Half Inchie Needle Case: Tutorial and giveaway

Needle book tutorial header

Here’s a new needle book pattern for you! I devised this one because I wanted lots of practice making 1/2in patchwork (for secret reasons!) and I love using Kam snaps! My first attempt is going to my partner in the Instagram Rainbow Mini-Quilt swap… here it is:

Finished 1

The method for making the half-inchie panel on the front is based on an idea I first saw on Elizabeth Hartman’s blog – mine is a very rough and ready version, but works for this small project.

Tutorial notes:

Seams are 1/4in throughout. The finished needle book measures about 3 1/2in by 4in folded. I used Kam snaps (which I love!) to make the fastening, but a press stud will work just as well. Or another popper-y snap of your choice! Or you can have no tab and fastener at all – after all, there’s no law that says a needle book has to fasten closed!

You will need:

  • scraps (at least 1 inch square) fabric for the centre panel – I used Liberty scraps – try Duck Egg Threads for similar
  • 8 1/2in square piece of linen fabric (or fabric of your choice) for body of needle book – I used yarn-dyed Essex linen (flax) from Robert Kaufman, which is available from my lovely sponsors – Dragonfly Fabrics
  • 5 1/2in by 7in piece of coordinating felt – I used wool felt from Cloud Craft
  • 4in by 10in fusible fleece (or batting of your choice)  – I used Vilene H640)
  • 5in by 15in light/medium iron-on interfacing – I use Vilene G700
  • Set of coordinating Kam snaps or a sew-on press stud

Cutting list:

Cut twenty five pretty accurate 1in squares from the scraps.

From the linen fabric cut:

  • 2 pieces measuring 1in by 3in
  • 2 pieces measuring 1 1/4in by 4in
  • 2 pieces measuring 1 1/2in by 2 1/4in
  • 1 piece measuring 4in by 4 1/2in
  • 1 piece measuring 4in by 8 1/2in

Cut the felt into two pieces measuring 2 3/4in by 7in

From the fusible fleece/batting cut:

  • 1 piece measuring 4in by 8 1/2in
  • 1 piece measuring 1 1/2in by 2 1/4in

From the iron-on interfacing cut:

  • 1 5in square
  • 1 piece measuring 4in by 8 1/2in
  • 1 piece measuring 1 1/2in by 2 1/4in


Step 1

Mark a 1in grid on the non-sticky side of the iron-on interfacing (this is the smooth fabric side) – I find using a soft pencil is best for this. And you would be far better using a non-creased piece of interfacing!!

Step 2

Lay out the 1in squares in the arrangement you would like to use in your panel on your work surface. Starting in one of the corners, take the first four squares from your arrangement, and lay them on the sticky side of the interfacing, aligned with the grid lines. Very carefully, using baking parchment to protect your iron, iron these onto the interfacing.

Step 3

Then add some more, and a few more…

Step 4

And continue until all the squares are stuck in place. Don’t worry if they are a tiny bit higgledy-piggledy, but try and keep things fairly orderly.

Step 5

Turning to the back of the interfacing and make a fold along one of the grid lines. Stitch this fold with a scant 1/4in seam, then cut the fold, trim the seam allowance to a generous 1/8in and then press open.

Step 5 front

The picture above shows how the first row should look on the front after you’ve stitched it.

Step 6

Repeat with the rest of the grid lines parallel with the first one you stitched, remembering to cut and trim the seams to 1/8in, until you have something that looks like the picture above. Suddenly everything will be looking a lot smaller!

Step 7

Now repeat this process with the grid lines running in the other direction – you can see the first row stitched above.

Step 8

Step 8 shows how your finished panel should look – and it should measure 3in square.

Step 9

Take the two pieces of 1in by 3in linen and stitch them either side of the panel, and press. I press my seams to the side from now on, but it’s up to you!

Step 10

Take the 2 pieces of linen measuring 1 1/4in by 4in and stitch on the other 2 sides of the square and press.

Step 11

Stitch the 4in by 4 1/2in piece of linen to one of the pieces you have just stitched, to create the back, as shown in Step 11.

Step 12Finally, to complete the needle book outer – fuse the 4in by 8 1/2in piece of fusible fleece to the back (following the manufacturer’s instructions), and then top stitch round the panel, as shown in Step 12.

