A couple of years ago, I bought a whole set of bamboo knitting needles. I wasn’t a knitter at the time but they were beautiful, inexpensive, and I did plan on learning one day. These have been sitting around in a pile ever since, until I came across a photo of a pretty roll-up case to store them in and thought, “how cool!”. This was around the same time I was just learning to use my sewing machine and thought it looked simple enough for me to attempt.
I was right! This is a simple project that’s quick to put together and requires only the most basic sewing skills. I used this tutorial to get started and it was very easy to follow. I wanted to simplify the project a little and felt the top flap was a bit unnecessary, so I cut out that step and instead simply made my fabric pieces taller so I could have a longer piece to fold over in place of the original flap that’s attached separately in the tutorial I followed. It worked out great and I love how the project turned out.
To make my simplified version, you need four pieces of fabric and a bit of ribbon:
- 46″ x 46″ (outside fabric)
- 46″ x 46″ (inside lining)
- 56″ x 27″ (top inside pocket)
- 56″ x 18″ (bottom inside pocket)
- ribbon or whatever else you decide to use for ties
These dimensions will give you a flap that will cover the tops of your needles and keep them in place. If you want a flap that’s even longer (for example, if you want it to reach all the way down to the start of the pocket), simply make the outside and inside lining fabric pieces taller by a few inches.
To Put the Case Together:
The process of putting this case together is very simple:
- First, hem one long edge on each of the pocket pieces so it’s neat and tidy.
- Take your lining fabric and place it with the right side facing you (this will be the side of the fabric showing once you unroll the case). If you increased the dimensions to make the flap longer, think portrait orientation: the longer side should be vertical and the shorter side should be horizontal. Take your taller pocket and pin its short side to the edge of the lining fabric starting in the bottom left corner, so that the finished seam is on top and the pretty side is facing you. Stitch it in place.
- Place your largest set of needles between the two pieces of fabric to make a pocket for it. The bottom piece should remain flat as you fold the top piece of fabric over to give the needles enough room. Pin this in place. Take your needles out and stitch along the pinned line. I start at the bottom of the case and go backwards a few stitches when I reach the top of the pocket to keep the thread from unraveling.
- Repeat this with all your other needles.
- When you reach the edge of your lining fabric, cut off any excess pocket fabric you have left over at this stage. If you don’t have quite enough needles to fill the whole case, just make yourself some extra pockets for future additions until you reach the edge of the fabric.
- Now take your second (shorter) pocket and lay that fabric over what you just stitched, lining up the bottom edges and starting from the left side. Again, the pretty side should be on top. Stitch the left side in place over the longer pocket you’ve just made, trying to line up the new stitches with the existing ones.
- Make pockets of any size you choose, being careful to line up the stitches with existing ones so you don’t mess up the pockets you’ve already created. Stitch these in place.
- Take your ribbon, fold each piece in half, and attach to the left side of the case, an inch or two from each end (keeping in mind that the top end of your case will be where your needles end, not the top of the fabric, as some of that will be the flap!). Stitch in place.
- Now, this is the trickiest part of the whole project (and it’s not even that tricky!). Take your outside fabric, flip it the right side facing down, and lay it over everything you’ve just sewn together. The pockets and the ribbon should be sandwiched in the middle now. Sew three of the edges together (the two sides and bottom, leaving the top open.
- Turn it inside out! Your case is almost ready. All you need to do is finish that top edge. To do this, simply fold the top edges of the lining fabric and the outside fabric in so no raw edges are showing and sew right over the top of it. You can also tuck the lining fabric in, then tuck the outside fabric under and over towards you so it folds over the lining fabric a little like in the picture. Tuck in any raw edges on the sides and sew over it.
- Enjoy your new needle case!
This tutorial is for a roll-up case for knitting needles but you can use this tutorial and adjust the size for a number of other applications. It’s great for storing anything that comes in multiples and tends to make a mess when storing, or to make an easy travel case for the tools of your trade. Here are some examples of things you can store in such a case:
- pencil crayons
- small tools (screwdrivers, wrenches, etc.)
- makeup brushes
- woodcarving tools
- picnic utensils
- knives (make sure to make it from really sturdy fabric)
Got any other applications you can think of? I would love to hear from you!