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If you want to follow along using the Cross Stitch pattern featured in this tutorial, you can purchase the Retro City Pattern here.
Your finished cross stitch design (on aida cloth, evenweave, linen etc.)
Cotton Fabric (or any fabric of your choice- try corduroy, denim, twill, or any other woven fabric. I don’t recommend using stretchy or knit fabric, as it will be quite difficult to sew to your aida cloth)
Sewing Machine (Highly recommended. You can sew it all by hand, but it will take much longer!)
Matching sewing thread (I used white)
Straight Pins (optional, for pinning cotton to aida cloth for sewing)
Hand sewing needle (only needed at the end)
Complete all cross stitching before assembling the pillow :)
Step 1- Choose your fabric. I tried to find a cotton that picked up the colors and shapes found in the cross stitch design. But feel free to use a solid fabric, or mix-up prints on the front and back. Be creative! If you want to use the same cotton fabric as I did, it’s from this collection by Maude Asbury.
Step 2- Cut down your aida cloth to the size you want. You will need a 1/2″ for seam allowance on every side (7 stitches on 14-count aida), so take that into account when trimming down your aida cloth.
This one ended up being 6″ x 13″, including seam allowance (you should leave about 2-3″ of aida cloth around your stitching at the very least)
Step 3- Now let’s make the (2) two pattern pieces. Either make them first on paper, cut out, and then trace onto your fabric. Or, you can draw this diagram right onto your fabric using the measurements given below. That’s what I did. Just make sure not to get pencil marks on any part of your fabric that will show on the pillow!
IMPORTANT TIP: Place two (2) layers of fabric together, lay your pattern pieces on top (or draw diagram lightly in pencil) and cut through both layers at once. This saves time :)
Make your (2) two pattern pieces like this:
Step 4- Cut (2) two SIDE pieces and (2) two TOP & BOTTOM pieces. You should now have (4) pieces of cotton fabric altogether.
Step 5- With Right Sides (RS) together, line up the short edge of one of the Top fabric piece with the top edge of your stitching piece.
Using your sewing machine, stitch across the top with a straight stitch, backstitching at either end to secure your thread. Make sure to start and end 1/2″ from each edge, so there will be seam allowance on the angled sides. (see photo below)
IMPORTANT SEWING TIP: When stitching these seams on your machine, place the cotton fabric on the bottom and the aida cloth on the top. It will be much easier to sew. If you try sewing with the lighter, stretchier cotton on top, you will end up stretching it out of shape, and it will be difficult to match the sewing edge to the aida cloth.
Step 6- Sew each of the remaining (3) three pieces onto your aida cloth as in Step 5. It should now look like the photo below.
Step 7- Join the angle (mitred) edges of cotton with Right Sides (RS) together. Begin stitching from the previous stitching line out to the outer edge of cotton.
A good trick is to slowly lower your needle into the hole of the first stitch of the previous stitching line. That makes sure there will be no gaps between stitching in the final pillow cover.
Step 8- Snip the corners so they will lie flat. Don’t snip your stitches! Just cut close the stitching line, but not too close.
Step 9- Press the seam allowances open using your steam iron.
Step 10- You should now have completed the Top Pillow Piece. The hard part is over, good job!
Step 11- Cut another piece of fabric exactly the same size as the top piece. No need to measure it out- just lay the Top Pillow Piece onto the cotton fabric and cut around it with fabric scissors. This is the Bottom Pillow Piece.
Step 12- Place Top Pillow piece and Bottom Pillow Piece with RS together. Pin if you need to. Sew all around the edges with a 1/2″ seam allowance (1/2″ SA), leaving a 3-4″ hole in the bottom side.
Step 13- Stuff the pillow with polyester stuffing. Easy.
Step 14- Hand-stitch the opening closed using a small whipstitch.
That’s it! You’re all done. Now sit back and enjoy your handiwork :)
The finished dimensions of this needle case are 3″ x 4″ when using 14-count aida cloth, but you can adjust the sizing up or down by changing the thread count or using a different fabric (linen, or another evenweave, perhaps?).
Experiment and have fun with it!
Your finished designs (you can find the needle book used in the tutorial here)
14-count Aida Cloth (or Linen, if you prefer)
Fabric Scissors or Pinking Shears
Step 1- Complete all cross stitching on your needle case. You should have 2 finished pieces of aida cloth: 1 outside piece, and 1 inside piece. They should be exactly the same size.
Step 2- Count 2 rows from the edges of your finished outside piece, and backstitch a border around the design. Stitch the same size backstitch border on the inside piece of your needle case. This creates your sewing edges for assembly.
