New Janome 15000-Leaderboard Left
Janome General-Leaderboard right

Facebook Twitter Sew4Home RSS Feed Follow Me on Pinterest Instagram


Eclectic Elements by Tim Holtz for Coats - Banded Trio of Pencil Cups

Printer-friendly versionSend by emailPDF version

Over the years, the constant on my desk has been the pencil cup my oldest daughter made for me in preschool from a soup can and construction paper. I'll never get rid of it, or the My Little Pony® pencil that came with it. But over the years, I have added some elegant versions by its side, like today's trio of pencil cups in Eclectic Elements. The vintage designs of this collection are the perfect choice since since pencils and pens themselves seem to have become part of the vintage world in today's iPad® driven environment. I still love my pencils and pens, and as long as I have soup cans and cool fabric, I have a way to make new ways to keep them on display. This banded set would also make a great gift, and could be your own little statement for maintaining a presence in the digital world for the classic pencil and pen.

We're almost to the end of our two-week series of projects in the amazing Eclectic Elements collection. Tomorrow we have a to-die-for quilt, and on Friday, make sure you're here for our Great Giveaway. 

Our thanks once again to Coats and Tim Holtz for sponsoring the series and giving Sew4Home the chance to be one of the first to bring you a full compliment of projects designed to inspire you to put Eclectic Elements on your shopping list.

Eclectic Elements is available now. You can find the entire selection as yardage and bundles at your local independent fabric shop as well as select designs at Jo-Ann Fabric & Craft Stores®. 

Sewing Tools You Need

Fabric and Other Supplies

NOTE: For the very best look, all your pieces should be fussy cut. The yardage shown allows extra for this purpose. Amounts listed below are to create a trio of cups.

Getting Started

  1. Measure the circumference and height of each can.
  2. Write the measurements down on a notepad so you can do all your cut calculations
  3. Add 1 " to the measurement for the circumference of the can. Add 1¼" to the measurement for the height of the can. 
  4. Use this measurement to cut TWO pieces from the fabric for that can; these pieces will become the exterior and the sleeve. Cut a matching piece of fusible fleece. For example, our small can measured 9⅜" in circumference. To that we added 1" for a width measurement of 10⅜". The height of the small can measured 3¼". To that we added 1¼" for a height measurement of 4½". We cut two fabric pieces and one interfacing piece at 10⅜" x 4½".
  5. For the third fabric piece of each cut, which will become the lining, add 1" to the circumference, then calculate the height using this formula: 2 x height + 1". Using the same example as above, we added 1" to our 9⅜" circumferences for a total width of 10⅜". The height calculation was 2 x 3¼" = 6½" + 1 = 7½". The lining piece for this can was cut at 10⅜" x 7½". 
  6. Repeat the process for your other two cans so you have three sets of fabric and fleece that look similar to the photo below.
  7. From the fabric for the fabric embellishment (French Script in our sample), cut ONE 3½" x 36" strip. 

At Your Sewing Machine & Ironing Board

The instructions below are for one can; the process is the same for the other sizes.

  1. Find the fusible fleece rectangle and one matching fabric rectangle. Following manufacturer's instructions, fuse the fleece to the wrong side of the fabric.
  2. If possible, insert a quilting bar attachment to your standard presser foot and adjust the position to fall 1" from the needle drop. 
  3. Start your first line of stitching ½" in from the raw side edge. You are running vertical lines of stitching across the panel from short side to short side, not horizontal lines of stitching.

