Monday, January 06, 2014

Christmas Catch-Up: Simple Needle Book tutorial

Simple Needle Books
Shhh, don’t tell the Mother! I made a version of this for her for Christmas, but shipping and travel plans got miscoordinated and she hasn’t got it yet. It’s just a quicky project I threw in with some other stuff for her, so the surprise shouldn’t be totally ruined.

Simple Needle Books
It’s not a fussy project—just a little something functional that can be prettied up as much as you like by choosing fun fabrics or embellishments. A sewist can never have enough pincushions, and spare needle cases don’t seem amiss to me either—inevitably I end up sticking needles in one of said pincushions and then losing them inside, so the more proper places for needles the better! (There’s a pocket for needle packets inside, so you can also keep fresh needles separate from their gently used brethren.)

Simple Needle Book

Finished Size

2½" × 4" (folded closed)


This project is great for scraps of fabrics and interfacing—I don’t know exactly what interfacings I used, ’cause I pulled bits from the scrap bin. You just want a combo of fabric and interfacing that’s slightly stiffer than floppy quilting cotton alone.


  1. Fuse the medium-weight interfacing centered on the wrong side of the exterior fabric, following manufacturer’s instructions. Fuse the lightweight interfacing centered on the wrong side of the interior fabric.

    interfaced fabrics

  2. Fold the interior piece right sides together 5¼" from the right-hand short end.

    first fold to 5¼" wide
    Then fold the upper section back to form the pocket so the folded piece measures 4½" × 5½". Press to hold the folds.

    fold pocket back on itself

  3. With right sides up, place the felt on the unfolded section of the interior piece about ½" from the raw edges. Stitch the felt to the interior along the felt’s top edge; you can use a decorative stitch like I did here, but a straight stitch will work too—just be sure to secure the ends. I also trimmed the bottom edge of the felt with a scalloped rotary blade.

    felt needle pad attached with decorative stitch

  4. If desired, embellish the exterior. The interfacing is a handy stabilizer for decorative stitching—see my stitch guide for the combination of built-in stitches I used on the linen needle book shown at the top of the post.

  5. Put the interior and exterior pieces right sides together, making sure the pocket is still folded so all raw edges match. Sew around the perimeter with a ¼" seam allowance, leaving a gap for turning on the bottom edge, avoiding the pocket section.

    opening left in bottom edge to side of pocket

  6. Clip the corners and turn the needle case right side out through the opening. (If you’re paying attention, you’ll see that I wasn’t…)

    oops, I left my opening at the top rather than the big deal
    Push out the corners gently and press flat, folding in the seam allowances at the opening.

    edges pressed

  7. With the needle case open (i.e., unfolded), topstitch along all outer edges, closing the gap in the bottom.

    topstitching keeps edges nice and flat

  8. Fold the needle case in half and press to set the crease in the center.

    finished needle book, closed

    finished needle book, open
That’s it! Stay tuned for a tute on ribbon appliqué, which I used on another of these needle books as well as kitchen towels.


Heather said...

Cute! Oh, wait, I didn't see this!

KatieQ said...

Thank you for the needle case tutorial. After a while, my pin cushions turn into weapons with all of the needles stuck inside. I make one to store my needles safely.

Béa said...

I have a long look at your blog (find it via Yahoo group), very interesting, I have the same Horizon as you since 3 months and can't wait to read more tips. I follow you now from France.