The Flowering Needlebook

I promise that I did complete the HSM for March on time. But Spring Break and a beach wedding 5 hours from home put crimp in my blogging. So I decided not stress about it, especially since the all important Florida State Assessment starts next week.

I’m still in the throws of binge watching Korean dramas (the latest completed shows are It’s Okay, That’s Love and K-Pop Extreme Survival), thank you Netflix. We’ve exhausted our Netflix K-drama options, so we’re moving on to the online possibilities. So I’m still sticking to handicrafts. Although it would have been better if I had sewn something from my actual stash. Because this is what it looks like right now.


That is a giant stack of fabric that has basically taken over the desk, which is supposed to be a place to work away from work, the desk chair, and embarrassingly, part of the floor. Some of it is straight up fabric from a fabric store and some of it is clothing that I plan on using for fabric.

But I didn’t. I allowed my deep love of Korea to guide my choices. 🙂

All of that being said, my choice for this month’s challenge was actually inspired by a practical need. A secure place to stick my embroidery needles in between sewing things. I needed to sew something for my grandmother and ended up having to take a scrap of thread, poke my needle through it, and hope it survived the journey in my purse.

I began scouring the best place I know for inspiration. Pinterest. If you’re interested in seeing exactly what images I discovered over the course of my journey you can check out the board I started that is completely dedicated to needlebooks.

This picture was the main source of my inspiration. It comes from ebay from a completed auction, so it’s not the most reliable source. The auction claimed that needle roll was from 1870. That being said, it does match similar needle cases, rolls, and housewife sewing cases.


I didn’t want a giant roll to shove in my purse to carry around. I was looking more for something I could tuck into my purse. Or that would rest comfortably on the arm of the couch or end table. I liked the idea of something that folded book-like and had a ribbon to keep it closed.


I used scraps of fabric from my Rose Red outfit. The red upholstery fabric from the skirt for the outside because it’s the sturdiest of all the fabrics in my stash, white cotton left over from…anything I’ve ever made in white cotton, thread from sewing the Rose Red outfit, and white ribbon left over from the first set of 1860’s undergarments I ever made.



The first thing I did was decide how big I wanted the finished book to be, which is about double the size of a matchbook. Then I embroidered the flowers, the designs for which are based on patterns from a 1917 embroidery pattern book.

embroidery inspiration

Some close up shots of the embroidery, which is, of course, the best part.

DSCN0442 DSCN0441 DSCN0440

Once I finished the embroidery, I folded the fabric so that there would be no fraying edges once I was done, then stitched it into place. I liked the look of the red thread on white, plus the red wouldn’t be noticeable on the outside of the needlebook. The stitches go all the way through to increase the security of the layers staying together because I don’t trust the upholstery fabric to stay put without them. Witness my tiny tiny stitches.



As I was closing up the ends I sewed a white ribbon on each end, although it was of course not quite that simple. The first side that I did I closed up completely before I realized that I needed to sew the ribbon into the end. The entire thing had to be seam ripped open. And of course when I went to sew the other end, I did exactly the same thing. Although I caught it before I had to reach for the seam ripper.

The Challenge: Stashbusting

Fabric: Red upholstery fabric and white cotton.

Pattern: My own design based on historic examples.

Year: Not sure what to date this, it could be as early as 1870s in pattern, but the embroidery patterns are from the 1920s.

Notions: red and green thread, white polyester ribbon

How historically accurate is it? I’m going to give myself 80% on this one. Mostly because of its universal use and the fact that needlebooks of one sort or another have been around since shortly after the invention of needle. I am going to deduct points from myself for the sake of the not completely historically accurate polyester that’s mixed in.

Hours to complete: About 10 hours.

First worn: Not really a worn thing…but as soon as I finished it, all of my embroidery needles went into it.

Total cost: Free, it was entirely made out of left over fabric from former projects.

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