Friday, May 10, 2024

Needle Book Tutorial on Off the Wall Friday

So, this week, I once again got after hand quilting Rain, Rain.  It dawned on me that it’s nearly 80% done and I could actually enter it in this year’s community fair if I finished it.  Well, as you probably

know, restarting a project is harder than it looks.  I had all these supplies – needles –
pearl cotton – needles threaders – thimbles and no idea which one I had finally decided on using.  Luckily, I had left the needle in where I last worked, and I could match the thread.  From there I found a great video that taught me how to figure out what type and size needle I was using.

This is my first attempt at Big Stitch Quilting and the transition from traditional quilting was not as easy as I thought it would be.  I think the hardest part for me was there was no must use size needle and thread.  It seems like everyone had different preferences.  So, for the record  - after much trial and error –  this is what worked for me

Mary Arden of England Embroidery Needle Size 7
Pearl Cotton Size 8 or 12
DMC Needle Threader – the blue plastic 3 head kind
Thread Heaven Wax
a hand quilting thimble

Once I figured that out, I thought wow, there must be a way to organize your needles, so you don’t forget.  Of course there is….A needle book.  Genius!  Oh, I needed one of those and looking on Etsy they were about $15-$25 each.  Hmmmmm then it dawned on me that at the recent Sewing Expo, I was taught that my sewing machine will do more than make quilts.  It actually will make other things!  So, I’ll make one or two … I mean how hard could it be?

I pulled out some prints I bought in a fat quarter pack from Hancock’s at Paducah cheapie.  I’ve been waiting for just a project to use them.  They are from Windham  Fabrics Alfie and Free Spirit August Wren collections and got to work on coming up with how to make them.

Here’s the tutorial – the pictures are for 2 because if you’re making one – you might as well make two.  They would make a nice gift!  (Yes, I do realize that what started out to be a day of quilting ended up being a day of me making two thread books … but that how my life goes!).  If I wasn't typing out the directions, it would take under an hour to make.

Needle Book Tutorial

1. Choose two coordinating fabrics that have some kind of body …  Quilt Cotton, Cotton Duck, Med Weight Home Dec Fabric (The cotton duck and home dec fabric shouldn't need interfacing)

2. Cut to desired size… I’m cutting mine to 4” by 5 ½ ”.  Cut 2 of the cover fabric and one of the coordinating fabric for the pockets. Finished size was about 3 ½” by 5"

3. Depending on your choice of fabric you might need to cut 2 pieces of iron-on interfacing to give the book a little more structure.  These should be just a scant smaller than your fabric rectangles.  Cut one piece of batting about 1” smaller than your cover pieces (mine are 3” by 4 ½”)

4. Cut 2 pieces of felt or felt like fabric about ½” smaller than your fabric (mine are 3” by 4 ½ ”)

5. Cut 1 piece of ribbon about 6” and one button of choice (if you chose to close your book with just ribbon  - then cut one long piece 12” or so)


1. Take your cover fabrics – wrong side up.  Place your interfacing onto the fabric with the rough glue side toward the wrong side of the fabric.  Iron per directions.

2. Take your pocket fabric – fold it length-wise with wrong sides together.  Press.

3. Lay one of the cover pieces right side up.  Place one pocket rectangle on it with the raw edges aligning with the bottom of the piece.  Pin 

4. Take your ribbon and center it along the right side edge. Pin.

5. Take the other piece of cover fabric and lay it right side down.  Pin around the edge leaving about a 2” opening at the bottom.  I used different color pins to remind me.

6. Sew around the edge with a ¼” seam allowance – remembering to start at the beginning of the opening and ending at the other side of the opening.  

7. For my example – red pin to red pin.  Leave the needle down while turning the corner.  

8. Clip the corners (make sure you don’t clip the stitches).  Turn it the right side with some kind of turning stick (I use a chop stick).  Remember you are turning the layer of the cover and the pocket.  Press your book flat.

9. Now slide the piece of batting into the inside, being careful it all lays flat.  I rolled the rectangle sides together to the middle and then put the little roll inside, then unrolled.

10. Top stitch 1/8th from the edge – remember use color coordinating thread.  Iron again.

11. Place the two pieces of batting centered in the middle of the pocket facing book.  Pin or clip them in place.  Measure and Mark the center line.  Sew.

12. Press closed.  I used my new press weight to get it really flat.
This is a HEAVY hunk of steel my husband made for a Christmas present - Cool Right?!

13.   Sew your favorite button to the top as a closure. 
Tin of Buttons I bought at a garage sale when I was 28 for $5

14. Decorate, label and personalize!

I still have to think about how I want to label mine.  In the excitement of coming up with a pattern for the needlebook, I forgot that the reason I did it was so I would remember what needle was what!

So, What Have You Been Up to Creatively?

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!

Click here to enter


Nancy @ Grace and Peace Quilting said...

Great job making your own needle book(s)! Interesting about needle and thread sizes--I've made note. I love your button tin, too!

Melva said...

I created needle books/travel sewing kits for Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes several years ago. It was a great stash buster AND useful. :) Thanks for the chance to share in your party. Blessings!