Craft: Back to school

By Anna Subritzky

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Stitch up some personalised, colourful pencil cases

Stitch up some personalised, colourful pencil cases. Photo / Justin Newcombe
Stitch up some personalised, colourful pencil cases. Photo / Justin Newcombe

School's about to resume for another year and we wouldn't be being honest if we didn't exhale loudly and appear a little relieved. The holidays are a double-edged sword; yes, it's lovely having the children home but six weeks is a long time to provide endless entertainment for a generation used to concepts such as self-entitlement and choice. For those who doubt this scientifically untested assertion I urge you to engage your child in a conversation about rights and privileges. When I attempted this with my then 10-year-old I was amused to discover that his idea of rights extended to endless screen-time, being able to stay up as long as he liked and various other eye-popping concepts that certainly aren't included in the United Nations manifesto.

When I informed him that his father and I were obliged only to feed, clothe and shelter him as well as provide him with access to education and medical and legal assistance should he require it, I was met with such utter disdain that needless to say there was an extended period of time out for both of us.

Of course, the school holidays are not all bad. Budget permitting, you can gauge how well behaved they can be when you take them somewhere which requires a certain level of social decorum, such as using a knife and fork properly, or asking for something using please and thank you in a voice that doesn't exceed normal decibel ratings. They even manage to be nice to each other sometimes, all of which makes the school holidays worth it in the end.

To celebrate the light at the end of the tunnel, why not treat them to a new pencil case for the start of the school year? You could even let them choose the material while at the same time letting them know that this is a privilege, not a right.

Step 1 - Wash remnant if necessary. Cut 2 rectangles 27cm x 17.5cm. Make a template if needed. With right sides facing, centralise zip on top opening edge and mark the ends of the zip with a pin. Remove the zip but leave marker pins to indicate zip position. Pin entire top seam. With a 1.5cm seam allowance sew section before marker pin and then switch to a baste stitch for the middle section (where the zip will go) and revert to a normal stitch for the end section after the second marker pin. Iron this seam open.

Step 2 - With wrong side facing re-position zip upside down over basted section of flattened seam, lining up teeth with seam join. Pin in place. Using zipper foot (baste first if necessary) sew zip in place as close as possible to the teeth and using lines on zipper tape as guide. Flip to right side and unpick basting over zip.

Step 3 - Ensuring that zip is open at one end, pin remaining seams together (1.5cm) and sew. Trim seam and cut corners on diagonal. Turn to right side through zip opening. Poke out corners with scissor ends. You may want to line lighter-weight material, in which case replicate the outer fabric, omitting zip. Match wrong sides together and hand sew in place along zipper tape.

• Material for outer and lining
• 1 18cm zip
• Paper, pencil, ruler for template
• Pins
• Sewing machine, thread

- Herald on Sunday

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