shark pencil pouch tutorial | patchwork posse | easy sewing projects and free quilt patterns

Shark Pencil Case Tutorial

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What’s that?  A Shark Pencil case you say?  Yes.  Yes it is.  Whether for boys or girls…..anyone who loves a shark will be thrilled to have one.  Today, let’s do that.

Back to school time! Around here we pick out new pencils, load up our pouches and fill up on supplies {I always pick up a few things for myself and my sewing cottage}.

This year…and since it’s shark week, and the fact that the oldest has always had a fascination with sharks, I went with a little bit different.

shark pencil pouch tutorial | patchwork posse | easy sewing projects and free quilt patterns

A shark pencil case.

Yes, something that could hold a bunch of pencils and look cool….and was for a boy too!

shark pencil pouch tutorial | patchwork posse | easy sewing projects and free quilt patterns

Materials List:

grey -or your choice of color- fabric scraps

lite interfacing

red fabric- lining

white zipper 7″

pinking shears

Shark Templates– Download    Get the password for the library including the free shark pattern!

shark pencil pouch tutorial | patchwork posse | easy sewing projects and free quilt patterns

Instructions for Shark Pencil Case~

1)  Sew together your scraps until they are large enough to be cut out with the template

2)  Pin template in place and cut out 2 body pieces- out of patchwork and out of interfacing

3)  Laying the patchwork body piece on top of the interfacing, quilt together.  (I quilted straight lines)– set aside these two pieces


4)  Layer these in order– back fabric, interfacing, interfacing, top fabric, template for fin.

5)  Pin together the layers and cut out


Click on the page # below to continue

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I'm the creator and designer behind Patchwork Posse. I will not deny fabric or an opportunity to turn on the sewing machine and sew. Learn. Create. Share. That's the theme this year! Glad you could join me. Follow me here: Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, YouTube


  • Mary C.

    That is SO adorable~! Thanks for the tutorial. It’s always hard to come up with things to make for boys.

  • Teresa in Music City

    This is JUST darling!!! My granddaughter loves sharks and wants to be a Marine Biologist – she will be thrilled with one of these as a Back-to-School gift!!! Thanks so much for sharing such a cute design with us!

  • Susan

    OMG!!! This is too cute! I wish my son was still in grade school, he would have loved this. He’s in college now–maybe I’ll surprise–oops! more like embarrass him with one!

  • Maryse

    Oh my!!! Is has to be the cutest thing I have seen in a long time. I love that you chose red for the inside, it makes a perfect contrast. Quite ingenious!!
    Thank you for the tutorial! I couldn’t help it…I had to pin it! 🙂

  • Crafty Ashley B

    EEK! That is so cute!!! Seriously thinking about making my hubby one for when he goes back to grad school! Best part? I know he’d put it in his backpack! LOVE IT! Totally making three or four of these! Going to Pin this now!

  • Rebecca Grace

    This is SO AWESOME!!!!! My husband was making me watch Shark Week with him and now I am having nightmares about that 30′ long great white named Submarine who actively hunts humans and swallows them whole… Which is so nice because what mom doesn’t need more variety in her nightmares?! My sons would love a pencil case like this, but I think kiddo the elder would get in trouble for chasing girls with it. Thanks for sharing!

  • joanne york

    I can not get the templates to download. I get the tutorial but not the templates. Can someone help me. I can open PDF, Word,

  • Ann

    Your shark pencil case is the cutest! I don’t even have children this age and want to make one. Thanks for the templates and tutorial.

  • Christina

    quick question, when putting in the zipper it goes inbetween the fabric and lining right? I wanted to make sure before sewing this together and doing it wrong!! Thanks for the cute tutorial and pattern!!

  • Renee

    I’ve been working on a couple of these for my kids, and am to the part of adding the zipper–your instructions are not very clear as to how to do it, and your photo is incomplete (doesn’t show how or where the zipper ends or pull should be). I’m fairly comfortable working with zippers and making little pouches, but this has me ready to pull out my hair! Any help would be very much appreciated!!

  • Sandy Wootten

    I am stumped about putting in the Zipper as well. I have the body done and have turned right sides out. I cant figure out how to pin the zipper in. Can you help please.
    Thanks so much for all you share with us.

  • beverly

    this is the cutest ive ever seen. cant wait to make it for my grandaughter who starts kindergarten next week. i can see the tut but cannot get the pattern to download. what is wrong? thanks.

  • Becky

    Click on the shark template link and it will take you to the craftsy store where I have the template in my shop.

  • tinad

    I have gotten to the zipper part and I am finding the 7″zipper is huge..this will take alot of manuevering..Did you cut the zipper?

  • Sara H.

    Thanks for this tutorial! it is very cute!

    I’m having difficulty visualizing how to sew the zipper in as well. Any words of wisdom?

  • Becky

    The zipper is really kind of tricky and will take a few times of playing and pinning and maybe a bit of tucking and hand stitching to make work. The area is small, but it is still doable.
    Use your smart zipper sewing knowledge and you’ll get it.
    If the zipper is too long, then by all means cut it after everything is done to make it work better. Because it is on a curve, the user does have a tendancy to pull on it so make sure it is sewn securely.

