimensions of Finished Crayon and Pencil Roll-Up Cases
Here are the finished dimensions of the crayon version and the pencil version of the roll-up case.
- Crayon Roll Dimensions: 27.5" x 6.25"
- Pencil Roll Dimensions: 27.5" x 9.25"
Fabric Recommendations for the Pencil Roll Pattern
You can use any medium-weight, non-stretch fabric to sew your pencil roll. It's best to avoid very light-weight fabrics as they won't be durable enough to last over time. On the other hand, very heavy fabrics can be too bulky and make the case difficult to roll up.
For a beginner, I recommend a high quality quilting cotton. Quilting cotton is easy to sew and comes in a huge range of colors and prints. However, you can also experiment with other types of fabric such as mid-weight faux leather, canvas, or denim.
A medium-weight interfacing is also an important material in constructing your pencil roll. I recommend Pellon SF101 as a wonderful interfacing option.
Roll-Up Crayon and Pencil Case Sewing Supplies
Here are the supplies you'll need to sew your new crayon or pencil roll.
- 1 Yard Mid-Weight Woven Fabric (for 60" wide fabric, 1/2 yard will work)
- 2.5 Yards 20" Wide Mid-Weight Interfacing (or 1/2 yard 60" wide interfacing)
- Rotary Cutter
- Rotary Cutting Mat
- Sewing Pins
- Iron & Ironing Board
- Fabric Pen
- Sewing Machine Needle
- Sewing Machine
- Quilting Ruler
- Seam Gauge
- Printing Paper
Step 1: Download and Print the Pencil Roll Sewing Pattern
First, download the free pencil roll sewing pattern to your computer.
Open the pattern in your PDF reader. I recommend using Adobe Acrobat. It's important not to print the pattern from your browser because it can mess up the scaling and the border lines.
Next, click on "Print". This will open a print settings dialog box. Set the scaling to "Actual Size" or "Custom Scaling: 100%".
Once the scaling is set, print the first page of the pattern. This page contains a 1" x 1" test square to ensure that your scaling is set correctly.
After the first page prints, measure the test square. If it measures 1" x 1", go ahead and print the rest of the pattern. However, if it doesn't measure 1" x 1", you'll need to recheck your print settings and reprint.
In addition, this pattern features a layers option so that you can print only the version of the pattern you want to sew.
To use the layers option, click on the icon that looks like 3 stacked papers along the left-hand side. Then, deselect the "eye" icon next to the version you don't want to print.
Step 2: Assemble the Pattern and Cut Out Fabric
Once printed, assemble the pattern according to the pattern layout chart. There are large numbers in the center of each page to help you keep them in the correct order.
Before taping the pages together, you can trim away the excess paper along the border lines if you like. Or, you can simply overlap the papers and hold them up to a light to align the pink stars and pattern lines.
Tape the edges of the pages together, making sure that the stars and the lines of the pattern are aligned correctly.
Then, cut out the pattern pieces along the lines corresponding to the version you want to sew.
You should have 4 pattern pieces: the Back, Front, Long/Short Tie, and the Hanging Loop.
With the pattern assembled, it's time to cut into your fabric and interfacing!
Cut out the following number of pieces from your fabric and interfacing.
- Back: Cut 2
- Front: Cut 1
- Long Tie: Cut 1
- Short Tie: Cut 1
- Hanging Loop: Cut 1
- Back: Cut 2
- Front: Cut 1
Finally, clip 1/4 inch into the fabric at the marked notches at the bottom center of the Front and Back pieces.
Step 3: Apply Interfacing
With your materials cut, you'll need to apply the interfacing to the fabric pieces.
Following the instructions that came with your specific interfacing, apply both Back interfacing pieces to the wrong side of both Back fabric pieces.
Then, apply the Front interfacing to the wrong side of the Front fabric piece.
Step 4: Finish the Top Edge of the Front
Next, to prepare the front to be attached to the back, you'll need to finish the top edge.
To do this, first press the upper (unnotched) edge to the wrong side by 1/4 inch.
Then, press it to the wrong side again by another 1/4 inch and pin it in place. This will hide the raw edges inside the folded upper edge.
Stitch along the top of the front, sewing just under 1/4 inch from the folded edge.
Step 5: Sew the Ties and Loop
Next, we need to prepare the ties and hanging loop.
First, take one of the tie pieces to your ironing board and press it in half lengthwise with wrong sides together.
Unfold it and fold one short end towards the wrong side by 1/4 inch.
Then, fold each long edge in towards the wrong side so that they meet at the center crease. Make sure to keep that short end folded in as you complete this step.
