Friday, August 27, 2010

Tutorial Revisit - Teddy Bear Swim Needle and Hook Book

Here is a tutorial that I published as a guest-post over at Sew Can Do on the 23rd of July, 2010. I thought I'd post it again today at Michele Made Me because I had so much fun designing and crafting it!

Here it is: The Teddy Bear Swim Needle and Hook Book

Today I am showing you how to make a 'Needle and Hook Book' to hold all of those sewing needles and crochet hooks. It is a colourful little project made of felt and yarn.

So, here's what you will need: yarn, felt in many colours, embroidery floss, fabric, scissors, a couple of sewing needles.

All that, plus your trusty sewing machine.

Now, my design process is kinda simple. I just take out several felt colours that I feel go well together and start working! From these colours, I choose a main colour.
Here, I chose blue. From this blue I cut out a 10"x 10" square. That's my background.

From my other coloured scraps, I very uncarefully (no templates here) cut out a bunch of differently sized circular shapes. I cut out a BUNCH. If I have too many I save them for a later project.

I start to place my circles in some appealing way on my blue background, layering some of the circles, grouping them in complementary ways. Until I create a design that pleases me. In other words, I GO with it... I BECOME the felt, so to speak.

Once I have a design that I like, I pin a section of it to the background.

The rest of the felt design, I remove from the background and carefully set aside somewhere safe so it doesn't get all messed up. Don't want to have to start re-designing all over again!

Working on this one section from the bottom layer up, I start embroidering the edges of my pieces with embroidery floss (your colour choice). Here I use the most basic blanket stitch for every edge. For each eye, I use a french knot.

I repeat this step for each section of the design, until the whole thing is embroidered onto the background.

Now I can embellish the whole piece with some couching. In this case the couching is done using yarn, and thread (to hold the yarn in place). You'll need a large sewing needle for the yarn and a smaller one for the thread.

I start the couching by making a knot in the end of my yarn and bringing the yarn up through the background as shown. I do the same with the needle and thread. The couching process is also very free-form. I design as I go, placing the yarn where I think it looks good and then sewing it in place with the thread.

I do as much or as little as I like. The design dictates how much couching is needed.

Once the couching is done, I cut out two rectangles of felt 4-1/2" wide x 10" high.
I place them on the reverse side of my background.

I machine-sew them in place with a 1/4" seam allowance.

Next, I cut two rectangles out of a matching fabric. One rectangle measures 9-1/2" x 19"; the other measures 9-1/2" x 5". Here I fold the larger rectangle in half right sides together, making a square.

As in the following pic, I machine sew a hem in the top of my small rectangle. I place the small rectangle between the two layers of the square. Then I pin the edges of the square and machine-sew (1/4" seam allowance) all around the edges leaving a 3" gap in the bottom edge.

I flip the whole thing inside out and press. Now it looks like this.

I close up the hole in the bottom with some hand stitching.

And machine-stitch down the centre of the square. I also make some smaller channels by stitching a few lines in one of the pockets as shown.

You see it better here...

Now I pin the fabric square onto the felt square, back sides together.

And I machine stitch down the centre to attach the fabric square to the felt square. It looks like this from the other side.

Do I like the look of all that machine stitching on the front? Naw, it looks bad! So I couch on top of the machine stitching all around the edges and down the centre line.

To make it look like this... Much better! Look at those little teddies swimming around! They are having so much fun!

Now, we're almost done, but not quite!

Finally, I make a fastener using a small piece of felt which has a 1-1/2 " slit in one side and is reinforced with blanket stitching. This piece is stitched to the back of the book and embellished with a circle. And a special "made-from-scratch Michele-Made-Me" covered button is used to finish the whole thing off!!!

Here is the end result!

And here is another one I made for a friend using pretty much the same process.

Now it's your turn! Have fun!

P.S. I'm linking here.


  1. This is just WONDERFUL. Great tutorial and such a creative and fun project. Thanks for doing that for us. Tutorials are so much work!

  2. What a fun needle and hook holder. Thanks for sharing.

  3. Adorable.... I'm your newest follower.

  4. Hi Michelle. I just saw you featured on Craft Gossip and I'm so glad I did. I absolutely loved the denim tree and this needle and hook holder is just as adorable. I love making new friends and following such creative talent as yourself. A girl can dream right?

    Have a great weekend. Hugs...Tracy :)

  5. Dear Michelle, this post is worth all the time one takes for blogging. I am no needleworker, but with such good instruction one could try.
    Greetings! Anja

  6. What a beautiful holder! The process of creating it seems so easy, but I realize it's not! I may try to make one some day...:) You have a wonderful taste and inspire people!

  7. Thanks Michele, this project looks just as wonderful as ever! all the best!

  8. This really is so so pretty. If I make one it would be longer, maybe to hold my paint brushes. But really, I don't think I could make one, I'm not so talented :D

  9. Love the teddy bear version of this case!

  10. So cute and much better than store bought!

  11. What a useful thing to have. And it's so beautifully decorated. Projects like this make me want to learn sewing.
    Thank you for joining me this week ;-)

  12. Gorgeous! This looks like a good project for me to work on my hand sewing! :) I absolutely love it!

  13. Wow. How gorgeous. I love your colour combination! Also, please come to my house and teach me that blanket stitch. Mine is terrible!

  14. Oh my gosh that's gorgeous! I can't wait to make this. I am LOVING your blog... so many wonderful projects that I can't wait to do. I'll be spreading the word about this.

  15. HOLY CATS DO I LOVE THIS! And you have such a distinctive color pallet. I love all the layer felt/embroidery work coming out of folk traditions of Eastern Europe....yours is similar but more modern and happy looking. It's just gorgeous. Going to see about trying this at home :)

  16. How lovely! I just linked over from One Pretty Thing. I don't think I could make my circles look like teddy bears swimming, but I am going to have a go at the book design and maybe put something different on the cover! Thank you!

  17. Very very good ... tanks


    kyria moura

  18. I am totally going to make that! I do a lot of crocheting and my needles go everywhere, This will help me a lot.♥♥♥

  19. Tutorial muito bem explicado. Parabéns e muito sucesso! A peça ficou muito linda! Amei o bordado!
    Deus lhe abençoe e ilumine em todos os momentos de sua vida!
    Abraços com carinho.

  20. I love this needle book - the couching stitches really set off the circles.

  21. THE cutest to hold needles and hooks, but I don't use hooks so just a needle book for me. But way too cute and could be a nice gift for a fellow crafter or a beginning seamstress.

  22. Michele! what cant you do?? This is fantastic, my scrap box is crying out so many things you can too. Susan

  23. Your amazing ! My senior age makes me me feel 10 years younger, with crafting energy. Susan

  24. My neighbour alerted me to this tutorial over the weekend, and I hope you don't mind, but I changed things about a bit and if you have time to check it out on my blog, I've popped pics up of what I made inspired by your hook holder.


  25. really a piece of art. i love it!

    I linked to your tutorial on my blog - thanks for sharing!

    doro K.


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