Saturday, June 20, 2009

Needlecase Tutorial

I have had several requests to purchase the needlecases that have appeared in earlier posts.  Since I’m now retired and have the time to play and create at will, I’ve decided that I would rather continue to enjoy myself and leave the designing and selling to the ‘younger’ folks out there.

Having said that, I’ve been asked if I would consider doing a tutorial on my needlecase instead.  Since I love to share, here it is.  Make as many as you’d like, sell a million of them, show them on your blogs and make lots of money if that’s your ambition.  All I ask is that you don’t make my designs into patterns to sell as your own creations…even if you adjust and or alter the measurements.  Thanks for your understanding.


Note:  I chose fabric with a detailed design for this tutorial in order not to make it too long.  With my other needlecases, I’ve either stitched or appliquéd a design on the front.  I leave the choice up to you.


So let’s get started!  Here’s the needlecase we’re going to make.  This is what it looks like when it’s closed…

DSCN0639and this is the inside.


The following is a list of the supplies that you’ll need.

* 3 coordinating fat quarters and/or scraps from your stash

* a piece of leftover low-loft batting, e.g. ‘Warm & Natural’ 

* 2 small pieces of wool that coordinate with your fabric

* appropriate thread color

* 3 – 10” pieces of narrow ribbon in a coordinating color

* a 1/2” piece of Velcro

* usual sewing supplies and cutting tools


After you’ve determined your outer and inner lining fabrics, cut as follows:

From the outer fabric, 1 - 6” x 10” piece and 1 - 4” x 3 1/2” piece

From the lining fabric, 1 - 6” x 10” piece and 1 - 8” x 3 1/2” piece

From the binding fabric, cut as many 2” strips as needed to total 50” and 1 - 6” x 3 1/2” piece

From the batting, cut 1 – 6” x 10” piece and 2 – 2 1/4” x 1 3/4”

From each of the two colors of the wool, cut 1 - 3” x 5” piece and 1 – 2 1/2” x 2” piece

DSCN05981.  Press the 8” x 3 1/2”, 6” x 3 1/2” and 4” x 3 1/2” pieces of fabric in half, wrong sides together.

DSCN0600  DSCN06012.  Lay them on top of one another, starting with the largest at the bottom. 

DSCN06043.  Align them flush to the left then pin them together to stabilize and set aside.  These will become the inside pockets.

DSCN06034.  Sew together the binding strips to make one continuous length.

DSCN0605DSCN0606DSCN0607DSCN06085.  Press binding in half, wrong sides together.

DSCN0609DSCN06106. Take the three pinned pockets from step 3 and start sewing the binding to the upper edge, stopping 1/4” from the end.  Backstitch a couple to stitches to secure, then clip the threads.DSCN0614DSCN06157.  To make a mitered corner, flip the binding up to make a 45 degree angle and pin if necessary to hold in place.

DSCN06188.  Flip the binding back down over the 45 degree angle and sew through all the layers, stopping at the bottom edge.

DSCN06199.  Cut off the remaining binding flush with the bottom edge.DSCN062010. Turn the binding to the wrong side and stitch to the back of the pockets.  I prefer to do this by hand in order for the stitching not to show on the right side.

DSCN0621DSCN062211. Take your 6” x 10” piece of lining fabric and the pockets

DSCN0623and pin to pockets to the lower left edge as shown.

DSCN062412. Hand stitch the pockets to the lining on the right edge only as indicated by where the pencil is pointing.  Do not stitch down the top edge as that is the opening for the top pocket.  Set aside.

DSCN062513. Gather together the precut wool pieces and the two small precut pieces of batting.

DSCN0626Layer the two 3” x 5” pieces of wool together and blanket stitch around the entire perimeter with either Perle cotton or 2 strands of floss in a coordinating color.  Take the two smaller pieces of wool and layer the two smaller pieces of batting in between and blanket stitch around the entire perimeter as above.  The larger piece will be the needle holder and the smaller, the pincushion.  Set aside.

DSCN0628  14. Machine tack the three pieces of ribbon to the right side of the lining, one piece centered on either side about 1/8” in from the outer edge and the third piece about 1/2” centered above the bound pocket edge.

DSCN062915. Take the 6” x 10” outer piece of fabric and place it right side down on the table.  Next, place the 6” x 10” piece of batting on top.  Finally, place the lining fabric with the pockets and ribbons right side up on top of the other two layers.

DSCN063016. Turn the sandwiched layers over and place a few pins in the center to stabilize.  Starting at the bottom edge and about 1” in from the end, sew the remaining binding to the front side, all the way around the perimeter.  Turn the mitered corners as in steps 7 and 8 above. Note: Read step 17 below before doing this.  The raw edges of the two centered pieces of ribbon on either side will be buried beneath the binding.

DSCN063117.  When you are about 2” from meeting up with the leading edge of the binding (where you started), cut the binding making sure to allow at least 1” extra to overlap.  At the edge that was just cut, make a finger-pressed, 1/2” fold towards the wrong side of the fabric.  At this point, both the leading and finishing edges of the binding should be overlapping.  Tuck the piece of the binding where you started inside the piece that was just cut and folded and carefully sew through all layers to finish attaching the binding.

DSCN063218. Turn the attached binding to the inside and hand stitch around the perimeter as in step 10 above.

