Small pen case

A member of the Fountain pen network asked me if I could make a single slip pen case that could travel in a front trouser pocket that would stop a pen from snapping.

I have made a similar case before where I wet moulded two pieces of leather after dying I slowly dried out the leather. This caused the leather to form a hard case.

As this was a case for a much smaller pen I decided on a more traditional style.


I started with a 15mm plastic pipe which I formed a piece of wet leather around. I punched a hole 40 mm from the top and cut a “V” shape for the clip to sit in. When I was happy with the shape I marked out the stitching holes around the “V” and then all around the outside of the shape.

When I had finished the case I soaked it again and then allowed it to dry slowly and thoroughly. As I expected the case went hard however there was still a small amount of flex in the  case so I started again.

This time I took a different approach the addition of some Kydex using my smallest mould.


I heat formed the kydex over the mould


After forming the kydex I wet formed another piece of leather over the top of the kydex. I then added a piece of thinner leather under the “V” and lined the inside with cognac suede and dyed the outside shoe brown.


Then it was just a case of sewing everything together





Thanks for looking



10 thoughts on “Small pen case

  1. Amazing work, and so much attention to detail! I really love the look of this. Your stitches are so accurately set I’m honestly jaleous. 🙂 Gorgeous small case.

    I really need to attempt one myself, just to see if I can. 🙂 Any suggestions for where to get ideas for a cut? I’m still a bit… unsure.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks I use a pricking iron to mark the stitches then finish the holes with an awl.
      I am not sure I understand what help you need. I don’t know what you mean by “cut” I would be happy to help you if I can.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Damn thinking in German, writing in English. That always gets me in trouble 😉 I meant patterns. The German word for pattern is actually, word for word translated, a cut. Sorry for that.

        I’m bad with patterns and have few to none sewing experiences, so I usually need some prompts that also work with leather. My own attempts on that topic better are lost in time and space 😉 You seem to just… know how it has to look, so I’m assuming that’s a great deal of experience speaking 🙂 So if you know a good book or starting point on how to get a good pattern together, I’d appreciate the tip.

        And my sword awl is my most important instrument 🙂 I love that thing. Goes through my leather like butter. Though it does that to my fingers from time to time, too…

        Liked by 1 person

  2. One of the things I’ve found helpful is if I find an old nice bag that’s falling to pieces, to use the pieces as a pattern. Or you can get newspaper and bend it round a case to take the pattern of the pieces.

    Michael, your stitching is amazing. Mine still looks all over the place even using the pricking iron as carefully as I can and getting nice regular holes, by the time I’ve stitched it, it looks like chickens’ footprints. And I really like the v-shaped slot on this case – gives it a very elegant appeal.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks for the kind words Andrea. When I first started leaning about leather work I visited my local supplier Le Prevo they advised me to buy old bags and take them apart and repair them to learn how they were made. The document cases I have restored were for that reason and the new document case I made was from a pattern taken from a restored case.
      I try very hard not to obsess about the stitching I am now using stitching chisels which are designed to go through the leather rather than just marking.
      In the past I have pulled out a whole project because of one wrong stitch 🙂 I learned to sew from watching Nigel Armitage’s youtube videos.
      Understanding the position of each needle and how they pass each other in the hole is vital and it took me some time to get it.
      A good stitching pony is also very useful.


    2. Thank you, that’s a very good tip. I’ll have to go look for an old case sometimes, one where I like the design.

      Did you try a flat awl yet? I find especially when using a pricking iron beforehand, I get much better stitching results with a flat awl (with a diamond shaped blade) than a round awl, seeing as the blade in my case especially fits into the holes left by the pricking iron and… directs the stitching when it comes to how it lies afterwards, so to speak. I found that very helpful for my first tries.

      And I agree with Michael, a good stitching pony is extremely helpful, especially if you’re working with two needles like I tend to do – since I learned it that way. Otherwise I can’t quite hold it steady enough.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Hi Nadinerpg
    Sorry I missed your question about patterns. I tried making them in the beginning. I just rough cut the leather now and form it around a shaped piece of wood. I stitch and leave the trimming until last I try to complete the smaller cases before they dry .
    With regard to stitching I have started using a stitching punch rather than a pricking iron as it goes through the leather. I then use a diamond shaped awl to open the hole as I sew. This means the holes are straight and helps to keep the back even.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for the reply 🙂 I was quite unclear in my questions as it was. But little infos like that really help, since it makes me want to try and gives me some starting points.

      Since I have no real experience with the cuts yet, I always go for the “secure” way of patterns first. Though by now I got myself some wooden forms, some pattern information and got an idea of my own, which will implement both of those and a bit of spontaneous ideas from me. I certainly will post pictures on my blog, if they are moderately successful. 🙂 I’m still worried about the miter joints I’ve read about, but what’s experiments without failure? 😉


      1. Hi Nadine
        You can form the leather around all sorts of things I like dowel and use lots of it for my cases.
        I usually make all of my cases larger than necessary so I can cut off the excess at the end.
        Mitre joints are difficult to get right have you watched Nigel Armitage s youtube video on box stitch he was kind enough to send me the dimensions of his mitre sewing clam which I made a few of it is very useful. I like to celebrate my failures as it shows that I am still learning.



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