Tuesday, September 7, 2010

115 days…but who’s counting?

EDIT:  This post originally appeared on the Stash Manicure blog on September 1st.  I have edited it slightly and am republishing it here in the event that some of you might have missed it.

115 110 days until what you might ask?  Why Christmas, of course!

Now I don’t want you all to get upset with me for the ‘gentle’ reminder, because I’m in the same boat as all of you.  Before we know it, we’ll all be scrambling to get our gifts made, wrapped and in most cases sent off to far away places.  So today I’m going to share with you not only a great way to use up some of your stash but also how to make some easy, quick and useful gifts.

gingerbread men

I don’t know about you but I love charm packs because they give me an overall view of a complete range of fabrics at-a-glance and at a reasonable price.  And now there are so many patterns available that are charm pack friendly which makes them even more ‘charming’. 

A short time ago, my friend Mary from Quilt Hollow and I did a barter and she gifted me with a charm pack that she herself put together of Jo Morton fabrics from her stash.

I knew what I wanted to make and had a picture in my head as to what the finished project would look like but when I started out, I didn’t really know how many 5” squares I would need.   So, I started with 15 – 5” squares in a variety of colors, prints and values of lights, mediums and darks from my charm pack.  In all honesty, with this project, anything goes!  The scrappier, the better!

I cut each of the 5” charm squares into three, 1 1/2” strips…

And using a 1/4” seam,  then sewed  8 of them together in a row and pressed all the seams in one direction.

As soon as I saw this pieced together, I knew exactly how I wanted my needlecase to look!  The strips went together so quickly and the pieces were already cut so I decided to make as many as I could out of the prepared strips!  I was able to make four individual units from the 15 charm squares.

I sub-cut each unit into 1 1/2” strips…

Then sewed four of them together length-wise and made sure that the seams in each row were facing in opposite directions to the row above.  This allowed the seams to butt up against one another nice and cozy-like, resulting in perfectly aligned squares.

The four original pieced strip units yielded three of the above.  If necessary, square off each unit to measure 8 1/2” x 4 1/2”.

Take a piece of scrap batting from your stash and cut 3 rectangles at 8 1/2” x 4 1/2”.

Then do the same with three coordinating pieces of fabric for the inside lining.


Head back to your stash, find another piece of coordinating fabric and cut three pieces at 8 1/2” x 4 1/2”.  These will form the inside pockets.  Fold each in half lengthwise,  wrong sides together and iron.

Next, take three scrap pieces of wool or wool felt and square them off to 2 1/2” x 4 1/2”.  Iron them in half.  Place them on the top right side of the inside lining fabric and machine stitch them down along the center fold line about 3/4” from the top then iron forward.  These are to hold your needles and pins.

Layer or sandwich as follows…outside wrong side up, batting then the inside, right side up.  Turn the complete unit over so that the outside layer is on top, then machine stitch down the center line to fasten all the layers together.

The needlecase on the top shows the outside and the one below it shows how it will look on the inside.

I always make more than enough binding for whatever project I’m working on for projects like these so I went to my binding stash and hauled out some ready made binding, affixed it all around the perimeter on the outside then hand stitched it down on the inside.  If you don’t have any left over binding, just prepare some in the usual manner and bind the needlecase in the same way you’d bind a quilt.

And voila!  Three completed needlecases and three fewer Christmas presents that I have to make!

And, if you wanted to make this project even easier, you don’t even have to piece it!  You can stop at the stripping part or you can just use a plain piece of fabric for the outside.  I’ll leave that part up to you.

Don’t you think they would make great stocking stuffers or little prezzies for your stitching buddies…or even as hostess gifts come holiday time?  That’s what I’m going to do with mine! 

Edit #2:  Since I originally composed this post, I made another needlecase, this time out of selvage scraps that both I and my friends have been saving for me.  This was great fun and I have lots left to make more.  I made this in exactly the same way as described above only I added 1” to both the length and width to take advantage of some of the neat things that appeared on the selvage ends.

The outside…closed.


The inside…


The outside, face down and open.


Happy stitching!

Kaaren ♥


Anonymous said...

Yikkes 110 days before x-mas. I have to finish a quilt which I haven't started yet. Love your needlecases. Soory have to go to sewingmachine

Unknown said...

