Sunday, April 26, 2009

Needlecase tutorial

I have been promising myself a needlecase for a while. So, I sat down and made this one.

The technique is not new or even hard and I know that some readers will be able to make it just by looking at the picture but just in case it is helpful for others, here are some instructions. The darker photos are more accurate when it comes to colour - I kept forgetting to put the flash on resulting in the lighter ones.
You will need:
One long piece of felt - mine was 2 3/4 inches by 12 inches.
Piece of lining fabric same length and width
A second piece of felt same length and about 1/2 inch narrower. (ish)
Selection of threads for machine sewing ( I used two Oliver Twist threads and one King Tut)
Selection of yarns for couching down. You only need them about 14 inches long so odd strands are fine.
Thin strips of sheer fabric just over 12 inches long.
(optional- spray baste)
One bead
Piece of fusible web (e.g. Bonbdaweb, Heat and Bond etc) same size as the first piece of felt.

1. Take the first piece of felt. If you have any, spray baste it lightly, otherwise use pins where needed. Rip strips of sheer fabrics ( I only needed three) and lay them on the felt overlapping. They can spill over the edges of the felt.
2. Using one of your machine threads stitch several wiggly lines to secure the sheers. Trim the piece back to the size of the felt.
3. Using a machine thread in the top, and either a couching foot if you like or ( as I did it because my yarns were too bobbly to go in the couching foot) a normal presser foot, couch down several interesting yarns vertically down the sheer/felt piece. make them more or less straight but do not stress about slight deviations and wiggles. Use a zig zag stitch for this.

4. Change machine threads for variety and choose a decorative stitch on your machine. Stitch down between several of the gaps between the couched yarns. Change threads and stitch for variety and fill in all the other gaps.

5. I then added the yarn which has (for want of a better description) big fuzzy bits hanging off it. I did this last so the big fuzzy things didn't get in the way. If you have no big bits like this you can skip this step.

6. Trim back to the felt base eliminating all straggle ends of thread.
7. Take three of four of your smoother yarns and make machine wrapped cord. That is, just stitch over them with a zig zag stitch. Take a suitable length, form into a loop and using a zigzag stitch that is much looser together stitch the ends together to make a kind of twig like ending. Stitch that by hand using a couching type stitch to one end of your now decorated panel positioning it so the loop will pass over the bead you are later going to add as fastening on the other end.

8. Fuse the back of the decorated fabric to the wrong size of the lining fabric. Using appropriately coloured bobbin thread, sew around the combined panel in a zig zag stitch - twice if need be to seal the edges.

9. Place the second felt piece on top of the lining fabric and pin the two short edges together. I chose to allow my lining fabric to show - if you don't want that make the second piece of felt the same size as the decorated panel. Just make sure the short edges match up. Fold the case so the lining sides face and crease to find the middle. Stitch the second piece of felt down that seam to create a kind of book spine.
10. Flip the piece over. Sew just along the inner edge of the zig zag edging stitches you created earlier on the short sides. This will result in the inner felt piece being secured in three places but loose elsewhere to allow you to put needles and pins in.

11. Press the fold to get the case to sit flat.

12. Sewing through the top decorative piece only ( not the inner felt strip) add the bead and put the loop over it to fasten. Voila - a needle case.

13 Tidy your sewing space. Sheesh - you only made one little case - how did you manage to
make such a mess ? :)


Quilt Pixie said...

love the effect you got with some of those threads... I'd never thought of using sheers under the threads to add interst.

paulahewitt said...

this is very effective - thanks for shoing us how you made it it. also enjoyed (probably too much - considering what pain it caused you) your story about your sewing machine. You have also (i think) solved a mystery for us - what is the accent of the bloke (not Tony Robinson) on time team - Somerset.