Sewing your kids’ school accessories — like pencil cases, book covers and other backpack essentials — certainly saves money. Even better? When I sew patterns like these for my kids, I also feel like I’m more present in my daughter’s everyday life. She is so proud to say “Mom did it for me!” when asked about her fancy school accessories origin.
10 of the best FREE accessories to sew for back to school
1. Art Tote Pattern
This full-of-pockets art tote is perfect for a preschooler! The fusible vinyl helps the cotton stay clean, and the outer panel is embellished with a puzzle of fabric scraps. All in all, this tote is artful and a scrap-buster… two of my favorite qualities!
2. School Supplies Tote
You can whip up this cutie with just half a yard of fabric, a 10″ zipper and a scrap of Velcro in a couple of hours. In addition to the slots for markers, the tote includes a zippered pocket to keep little school gizmos safe on the inside (instead of wandering into the bottom of a backpack).
3. Reusable Snack Pack
If you, like me, are tired using disposable plastic bags and fiddly plastic wrap, sew one (or more) of these machine-washable snack packs. The pouches are closed with Velcro to securely keep things inside.
4. Owl or Mushroom Lunch Sacks Template
This pattern piece is for adding an embellishing flap to a regular tote bag with squared corners, but there’s a link to the tutorial including full instructions and measurements for the bag itself. If you are feeling creative, scroll down the tutorial and find suggestions for even more fun flaps.
5. Night Before School Starts Pencil Case
Fast to sew, these pencil cases can be put together in half an hour (or less), despite including a professional French side seam, a zipper and a pull tab. Sew one of these in a fancy printed cotton fabric — don’t forget to prewash so you can throw it in the washing machine later.
6. Shark Pencil Case Pattern
This pencil case pattern is simply brilliant: The outside uses fabric scraps, the lining uses red fabric and a metal zipper mimics a shark’s teeth. No wonder my daughter has immediately fallen in love with it!
7. 3-Ring Binder Pouch
Here comes my favorite! Using this pouch, kids don’t have to worry about bringing all the right materials to class: Everything will be within one handy binder! This is another one of those little things that make any student’s day special.
8. Library Book Bag
This lightweight bag can be put together in a few minutes with a serger. The thin bag folds up easily, so you can keep it in a backpack until you need it to carry home some extra library books.
9. Japanese-Style Adjustable Book Cover
Here’s a cute alternative way to cover a book — with fabric! These lined covers have a pocket that slips onto the back cover and an adjustable flap on the front. That way, they can fit any book, no matter how thick. The tutorial includes instructions for customizing it to fit your favorite book.
9. Prop-Up Tablet Case
This last pattern makes a tablet sleeve that doubles as a stand for hands-free reading. Nowadays tablets and smartphones are part of everyday life, so go ahead and dress them up with colorful fabric.