Finally, refold the tie in half with wrong sides together and pin it in place. This will keep all the raw edges neatly hidden inside the folds.
Next, stitch along one long edge, starting at the unfinished short end. Sew 1/8 inch from the folded edge.
When you reach 1/8 inch from the folded short end, stop sewing and leave the needle down. Lift the presser foot, then rotate the fabric 90-degrees so that the short end is in front of the presser foot.
Stitch across the short end, sewing 1/8 inch from the edge.
When you reach 1/8 inch from the end, rotate the fabric again so that the other long edge is in front of the presser foot. Sew down the long edge, stitching with a 1/8 inch seam allowance.
The tie should be topstitched down both long sides and across the one finished short side.
Repeat this process to fold and sew the second tie.
Finally, take the hanging loop piece to your ironing board. Fold it in the same way as the ties except don't fold either short end in. This piece doesn't need a finished end like the ties.
Once folded, topstitch along both long edges with a 1/8 inch seam allowance.
Step 6: Baste Ties, Loop, and Front to the Back
Next, lay one of the Back pieces right sides up on your table with the notched edge towards the bottom.
Place the Front piece on top of it with the wrong side down. Align the unfinished edges of the Front with the bottom and sides of the Back.
Pin the Front to the Back.
Then, pin the unfinished end of the longer tie to the left side of the Front, aligning the upper edge of the tie with the upper edge of the Front.
Next, pin the unfinished end of the shorter tie just above it, lining up the lower edge of the tie with the upper edge of the Front.
Finally, fold the Hanging Loop so that the unfinished ends are lined up side-by-side. Make sure the loop isn't twisted.
Pin the side-by-side ends of the Hanging Loop to the Back, lining up the lower edge of the loop along the upper edge of the Front.
Set your sewing machine to a long basting stitch with a stitch length of 4.5mm.
Baste across the ends of the Hanging Loop, down the side of the Front, across the bottom of the Front, up the second side of the Front, and across the ends of both ties. Stitch with a 1/4 inch seam allowance.
Step 7: Mark and Sew Vertical Lines for the Pockets
Next up is the time-consuming part! Marking and sewing all of the little pencil and crayon pockets.
Start by drawing a vertical line through the front at the clipped center notch.
Then, use your quilting ruler to make 17 vertical lines 3/4 inch apart to the right of the center line. It's important to start with the center line and measure out from the center instead of starting from one end because it keeps your lines more accurately placed on the fabric.
Next, starting from the center line again, make another 17 lines 3/4 inch apart to the left of the center line.
Your lines on each end should be approximately 1.3 inches in from each end. If they're a little bit closer or further than this, don't worry about it - but if they're way off, you'll want to recheck your measurements.
Finally, stitch down each of the 35 vertical lines through the Front. Make sure to backstitch at the beginning and end of each line.
This part is a bit time-consuming, but try not to rush and focus on getting your lines as straight as possible!
Once you've stitched each line, trim all those thread tails away close to the fabric.
Step 8: Attach the Second Back Piece and Finish the Pencil Roll
The last step in sewing your pencil or crayon roll in attaching the second Back piece and finishing the edges.
Place the second Back piece right sides together with the assembled Back/Front.
Pin it in place around all 4 edges. The ties and hanging loop should be out of the way between the 2 Back pieces.
Next, stitch around all 4 edges with a 3/8 inch seam allowance. If your end pocket lines were less than 1.3 inches from the ends, you can take a smaller 1/4 inch seam allowance along the short edges to help make up for this. Leave a 3 to 4 inch opening in the bottom edge, making sure to backstitch on either side of the opening.
Trim the corners of the seam allowance away close to the stitching. This will help to reduce bulk and get sharper corners.
Then turn the pencil roll right sides out through the opening in the seam.
Press the roll-up case flat, pressing the seam right to the edge. At the opening, press the edges to the inside of the pencil roll so that it creates a continuous straight edge.
Finally, topstitch around all 4 edges of the roll-up case with a 1/8 inch seam allowance, rotating around the corners.
Your adorable pencil or crayon roll is finished! Go ahead and organize all your Crayola crafting supplies in your new roll-up case.
Don't forget to head to your local JOANN to pick up all your supplies and some Crayola crayons or pencils to fill your new rollup organizer!
Looking for more awesome free sewing patterns? Try one of the patterns below!
- How to Sew Fabric Storage Bins
- Tote Bag Sewing Pattern
- Free Reversible Bucket Hat Sewing Pattern
- How to Sew a Baby Bodysuit
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