Thursday, July 31, 2014

Back to School - BBA August 2014 Team Challenge

Each month the Blogging Business Artisans Team poses a challenge to its members.  The August challenge comes from Magnolia Surprise: 

Thinking about Back to School

In August kids are spending their last days of summer vacation and looking toward the beginning of school. Moms and dads are shopping for new backpacks and notebooks. Write a post about going back to school (maybe your best - or worst - experience), make a teacher gift or something fun for school (for your shop, your kids or yourself), or perhaps tell us what you look forward to doing when the kids are out of the house!

I chose to respond to this challenge by making something fun for school – but it might also be a cute teacher gift or a holiday stocking stuffer.


Awhile back, I discovered a tutorial by Gwenny Penny.  Her blog has featured many cute projects over the years – and this pencil-shaped pencil pouch caught my eye.   I had originally planned to make the cute little pouches as back to school presents for  grandkids.   

As I began to focus on preparing for Fall craft fairs, I contacted Gwen Littler, the designer of the pouch, to ask permission to make some of the pencil pouches to sell at three local craft fairs.   Not only did I get a very positive response and a very nice compliment on my Etsy shop --  I got even more than I asked for!!  Gwen recently began issuing Limited Commercial Licenses to make her pouches.  For a small fee I am entitled to make and sell as many of those cute little pouches as I can make by myself on my home sewing machine.  I can sell them at craft fairs or on Etsy provided I give Gwen credit for the design and include this statement in any listings and on any item tags: 

This pencil pouch is made from a tutorial by Gwen Littler of,
and I am a licensed seller.

I am more than happy to give design credit where credit is due!  So – over the past few days while my computer has been giving me FITS (#$&!@), I used some of that offline time to stock up on high quality 100% cotton solids, fusible fleece and ZipIt zippers.   I used a woven cotton with a bit of a nubby texture for the “wood” part of the pencil.   
Here is my first attempt:


The pieced pencils are backed with fusible fleece, giving the pouch a soft, padded feel -- so it's not all limp and wimpy.  I chose to use some text fabric for the lining, although I have a number of high quality 100% cotton fabrics that are candidates for fun pouch linings.
The pouches measure approximately 9.5 inches (24 cm) wide at the point, and 3 inches (7.6 cm) deep.  The zipper opening is a little over 7.5 inches (19 cm).    Not too big, not to small – just right-sized.

I am in the process of making more of these pencil-shaped pencil pouches in a variety of bright, saturated solids.  Here are some works in progress (WIP), pieced and backed with fusible fleece.  The points of the pencils still need to be "sharpened" with my rotary cutter, and I still need to install the zippers. I have a tall stack of precut linings, and I hope to have at least 6 more pouches completed this weekend.
I've decided to list some in my Etsy shop -- and I hope these colorful pouches will find happy new homes in a child's backpack or locker. 








  1. Totally cute! I love that lining fabric -- perfect for a pencil holder! Any kid (or big kids like us!) would love to park their pencils in one!

    1. Thanks, Sarah. I think the lining is a fun little surprise when you unzip the pouch.

  2. These are really cute! And I like that you decided to do them in multiple colors. Kids will love that.

    1. Thanks, Paige! I thought those bright colors were fun -- and my grandkids all seem to have a favorite color.

  3. Replies
    1. Thank you! I hope they are a big hit at my craft fairs this Fall.

  4. These are SO cute! I can see these doing really well at shows (and in your shop too!)

  5. So sweet and cute! Make it happen!

  6. How cute! You should sell plenty of these!
    Gwen's requests are certainly reasonable. The tag information may even make the product more interesting.

  7. This pattern is just so cute, and I love that you changed up the pencil colors in the new batch! They should sell well!

  8. So cute! I wish you good luck in selling them.