Upcycled pencil case

Craft-style solution to softer media storage

Since I started using softer media for life drawing, I’ve found myself in need of a pencil case (rather than a pile of biros in every jacket pocket..).

I’ve had a bunch of up-cycling inspiration lately, including the German installation at the Design Biennale, Vin and Omi’s ethos, and news articles about fast fashion and consumer culture’s contribution to climate change and landfill. With this, and my interest in practicing with the sewing machine, I’ve made an up-cycled pencil case using an old jeans leg and buttons from my button collection.

Design-wise, I got the idea from a friend who uses a leather tool roll to hold his paint brushes and the old art kits my sister had with elastic holding down 50+ felt tips. I knew there would be a lot of stitching so I made it semi decorative by following a square pattern somewhere between a Greek Meander (a pattern originally named for the Meandros River) and a simple skyline pattern.

Elastic loops detail
Close up of stitching pattern

Given denim is cotton and easily dyed, I also have the opportunity to turn this into a dyeing experiment and change the colour later. I’m planning to do some research into natural dyes soon so maybe that will intersect here. Another plus of denim: it’s hard wearing, machine washable, and a great fabric for embroidering on – so I can always customise further later.

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