  • Carrie

    Darn! I am having the same issues… the mouth is much too small after the middle seam is made. The zipper is huge… I thought I’d just cut into the mouth further, which is fine. BUT… now I’m confused about the zipper. Do you twist the closed end? Bend it inward and swivel inside? how to you get it to sew on and then be correct when you invert? SO frustrated right now… please I have zero smart zipper knowledge, whatever that is!! is there a pic somewhere? thanks!!!

  • Julie

    Just made one of these for my son, I hand stitched the whole zipper in . Attached the zipper to the lining and then placed it inside the outer body part ( no need for the opening in the lining ) and rolled the edge and hand stitched the outer part to the lining and zipper . Turned out pretty good 😀

  • CandleVixen

    Wow, I love this! I am thinking it can also be used as a makeup brush holder that would be fun and whimsical.
    And of course, make one for husband for his art pencils.

  • Jill

    This is the coolest pencil case I have ever seen! I <3 it!

    Thank you for stopping by the Thoughtful Spot Weekly Blog Hop this week. We hope to see you drop by our neck of the woods next week!

  • Sarah

    I’m at the zipper mouth part now, and because there are no clear instructions on the zipper installation (as others have mentioned), I am just going to do it my own way. I also ran into the confusion of not knowing what the seam allowance was supposed to be, so I added 1/4″ all around the pattern, and cut out the body, the lining, and the fins with the extra 1/4″. I then sewed 1/4″ seams. As a result, I don’t see the mouth space as being too small for the zipper…yet. 🙂 This shark is absolutely adorable, and I do hope that it works out in the end.

  • Becky

    Sarah- darn that mouth! It is a kind of sew by the seat of your pants pattern. The seam allowance that I always use is 1/4″ unless I note. So yes, you are right there! yay! hmm not sure why the opening would be smaller though. Play with it a bit and I’m sorry it’s not much help. Please share a picture when you’re done. I’d love to see.

  • Teresa

    I am having issues with how to put the zipper along the mouth and have it right. Please email me how to lay it along the mouth to get it sewn. I am to that part of making this for my grandson for Christmas. He loves sharks! Can you help me?

  • Becky

    teresa- there isn’t really any easy way to describe the zipper part. I fiddled until it worked. Sorry! It’s a small cramped area and does take some time (especially with my chubby fingers) to work out.

  • Karen

    I also had the problem of the mouth being too small. My daughter looked at the pattern and informed me that you hadn’t mentioned that we needed to add a 1/4″ all round for seam allowances. She said that normally it would be notated that you had to add the 1/4″ and if it wasn’t notated then it was already included. If it hadn’t been for Sarah’s post about adding it then I would have never known. It looks like that is what happened to these other ladies too. I will start again because I do think it’s cute.

  • Yvonne

    What a cute shark pencil case. I was wondering the same thing about the seam allowance I read it over and over. Then I checked to make sure I printed the pattern the right size and that it wasn’t downsized to fit. I then saw the exact final measurement of the completed shark. It looked way to small. I reprinted and it was still the same regardless. I then decided to add 1/4″ extra seam allowance. Now I am hoping my granddaughter can sew it, I guess I will be having fun with the zipper as well. A bit confused as to how to do it but will give it a go.

  • Amanda

    Ok, as with so many others I’m fine up to the zip…
    Stage 19 states “Pin the zipper or stay stitch the zipper in place at the mouth”. Is this the mouth of the outer fabric turned right side out or the inner fabric wrong side out?


  • april

    I fought with this thing for hours last night, but I just finished it and it looks great. I worked it backwards. Here is what I did: I turned it right side out and pushed the red piece in like it is supposed to go when it is finished. I folded the raw edges under and tucked the zipper in between and pinned. Then I flipped it inside out to work with it on the inside. I basted it all together and flipped it again to see if it was correct. Once I got that right, I hand stitched the zipper in and then took it to the machine. (I just don’t trust that my stitches would hold up against the kiddo’s wear and tear.) I had to do some touching up afterward too.

    My sandwich was the right sides of the shark and right sides of the red fabric were together with the zipper in between with the teeth on the inside/down. It was like the photo in the example. I think her red fabric would have been fine with either side being the right side as my red fabric was patterned and definitely had a wrong side. That’s where I was getting confused because I couldn’t tell if it was the right side or the wrong side.

    It is very tricky to sew a straight zipper on a curve, go slow. If you are using a longer zipper that you will trim down, keep it a little longer than you think you will need until you have the curve fully covered. I got really close to cutting the zipper too short and I thought I had left enough room.

    The other thing I was going to add was that mine turned out narrower than the example. I wasn’t sure about the seam allowances. I think mine were too wide. I was going to measure them before I finished it up just so I’d know, but forgot to. Oopsie. Ah, well. No biggie. He can still shove several pencils in there. The kiddo is happy with it.

