Felt Needle Case Tutorial

I have to admit, I don’t always use a needle case - I work best in organized chaos - but they are extremely useful. Early needle cases were often small tubular bone, wood, or bronze containers with tight-fitting stoppers; often designed to hang from a belt.

As you can see, I like to use thick 100% Wool Designer Felt to hold sewing needles that I am currently using on a project. Then I store the rest in packages inside of tea tins.

Making needle-books was a trend that began in the 1800's and grew in popularity until around the 1950's. These needle books were designed to hold the different needles a person would need for different fabrics and projects.

Usually, the needle-book was made from scrap pieces of fabrics. They were used to organize and secure needles. I’ve started collecting these by accident as they are often bundled in with other sewing items I buy second-hand.

I don’t know exactly where it came from, perhaps from the depths of my Grand Aunt’s sewing box, but this handmade needle case has long travelled with me. The body of the girl is knitted from yarn, and fine wool cloth makes the petticoat for the needles.

I can’t say I ever used it for its intended purpose, but I love admiring the work that went into its making.

Felt makes a great case for needles, the matted fibres don’t snag, and you can pierce it over and over without damaging the pages.I decided it would be fun to make mine in the shape of a spool of thread, thou a square or rectangle works just as well.

You can be as imaginative as you want when coming up with a design. You can keep it simple or create something complex that houses all your tools, not just needles & pins. You can take as little or as much time in the decorating process as you care to when it comes to your own Felt Needle Case.

Felt makes a great case for needles. The matted fibres don’t snag, and you can pierce it over and over without damaging the "pages".

I am using scrap pieces of 3mm Thick 100% Wool Designer Felt for the outer layers, you want to use a sturdy material to help protect the needles but to protect you from being poked by the contents inside as well. I then cut out the cover(x2) using this material.

You can have any number of "pages" inside your book, but I usually find that 3 "pages" accommodate all my needle needs and keeps the bulk down. Any material will work for the inside "pages". Take a look through your scrap fabric for options. If not using felt, wool or cotton works just as well.

Note: If using cotton or other woven textiles, you will need to finish the edges with a blanket stitch to avoid any fraying. You can also finish the edges with Fray Check, thinned-out glue, or pinking sheers.

I’ve opted to use a stiffened felt, as I prefer a firm material for the "pages". I have collected a few sheets of every colour before they were sold out, and now I hoard them for specific projects. Sometimes you may come across a material that you know you can use - but not sure for what exactly. I prefer to err on the side of caution and acquire it since I know I can always find a use for it. Sometimes I can’t always source the material I’ve chosen to pass on.

Blog Tutorial: How to Stiffen Craft Felt | The Felt Store

I have a great selection of colour-coordinated ribbons to choose to create a tie from. The Dollar Store will often have nice rolls in stock and I tend to keep my eye open for threads, lace, rickrack, and bias tape when antiquing.

I lined up the "pages" - pinking the middle layer to add some visual interest - then attached the inner "pages" to the back cover of the needle case.

I was playing around with some different ideas to finish off the cover. I decided to sew down a corded yarn to represent the thread on the spool and made an oversized needle to slide between the strands. I also blanket stitched around the edges of both covers and used a chain stitch to add other aspects of the design.

I sewed the ribbon along the back of the needle case cover and on the inside of the needle case cover, allowing an easy way to tie the case shut.

I think a needle case is a lovely gift to make any person who likes to sew. It is also a great gift to personalize with a theme or the initial of the giftee. It is an essential item for any on-the-go crafter, but also as an addition to any repair kit to travel with, so that you can take care of any wardrobe malfunction.

I sometimes like to imagine what sewers and crafters in the future will think of what we create today. I’d love to see what interesting project(s) you create. Don't forget to tag @the_felt_store and @bedlamcatsstudio on Social Media so we can check them out!

1 comment

  • Christina Hudson

    Hi, just received my order, love it, thank you, hope to visit your showroom in the fall

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