Ellie wrote me last week wanting some tips for finishing needlepoint inexpensively. She said “I want to start doing more– pillows, brick covers, ornaments, etc.– but I find that it’s just SO expensive to finish items. In addition, it’s very expensive to have someone paint your pattern onto needlepoint fabric (and can also be expensive to buy a pre-painted item that’s not cheezy/found at a craft store).
Any suggestions? I don’t have a sewing machine, but am pretty crafty.”
I don’t have a sewing machine either, so I can relate.
However, pillows are one of the easiest things to make and if you have a bunch to do, it can be worth it to rent a sewing machine for a week and finish up a bunch of things. I’ve done this before and it was really worth it. I bought pillow forms when they were on sale and bought fabric and trims on clearance. Then I store everything together, ready to go when I can sew.
Another thing I do is buy items that are already made that can have needlepoint inserted into them. There are three I like best.
I look for boxes with glass tops. I have had the best luck at Target with jewelry boxes brought in for Christmas. Instead of glass, put needlepoint in the top. I get them when I see them on sale. Tuesday Morning is also a good place to find them as well. Pretty much anything with a glass top can be used this way.
I also look for photo albums with openings in the front for pictures. You need to check these to make sure the openings are deep enough for needlepoint, many aren’t and will only fit a picture.
But my very favorite is wallets. I look for wallets with openings in the front for your ID. They should also have a window pocket on the inside as well. Trace the shape of your ID into needlepoint canvas, stitch it up, trim and put it into the pocket. Mine took about 2 hours to make start to finish.
I also check sales regularly at needlework stores and at places like Michael’s. I will buy something which would work for finishing and not use it for quite awhile.
A final idea which requires no stitching is adding needlepoint to a tote bag. Turn under the edges, and glue on with hot glue. Straw and canvas work best for this. I haven’t had as good luck with plastic totes. You can also use hot glue to attach needlepoint to papier mache or wooden items which you have painted. These are very inexpensive at craft stores.