I finished quilting the pencil case exterior with a light blue thread. This thread from Missouri Star Quilt Company is fantastic. My machine is finicky, and some types of thread result in an ugly snarl on the bobbin thread side. There are a few tricks that help — proper thread tensions, realizing the bobbin thread comes off the right-hand side of the bobbin when it is inserted into the machine — but some threads are basically unusable. These stitches, however, are beautiful on both sides.
Next up – making the piping! If you have bias strips left over from other projects, homemade piping is easy and super cheap. I had about a yard and a half of blue checked double-fold bias tape from a quilt. I unfolded the tape to make a bias strip folded in half length-wise. I then took white 550 paracord (also on-hand from another project, otherwise you can find cotton cord that’s meant to be used in piping) and encased it in the bias strip. I pinned through the top of the cord to secure it to the fabric then used the edging/zipper foot to stitch along the cord, creating a loose piping. I hand-stitched the cord ends (paranoia, mostly … but it would really suck if the cord started to come out of the fabric casing!). The piping fabric shouldn’t be super taut at this point, but there shouldn’t be wrinkles or puckers. When the piping is inserted, the stitching will be closer to the paracord and make a nice firm piping.
Finished in part 3.