Hitting the road for the holidays doesn’t mean you have to leave your craft supplies at home! Caitlin Topham, the modern quilter behind Salty Oat, has mastered the art of taking her hobbies on the road with a handy needle book made from just a swatch of Fleece and Linen Cotton Canvas. Today she’s showing how to recreate her travel-friendly project featuring two custom designs from her Spoonflower shop.
Caitlin: Whenever I travel with a sewing project, I always pack my needle book. It’s a handy little notion that keeps all of my needles in one place and prevents me from accidentally losing a needle in the bottom of my bag (or on the floor of an airplane!) or inadvertently poking myself when reaching my hand into my sewing kit. The best thing about this needle book I designed, in my opinion, is that the pages are labeled with the different needle types, which means it’s super easy to organize your needles and find the right one for the project that you’re working on. Let’s get started!
- Needle Book Swatch printed on Linen-Cotton Canvas Ultra (or two cuts of fabric from your stash, measuring 8” x 4” each)
- Needle Book Pages Swatch printed on Fleece
- 8” x 4” piece of batting (a scrap of white felt, fleece, or interfacing could also work here)
- Pinking shears or rotary cutter with a pinking blade (optional)
- Coordinating thread
- Hair elastic or 3 ½” of thin elastic or ribbon
- Pins and a hand sewing needle
- Sewing machine
- Scissors or rotary cutter and quilting ruler
1. Cut out your fabric.
To construct your needlebook cover, cut out both the interior and exterior covers by first cutting your swatch in half.
Then cut each of the individual covers so that they measure 8” wide x 4” tall. Don’t worry if there’s a little white space around the edges; as long as it’s less that ¼,” it will disappear into your seam allowance.
2. Attach the elastic closure.
Pin your hair elastic or ribbon to the left side of your exterior cover, centering it on the 4” side with the main loop pointing toward the middle of the cover. The loop should measure approximately 1 ¾” from the cover’s raw edge to the end of the loop. Baste in place with a ⅛” seam allowance either by hand or machine stitches and remove the pin.
Step 3. Layer the fabric and batting.
Lay the interior cover onto the batting, with the print side facing up, and smooth out.
Match the two covers right sides together. Flip over so that the batting side is face up and pin on all four sides.
Step 4. Stitch the book cover together.
Using a ¼” seam allowance, stitch around the cover’s edges on your sewing machine, leaving a 2” opening along the bottom edge. Backstitch at the beginning and end of your stitching. Clip all four corners (to help reduce the bulk when you turn the cover inside out) and any loose threads and excess elastic.
Step 5. Turn the fabric.
Turn your cover right side out, using a knitting needle, chopstick, or other pointy implement to push out each of the four corners. Finger press and pin the opening closed.
Step 6. Stitch the opening closed.
You may then either hand-stitch the opening closed (which is what I did) or top stitch around the edges of the cover on your sewing machine. The finished cover should measure approximately 7 ½” x 3 ½”.
Step 7. Cut out the interior pages.
Now it’s time to work on the interior fleece pages! Cut ½” in from the printed gray lines using pinking shears or a rotary cutter with a pinking blade installed. You can also use your regular fabric scissors to cut a straight edge since fleece won’t fray. The cut pages should measure approximately 7″ x 3”.
Step 8. Add the interior pages to the book cover.
Fold your cover in half, finger press, and use a pin to mark the center of the cover. Repeat with both of your fleece pages. Place both fleece pages, text side up, inside your cover. Match up the centers of all three layers and pin in place.
Step 9. Stitch the book pages together.
On your sewing machine, stitch down the center of your book, backstitching at both the beginning and end. If you prefer, you may also do this step by hand, using your favorite decorative thread or embroidery floss. Clip any loose threads.
Step 10. Add a button for the closure.
To attach your button to the cover and create a closure for your needle book, close the book and wrap your elastic loop around to the front. Use a pencil to lightly mark where your button should go. Thread a hand-sewing needle with coordinating thread and stitch the button in place.
Load your needle book up with all of your loose needles and toss it in your sewing kit! Happy stitching!
About the Guest Blogger
Caitlin Topham is a modern quilter and the founder of Salty Oat, a small company specializing in one-of-a-kind handmade quilts and hand-embroidery kits. She lives outside of Boston with her husband and infant son. You can see more of her work at saltyoat.com and follow her on Instagram at @saltyoat.