    I hope this helps someone! 🙂

  • Kirsty

    Hi, I am very disappointed! I loved the idea of this pattern, but I don’t understand how the finished size is the same size as the template? I have gathered my favourite scraps of fabric to make this for my son, and thought the pattern looked a bit small. Now my fabric is wasted and I understand why everyone has issues with the zipper! Because the pattern fits on an A4 paper (11.6 x 8.2) there is no way the finished pencil case will measure the same! I think you must have left out your seam allowances. If I was going to attempt this again, I would increase the pattern size in order to finish with the correct size.

  • Robin


    I just finished making 3 of these sharks. My granddaughters are going to be thrilled with them.
    I put some colored pencils in them for starters. I had a blast making these the tutorial was very easy to follow.
    I would love to send you photos of my creations. Let me know 1

  • Marina Andreani

    Hello Becky! I’m from Italy. I realised your sweet shark pencil case last week. It’ s so cute! Trans a lot! Can I send you some pictures? Have a nice Easter time! Marina

  • Rita

    Muito muito obrigada por compartilhar tamanha criatividade e tutorial…….tentarei fazer e posto fotos no faceboock ok……bjs do Brasil.

  • Stephanie

    I’m really struggling with trying to translate the language into the action. Any chance that you’d be able to fill in with more pictures or video?

  • Jessy

    Hello Becky! I’m from Turkey. I realised your sweet shark pencil case last week. It’ s so cute! Trans a lot! Can I send you some pictures? Have a nice Easter time! Marina

  • Brenda S

    Your zipper instructions are too frustrating to figure out without clear visuals. Maybe you would consider a video, strictly to show how to place the zipper. After four tries, I give up.

  • Rebecca

    I made two of these… I still have NO idea how to install the zipper; hand sewn in both (differently)…oddly my second zipper attempt was way worse so the shark has a lopsided grin.
    I’d love to share pics if you’re interested!
    Thankyou so much for the pattern! My son is in LOVE

  • Alice

    What a brilliant idea!This shark looks cool,my little one will surely like it,thanks for sharing!

  • Ignas

    Oh this zipper is a real pain, I really cannot get it right. Super cute idea but should really really have explanation with some pictures. I consider myself an amature at sewing so it looks rather impossible.

  • Susanne

    Ich möchte gerne den Fisch nachmachen aber ich kann den Schnitt nicht herunterladen.
    Kannst Du mir dabei helfen!
    Lg Susanne

  • pallor17

    I tried this project but the way it is put together seems very impractical. It would help if you would have more photos or an instructional video of how you put the zipper in. I make zipper pouches that I sell. It seems to me that the shark would be easier put together, considering that we have many seams to attach in any case, by using the same methods we would use to line a zipper pencil case in a regular rectangular shape. I was so frustrated (because the instructions were hard to follow) that I abandoned the project, and of course, lost the fabric (!!!). I will try to adapt the idea however over the weekend and see if the way I am used to installing zippers in lined pouches will suffice. Also, I am curious as to why you sew the buttons on afterwards. I have a machine that sews on buttons, so I think that for me, and certainly for others, it would be better to sew the buttons on before the pouch is assembled. Lastly, the pattern doesn’t seem big enough. I don’t know if this is because I didn’t print it to scale or because it did not include seam allowances (nor were there instructions on how much of a seam allowance to leave). So my “finished” side looked micro. Hardly useful for pencils or anything. Another suggestion I would like to make is to finish the shark fins with a fine overlock stitch or zigzag. Being there was a lack of instruction re seam allowance in either the pattern pieces or the text, using pinking shears will drastically reduce the scale of the items, and hence, their look. So I think this pattern leaves room for improvement. I haven’t tried it my way yet. But will definitely let you know how that works out.

  • Julia

    I love this shark pencil case and your tutorial is wonderful! I took some pictures of the part with the zipper. It took me a long time to figure it out! I can email them to you if you would like to post them.

  • Speattle

    Seam allowance was not included? Why not? I just made one of these today, and did not add anything extra for a quarter inch seam. Mine is on the slender side, but will still hold pencils. Wouldn’t it be just as easy to draft a pattern with the seam allowance included?

    I used a the only white zipper I had in my resource center, and it was more of a sport zipper, definitely not one that you could stitch over. I was just very careful in the insertion to not hit any teeth, and then shoved the ends of the zipper down between the lining and the interfacing and hand sewed the little gaps closed.
    However, if I make this again, I am going to just do a straight across zipper on the underside of the body so I don’t have to insert around a curve. And that way I can do it before closing the side seams….

    I think my 6 year old grandson will like this, as he LOVES sharks.

  • Jack Sparrow

    I think this is the beautiful thing I have ever seen. I have never seen this much amazing shark. Just kidding.
    Best to gift youngers in my family.

  • Kathy

    Thank you for the extra zipper instructions! I was having quite the time trying to insert the zipper. The shark is adorable, and I know my grandchildren will love this pencil case.

  • kathy

    Yowza! Took my three attempts and two zippers, but I finally got it! Tricky is an understatement but persistence pays off! Thank you so much for sharing this tutorial!

  • Rhonda

    I have joined repeatedly and have never received a password. I would really like to make the shark pencil case, could you send me a password so I can get the pattern from your library?

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