I have been using the same needle books for years. They are felt, covered in cat fur, and really not working for me. :D
I decided that now that I am embroidering 10-15 hours a week, I really needed a nice needle book I can carry around with me. I also hoped that if I made a nice enough needle book, I would actually use it. Right now needles end up on every surface, in my clothes, in the couch, EVERYWHERE.
So here we go: how to sew a needle book. It's a really fun and easy project - great for beginners! And awesome for scraps of fabric!
I'm now selling these in my etsy store, making jiggy! Check out my full stock of needle books here.
Step 1: what you'll need:
2 pieces 5x8 inch fabric
1 piece 5x8 inch white felt
2 pieces 4.25x6.5 white felt
three inches of small elastic cord
a button to match the fabric
needle and thread
scissors or cutting mat/rotary cutter
This is a great project to use for small pieces of prints. You could use two different patterns or colors of fabric, too, and that would be so cute! You could even do tiny patchwork pieces or some embroidery on the front of the needlebook - go wild!
Note that you can also use different colors of felt if you like, but I find that white looks nice with everything and offers high visibility for the needles.
Step 2: cut your fabric
from your fabric:
2 pieces 5x8
from your felt:
1 piece 5x8
2 pieces 4.25x6.5
(whoops, did not take a photo of the actual fabric I was working with. sorry!)
Step 3: pin the book together and insert the elastic
Lay down the felt, and then lay one of your fabric pieces on top of it, right side facing up.
Fold the elastic in half, and pin it to the middle of the right side of the fabric, with the loop facing in as shown in the picture.
Then lay the top piece of fabric down with the wrong side facing up. Pin all around the edges, marking a space at the top right corner where you won't be sewing. I use a horizontal needle between two vertical ones to mark this. This hole will help you turn it right side out later!
Step 4: sew all around the edges, except for the place we marked
Using a 1/4 seam allowance, start at the bottom of the opening you marked, and sew all around until you come to the top of the opening.
Make sure to backstitch at the beginning and the end!
Once you're done sewing, remove any remaining pins, including the one inside that was holding the elastic in place.
Trim the edges of the bag, especially the corners! (Do not trim the opening, though.) Cut off the excess elastic cord. (the second photo shows you how it should look - I like to use pinking shears but you don't have to!)
Step 5: turn the book right side out
Place your fingers in the opening between the two fabrics and turn it right side out. Don't try to turn it between the felt and fabric, or you'll end up with the wrong things on the outside.
Be gentle while turning! You can rip stitches if you get hasty with it. Once it's turned right side out, use a pen or a crochet hook to push the corners out so they look nice. :)
Step 6: tuck in the opening and topstitch
Tuck in the opening so it looks nice and even with the rest of the edges. Then topstitch all around the edges using a 1/8 inch seam allowance.
Step 7: sew in the pages!
Pin the pages into the center of the book! Make sure to pin well on both sides - felt tends to move lots when you sew it. :D
Mark the middle of the pages in some way - I'm using an air erasable pen! You can barely see the line in the first photo.
Sew down the middle of the pages, backstitching at the beginning and end.
Now you have pages! We're almost done!
Step 9: and you're done!
Now fill it up and stop stabbing yourself, your pets and your significant other. :D
I got so excited I organized my needles by type!