DIY Stand Up Pencil Pouch Pattern: As Seen In Stores!

PicMonkey Image.jpg

Sew a Stand Up (and slide down) Pencil and Tool Pouch Pattern! This handy zipper pouch extends tall to hold pens, pencils, scissors, and other items. Then when you need to use it, the top slides down for easy access. You can read more about how I experimented with different materials to find the best one here.

This blog post has been converted to an optional PDF that’s optimized for printing. Find it here. The blog post below is totally free to read, print, and sew! Just hit CTRL +P on your computer to print. The PDF download for $2 is totally optional.


The Fabric You Pick Matters

The exterior of my pencil case is made out of regular quilting cotton. I love using my favorite fabrics like this.

I learned that in order to have the case push down and pull up smoothly, the upper lining material could not be quilting cotton. It needed to be a thin, slippery material.


On this pouch I used ripstop nylon (leftover from a rocket parachute we made) and it worked great. It wasn’t very difficult to sew on, either.

On this one I decided to use polyester lining fabric (normally used on clothing) because the fabric and craft store did not have a color of ripstop nylon fabric that would match the fabric for the exterior of my case.

Ahhh, the picky sewist in me!

Polyester dressmaking lining fabric is even slipperier than ripstop nylon and trickier to work with. I suggest that if you are a beginner at sewing, you choose ripstop nylon for your upper lining instead.

You can also choose to make the lower lining of the pouch out of quilting cotton instead of thin lining fabric. I decided to make my entire lining (upper and lower) out of the polyester lining fabric because it cost a lot less than my quilting cotton. With a coupon, I got 1/2 yard of 60’’ wide fabric for just a few dollars.

Note: I do not recommend using cotton fabric for the upper lining. The top of the case will not slide up and down smoothly (this is what I showed in the ‘sewing fail’ blog post linked to in the first paragraph above).

You can also choose to make optional interior pockets in your lower lining. Check out the small pockets in the photo above.

How this Stand Up Pencil Pouch pattern is different

You should also note that my version of this Stand Up – Slide Down Pencil Case is larger than those sold in stores and on Amazon.

That is for two reasons. The first is that this is the smallest size I could design and still easily sew it by slipping the opening of the pouch over the free arm of my sewing machine. Easy is better!

The second reason why I made a larger pouch is because I wanted to use it for my sewing tools. Scissors, rotary cutters, marking tools, and even a few small rulers will fit in here – yay!

The finished dimensions of this pouch are more like a small bag – approximately 10’’ tall and 6’’ wide.

Are you ready to sew this Stand Up – Slide Down Pencil Pouch Pattern? Let’s do this!

You will need:

  • less than 1 fat quarter of cotton fabric for the upper exterior (buy 1/2 yard if using regular cut fabric)

  • fat eighth of cotton fabric for the lower exterior (buy 1/4 yard if using regular cut fabric)

  • 1/4 yard of fabric for the lining (ripstop nylon recommended)

  • 1/2 yard of medium weight fusible interfacing (such as Pellon SF101, 20’’ wide)

  • small pieces of foam stabilizer (such as ByAnnie Soft and Stable – two 7’’ squares)


I recently had a reader complain to me that this method wasted 1/2 a zipper. Let’s fix that.

Zipper pulls for handbag zippers are inexpensive (I totally recommend them) and enable us to buy long zippers and cut them up which is so economical!

When you are done with this you may have a 20’’ long piece of zipper left over which you can add a pull to and use to make another case just like this one, a Pop-Up Pouch, or something similar.

Or cut that 20’’ long piece of zipper in half and put the two pieces together with a zipper pull to make a 10’’ long handbag zipper. Awesome!

Of course, if you make a lot of bags and pouches then I totally recommend simply buying Zippers By the Yard because they come with a whole package of pulls and you can always cut just the amount of zipper you need – which is what I do because it is the most economical choice of all.

You will also need:


Cutting for the Stand Up Pencil Pouch Pattern

Measurements are height x width.

Cotton fabric for the upper exterior, cut:

  • 1 rectangle 12’’ x 13 1/2’’ for the upper exterior

  • 2 rectangles 4’’ x 3’’ for the pull down tabs

Cotton fabric for the lower exterior, cut:

  • 2 squares 7’’ x 7’’ for the lower exterior

  • 1 rectangle 2 1/2’’ x 3’’ for the end of the zipper

Ripstop nylon lining fabric, cut:

  • 1 rectangle 5 1/2’’ x 13 1/2’’ for the upper lining

  • 2 rectangles 15’’ x 7’’ for the lower lining (cotton fabric may be used instead of ripstop nylon)

Tip: If you do not wish to have interior pockets, simply cut 2 squares 7’’ x 7’’ for the lower lining. Instructions will be given below for skipping the pockets.

