Zip-Around Eyeglass Case

     Individual characters (letters, numbers and punctuation marks) from my alphabets can
be found on my Stock Design Page.  My designs are also available in packs, as described in
this blog.  Those can be found here.  For designs and packs available in multiple sizes,
choose the size you want in the drop down menu box.

     Let’s face it:  not everyone appreciates handmade gifts.  It is very frustrating to see our
hard work end up in a closet “so it doesn’t get dirty” or because our friend or relative prefers
brand-name gifts.  When the gift took many hours or weeks to finish, we want to see it used and
enjoyed.  Before I share my suggestion for an easy and appreciated gift, I would like to tell you how
it came to be.

     Many years ago I noticed an unusual feature on a friend’s tote bag:  There was a facing
attached to the top edge of the tote, with a zipper that went all the way around its bottom edge.  If
the bag were very full, the facing could be pulled out to extend the height of the bag and then
zipped shut to hold everything inside.

     More interestingly, I realized that the zipper pull was attached to both ends of the same
side of zipper tape.  It was really only one side of a zipper!  This idea intrigued me a great deal, so
when I returned home I just had to experiment.  I removed a few coils from one side of zipper tape
as directed in instructions for zipper-by-the-yard.  I was then able to attach the zipper pull with only
a little effort.  I zipped the zipper all the way to the middle of the tape and saw how neat the zipper

     I found a way to use the zipper opening for an eyeglass case.  With a slanted top edge,
the zipper ends lie flat at the side seam.  It is easy to reach into the case because fingers can reach
between its layers.  Fusible fleece cushions the eyeglasses inside and the zipper keeps them from
falling out.
     I started making eyeglass cases for relatives and friends and was pleased at how well the
cases were received.  They were used not only for eyeglasses, but also for keys, cosmetics, cell
phones, even rotary cutters.  I have one for cough drops and another for business cards, two more
uses.  Now that I have made so many eyeglass cases, I can assemble one in about 30 minutes once
I have stitched the embroidery and cut the pieces.

     The original version of the Zip-Around Eyeglass Case has its zipper across a short end. 
I recently added a second version, with a wider opening and an optional pocket for clip-on
sunglasses.  Except for the fabric dimensions and the optional pocket in the wide version, the
instructions are the same for both.  Click here to download the Zip-Around Eyeglass Case 

instructions.  The patterns for both cases are included in the instructions.  You can print everything
or skip the pages with the pattern you do not want.  When you print the file, be sure to deselect the
“Fit to Page” option in your PDF reader.

     The cases are even more appreciated when they are personalized, I have learned.  If you
would like to add machine embroidered names to your eyeglass cases, here are some things to

1.  What design will fit on the eyeglass case?  I recommend a design be no larger than 145 mm by
70 mm.  For the original version you can arrange letters vertically or horizontally.  For the wide
version, a horizontal arrangement works best.  If a full name is too long to fit the space, you can use

2.  What kind of lettering will suit the recipient?  Would he or she prefer a formal or fun look? 
Would a subtle tone on tone effect or lots of bright colors be more appealing?

3.  What kind of lettering will work best with the fabric?  Solid fabrics work well with just about
any design, but prints and textures require a design that will show regardless of variations in the

     If you haven’t seen it already, please take a look at my post on Piggyback Hooping
You will see my technique for hooping more than one design on the same piece of stabilizer.  I
used it to embroider the fabric for the three designs shown here.  For the beige denim case, I used
Contour Script 75 with a thread made from two strands of different colors twisted together.
Next, the navy corduroy case shown here has Pinstripes Vertical lettering, arranged vertically.   
Finally, I stitched my name in Fancy Jumbles on the black doe suede wide case.

You will need these products for your Zip-Around Eyeglass Case:

Fancy Jumbles Alphabets, Contour Script Alphabets or Pinstripes Alphabets.
Embroidery thread for embroidery and top stitching.
Stabilizer for machine embroidery.
Outer fabric (denim, doe suede, sturdy cotton, upholstery fabric):  10” x 10” for the original or  6”
     high x 16” wide for the wide case.
Lining fabric (soft woven or knit cotton):  same amount.
Fusible fleece:  same amount (plus 2 3/8” x 6” for optional inner pocket for wide case).
Nylon or polyester coil zipper, 12” or longer for original shape, 18” or longer for wide opening. 
     (NOTE:  The zipper technique requires coil zippers.  Metal or plastic teeth will not interlock when
     half the zipper is upside down.)  I recommend YKK brand zippers because they are very flexible.
Seam sealant such as Fray Check or Fray Block.
OPTIONAL:  6” of narrow ribbon for zipper pull.


Comments (3) -

OMG!  What a terrific idea!!!!!

If a zipper was broken at the bottom, I used to remove a few 'teeth' and sew a few stitches for the zipper, and instantly, my zipper was fixed.

You have taken that to a great new level and I am so impressed by your talent.  


I think it's neat how you found a way to get 2 projects out of one zipper.  We all have broken zippers somewhere that have the extra tab we need!  I applaud you.  THanks for great ideas.  I work for an eye doctor and have been thinking about making special eye glass cases to put in our dispensery.  


Pat and Phyllis,

Please do try the project and let me know how you like it.  You can indeed use zippers or pulls that would otherwise be wasted.  I used to buy zipper-by-the-yard when it was possible to buy packages of extra zipper pulls, but now I find it is less expensive to buy zippers in bulk and just use one side of the zippers.  I hadn't thought of rescuing zipper pulls!


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