Friday, December 25, 2009

Gifts for stitchy people and a tutorial

Hope everyone had a Merry Christmas - or at least a good day.

This year I made Christmas gifts for my stitching buddies: fabric covered tape measures with matching bottle cap pincushions (thank you to VeryBigJen for her Flickr tutorial on bottle cap pincushions) and personalized magnetic needle books for most everyone. (One gal mostly knits, the other already received a different personalized needle book on an earlier occasion.)

It was a lot of fun to select fabrics, color combinations and buttons that I thought the recipient would find pleasing. It was also fun engineering the magnetic needle books. There were a few false starts on those but I finally worked it out. Would you like to see the process? Here's a tutorial on making the needle books:

Fidget's Magnetic Needlebook

What you'll need:
fabric for exterior
fabric for interior
iron-on interfacing
flat flexible magnets
sharp scissors
a sewing machine or hand needle and thread
Aleene's Jewel-It glue or a multi-purpose glue that works with fabric

Getting ready:

Cut two pieces of fabric 2 5/8" by 3 1/2". One piece is for the exterior where the stitching will be done - if you want stitching. The second piece is the interior and will be mostly covered by the magnets. Use the same material for both or don't. Do what makes you happy!

Cut four pieces of iron-on interfacing about 1" by 1 1/4". This is roughly the size of each face of the needlebook less the top-stitched edge. Adjust the size so that there is about a 1/4" open border around the edges of the material and about a 1/4" in the middle for folding.

Cut two magnetic strips 1" wide by 1 3/4" long. I bought a roll of magnetic tape that was 1" wide, so that part was easy. Unless you're making many needlebooks or have a use for the excess magnetic tape, buying a roll may not make sense. You could use the flat magnets that you find with advertising and/or calendars on them but because these are thinner you'll need to either adjust the size of the magnet (make it a bit wider) or the size of the needle book faces (make them narrower.)

If you want to add stitching to your needlebook, now's the time to do it. I centered the stitching on the bottom half of the exterior fabric so that it would be on the front cover once assembled.

Putting it all together:

Flip the interior and exterior pieces over and position the interfacing in the four quadrants of the fabric. Be sure the interfacing is bumpy side down so that it fuses with the fabric, not your iron. Iron the interfacing according to the manufacturer's instructions.

Match the interior and exterior fabrics right sides together and pin in place. Sew completely around all four edges.

Trim the seams and angle the corners. Flip the piece over so you're looking at the interior side. Take your sharp scissors and cut a slit in the center of the interfacing on one side. Make the slit large enough to turn the piece but don't go all the way to the edges. Don't worry, we'll cover the hole later.

Use your tweezers to reach into the slit and grab a corner. Gently pull the fabric and turn it right side out. Use the tweezers to poke the corners out, but be careful not to poke through the seam.

Press the piece flat.

Top stitch about 1/8" from the edge of the needlebook on all four sides. I found it easiest to set the needle position to the left and stitch counter-clockwise (or to the right and stitch clockwise) instead of at center. This allows both feeddogs to move the fabric instead of just one if you tried to stitch that close to the edge from the center needle position. Trim any loose threads.

Put the magnet faces together. If you're using a tape or flat magnet that has sticky sides, put the sticky sides to the outside - but don't peel off the backing yet. If you're using an advertisement or calender magnet, put the printed side out. Test fit the magnets to the inside of the needlebook and make any necessary adjustments to the size of the magnets. Remember to try closing the needlebook. Once you're happy with how they will sit, peel off the backing on one of the magnets and put a drop of glue on the sticky side...

and use your finger to spread it around to all the edges.

Turn the magnet sandwich over and position the gluey side inside the needlebook. I usually do the side with the slit first.

Peel off the second backing paper and apply the glue in a similar manner.

Press closed and wait for it to dry.

Taa-daa! You're done!

Add needles and repeat as necessary.


Branlaadee said...

The needle books are awsome. What a great idea. Your stitchy friends are very lucky. Great gifts.

I hope you had a great Christmas.

Ziggyeor said...

Nice Tutorial! I love my needlebook, tape measure and pin cushion :D

Khris said...

What a cute little it okay if I put a link to your tutorial on the freebies blog and use one of your photos? Hugs Khris

loves2experiment said...

You write up the nicest tutorials...with excellent pictures as well!