Jul 7, 2018

Thread Keeper Tutorial

Designer:  Little House Needleworks LHNPC-91
Fabric:  28ct Silkweavers Evenweave
Floss:  WDW, GAST, and Crescent Colors
Embellishments:  Crochet Lace, Buttons

Linked to: Stitching Lotus Smalls SAL

I have yet another stitchy finish!  I'm so thrilled with how this turned out!  I didn't have the colors called for in the stitched design so I substituted from my stash on hand.  I had enough foresight to write down the steps and take photos in order to write up a tutorial.  I combined ideas from my mailart tutorial (Hard to believe it was 2009 when I taught that class!), several YouTube videos, and sewing tutorials in order to present to you:

(aka Floss Pocket)

 I do not have specific cutting sizes because depending on the size of the stitched piece and your preferences, the sizes could be different.

Here are the supplies I used:
•  Stitched Piece
•  Outside Finishing Fabric
•  Inside Lining Fabric
•  Lightweight Fusible Interfacing
•  Zipper
•  Coordinating Thread
•  Decorative Trim (optional)
•  Fusible Fleece
•  Fastener (Snaps, Ribbon, Buttons, etc)
•  Rotary Cutter
•  Quilting Ruler
•  Iron
•  Sewing Needle
•  Straight Pins
•  Sewing Machine
•  Zipper Foot
•  Zig Zag Foot

Step 1:
Iron your stitched piece, the finishing fabric, and the lining fabric.  I ironed quite a bit throughout assembly of the Thread Keeper.  Ironing keeps all the pieces nice and flat.

Step 2:
Trim your stitched piece to desired size.  I left a border of 3/4" on the sides and 1" on top and bottom.  Set aside.

Step 3:
Cut two strips of your finishing fabric 2 1/4" x the height of the sides of the stitched piece.  You can be approximate on the height of the strips as we'll square it up later.

Step 4:
Right sides together, pin the strips to the stitched piece. 

Step 5:
Using 1/4" seam allowance, sew strips to stitched piece.  Press the seams toward the outside edge.

Step 6:
If necessary, square up the top and bottom edges so the fabric strips are even with the stitched piece.

See!  All pretty.

Step 7:
Cut one strip 2 1/4" x the width of the top, and one strip 1 3/4" x width of bottom.  The reason I made the top strip taller is to accommodate for my flap. Pin and sew the strips to the stitched piece.  Again, press the seams toward the outside edge.

Step 8:
Cut piece of lightweight fusible interfacing and iron it on the back of your newly sewn block.  I don't know what kind of interfacing I used as it was a huge piece I picked up at a thrift store really inexpensively.

Step 9:
Cut four strips of finishing fabric 2" tall x width of interfaced block.  Press 1/2" edges toward center.

Step 10:
Place one strip with pressed edge on top of zipper and one strip on bottom, wrong sides facing, and making sure the strips line up evenly with zipper teeth.  Pin together.  Using zipper foot on sewing machine, sew the strips to the zipper.  Repeat for opposite side of zipper teeth.

Step 11:
Decide how high from the bottom of the Floss Keeper you want the zipper pocket.  I decided on 6".

Cut one piece of finishing fabric 6" tall x width of interfaced block.  Mine ended up being 6" x 9 1/2".

With zipper still in place (see first photo in this step), measure from zipper teeth to top of interfaced block.  Add to this measurement the height you want your front flap to be.  Add 1/4" more for the seam allowance.  For instance, from my zipper to the top was 3 1/4".  Add 3 1/4" + 9 1/2" (width of interfaced block) + 1/4" (seam allowance) = 5 1/4".  I needed to cut a piece 5 1/4" x 9 1/2".

Cut two pieces of interfacing for the the finishing fabric strips you've just cut.  Iron interfacing onto back side of fabric strips.

At this point you should have four pieces:  The stitched piece, the zipper with the plackets sewn on, and the top fabric piece for the zipper pocket, and the bottom fabric piece for the zipper pocket.

Step 12:
Lay the zipper so that the pull is on your left side.  Slide the 6" tall fabric between the placket making sure it lays straight.  Pin in place and top stitch.

Step 13:
Repeat with top piece.  This will be the back side of the Floss Keeper.

Step 14:
Right sides facing each other, pin and sew the stitched piece to the back side at the bottom edge.  Press the seam toward the back side piece.

You should have one long piece.

Step 15:
If you want to add trim along the zipper edge, now is the time!  Pin and sew in place.  This step is totally optional.  I used decorative crochet lace from my stash and wove 12 strands of the cranberry floss used in the stitched piece.

Step 16:
Measure the rectangle you just created and cut a lining fabric the same size.  Mine ended up being 9 3/4" x 21".  Don't worry if your rectangle isn't squared.  This will be done in another step.

