I hinted about this project on Instagram the other day & said I’d have the pattern ready soon…
Well…here ya go. 🙂
I’ve had an itch to make some little projects to freshen up & organize my various sewing & craft supplies . It was time, way past time, actually.
One of the projects became this little hen needle book. Because, everyone needs a lit’l hen needle book, right? Of course we do. 😉
She’s the perfect size to toss into your project bag when you’re working on your sewing projects such as a Bitty Bit Cuddle Baby or other hand sewing/embroidery projects.
Yes, you may have noticed…there are a lot of steps in this pattern, but it’s an easy project. If you’re new to sewing, it may seem a little tedious, since the pattern includes some tiny pieces of felt. BUT, don’t let those wee felt pieces intimidate you. You can definitely make this chicken. Yep, just do it!
Creating this lit’l hen needle book has been so fun, that I wanted to share with you!
Oh & if you’d like to see a video tutorial of this project, let me know in the comments…I might just make one. 😉
Wool Felt Hen Needle Book Pattern & Tutorial
Wool felt – I like to use up-cycled felt made from old sweaters that I’ve thrown in the washer machine & fulled until the stitches are firmly felted together.
2 6”x6” pieces for the body of the hen, front & back
1-2 6”x6” pieces for the wool pages – depends on how many pages you want to have – I used a lovely robin egg blue felt up-cycled from a 1950’s sweater
Tiny piece for beak – I used yellow
Tiny piece for comb on the top of her head – I used a red
Sewing needle – I used an embroidery needle because I used embroidery floss to sew my hen together
Embroidery floss and/or thread to match body & beak colors – I used 6-strand embroidery floss in grey for the body, yellow for the beak, black for the eye & white perle cotton to “speckle” the grey hen
Freezer paper – makes cutting felt pattern pieces a breeze – won’t make it without it, seriously a “must-have” for me
Scissors –Craft scissors to cut paper pattern pieces & fabric shears – I used both my full size fabric shears for the hen’s body & small ones for the tiny pieces & small details
Some sort of closure – a sewn-on snap or button is what I like to use
String, embroidery thread, yarn or some sort of cord – 6”or so for button closure, ONLY IF not using the tab & snap closure option
Pins – You may want a few pins to hold the pages in place when sewing all the layers together
Glue – You can use any clear glue, even a basic pva, like Elmer’s. Fabric glue is my first choice, as it’s a flexible, permanent bond. However, the glue is NOT used for permanent construction; it just helps to stabilize pieces together while sewing & adds a bit of structure to the felt. This structure was especially helpful when using my up-cycled wool, as it wasn’t as firm as a commercial felt.
A bit of trim for the inside cover “page” – Sewn onto the piece of wool that lines the front cover of hen
Pinking shears to trim edges of wool pages
Now, let’s get started.
Preheat your iron to the wool setting and iron pattern pieces, wax side down, onto felt.
Cut the wool pieces out, following along the pattern paper piece. Then, carefully peel the freezer paper off, being esp. gentle with the smaller pieces. The freezer pattern pieces are re-usable, so when you need 2 pieces of the same pattern, like the hen’s body, just re-use the same pattern piece. Then, save the pieces & make another one for a friend.
When using freezer paper, there’s no need to trace the pattern onto the felt, which I love! The freezer paper stabilizes the wool while cutting, which makes it easy-peasy to cut the felt without stretching it out of shape. If you’ve worked with wool felt before, you know what I mean. I just won’t cut out felt pattern pieces without freezer paper. It’s definitely a “must-have” for me.
After all your pieces are cut out, pick which hen piece will be the front.
Using black embroidery floss, make the eye. I used a colonial knot, which is similar to a French knot. I made her eye on the back piece as well.
Glue on the comb, attaching to the back of the front piece.
Glue the 2 beak pieces together and at the same time attach the beak to the head of the front piece of the hen.
Now, decide what other embellishments you want to add to your chicken. Dig in your stash & find some fun stuff to add. You could use ribbon, fabrics or other trims to add more detail to your hen.
In the example shown, I made a speckled grey hen. To do that, I embroidered the speckles, using the rice stitch, with a white perle cotton embroidery thread.
Also, I added dimension to her body by sewing on another layer of tail feathers. I cut the feather pattern pieces out of the same grey felt as her body. However, before sewing each feather piece to the body, I “ruffled” it by sewing a running stitch from one tip to the other & gathering the felt until I liked what I saw. Then, tied off the thread & set aside. Once all 3 feathers are “ruffled”, sew them to body tail.
Do you want to add the wing feature? I did it on the first chicken needle book I made. You can see it below. I included the piece in the pattern. To attach it to the body, I embroidered it on with a couching stitch, using a red embroidery thread. You could also use some trim or fabric from your stash.
Once you’re happy with the hen’s front body, turn it over & add the lining piece of wool felt. This is optional, but I’d recommend it, as it adds another layer of wool to the front of the book (for stability) and covers any visible stitches made from embellishments or embroidery done to the front of the hen.
Preparing the lining:
Find the lining piece. (Or cut 2 pieces – You can add this on the back cover too, if you like.)
If you’re using trim, lay it across the lining piece, trim to fit & sew in place.
Now is the time to decide (if you’ve not done so already) what type of closure to use. So, grab your felt tab or string/yarn that you’ll use for the closure.
Spread an even layer of glue onto the back of lining piece. Set aside for a minute or so.
Place your closure piece approximately in the center of the front body of chicken & sandwich it between the lining and cover. Press the lining firmly to the back of the front pattern piece, taking care that the closure piece is where you want it – should be about the middle or so. Let it sit a bit, 10 min or so, but you can move on before it’s completely dry.
Sew snap or button onto outside of back cover. If you’re adding a lining to the back cover, attach now, just like the front lining.
OK, so now it’s time to assemble it all together and sew in place.
Begin by placing front chicken piece face down. Lay the page pieces in place, on top of front cover, aligning the top edges. Don’t worry if the pages slightly over hang the edges. I made the page patterns slightly oversized to make it easy to trim with pinking shears after sewing in place. Now, lay the back cover on top, face up.
Spread an even layer of glue on the inside of head area and tail feather section. Press together firmly.
Using matching floss, begin stitching the book together, beginning at the top, next to the tail feathers. Begin sewing a straight stitch down the feathers, sewing together securely. Then, whip stitch across the top, head area and down neck. Skip beak for now.
Go back & whip stitch beak with matching floss.
If you chose to use the string & button closure, you’re finished. Yay! to close, just wrap the cord/yarn/string around the button a few times.
If you chose the snap closure, sew other side of snap to felt tab, adjusting tab by trimming, if necessary.
You now have a wee chicken to keep you sewing needles safe when toted around in your project bag.