Friday, May 25, 2012

Needlebook Swappin' Part II

Each time I have done a swap, I have an initial idea in my mind of what I would like to create, and I typically second guess it.  This causes wasted time in actually starting my projects.  Big surprise there that I have a procrastination problem!  For the needlebook I would create, I first thought of doing something colorful and kitschy.  However, I had long ago clipped a page from Country Living magazine showing a French inspired needlebook.  Oh which way to go!  I made two gathering piles for both styles.  Once I did a little emailing with my swap partner Margaret, who loves 40's and 50's vintage items, I realized my first idea was the one to choose...and it was so much fun!

My inspiration came as I searched through my very unorganized stash.  I was trying to pull out a container with various bits of vintage ribbon when two pocket-size composition books fell out.  I bought them when I purchased full-size notebooks to use for an art journal project.  Then the inspiration came!!  How cute would it be to use a composition book for a needlebook!  Here is my first attempt at a tutorial...

I carefully pulled out the pages so I could use just the cover.  Then I measured and cut felt "pages" to be attached later in the process.  The felt pages were cut along the edges with pinking shears to add a decorative touch.  Cotton and wool flannel are also good choices for needlebook pages, and the pinking will keep the edges from fraying.

I carefully measured and cut a piece of paper to cover the inside of the notebook just in case the felt "pages" didn't quite cover the cardboard.  Before gluing the paper in place, I glued in a piece of baker's twine to use for a loop closure.  You can see it sticking out on the left side of the photo below.  I set the felt pages inside the book temporarily to help me measure how big the loop should be.  The next step was to stitch red ric rac all around the edge.  After this, I glued the black polka-dot paper to the inside of the cover.  Once I got going, I forgot to photograph some of the steps-sorry! :)

This photo shows the full cover laid open with all the embellishments stitched or glued in place.  I used a universal needle in the machine and set the stitch length just a bit longer so the cardboard wouldn't be as likely to perforate from all the little needle holes.  Once the needle is used on paper and cardboard, it's ruined for fabric.  I keep these needles in a separate box so I can reuse them in other paper stitching projects.  When you are sewing fabric, it's best to have a nice sharp, new needle.

The Sewing Is Fun image was printed on fabric made especially for printers.  I love working with it.  You can find it at most craft and sewing stores.  Sadly I have no idea where this image came from originally.  That was before I knew how important it was to give credit to sources (thanks Pinterest!).
After cutting out the printed image, which had to be reprinted when I forgot to mirror image it, I stitched it to a square of blue fabric and then stitched the piece directly to the front of the composition book cover.

The image for the back of the cover was stamped on fabric and then stitched to the same fabric used on the front.  I then sewed buttons on the front "spine."  The scissor button was one I've had for so many years and was intended for a quilted wall hanging that I never actually made!  All along it was meant for this project anyway.  I love when that happens!

I sewed a vintage green button to the front of the cover near the edge to use for the loop closure.

With the cover art complete, a closure in place and the edge trim stitched on it's time to add the inside pages.  For this needlebook, I didn't want to have too many pages since it would make it hard to keep closed.  Basically there are two felt pieces.  The larger piece has a red plaid pocket.  I cut a piece to fit and ironed under the edge and added a ribbon trim for the to of the pocket.  The pocket was then sewed to the larger of the felt pages along the sides and bottom.  For the smaller page, I decided it need a little jazzing up so I used a decorative machine stitch on the edges.  It shows on both sides of the page.  Carefully holding the felt pages in place, I stitched them through the spine of the book.  I did three rows of stitching for stability and also to help the book keep it's shape.  Now the needlebook is finished!


  1. It's so wonderful -- thank you for showing us how you made it! That scissor button is to die for!

  2. Oh my your blog is too cute, talk to me in class and now I follow you around like a puppy dog, lol. Sounds like you may be a younger version of moi. Chat soon, Hugs Marilou