From the medium weight fusible interfacing, cut:

  • 1 rectangle 12’’ x 13 1/2’’ for the upper exterior

From the foam stabilizer, cut:

  • 2 squares 7’’ x 7’’ for the lower exterior

Make the Stand Up: Upper Lining

1. Pin or clip the zipper piece to the top edge of the 5 1/2’’ x 13 1/2’’ upper lining piece (it should be reversible ripstop nylon or polyester lining fabric).

The zipper piece should be centered on the fabric rectangle with the right side of the zipper facing up and the edge of the zipper tape aligned with the top edge of the fabric.

Place the two outer clips or pins exactly 1 1/2’’ away from the fabric edges.


2. Angle the ends of the zipper down so that they are about 1/2’’ below the corner of the fabric. Pin or clip each end of the zipper away from the seam line as seen in the photo above left.

3. Using a zipper foot on your sewing machine (if desired), sew the zipper to the top edge of the upper lining with a 1/4’’ seam allowance.

Because you angled the end of the zipper out of the seam line, the zipper should not be sewn to the upper lining for about 3/4’’ – 1’’ at either end.


4. Fold the lining back and press gently. Fold and press the top corners under, as if they were sewn – even though they are not sewn to the zipper.

The ‘pretty’ side of this piece will be the pouch interior. The other ‘unfinished’ side is the upper lining exterior – but it will not show.


5. Place the short ends of the lining together, with the ‘pretty’ side facing itself and the unfinished side out. Pin the ends of the zipper tape back or hold them out of the way while you pin the lining ends together with the folded down edges at the top aligned.

6. Sew with a 1/4’’ seam allowance. I found it was easier to start from the bottom of the piece so I could make sure that the folded edges at the top remained neatly folded and aligned as I sewed over them.


Gently press the seam allowance open.

Set the upper lining aside.


Make the Slide Down Lower Lining

Skip to Step 4 below if you are using 7’’ squares so you won’t have pockets in your lining.

1. Draw horizontal lines across the lower lining pieces as follows:

  • draw a line 6’’ up from the bottom

  • draw a line 5’’ down from the top

2. Fold the piece up along the top line. Fold the end down along the lower line.

This should now be a 7’’ square piece with an accordion-like fold in the middle. Press.


3. Baste along the sides 1/4’’ from the edge to secure the pocket.

If desired, sew one or more vertical lines to divide the pocket into two or more smaller compartments.


4. Along the bottom of each lower lining piece, make a mark 1/4’’ from each corner.

Place a ruler with one end at the top right corner and the lower end at the mark 1/4’’ away from the lower right corner and slice away a small sliver of fabric.

Repeat on the left side so your lower lining is slightly tumbler shaped – 1/2’’ narrower at the bottom.


5. Place the two pocket lining pieces right sides together and pin at the top.

Mark and cut out out 1 1/4’’ squares from each bottom corner.


6. Stitch the sides with a 1/4’’ seam allowance. Stitch the bottom edge too – but leave an opening, so you will only sew for about 1’’ – then leave a break and sew for about another 1’’ before the corner cut-out.


7. To box each corner, flatten the corner of the lining so that the side seam lines up with the bottom at the corner – pin and stitch with a 1/4’’ seam allowance. Repeat on the other corner.

Set the lower lining aside.


Make the Lower Exterior

1. Cut each of the 7’’ x 7’’ pieces (two fabric, two foam stabilizer) into slight tumbler shapes following Step 4 under ‘Make the Lower Lining’ above.

2. Place each fabric piece with the wrong side against a foam stabilizer piece and baste all the way around, 1/8’’ from the edge.

3. Place the two lower exterior pieces right sides together and pin at the top.

Mark and cut out out 1 1/4’’ squares from each bottom corner.


4. Place more pins along the side and bottom edges. Stitch all 3 with a 1/4’’ seam allowance.


5. To box each corner, flatten the corner of the pouch so that the side seam lines up with the bottom at the corner – pin and stitch with a 1/4’’ seam allowance. Repeat on the other corner.

