Hand Sewing · Upcycling

Pins and Needles – The Appliqued Needlecase.

Well, its been two months since I last wrote anything on my blog.  I have had a bit of blog apathy as sometimes I feel writing/uploading to a blog can be time consuming and I wanted to try out lots of  different ideas.

Recently, I decided that I needed to make myself a new needlecase. After I uploaded the picture to insta I thought that it might make a good tutorial – so here are the instructions. If you make one let me know and post a picture!

WP_20160615_12_50_53_ProThis is the look that we are going for, a denim cover with a blanket stitched edge and a layered applique front.

I use two different fabrics one Indian style and one is more country style, you will see that I wanted the front to reflect the inside.

Materials Required

Fabric scraps – largest size 14cm x 9cm

Iron on Interfacing

Strong Thread – such as top stitching thread/ Decorative threads.

A size 10 Crewel embroidery needle

Scissors/ Rotary Cutter/Awl/Cutting Mat

Ruler and Vanishing Pen


Decide what you are going to use, I like to experiment with my husbands old denim jeans as I love the texture and fade of denim. I used leather on the inside as it doesn’t fray, my local scrapstore has a box full of leather in loads of colours. If you are going to use other fabrics for your inserts then the edges will need to be cut with Pinking Shears so they don’t fray. Any stitches that you don’t know how to do can easily be found by searching the net – I teach myself loads of new things this way!

First measure out your pieces for the cover and lining, I did mine at 14cm x 9cm. If you have a large print on your fabric then see if you can capture a good section before you cut, so you don’t have a lining with a random half flower on the inside!


Cut out your interfacing so that it is the same size as the cover pieces. I have put the interfacing on both pieces of fabric as they are prone to fraying. Remember to iron them on the wrong side of the fabric!

Next, cut out the shapes you want to use on the front of your cover, you can stitch them on now and then cover the stitches with the lining. I did mine later on as I just caught the stitches through the denim. After that, pin the lining to the cover, wrong sides together and Blanket Stitch all the way round the edge.

Try and get your inserts to have a nice colour blend with your lining, or if you have bright colours go for a clash! Cut the inserts 2cm smaller all the way round. So, the largest one is 12cm x 7cm and the smallest one is 10cm x 5cm.

I punched the holes 0.5cm apart with the Awl on a cutting mat (mine is really old, you can use soft wood such as cork for a surface). Make sure the holes line up on both pieces of leather. Use your vanishing pen to make a mark on the fabric where the centre of the case is, make an anchoring stitch that will be hidden under the edge of the large piece of leather and start sewing the leather pieces to the outer case. Use Double running stitch and the Crewel Needle.

As you can see, I layered on my applique pieces after I blanket stitched the edge. This is so I knew it would fit into the space.  I attached the applique with a hand sewn Zig -Zag style stitch as the edge is quite fragile. In the photo on the right you can see the double running stitch down the spine of the needlecase.

I decided to attach a tail to the needlecase, I used a bit of retro crochet yarn I bought in a charity shop. I wove the yarn through the straight stitch down both sides, leaving a long end which I twisted up and anchored so the twist won’t undo itself. You can see in the photo below I used a single piece of yarn and finished it with a  bead at the bottom.


That’s it!







Hand Sewing · Upcycling

Giving Low Tech a High Tech Life

Considering that I have a small business that concentrates on hand sewing and keeping handed-down skills popular, I have a spent a lot of time in front of the computer lately.

I can confirm after about a month of wrangling with the computer I am now blogged up, twittered up, instagrammed up, facebooked up and fed up!  Well actually I am pleased that I managed to have some success, my latest YES! moment was linking my instagram to my twitter and facebook page after spending hours going round in circles!

Oh! well onwards and upwards. Now I can get my needle and thread back out. I  decided this week to make myself a little denim quilted coaster for my cups of tea to rest on. Also, I’ve been having a little experiment with backgrounds for product photos, I’ve been to the local DIY store and picked up some free samples of wallpaper, made a little box out of foam hardback then I just used bulldog clips to hold the sheets in place.


Hand Sewing · Upcycling

Rags to Riches

In my personal, and I know, small bid to help stop the world drowning in landfill rubbish, here is the first step on my blog to show people how they can use things they might think are only good for the bin.

Phototastic-03_11_2015_7f0843b5-9c13-4700-ad57-e5944efcef67I made this heart decoration out of waste pieces of fabric left over from a pair of trousers that I altered for a friend of mine.

All of the pieces I had already in my craft box, from bits of broken jewellery and spare buttons, to some left over wadding from my trials with quilting.

Saving odd buttons and beads in a plastic box is a great way to have a little collection of decorative items that you can attach to anything you make, or items that you might want to customise.

The “how to” guide.

Phototastic-27_10_2015_6dac11b3-b021-466c-a1b1-d1d5bb178425Phototastic-27_10_2015_4402f5fa-f8ad-4095-abdf-545d76444326   Phototastic-27_10_2015_74dd2693-df57-4ced-b74f-7d4e2e4b711d

First, I cut the fabric open so that I was able to lay it flat. Next I used a cookie cutter to get the shape,this is a great way to make sure your shape is symmetrical. I placed the hearts as shown in the 3rd picture to minimise the amount of waste generated and to save the other piece for something else to make.

WP_20151027_11_22_48_ProHere, what I have shown is that I used the slightly smaller cookie cutter as a template for the wadding to go inside of the heart. The wadding is three layers thick.


I used the old hem edge of the jeans to make the loop for hanging, if you cut it close to the stitching the raw edge doesn’t fray.

The length I decided on was 12cm.

When deciding on length, you need to think about where you want to hang the item and the fact that about 1cm will be tucked into the decoration at either end of the loop.

You could also use ribbon and alternatives to wadding could be old tights with fabric inside such as t-shirt jersey because it is soft and flexible.

Phototastic-03_11_2015_2e9026ec-b5eb-4021-91e4-a72677f73c91The next steps are to fold the length for the loop in half, lift up a layer of the wadding, place the loop inside with 1cm in to stitch down, making sure you stitch through all of the layers. Sew a couple of straight stitches and sew over the stitches twice to add some strength.

Place one of the fabric hearts on your work surface with the right side (i.e the side that will be on the outside of the finished piece) of the fabric facing the table, put the wadding with the loop onto the the fabric and place it in the middle.

Place the 2nd heart on top of the wadding with the right side facing you, pin into place, making sure that the loop is in the centre of the indent of the heart.

Now you are ready to stitch your heart together and decorate it.

WP_20151102_10_32_10_ProWP_20151103_13_06_55_ProI have used Blanket Stitch to sew round the raw edge as it is both decorative and stops the edge from fraying.

Where the loop meets the top of the heart I used double running stitch, you will see in the finished picture that I hid this with bow at the top.

Eventually I plan to build a stitch library as part of my blog that will link to the italic writing, but for now  how to do these stitches can be found on the internet.

Come and visit me on a regular basis and I will see what other goodies I can cook up from odd bits of fabric, if you want to comment then put a link to your blog if you have any great bits of recycling involving fabric as well and I will come and visit  you!