Step 13

Now it’s time to make the tab for the Kam snap/press stud. Fuse the iron-on interfacing to one of the 1 1/2in by 2 1/4in pieces of linen, and the fusible fleece ot the other piece. Mark a shape on the wrong side of the interfaced piece of linen similar to the one show in the top left pic – keep the seams to 1/4in and used the curved edge of a cotton reel to join the lines. Then put this piece right sides together with the piece backed with fusible fleece and stitch round the marked line. Trim off the excess, and trim away excess fusible fleece in the seam allowance (see pic, bottom left). Finally turn through (it’s fiddly, but you can do it!), press very thoroughly, and then top stitch the tab.

Now it’s time to start assembling all the bits and pieces to bring this needle book together! First apply the 4in by 8 1/2in piece of iron-on interfacing to the similar sized piece of linen.

Step 14

Next lay the needle book outer face up on your work surface, and place the completed tab, as shown in Step 14.

Step 15

Place the interfaced piece of linen on top, sandwiching the tab between them, and pin in place. On the Step 15 picture you can see two marks on the top edge – I have made these to remind myself where to stop and start my stitching so that I leave a hole to turn the needle book through! Stitch round the edge of the needlebook, reverse stitching at either end of the seam, so that when you turn the needle book through the hole, your stitches won’t unravel.

Once you have stitched the edge, cut across all the corners at a 45 degree angle, removing some of the seam allowance, being careful not to cut through your stitching – this removes bulk at the corners. Turn the needle book through the hole, and press very thoroughly, turning under the edges of the turning hole. Use a little swish of washable glue, or pin the hole closed, then top stitch round the edge of the needle book, stitching the hole closed as you go.

Step 16

Apply one of the Kam snaps to the tab, as shown, following the instructions that came with your kit. Alternatively, stitch half the press-stud in place.

Step 17

Fold the needle book closed, and squeeze the first half of the Kam snap against the back of the needle book. I hope you can see the imprint in the Step 17 picture.

Step 18

Use the bradawl that came with your Kam snap kit to make a whole at the centre of the imprint you have just made, and insert the other Kam snap at that point. Alternatively use the imprint as a guide to show you where to stitch the other half of the press-stud.

Step 19

Remember you want the fastener to be on the outside of the back of the needle book (it’s too easy to accidentally put in on the inside!!).

Step 20

Step 20 shows how the Kam snap fastening should look when it is done.

Finally, take the two pieces of felt and align them, one on top of the other, centrally on the inside the needle book. Pin in place, then, working on the outside of the needle book, stitch them in place, stitching just to one side of the seam line between the two halves of the outer. Remember to reverse stitch at either end of the seam to secure. If you are a bit fussy about these things and you are using a nice bright felt for your pages, you can change your machine bobbin thread to match the felt.

And you are all done!
Finished 4

I do hope you like the tutorial – I really enjoyed putting it together for you.


And as a final treat, because I have a very satisfactory needle book of my own already, I’m going to give away this pretty yellow, blue and pink number to one of you lucky people.

Finished 3

  • All you need to do to be in with a chance of winning is to leave a comment saying ‘pick me!’, but if you want to chat, let me know what the very first thing you ever sewed was. Mine was a rather dull cross-stitch bookmark for my godmother, with her name on it – there was some miscalculation because the letters didn’t quite fit, but she was very nice about it!
  • If you share the giveaway and leave a comment to say you have done so, then you will get an extra chance to win. I am very happy to post overseas, and I will even throw in a pack of Liberty scraps for good measure. Perhaps you can use them to make a needle book to pass on to someone else!
  • I will do the draw on Saturday (5 March) evening at about 8pm (GMT), so do leave your comments before then!

good luck logo

For more free Very Berry sewing patterns – you need to check out my Tutorials page!  

38 thoughts on “Half Inchie Needle Case: Tutorial and giveaway

  1. The first thing I remember sewing was a little plush elephant decorated with ric rac. I was around seven or eight years old. I remember my grandma sitting with me for hours teaching me the basics of hand sewing. These basic techniques have been used throughout my entire life.

  2. Wonderful! I got crazy and bought so many snaps a while back… I will follow these instructions and make some soon… (after I sew the binding on this 5 year-in-process quilt!). I look forward to trying that nifty patch lesson!

  3. Thanks for another great tutorial and for the chance to win the lovely needle book. The first thing I remember sewing was an embroidered table cloth which I still have. I also have my first little book of embroidery stitches, both are 50 years old!

  4. Pick me!!!!!! I love the tutorial. Must try it. I think my first sewing was when I was 15. A blouse and a skirt. Oh my God, more than 30 years ago……..

