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(This pencil roll tutorial was first published on my Patreon for supporters on November 19, 2019.)

This is a great stash buster project as it requires minimal materials.  It is easy to customize, too.  Fabric choice can take it from kiddy to artsy.  As it is, it can be used as a pencil roll, or you can give it as a makeup brush holder*.  You can even change the dimensions to accommodate knitting needles if you have a knitter on your gift list.  

This project is suitable for most fabrics, although I recommend cotton.  I would advise against very thick materials (pleather, vinyl, velvet, etc.) as they would make for a very bulky finished roll.  But if you feel up to the challenge and decide you want to use any of those fabrics, make sure the interior fabric you choose is a medium weight material.  Using an apparel weight lining with a stiff and heavy exterior fabric will result in tearing at the seams.  

I use satin rat tail cording for the tie, but any kind of ribbon or thin cord will work.

This project takes about an hour from start to finish.  You will need a sewing machine and an iron.  Use sewing machine needles that are appropriate for the fabric you choose.  You will also need a way to mark the stitching lines for the pocket and top pieces.  You can use tailor’s chalk, a quilter’s pen or pencil.

At the end you are instructed to edgestitch around the roll.  This  means to stitch a scant ⅛” from the edge.  It not only provides a nice finishing touch, but it will close the gap you used to turn the roll right side out.

*And if you make a matching bag from my book Sew Witchy, you could give a whole makeup set.

Difficulty Rating: Beginner

Time to Complete: 1 hour


  • 2 pieces of 12 ½” x 8 ½” fabric for the exterior and pocket pieces
  • 1 piece of 12 ½” x 4” matching fabric for the top interior piece
  • 1 piece of 12 ½” x 8 ½” solid color fabric for the interior piece
  • 1 piece of 12 ½” x 8 ½” lightweight fusible interfacing
  • 1 piece of 21” long cording or ribbon
  • Thread to match your exterior fabric
  • Sewing machine
  • Iron

How to alter the roll for knitting needles: Cut your exterior, interior, interfacing, and pocket pieces 12 ½” x 15 ½”


Following manufacturer’s directions, fuse interfacing to the wrong side of the exterior fabric.

Fold pocket fabric piece and top fabric piece in half lengthwise, wrong sides together.

Mark pocket stitching lines on pocket piece as follows:  Mark a line 1”, 3”  and 6” from the left edge. Mark a line 1”, 3”  and 6” from the right edge.  You will have a small ¼” space in the middle of the pocket piece, that’s okay, it’s room to store your creativity.

Pin the pocket piece to the right side of the interior piece along the bottom with raw edges even. Sew along stitching lines.  Backstitch over the pocket piece’s fold.

Mark the top piece stitching lines as follows: Mark a line 1” from the left edge.  Mark a line 1” from the right edge.

Pin the top piece to the right side of the interior fabric along the top with raw edges even. Sew along stitching lines.  Backstitch over the top piece’s fold.

Baste ¼” around all sides of the interior fabric, through all thicknesses.  

Fold the cording in half.  Place the folded edge of the cord on the right side of the interior piece just above the pocket piece.  Tack the cording in place by sewing over the fold ¼” from the edge of the fabric.

With right sides facing, pin the exterior and interior pieces together.  Make sure the cording is sandwiched between the two pieces.

Starting at the top middle, sew a ½” seam around all sides. Backstitch when you come to the folded cording to secure it.  Make sure not to catch the cording in the seam.  Leave a 3” gap for turning.  

Trim the corners and seam allowances.  Turn the roll right side out through the gap.  Use a pencil or chopstick to push out the corners.  Press.

Edgestitch around all sides, closing the gap.

You are all done!

If you have any questions, you can comment below and I’ll try my best to answer them.  And if you make one of these pencil rolls, I would love to see a picture of it.  Happy sewing!

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