    NOTE: If you do not have a quilting bar attachment, use your fabric pen or pencil to draw 1" parallel vertical lines, starting ½" in from the side. Make sure your fabric pen or pencil will easily wipe away or vanish with exposure to the air as you are working on the right side of the fabric. 
  4. Stitch across the entire panel.
  5. Fold the quilted exterior in half, matching the raw sides. Pin in place.
  6. Using a ½" seam allowance, stitch together to form a tube. Press the seam allowance open. Turn the exterior tube right sides out.
  7. Find the remaining two fabric panels. Fold both in half, right sides together. Pin along the side. 
  8. Using a ½" seam allowance, stitch both side seams to create two tubes. Press the seam allowances open. 
  9. Leave the smaller tube (the sleeve) wrong side out. 
  10. Fold the larger tube (the lining) in half wrong sides together, aligning the raw edges and creating a folded edge opposite. Pin the raw edges together but don't pin the top of the tube closed.
  11. Slip the lining tube over the quilted exterior tube. 
  12. Align the upper raw edges of all the layers. Match up the side seams of the tubes. Pin in place around the top through all the layers.
  13. Slip this "double tube" inside the remaining smaller sleeve tube, which should still be wrong side out. 
  14. Align the upper raw edge of this tube with the double tube and re-pin around the top through all the layers. The side seem of the sleeve tube should also be aligned with the other side seams.
  15. Working in a circle from the inside and using a ½" seam allowance, stitch all the way around the top through all the layers. 
  16. Pull apart the unit so the lining is pulled out through the top on one side and the quilted exterior and sleeve are on the opposite side. 
  17. Fold under the bottom raw edge of both the exterior tube and the lining tube ½" to create a clean folded edge on both. 
  18. Match up the sleeve to the exterior. The two pieces are wrong sides together and the bottom folded edges are flush. Adjust the ½" folds if needed to insure the bottom edge is perfectly flush and the cover will sit flat. Pin in place all around the bottom.
  19. Edgestitch in place around the entire bottom through all the layers. The lining should still be pulled out in the opposite direction so it will not get caught in this seam.
  20. The unit should now look like a tube with two sections: quilted exterior and sleeve on one side, folded lining on the other. 
  21. Slip the quilted exterior/sleeve portion of the tube over the can. Push the lining down into place inside the can. 

Band and flower embellishment

  1. When all three cans are covered, arrange them into a group on a flat surface.
  2. Find the length of webbing. Wrap the webbing around the group of cans, overlapping the ends of the webbing 1". Mark the overlap with a pin.
  3. Trim the excess webbing at the pin mark. Overlap the raw ends again by 1" and stitch together with an 1" "X-box."
  4. Complete using the Fabric Flower tutorial featured in our Series opening article. We made just two changes: 1) we reduced the starting size from 5" x 44" to the 3½" x 36" size specified above so our petals would be 2" in width, and 2) we eliminated the dowel as a "stem." Instead, we simply rolled the flower on itself rather than around the dowel. We used the contrasting red thread as our accent topstitching.


Project Design: Alicia Thommas      
Sample Creation and Instructional Outline: Michele Mishler



Comments (9)

Leah s said:
Leah s's picture

I think some of the confusion comes because both the exterior and lining are double sided. This makes for a nicely finished project.  It would be possible to sew an equal sized lining right sides together with the exterior and finish by folding under and top stitching the raw edges. 

Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home said:
Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home's picture

@ Leah s - the two "tubes" are actually single sided, but then - yes - by assembling as we did, we made sure it could be both a snug fit and finished inside the can and out. You could certainly choose to leave the inside of the can plain. Your're right -- much faster 

G-Nana said:
G-Nana's picture

I got stuck for a little while  on  #10 also had to read it over and over after you make the large tube then fold it inside itself to match up the raw edges, to leave a fold at one end. Hope that might help not sure how to explain it better either.  My seam was a little fat will just trim short next time, not sure how else to fix that.  They still turned out cute, love them.


Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home said:
Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home's picture

@ G-Nana - glad you had success. Anything three dimensional, even something as simple as these cups, can be a challenge to explain.

setking said:
setking's picture

I love this idea, and tried it, but couldn't make heads or tails of it after instruction #9.   It is very confusing to me, and very disappointing.  

Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home said:
Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home's picture

@ setking - I'm not sure exactly where your confusion is. We do try to be as clear as possible with our instructions and photos. Sometimes, making a prototype from scraps or even paper towels can be a help.

missusg said:
missusg's picture

can you not see this on your table during a family gathering!!! LOVE IT!!

Add new comment

*Sew4Home reserves the right to restrict comments that don’t relate to the article, contain profanity, personal attacks or promote personal or other business.
By submitting this form, you accept the Mollom privacy policy.