DSCN0634DSCN063519. Attach the Velcro to the bottom of the pincushion then fasten it in the bottom left corner.

DSCN063620. Fold the larger piece of wool in half and tack it to the upper right side above the pincushion, being careful to sew through the top layer only. 

21. Then fill it with your favorite sewing goodies.  I tuck my scissors into the top pocket then tie them with the ribbon above the pockets to prevent them from falling out and getting lost. 


And there you have it!  Your own needlecase!

DSCN0639Enjoy!  And as always…

Happy stitching!




Karen said...

I like the Coverlet fabric that you used for this needle case. I don't know if I have that particular one but have liked it since it first came on the market. Thanks for sharing your directions.

Khris said...

Thanks for the lovely tutorial. I have put it on my freebie blog if thats okay...hugs Khris

Anonymous said...

Thank you for sharing, ahis is a lovely needlecase

Abby and Stephanie said...

And I hope everyone uses and enjoys it in the spirit it was given. Beautiful and a terrific tutorial. I've got it bookmarked.

Mary on Lake Pulaski said...

Great tutorial - I'll be making one for myself! Thank you.

Linda said...

Thanks Kaaren for the tutorial. I thought you would be at the Vermont Show?

basketsnprims said...

Just love it ~ thanks for a great tutorial.

Susannah said...

Hi Kaaren, You know I will be putting your wonderful tutorial to excellent use. I really WILL make this. I have been collecting things to start. Thank you so much, Kaaren. You are a very special person to share this with all of us.


The Rabbit Factory said...

Such a lovely needlecase! Fantastic tutorial! Are you sure you weren't a teacher in your former career? Thanks for sharing...Lorraine

Unknown said...

Thanks so much for the tutorial. I must wait though, before I make myself one to see if I happen to win the one in your drawing!! :)

Neabear said...

Thank you for sharing. I definitely want to make this for sure. So nice of you to do this tutorial.

Lurline said...

Wow, Alleghany Moon - love it and I shouldn't even admit to knowing it! Thanks for the tutorial - filed!
Hugs - Lurline♥

Kimberly said...

Absolutely fab, my friend!

Janet said...

Thank you Kaaren, I will make one of these at some stage. I know you must have spent a lot of time and work on the tut and I for one appreciate it.

Rumi said...

Wonderful tutorial. Thanks!

Pieced Pastimes said...

Kaaren - Your tutorial is wonderful. Love the step by step details and I am sure that there will be a lot more needlecases in the world because of it. Thanks for sharing!

Karen from Sew Many Ways... said...

Hi Kaaren,
Thank you so much for this fantastic tutorial. I know how long it takes to put one together, especially with so many great pictures. Thanks for all your work...can't wait to make one.

Francien said...

Thank you so very much for the tutorial it and will make it for sure..I have saved it for now...oh that music on your blog...know the lyrics "by heart"It was relaxing inbetween the rock and roll way back when I was "young"and it still is it
greetings Francien.

Dorothy said...

Wonderful tutorial Kaaren. Thank you for sharing.

Stina Blomgren said...

Ohhh..thankyou Kaaren... you made a wonderful needlecase and sharing it is just so so sweet... thankyou!!! :o))

Cathi said...

Thank you for sharing a great tutorial! It is a fabulous needlecase! said...

Wow, this is wonderful! I would love to link to this if you didn't mind. I know my readers would love it!

Wendy said...

What a excellent needlecase...I love it. Thanks for sharing all your efforts.

Sherri said...

Thanks so much for sharing this project Kaaren!

Calamity Jane's Cottage, Bonnie said...

Kaaren, thank you for your heartwarming tutorial. That's so sweet on what you've done and may it be used to bring joy to others. The needlecase is great.
Keep Stitchen'

Linda - Behind My Red Door said...

Hi Kaaren,

Now that I see all the steps in the needlecase, I am even more in love with mine - if that was even possible! How nice that the other talented sewers and quilters will be able to fashion their own now.

I am so far behind catching up on sleep and emails and messages. I don't know what end is up! LOL Trying to fit a few in before we go see our bbay girl in a bit. Can't wait to hold her again!!

hugs, Linda

Nanette Merrill said...

Having done several tutorials myself I know what a huge undertaking it is to get the photos and commentary all straight and together. Thank you for contributing to our wonderful sharing blog world. I think it is good to have a mixture of give and take. This is certainly giving.

Tom H said...

Kaaren, I don't usually attempt anything that has more than 3 steps. 4 at the very max. But I think I too can do this one. Thanks for the great tutorial.

PS Stitcher said...

I absolutely LOVE your needlecases!! I can't wait to try this one!! I would love to put a link to your post on my blog if that is alright. I just think that this is great and would love to share it with others!

Thanks so much for your creativity!


Candace said...

Thanks for a great tutorial, Kaaren, and a wonderful project! I love the fabric used!

Anonymous said...

Thanks Kaaren for this lovely needlecase pattern ant that you will sharing it with us..

gmacdoug said...

Hi Kaaren
Just discovered your needlecase tutorial which I am going to make. I am commenting though because I really like the pins you use with the heads like little buttons. I haven't seen these here in Australia. Could you please tell me where you got them so I can perhaps buy some on line? Thanks for your help. Gillian