We are already thinking Christmas at our place too! Love your needlecases! I won one in your giveaway last year and I use it almost daily. Thanks again!!

Linda said...

great idea! thanks.

Linda - Behind My Red Door said...

Thanks for the reminder about Christmas coming ... I need to go voer my gift list and edit it down cuz I have a feeling one little person will be eating up my shopping budget and time! LOL

More wonderful needlecases. I hope the receivers use theirs as much as I use mine!!

Thanks for the suggestion on the aging process. I alrady used a toner which has the same effect - and did tone it down a lot and aged it alot. I used to go to tole painting classes when my kids were little and at one time I had oil paints so I knew just what you were referring to. And that is also why I know what an amazing artist you are!! I did okay with my geese on Brie cheese box lids and painted napkin holders and I still remember how to blend black and yellow to make leaves, but you my friend, you have that special and rare touch! And it is not just with paint either - whatever you attempt!! I love coming here to see what you have created next!!

Linda - Behind My Red Door said...

PS I can spell - I just can't type!! LOL

Cindy said...

Ah, Kaaren, too cute....again. You just keep inspiring so many.

I, too, have been saving selvages. I have two plastic shoe boxes now full. I keep debating what to eventually use them for. And I really like your idea to use them in this way.

I'm still going to continue to save them....as I said "Eventually"

Quilts And Pieces said...

Oh how cute! And the selvage one is pretty clever too!

Elzaan said...

I read your post on Stash Manicure, and thought it very useful. My problem is, I don't know many people who sew, like me. My friends and family will only admire my work, but doesn't want to join...sigh
Love the scrap/selvage needle case. I never would have thought about it. Very creative!

Darlene said...

Those are some fabulous needlecases, Kaaren. The selvedge one is beyond cute. :-)

paulette said...

Wow!! YOU made that look so easy!! Thanks for sharing!!

KaHolly said...

Kaaren, the perfect rainy day project! Oh, how convenient, it's a rainy day today!! ~karen

Allie said...

I love this project Kaaren, but oh I don't want to hear that Christmas is that close, lol!~

Cathi said...

I love this design -- what a great idea! I think I can make this one. :-)

Stitched With Prayer said...

Kaaren, I left a comment on you Stash Manicure post but I had to take a minute and tell you how cute the Selvege Case turned out. Really wonderful! When I can finally get back to sewing (about 3 more weeks I think...up to the doctor though) I have a 'honeybun' that I've had for a long time and wasn't sure what to do with it...well, I think you've given me the perfect idea! Thanks and hugs!

KaHolly said...

I'm almost finished! My felt/wool piece, 2.5 x 4.5" was too big when I folded it in half and tried to stitch it on the center line 3.4" from the top. Did I do something wrong? ~karen

Sue-Anne said...

I think that 110 day leeway will disappear in the blink of an eye! Great tutorial Kaaren, thank you for sharing.

Mimi said...

Oh no! You did not say that out loud did you? 110 days to C-day? I can't even think about that. It just isn't so. I am in denial. ....but I love your projects. :D

Jeanne said...

guess I gotta get crackin'

Kathy H said...

Kaaren, I wanted to let you know how much I enjoy reading your blog. I am always glad to see what you are doing and admire your artistic talent. Thank you for sharing with us all.

marina said...

Gorgeous needlecases!
I will ignore the days that you mentioned counting down to that date you mentioned!

Sheila said...

Kaaren , thanks so much for your tutorial , I love the needlecases and especially the selvedge one I have been saving them as well . I just completed a stitchery that you gave as a Friday Freebie last year and I love it .If you would care to see it I posted a picture on my blog this morning .Thanks again for all your wonderful patterns .

Jantine said...

This is a lovely tutorial, I saw it already, but thanks for reminding, I already forgot I wanted to make one....

kathy said...

Very cute idea!


Days and colors said...

Thanks for this lovely idea! It IS time to start thinking about Xmas gifts!

karen @ badlandsquilts said...

Love the needle cases!

Irina said...

Thank you for this great tutorial!

Charo said...

I love these two needlecases, you explain so well that it seems easy to make, I'm going to start mine next weekend.

Greetings from Mallorca (Spain)