How to Make a Needle Book with an Embroidered Cover

This post shows how to make a needlebook by embroidering the cover and assembling the needlebook. This blog post shows how to freehand embroider flowers, a bee, dragonfly, ladybug, butterfly, basket, and heart. These step-by-step instructions show how to sew the needlebook together using fabric and felt. Making this needlebook combines embroidery and sewing.

This was such a fun project! Making this needlebook was an excuse to try my hand at embroidery. I store my needles in this book. I also take it with me when I travel and take an embroidery project with me.

This post consists of two sections:

    1. Embroidering the cover of the needlebook; and
    2. Assembling/Sewing the needlebook.

I started with this neutral color fabric I purchased at Walmart that was in the clearance bin. SCORE!


I was brave and wanted to try to embroider freehanded (i.e. no pattern). My first attempt at a basket was not perfect; my lines are a little uneven, but at least I started.

This is the back of my “basket”.

This is the finished basket on the front cover of my soon-to-be needlebook. And I was off to the races!

So then it was time to experiment with making a flower.

I made my first flower too big (see picture below), so I carefully took it apart and made it again . . . this time a little smaller. Part of being a crafter/DIYer is learning from mistakes.

I looked at Pinterest to get some ideas about different flowers to crochet. I really liked the purple flower on the far left. I sort of made it with knots (wrapping the floss around the needle two times). I just love the texture of this flower.

Here is a closer look at my front cover.

The next part was really fun. I wanted to add some insects to my flowers. I used black thread instead of embroidery floss for the bee and ladybug’s antennas. I was pleased (ok, downright proud) of the results for my first “free handed” attempt at embroidery. Here is a closer look at my insects (yes, I am proud of them!)

So the cover of my book is finished (sort of).

Now to start working on the back of my book. I wanted to try different types of flowers, but this time I just made a pattern of sorts. Here was my start. I like my butterfly too.

Then I added some green. I realize that flowers grow out of the ground and are not attached to each other, but hey it’s art!

And added some leaves . . . I also liked using different shades of green.

So now I wanted to work on the inside of the needlebook. I just needed an excuse to practice more embroidery. So, I tried my hand at adding a beehive. I was worried that its shape started looking like an egg. So, in the end, I “shaped” this up by adding some more stitches to the bottom to give it a better shape. Learning as I go . . . My stitches are not even, but I think that gives it a textured, more natural look.

Adding yellow . . . and the entrance for the bees.

Viola! I really like the flowers . . . something different than what I previously embroidered.

I think embroidering the heart was my favorite! I cut out a heart from paper, lightly traced it on my fabric, and then just started adding flowers. On this, I learned how to create a rose. I wanted this to be primarily pink with a little white and green. I used three different colors of pink floss. I started by randomly adding dark pink flowers, then filled in with light pink, then medium pink, and then white. I then connected with the green leaves and stems. Yes, this is my favorite final image so far!

So here is the front and back cover (exterior of the needlebook). I pinned batting to this in preparation for sewing this together to make the cover of my needlebook. Before I pinned it, I ironed it. My Mom taught me many years ago it is best to iron as you sew or actually before you sew. It keeps everything neat and easier to line up the seams. (Every time I stop to iron something when I sew, I think of my sweet Mom. ❤)

So here is the inside cover of the needlebook. I also ironed this panel too.

Here is what the back of this looks like (just in case you are interested).

ATTENTION: I interrupt this blog posting to GET ORGANIZED! Ok, I had to stop and organize my floss. It was making me CRAZY!

I bought this container and the plastic cards to wrap the floss at Wally Walmart. I took two nights while we were camping at Gulf State Park (my favorite place to camp) to wrap each color around each plastic card. I used a sharpie to label with the color number. Below is the final result. I love being organized! (I wish I was as organized as my friend Britney . . .maybe one day!)


Here is the backside of the front cover with the batting pinned and ready to be sewn.

Here is the batting after I sewed it to the front cover. I realize my batting is not cut very even, but it really does not matter – – no one (except for you as you are reading my blog) will see it.

Here the two panels are sewn together. I only sewed three sides initially. I ended up sewing the fourth side, but only two-thirds of this fourth side. I am not sewing this closed because I will need to turn this right side out.

In the picture below, I have already turned it right side out and now am ready to whip stitch this remaining section closed.

Here is the front cover of the book (before I sewed closed the right bottom edge. It is a little wrinkled because of having to turn it right side out; it gets wrinkled when I pushed it through the hole I left open.

Here is the inside cover of the needlebook before I stitched the edge (on the far left bottom corner.

And after I whipped stitched the edge closed (on the far left bottom corner.

More close-ups of the front/exterior of the needlebook.

Here is the front of my needlebook. It is coming together . . . but not finished yet. (I ironed it again.)

This is the inside over (when you open it up). I took two pieces of felt (bought felt squares in the craft section at Walmart), trimmed them the size I wanted, folded them over (two pieces, making four pages). I then sewed the pages in the spine of my book. I was really careful to center this before sewing. I used pink thread to match the felt on the spool on my sewing machine and used tan thread in my sewing machine’s bobbin. This worked great! The pink thread blended with the pink pages and the tan thread blended with the exterior spine of my needlebook.

Here is the back cover of my needlebook after I added the pages.

And here is the back cover . . . but still not finished yet!

I decided to add button closures. I purchased these buttons at Hobby Lobby (package of assorted colors) and have been looking for an excuse to use them.

I added elastic loops in the seam on the back of the cover for the buttons. This enables me to secure the needlebook (and its contents) when it is closed. I should have added these elastic loops when I was sewing the two panels together (adding these loops was an afterthought), but I just created a small hole in the seam and tucked the raw ends of the loops in the hole, and then secured them by stitching multiple times. (Look closely and you can see my stitches.) These babies are not coming loose!

I then had fun by adding several details to make the pages functional (after all, it is a needlebook ).

On this first page, I created a pocket for maybe floss or other small/thin supplies. I used felt and embellished it with ribbon (I love ribbon and polka-dots, so I really love ribbon with polka-dots!) I used contrasting thread (pink on the white felt) to give it some pizzaz!

I added these felt pieces (sewed by hand in my book) for needle storage. I added the ribbon as an embellishment. I love pink and green, can you tell?

This heart is a double pocket. The white part of the heart is open at the top for a pocket and the pink section is a pocket. I used a green contrasting thread. On the last page, I combined the last two pages to make a pocket for scissors. I added a piece of extra felt for the top of the scissors for extra protection and to help with wear. I added the ribbon (wrapped around the back and down the sides) to add stability for the scissors. I punched holes in the felt and the ribbon to add the string to hold the scissors. I painted the ribbon and the felt holes with clear fingernail polish so neither would ravel. (I painted the ends of all the ribbon I used with clear fingernail polish for the same reason. I worked hard on this and want it to last!)

I added a few last embroidery flowers and contrasting green floss to embellish this page.

Here is the backside of this page and the inside back cover.

And here is the back of the book (again).

This was a fun project that I worked on in the evenings. It took me about a week. I NEVER just sit still and watch television. I have to be doing something. Doing Embroidery and crocheting projects also keep me from snacking too much at night.

As you can see, my embroidery and sewing are not perfect but the process of learning and improving really fuels me. So be brave and try your hand at this project or any other project. You can do it!

Stay tuned for more embroidery projects!

Author: Suzanne

Blogger and DIYer with my talented husband Neal. I share about our projects and life lessons following Christ.

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