Step 17:
Cut a piece of fusible fleece the size of the lining fabric.  I actually bought the fleece for a paint brush roll project.  Hope I have enough left for it!  Iron fleece onto wrong side of lining fabric.

Step 18:
With right sides facing, lay your finishing fabric piece on top of the lining fabric piece.  Pin together.  Take a few minutes to square up your edges and cut off the excess zipper.  Incidentally, I've had this zipper for decades.  Matches perfectly with the purple stitching on the front.  I didn't plan it that way, it just happened! 

Step 19:
Fold the Floss Keeper at the bottom edge and the flap to make sure the flap will lay where you want it.  If it's a bit too tall, cut to size you'd like.

Step 20:
If you'd like curved corners on your flap, make them now at the bottom edge.  I used a square glass to curve my flap.

Step 21:
Since I wanted matching trim around my flap on the front, I machine basted 1/4" around the edge of the finishing fabric.  

Then I hand basted the trim in place on the right side making sure it was facing away from the cut edge.

Step 22:
At this point add your fastener to keep your flap closed.  I used invisible snaps and added decorative buttons.

Tip:  When you want to hold a decorative button in place until you can secure it, use double sided tape!  After securing the button, carefully cut the tape out from under the button.  Works like a charm!

Step 23:
Starting a couple inches off center on top edge of stitched piece, sew around perimeter of fabric (finishing fabric should be facing lining fabric) using 1/4" seam allowance.  Make sure previously sewn seams lay flat before stitching over them.  Leave 3-4" gap so you can turn it inside out.

Step 24:
Clip corners and notch the curved edge.

Step 25:
Turn right side out and press flat.  Whip stitch the opening closed.

Step 26:
Using the sewing machine, sew "in the ditch" (i.e. in the seam allowance) at the bottom of the Floss Keeper.  This forms the bottom of the zipper pocket on the back.

Step 27:
Sew in the ditch of the placket above the zipper.  Sew a line where the flap folds over.

Step 28:
Lastly, fold the Thread Keeper at the bottom seam with lining fabric facing together.  Pin left and right sides.  Top stitch 1/8-1/4" in from edges.

There you have it.  Thread Keeper is complete!

 If I were to do this over, the one thing I'd do differently is to add a lining fabric over top of the fusible fleece where the zipper pocket is.

The dimensions of my finished Thread Keeper ended up being 8 3/4" wide x 9" tall.

If you make one, I'd love to see it!

Until next time...


Grannystitches2010 said...

Awesome tutorial I'm going to try this in the near future! Thank you for teaching us another awesome finish! Your the best!

moreofhim said...

How beautiful! Thank you so much for showing the step by step directions - I think I might actually be able to make this now! So kind of you to share this. It's just amazing!

Blessings - Julie

Judith said...

I really enjoyed Reading your Tutorial. And I will have a try to do it in The Future. Thanks For showing

Brigitte said...

That's a great tutorial, Meari. Thanks for sharing.

ndavis said...

You are so creative Meari! I love your easy to understand tutorials. You have taught me a lot over the years.

Robin in Virginia said...

Looks fabulous, Meari! Thank you for sharing your step by step process. Enjoy your day!

Deb said...

Wow! Beautiful work!

Donna P. said...

Beautiful work - I love this idea.

butterfly said...

Wow love it thank you for sharing .
I will have to make one when it gets a little cooler here

Akila said...

What detailed tutorial! Inspires me to definitely try this soon. Love the way the whole thread keeper has turned out - the selection of fabric, the finishing everything

Carol said...

Love your latest bag, Meari--and your tutorial is so wonderfully detailed and well-photographed. Thank you so much!!

Kaisievic said...

Lovely thread keeper, Meari and a great tutorial, thank you.

Katie said...

Great details. Thanks for sharing!

Pam in IL said...

Your Thread Keeper turned out awesome! Thanks for sharing your detailed tutorial. Now I have a new project idea brewing ;)

Anonymous said...

Good tutorial as usual and will have to give that a try.


Anonymous said...

That's really pretty and a job well done, Meari!


Deb said...

Turned out beautifully!

Anonymous said...

That's very cute, Meari.

Sandy in NM

Anonymous said...

LOL, I was so distracted by the brilliance of using a Magic Eraser on a car that I forgot to look for the tutorial. Very cute! And thank you for the zipper introduction - I need to try a zipper some day when I'm brave.


Anonymous said...


Super thread keeper tutorial! And, your thread keeper is lovely!


Pamela said...

Nice finish!

Elfie said...

Very clear instructions for a very pretty project. Well done!

Mary said...

Very pretty finish. Thank you for taking the time to post step by step instructions.