Introduction: How to Sew a Needle Book

Picture of How to Sew a Needle Book

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:

Picture of 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
  • sewing machine
  • needle and thread
  • scissors or cutting mat/rotary cutter
  • ruler
  • pins
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

Picture of 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

Picture of 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

Picture of 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

Picture of 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

Picture of 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!

Picture of 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 8: Sew on the Button!

Picture of Sew on the Button!

Close the book and pull the elastic over to the cover. Mark where the center of the loop is on the cover with a pen.

You'll sew your button on here. Don't know how to sew on a button? Check out my instructable showing you how to do it. :D

Step 9: And You're Done!

Picture of 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!


stargirlthepixie (author)2016-04-27

I'm so going to do this! Except I'm going to add emery in the back cover to sharpen needles and a magnet in front so it doubles as a needle and pin catcher!!!

I, for one, think that your ideas for add-ons is genius!!!!

Thanks! Nice of you to comment so!

nancyjaneyoung (author)2017-10-31

These are so cute; and totally perfect as gifts! May I suggest a simple variation? Instead of pushing needles through the felt, pust earrings through and, voila...all of your earrings are ready to travel......and you might never lose another butterfly backing again :)

UpSpiral (author)2017-10-16

I wanted to teach hand sewing techniques to children, so we used your design, but sewed the whole thing by hand. They learned running stitch, back stitch, whip stitch, and sewing on a button.I cut some of the pages long so they could fold it up and make a pocket too. It was a great project for them!

blueangelical (author)2014-09-30

I did one too :-) keep all my Singer 66k needles in it.

MaryE17 (author)blueangelical2017-04-25

What a great idea!

RaineyB1013 (author)2017-04-23

Is there a reason you used felt rather than say fusible batting in the book? Just curious. I'm considering using it instead because I only have a couple of sheets of craft felt.

7630 made it! (author)2017-04-20

Jessy, I used your Needle Book instructions to create a Stitchery Book to display my embroidery projects. The instructions made it very easy to create; if I had any frustrations or challenges at all it was due to my bobbin tension! It's larger than your needle book: each page is 5 1/4" X 8 1/4". I used denim for the cover for durability and I had just enough leftover linen/cotton material from my embroidery class for the inside front & back covers and used felt for the pages. I wanted to display my project where I could easily access the back to see the stitching: I used the chain stitch to sew my project to the inside of the felt page and then sowed snaps on the right top and bottom corners so I could easily unsnap it to view the back of the project. My intention is to add a sampler of stitches along with their respective names to the back page of each project. I have very much enjoyed this class and have found it inspiring. I plan to continue to add to my Stitchery Book with every new stitch I learn. Thank you vey much - I loved this class!!!

PaolaS2 made it! (author)2017-03-28

Great project! I've used ol jeans and an old shirt and I loved it!

jessyratfink (author)PaolaS22017-03-30

I love the idea of using demin for the outside. Might have to give that a go for my next one!

skinflinty made it! (author)2017-02-21

Easy instructions to follow and very quick even with the really unsuitable fabric I used :)

missladyhawke made it! (author)2016-07-22

I made it! Very easy, great instructions. I really enjoyed this even though the felt bent my needlle, live and learn. Next time use a jeans needle with felt.

sparklyshoes17 made it! (author)2016-04-16

This is a great instructable. I made a lovely needle book that turned out great and now my daughter is making one too.

BlakeD8 made it! (author)2016-02-20

Very clear directions and it turned out great!

Agnes1947 (author)2016-01-10

wonderful instructions, thank you so much. Am going to make a few for my friends.

rainbowkisses (author)2015-10-13

Well done! their lovely I made these years ago, you've inspired me to make them again for gifts. P.S I love the idea for the spacing with the tooth pick. Many thanks :)

buildandsewandstuff (author)2015-02-19

Love your fabric choices, and the button closure! I made one last year, using light cardboard inside the cover. I used an old file folder, and cut the size I wanted using the manufactured fold to make it easier. To cover it, cut your cardboard to size, and 2 pieces of fabric 1" larger on each side. Sew right sides together on 3 edges, turn right side out, and slip it over the cardboard. Then turn the open edges under, press, and topstitch around the whole business. Proceed as above to attach felt "pages". I like having the cardboard in the cover to keep the needles from poking through. It's a very handy item!

JudesJewels (author)2014-07-30

I just found this and love the simple way you explained it.. I'm going to make modifications and decorate (beads and embroidery) the covers but use your instructions. Thanks so much! A really fancy one would be a great present for some sewers I know too!

jacqsie (author)2013-04-06

I love this...I recently crocheted one, by making a rectangle strip. Put my needles through the stitches, rolled it up,closed w/matching button...and whala! I actually use this one. Wow! I can add an image in here.I'm new at this site. Yours is the 1st comment. :)

billbillt (author)2012-09-27

Another great hand made project!...Love it!!...

supersoftdrink made it! (author)2012-09-23

You're always so neat and precise with your sewing stuff... and you even pin stuff in place!

I should learn to be less lazy. :)

Did you see the ones I made for an upcoming speed challenge? I forgot to take a picture of the tree one.

Pixie Puddle made it! (author)2012-09-23

thanks for this, the day after I saw your needle book I was at work and their needles were all thrown in the bottom of the tin they kept the sewing stuff being a fabric shop they have a lot of scraps of fabric so I used them to make one its thrown together but it works well, so cheers again :)

HMice (author)2012-09-20

Wow! I've been needing a decent pinbook for a while now, but havent been bothered to make one. I guess your strawberry was getting old. (I was just checking out some of your old ibles)

jessyratfink (author)HMice2012-09-20

Haha, yes, the strawberry was looking rough. One of my cats mauled it. :P

HMice (author)jessyratfink2012-09-20

Did it think it was a real berry?
Nom noms! :P

BTrey (author)2012-09-20

Nice project. I have to say that I read your first paragraph as saying that your old needle books had felt interiors and an exterior made of cats fur. Ewww!!! Figured out what you meant after a second or two. :-)

sunshiine (author)2012-09-20

I made a needle book and gave it away. Now I should try this method for me! Thanks for sharing.

bajablue (author)sunshiine2012-09-20

Yeah you did... to me... and I love it! ;-D Thanks so much!!!

Beautiful work, Jessy!!!

sunshiine (author)bajablue2012-09-20

I did, didn't I! Happy you love it! Jess I love the fabric print you used! Our fabric selection here is pretty lame! Hope you both have a super day!

jessyratfink (author)sunshiine2012-09-20

You're welcome :D

Pixie Puddle (author)2012-09-20

wow so simple love it, I think I shall add that to near the top of my long list of projects, Love the fabric you used as well very cute, :)

mikolynn (author)2012-09-20

Very good idea to keep this pins, needles and other piercing stuff in the right order!
Can be a good first project to do with my new sewing machine!

jessyratfink (author)mikolynn2012-09-20

Definitely! It's super easy to do. :)

flyingpuppy (author)2012-09-20

YAY! This will be in my sister's Christmas stocking this year! Thanks JRF!

jessyratfink (author)flyingpuppy2012-09-20

YAY! You're welcome :D

ChrysN (author)2012-09-20

Nice, I really need one of these.

jessyratfink (author)ChrysN2012-09-20

You do! I think it might be the most useful thing I've ever sewn.

About This Instructable




Bio: I work at instructables by day, and turn into a stitch witch by night. follow me on instagram @makingjiggy to see what i'm working ... More »
More by jessyratfink:DIY Gold SlimeHow to Hand Embroider Flowers How to Clean A Coffee Maker with Citric Acid
Add instructable to: