This cute needle book tutorial is the perfect introduction to patchwork (without paper piecing)! I chose to use some fairy tale-inspired fabric and details, but you can, of course, use whatever you have in your stash or use it as an excuse to buy a few new fat quarters!
For those who don't know, needle-books are cute, little fabric books containing felt "pages" to hold needles and pins. At they're simplest, that's all, but I like creating pockets and ribbons for holding embroidery scissors, thread, and other goodies while working on projects.
Needle books are quick, easy projects where we get to practice embellishing techniques--plus they make wonderful handmade gifts!
Patchwork is something that invokes a sense of past times for me. An intimidating project I'd never tried before making this post, I was totally inspired by the Instagram Sewing Community! There are some truly beautiful patterns and quilts featuring various patchwork techniques!
Being "Sew a Softie" month, I've really had the hand-sewing bug, but decided to dust off my sew machine to get tight, close stitches that can take for-EVER when sewn by hand.
Lately, I've had some serious tension troubles with my machine, but after talking to my seamstress grandmother, she said to switch to dual-purpose or all-purpose cotton or cotton blend thread.
Making that switch in conjunction with fiddling with my bobbin case fixed my crazy weird stitches! Woot! Woot!
Anyway, enough with the chatter! Let's get to the tutorial!
For Your Needle Book You'll Need:
- One 2 1/4 inch square of fabric (I love this English Garden Collection)
- 4 strips of complimenting fabric each measuring 4.5x1 inches
- Wool felt
- Sewing Machine (This is a good beginner one)
- Velcro Dots
- Quilt Batting or an old sweater
To Make Your Beginner Patchwork Needle Book:
When cutting out your pieces (I use a Rotary Cutter Set to save time and make the neatest edges, but fabric shears work fine too), be conscious of the direction of any patterns (for example, I wanted all of the bows on my border fabric to face the same direction).
Once finished, pin your pieces right-sides together, and sew your pieces with a 1/4 inch seam allowance (already taken into account with your pre-measured cuts, no need to add).
**A seam allowance is how far the stitching happens inside the fabric.
I sewed my top and bottom pieces first, because I wanted the overlap of the side pieces to match.
After all 4 sides are sewn, iron your square to flatten the seams down.
One side of my border didn't stay quite straight, but rather than unpick the stitches, I simply used my rotary cutter to straighten the edges and call it "shabby chic."
Once your patchwork square is finished--congratulations! Your first patch is completed!
You'll need to cut out two inside pieces and an extra piece to match your patch (for the back of your needle book). Use your front patch as the template.
To Make the Needle Book Pocket:
Cut a small piece of wool felt (don't use acrylic from a craft store, your embroidery scissors will go right through it!) to fit the inside square you'd like. Mine ended up being 1.5 inches tall.
I also added a tiny embellishment from a circle of my inside fabric. You can do this, or leave it blank.
Pin the felt to the right side of your fabric and make a single stitch along the bottom. **I prefer to do the side stitches whenever I'm sewing the sides the book together, but if you are more comfortable sewing all three sides at this stage, go ahead and do that!
To Assemble Your Needle Book
Pin your cover fabrics (you patchwork and the back of the needle book) facing each other and sew along the edge that will be the spine of the book (open your fabric with your pin attached to make sure it's how you want it). Sew along that edge.
Do the same with your interior pieces and make sure it matches the exterior sewn piece. Sew along what will be the needle book's spine.
If you want to add a ribbon to keep your scissors in place, add a few stitches through a ribbon above your felt pocket (test the length with your scissors before sewing).
Pin your ribbon down, so that it doesn't get caught in stitching the hole book together.
Layer your exterior piece, your interior piece (with the pocket) facing each other (patterned side facing each other), then your quilt batting cut to the length of your two finished pieces.
Pin all the way around and sew three of the 4 sides, leaving one sort end open.
Turn your needle book right-side-out and iron your needle book as flat as possible.
Fold your open edges in and pin them as well as you can.
Sew very close to the edge of your seams to create a clean, flat edge.
Add a rectangle of wool felt that is slightly smaller than your needle book cover to the inside with a single stitch through the spine of the needle book.
Once finished with the basic construction, it's time to embellish!
I didn't think about the closure (ribbons and snaps are nice) until after I was finished, so I added some Velcro dots with a few hand stitches and a cute "Fairies Welcome" button I'd been itching to use on a project.
A few pins, needles, and my trusty embroidery scissors completed my mending book for a fairy tale patchwork extravaganza!
I hope the instructions are clear enough! If you have any questions, feel free to comment them below, I'll be sure to answer them 😊 If you liked this tutorial, feel free to sign up for my newsletter for more or follow me on Pinterest! If yo make your own needle book, please tag me on Instagram @cinderellasews, so I can see your work 💖