Tip: before stitching each corner, smooth out the fabric on the inside so to ensure that it is not bunched up or folded. That would require un-picking the corner to fix.


Turn the lower exterior out – it looks like a cute little cup!


Assemble the Pouch without the Upper Exterior

1. Place the upper lining over the lower exterior with the raw edges aligned.

The right side of the lower exterior should be against the unfinished side of the upper lining with the zipper at the bottom and the pretty side out.

It will be tight but that’s okay. Place two pins at the sides.


2. Slide the lower lining over the piece now by putting the whole thing inside with the lower lining still inside out.


This means that the ‘pretty’ side of the upper lining is against the right side of the lower lining and the zipper is tucked deep inside.

All the raw edges should be aligned.

Remove the pins at the top and put them in again to secure all the layers. Add more pins all the way around the top.


3. Place the pouch over the free arm of your sewing machine and sew all the way around the top with a 1/4’’ seam allowance.


4. Turn the pouch right side out through the opening in the lining.

Make the Upper Exterior

1. Fuse the medium weight interfacing to the wrong side of the 12’’ x 13 1/2’’ upper exterior fabric piece.

2. Press the two longer 13 1/2’’ edges to the wrong side by 1/2’’

3. Place the two 12’’ edges right sides together and pin (pinning the folds down too).

Stitch with a 1/4’’ seam allowance (including the folds)


Press the seam open. A press roll will help with that if you have one!


4. Fold the exterior over like a cuff – placing the seam against itself and both raw folded over edges together.

Pin the raw folded edges together all the way around. Press the top (folded edge) flat.


5. Make the pull-down tabs:

  • Fold in half with the 4’’ edges together.

  • Open and fold the raw edges to the center. Press.

  • Fold in half again and press to make a 1’’ x 3’’ strip.

  • Topstitch along both long edges 1/8’’ from the edge.


6. Fold each pull down tab in half and insert in between the folds on the upper exterior. Pin in place.

One pull down tab should be centered in between the side seams. The other should be on the opposite side.


7. Topstitch all the way around the lower edge of the pouch exterior, sewing together the folded edges and catching the tabs in between.

8. Place the upper exterior over the upper lining with the top edge just under the zipper.

Ensure that the zipper sticks up an even 1/8’’ – 1/4’’ all the way around and then pin all the way around.

9. Topstitch all the way around the top of the upper exterior, securing it to the upper lining below the zipper.


Finish the Zipper

1. Place the zipper ends together and trim them so they are even.


Tip: To help put on the zipper pull, I like to trim away the zipper teeth for 1/4’’ on either zipper tape end so I have the ends to hold on to. This is a tip I show in one of the videos for my Pop Up Pouch Video Class.

2. Place the zipper pull on the zipper ends.

3. Make a tab for the end of the zipper:

  • Fold the 2 1/2’’ ends of the 2 1/2’’ x 3’’ rectangle over to the wrong side by 1/2’’ and press.

  • Fold raw edges to the center and press.

  • Fold the piece in half again to make a 1 1/4’’ x 1’’ taband press.


4. Place the end of the zipper inside the folds of the tab.

5. Topstitch around the tab to secure it.

diy pencil case slide down

And your beautiful Stand Up Slide Down Pencil and Tool Pouch is done!

As usual, I hope you’ll try my Stand Up Pencil Pouch Pattern and post a picture to Instagram so I can see. Just tag me @sewcanshe so I can take a look!

This project is found on my Crafty Little Things To Sew page – and your next sewing project is probably there too! 🙂


Disclosure: some of my posts contain affiliate links. If you purchase something through one of those links I may receive a small commission, so thank you for supporting SewCanShe when you shop! All of the opinions are my own and I only suggest products that I actually use. 🙂

Similar Posts


  1. Thank-you for working this out. I might make it but I am not sure. It looks like one thing that it would be easier to buy. Happy Creating.

  2. Thank you for all your efforts! I just may try this! I need tall carriers for my cutters and scissors.

  3. I like the idea of this standing pencil case but wow the rip stop Nylon is pain to work with it constantly frays and is just messy.
    Having a fraying exposed seam under the slide down just doesn’t look nice
    I am a bit dissapointed 😥

  4. Good morning,
    Love the idea of this pattern. Could you use waterproof canvas instead of rip stop?
    I love your patterns and all the work you put into them.
    Thank you!

Leave a Reply