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« Laura's Loop: Rib-Wise Tank | Main | Corinne's Thread: Baby Pants »

Corinne's Thread: Heirloom Needle Case

I learned to sew from my mom, who learned from my grandma, who learned from my great-grandma, and so it goes, each mom passing down her own bit of wisdom to her own daughter. But what unfortunately didn’t get passed down to me were anyone's tools or supplies!

Now, with a daughter of my own, my heart melts as she toddles up to my machine and tells me she’s going to “do a little bit of sewing.” I am excited to teach her all the knowledge that I’ve gleaned from the sewing moms before me, but I also hope to pass on to her what I didn’t get: the supplies she’ll need to build a toolbox of her own.

I made this Heirloom Needle Case with both me and my daughter in mind. It’s the perfect way for me to keep all my needles organized now, but I also see it as a little treasure that I can pass on to Ruth years from now as she pulls out her needles to learn the perfect blind stitch.  

This case is made with Robert Kaufman’s Waterford Linen and Mary Flanagan’s Felted Wool in a stunning bright yellow. The two materials are beautiful on their own, but when fused together, they create a whole new fabric that is soft and sturdy, perfect for keeping sharp needle points away from tender fingers. Strips of Cotton Twill Tape hold all the needles in place and won’t stretch or fray over time. Fortunate, because I’m hoping this will last me, and Ruth, for quite a while!  

– Corinne


The Materials

Choose from four colorways, shown clockwise from the top left: Wake Up Call, Turquoise, Bright Coral, or Blue Spark.
You’ll also need a Fabric Marker.
These are enough materials to make two Heirloom Needle Cases.

The Pattern


Cut out a 6 by 14-inch piece of the Linen, Wool and Heat-n-Bond. 
Cut three 6-inch pieces of the 30mm Twill Tape and one 14-inch piece of the 14mm Twill Tape.

Sewing on the Twill Tape

Lay the Wool flat with the short sides as top and bottom. Place one piece of the 30mm Twill Tape so that the bottom edge of the Twill Tape is 1 1/2 inches up from the bottom edge of the Wool. Pin in place. Pin the second piece of 30mm Twill so that its bottom edge is 2 inches above the top edge of the first piece, and pin the third piece’s bottom edge 2 inches above the top edge of the second.
Use a fabric marker and a straight edge ruler to make a mark down the center of the three pieces of Twill Tape (3 inches from the sides). 

Sew along the marked lines, backstitching at the beginning and end of each seam. 

Fusing the Fabrics

Preheat iron to medium heat with no steam. Lay the Wool on the ironing board with the Twill Tape side down. Place the Heat-n-Bond on top of the Wool with the paper liner face up. Slowly move the iron across the paper until the entire surface is bonded. Allow to cool and peel off the paper liner.

Place the Linen on top of the adhesive, aligning the edges. Press and hold the iron for 6 seconds in each section until the fabrics are bonded. At one short side end, leave 1 ½ inches unbonded.

Trim all of the pieces down to 5 ½ inches by 13 inches by cutting off ¼ inch from both long sides and ½ inch from the short sides. 

Center one end of the 14mm Twill Tape into the unbonded space. Press and hold the iron on top of this section for 6 seconds or until bonded.


Sew twice around all four edges with a zigzag stitch, making sure the 30mm Twill Tape pieces get caught in the stitching and lay flat. 
To hem the 14mm Twill tie, fold in the raw edge 1/4 inch twice and press. Hand stitch the hem with a blind stitch. 
Arrange your needles, loosely roll your case, wrap the tie around to secure, and you’re done!

Reader Comments (11)

What a lovely project! I made a needlecase for my mother at school when I was 7, and she still uses it, so these things definitely stay the course. You've inspired me to make another one for myself now, thank you for the tip :)

June 7, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterAnne
How wonderful! This will be perfect to make for my daughter as she heads off to college this fall.

I loved the story about your daughter. I always feel connected to my mother, grandmothers, aunts and great aunts as I sew. Their lessons carry on with each stitch.
June 7, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJane
thanks so much for the idea and the tutorial!
That is beautiful! I've been needing a needle book and I love the look of this one. I cannot wait until my daughter is old enough to enjoy sewing with me.
June 7, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterAlexandrea
I inherited the sewing box that my mother won as a prize when she was 11 years old. If she were still with us she would now be 98. In it is the little needle case I made her when I was 5 - just a piece of green felt with a bit of flannel on the inside. One of a very few possessions of my mom that I cherish. It is already earmarked, along with the sewing box, for my granddaughter - age 6 - who is already learning how to quilt.
June 7, 2013 | Unregistered Commentersue
Adorei a ideia.

Um Beijo
June 8, 2013 | Unregistered Commentermaria duarte
What a wonderful project. Next time I'm in the city I want to stop in your store. I love reading your blog every week to see the new projects.
June 8, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterShauna
Nice...and linen to boot. I think all of my needles are currently taking up residence on a 3x5 card. How sad it that?
June 8, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterGreg
I love this beautiful needle roll. I can also see myself embroidering the outside of it with some gorgeous patterns or initials.
June 8, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterSusan
What a great project! I am in need of one of these. Maybe something I can make while my older boys are at Camp Grandma and Grandpa this upcoming week.
June 13, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterKnitting with Olof
Thank you purlbee....thank you Corinne for a lovely and so useful project...a must make..and thanks to all for sharing your stories of mothers and grandmothers...not all of us have such memories and love to read about are truly generous to share...
June 14, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJulie Tremain

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