Step 3- Trim the aida cloth around each piece, leaving approximately 1/2″ of fabric (on 14-count, this works out to 7 squares) from the backstitched sewing line on all sides.
Step 4- Cut your interfacing to be exactly the same size as your backstitch lines. Using an iron, fuse the interfacing to the wrong side of your aida cloth on both pieces.
Step 5- Trim off the corners.
Step 6- Fold back the edges along the sewing line on all pieces, pressing down with your fingers.
Step- 7 Make a knot using 2 (two) strands of embroidery floss the same color as your backstitching line. Start sewing the outside and inside pieces together using a whip-stitch, as you would for a biscornu (not sure how to do this? Read the biscornu tutorial here). Do this by taking a stitch under one of the backstitched threads on the outside piece, then one on the inside piece, and so forth. Continue stitching until all 4 sides are stitched together. I take a few extra stitches at the corners, for stability. And it looks nice, too.
Step 8- Cut a piece of felt to be slightly smaller than the needle case. I used regular scissors, but you can also use pinking shears to give the felt a nice edge.
Step 9- Stitch along the centre of the felt, through all layers of fabric. You may choose to use a sewing machine for this step, or sew it by hand using a small straight stitch or backstitch. (I used white felt, and hand-sewed using a backstitch with white thread, so the stitching line would be less visible.)
Step 10- Make the thread ties: Cut 2 lengths of 6-strand embroidery thread 10″ long. Fold one length in half, so there is a loop on one side and 2 thread ends on the other. Thread the ends through a large needle. Run the needle through all layers on the front edge of your needle case. Pull the 2 ends through the loop and pull tightly so it fits snugly on the side of the needle case. Tie a knot in the ends of the thread to keep the two loose ends together. Repeat with other 10″ length, attaching it to the back of the needle book. Once attached, these 2 strings can be tied in a little bow to keep the needle book closed.
Congratulations! You now have a beautiful keepsake needle book!
1.5″ wide Ruler or piece of cardboard
Step 1- Wrap embroidery thread around a ruler or piece of card (approx. 1.5” wide) about 20 times. Cut the end of the thread.
(Make a larger tassel by using a wider piece of card/ruler and wrapping more thread around it.)
Step 2- Cut a second piece of embroidery thread 14” long. Fold in half. Thread the folded end of the second string under the loops, so that there is a loop on one side and two tails on the other side.
Step 3- Pull the 2 tails through the loop, and tighten.
Step 4- Slide the loops off of the ruler or card.
Step 6- Cut another piece of white thread (14” long). Make one end of thread into a loop shape, then lay loop on tassel. Wrap the other end tightly around tassel several times. Pass end of thread through loop and gently close loop, making a knot.
Step 7- Trim tassel ends evenly.
Step 8- Your tassel is ready! Thread top threads onto a needle, and attach to your project.
Biscornu Pattern (you can buy this Western theme Biscornu Pattern here)
Aida Cloth or Linen
2 Beads or Buttons
1- Complete all stitching on the front and back of the biscornu, both sides must be the same size (ie 59 by 59 stitches or 75 stitches by 75 stitches).
2- Count 2-4 rows from all 4 edges of your finished piece, and backstitch a border around the design. Stitch the same backstitch border on the back piece of you biscornu. This creates your sewing edge for assembling the biscornu.
3- Cut both pieces leaving approximately 1/2″ of fabric from the backstitched sewing line on all sides. Fold back all the edges along the sewing line, and press down with your fingers.
4- Mark the middle of one of the front sides with a pin. Join a corner of the back piece to the middle of the front piece.
5- Make a knot using 2 (two) strands of embroidery floss the same color as your backstitching line. Start sewing the top and bottom of your biscornu together using a whip-stitch. Do this by taking a stitch under one of the backstitched threads on the front piece, then one on the back piece, and so forth, until you have sewn 6 of the 8 sides. You may wish to take a few extra stitches on the corners for stability (and it adds a decorative touch, too).
6- Stop stitching when you have completed all but 2 sides, to leave a hole for stuffing.
7- Stuff the biscornu with Fiberfil.
8- Finish stitching the final 2 sides, securing your thread with a hidden knot.
9- Sew the 2 buttons, one in the center of the front and one on the back, passing the needle through the center of the biscornu to stitch both buttons on with the same length of thread.
Et Voila! You are finished! Enjoy your handiwork :)
I hope everyone is having a wonderful summer :)
Here’s a free seaside summer anchor cross stitch chart. Just right-click on the pattern image and save it to your computer.
Cheryl @ Tiny Modernist
Questions?? Email me firstname.lastname@example.org
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