  5. Pick me please! I was 5 years old when I started sewing, my Mother was a wonderful teacher, I started on Aida just learning simple stitches before going on to embroider table covers.

  6. Please pick me. The first proper thing I made was in my needlework class when I started secondary school. It was a square needlework bag with my name chain stitched on it. The only material my mum had to give me was an old pair of curtains. I still have it!

  7. The first thing I ever sewed were doll clothes for my dolls out of scraps of my mums sewing fabric!
    PS Saturday is my daughters birthday 🙂

  8. Please pick me – the first thing I can remember sewing was a gingham bag to keep my P.E. Kit in at school, all the class made one and I can remember stitching cross stitches along the top 😊

  9. My first foray into sewing with a machine was a dresden block which I made and a tote bag to put it on. Thank you for a fun giveaway, and an easy to follow tutorial. x

  10. Thanks so much for having this! Pick me please! I’ve never won anything! The first thing I sewed was a white silk dress with purple orchids sewn on the front. It was very hard–too hard for a beginner. 🙂

  11. Pick me please, my old needlecase has disintegrated and whilst I love the tutorial and intend to make this Imhave too many other things to sew before doing one for myself! First thing I can remember making is a dressing table mat a small rectangle using fabric with holes in and we got to choose the stitches and colour of thread, it was so exciting and have seen ever since but mainly clothes.

  12. One of the first things I ever made was a dolly dress, I sat in a tent with my sister during the summer holidays and stitched by hand, it wasn’t bad at all. I would love to be able to win your needle case but am determined to try it for myself too.

  13. Pick me! My first sewing project, apart from making an apron at school (bias binding with always be my nemesis)! was EPP using packs of precut hexies from Laura Ashley. I still haven’t finished it – that was in 1983! 😳

  14. Great tutorial, thank you! It’s a long time ago, but I think the first thing that I sewed was a cross stitch on blue gingham tray cloth at school.

  15. Please…..pick me, love your tutorials, and little gems you pass on to us, the first thing I made , besides the obligatory cookery cap and apron, was a ….. Twist skirt, yep that’s how old I am, which I made in sewing class, (twist skirt, of chubby checker fame ) for all you young ones Google him !!!! Ha ha xx

  16. Loved the needle case I can’t remember what the first thing I sewed was. My Mother was always sewing or knitting as was my Gramdmother so doing something with my hands was what I did from a young age. Some of the things I made at school were very uninspiring. We used a treadle machine.

  17. This is so nice! Thank you for the very clear tutorial. I think it is a very smart way of matching squares.
    The first thing I remember making were blankets for my dollhouse dolls. Not very squared or even, but I remember enjoying the process a lot. I made them with scraps from older dresses and was allowed to use my moms sewing machine (under supervision) which I considered very cool. Oh yeah: those were the times ;)!
    Thank you so much for the chance to win. Love your needle book.

  18. This is lovely – would love to give it a go when I get some time – which is rare with a toddler in the house lol

  19. Great tutorial, these would make great sewing friend gifts. You have got me inspired to make some…… And oh yes pick me.

  20. Pick me please – lovely tutorial,thanks for showing this technique, I keep meaning to try it and then promptly forget. Sadly no memory of my first sewing project.

  21. Pick me ….. please. The first thing I made, at age 7, was an apron! Already gender-role typed, wasn’t I? Still love aprons, (at age 66) … linen … straight … simple.

  22. What a fabulous tutorial. I’ve used this method for slightly larger squares, but feel the need to do some minis now :). The first fabric project I can remember was making little felt waistcoats for trolls, ( maybe 1963/4 ?) but no sewing was needed. Then I progressed to stitching clothes for a Sindy doll. Thankfully my needle skills have improved since then ! Thanks for the tutorial and the memories.

  23. Wonderful tutorial…I’m also seeing the possibilities of a billfold/wallet….hmmm… The first thing I remember sewing was a little dirndl skirt for my Barbie…back in 1963. Now for the really important part—pick me pick me pick me pick me pick me pick me pick me pick me please! 🙂

  24. This is adorable!! Your step by step instructions are great but I am sure that I would mess up those tiny seams if I made one of these needle books… So I would love, love, love to win yours!! Thanks for the chance!!

  25. Love your needlebook! Too cute! Great tutorial and love all the wonderful photos. I’m not sure what the first item I sewed was. I did take Home Ec. in high school and made a few items of clothing. One item was a dress, the only one I’ve ever made. It was a wrap around kind and I believe I only wore it twice.

    Thanks for a chance to win.


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