How to sew a couching stitch needle book

Where would we be without our needles? Learn couching stitch and sew a cute case for them with Mollie Johanson's tutorial.

how to couch stitch needle book

You will need

  • Linen fabric: 20 x 20cm (8 x 8in), see notes for details
  • Wool felt: 10 x 15cm (4 x 6in)
  • Embroidery hoop
  • Stranded cotton in dark grey and purple
  • Snap fastener
  • Matching thread
  • Basic sewing kit
  • A template: download the Simple Sewing issue 55 templates for this template


  • Use a 1cm (38in) seam allowance.
  • More linen will be required if you are using a large embroidery hoop.
how to couch stitch needle case

Working couching stitch

Step 1

Couching stitch uses two working threads. With the first thread, which will go along the line of your pattern, come up at one end of the line and down at the other end. If you are forming a complete shape, go down at the starting point. Keep this thread loose so you can shape it along the line as you add stitches in the next step. You do not need to secure the end yet.

how to sew a couch stitch needle book_step1

Step 2

Bring the second working thread up next to the line of the first thread. Go back down through the fabric, tacking the working thread in place. When you reach the end, secure both working threads. You can space the tacking stitches however you prefer, but for best results, keep the spacing even.

needle and thread demonstrating couching stitch

Making the needle book

Step 1

Use couching stitch with six strands of stranded cotton to embroider the circles, working with two shades of purple thread. Use back stitch with two strands of dark grey thread for ‘needles’. 

Step 2

Cut out the embroidered piece with the template, with the embroidery centred and the curved end at the top. Cut a matching piece from quilting cotton and wadding.

fabric pieces for needle book

Step 3

Sew the fabric layers and wadding together with the fabric pieces right side (RS) together. Trim the corners to reduce bulk and turn the piece RS out. Sew the opening closed with ladder stitch.

fabric pieces right side together

Step 4

Cut a 6 x 12cm (238 x 4¾in) piece of wool felt. Fold and press the felt in half. Fold the ends of the outer needle book to the centre and then overlap the curved edge slightly. Hand-stitch the crease of the felt to the top crease of the folded needle book. Use four strands of grey stranded cotton and a running stitch.

handstitching a needle case

Step 5

Attach a snap fastener to the overlapping ends of the needle book to finish, aligning the fastener pieces.

needle case with snap fastener
how to couch stitch needle book

Looking to try more embroidery stitches? Clock to discover our How to do Stem stitch guide.