Guest Blogger: Monica Solorio-Snow from Happy Zombie

Sunday 29th December 2013, 11.25



Monica Solorio-Snow is a blogger with an infectious positive personality which matches her brightly coloured projects. “Unsupervised and armed with sewing needles,” (as quoted by Monica about herself), she shares her projects and thoughts with her followers on her blog, Happy Zombie. We caught up with Monica to find out more about her crafting roots and as she treats us to a tutorial on how to make a needle case book.

“I started sewing in 7th grade (in the mid 1970s) when Home Economics was still being taught in schools in the United States.  There I learnt how to make clothes, bags, stuffed animals, and such. Most of the coolest sewing tricks I know I have learnt from my dad. My father learnt tailoring when he was in high school, and he too taught me to sew.

In 2005 I started blogging under the name of Cheese Zombie (a Cheese Zombie is a beloved baked bun filled with cheddar cheese – for those of us who grew up in California it was a staple in our school system hot lunch).  I blogged about current events and the news. I decided to change the name to Happy Zombie when I started to blog about quilting, sewing and crafting in 2006.

Part of my creative passion for making comes from a life altering moment, when in 1995 while in the military I sustained a serious foot injury when I fell from a mountain, and during many years of reconstruction surgeries and a new less mobile lifestyle. I traded my outdoor sporting passions into indoor sewing passions. I love my life of stitching, designing and making so very much. When one door closes, an even bigger door opens. The art of stitching is my big door of happiness, and I’m passionate about helping people find the keys to that door through my designing.

I always have lots of different projects on the go and my favourite project is always the one I’m currently working on. Though I have few that are a little extra special, like my Ron Swanson quilt – especially since the man himself Nick Offerman was photographed with it.

I’ve been very fortunate that I’ve had not one, but three opportunities to write a book. In each opportunity, I got my projects all queued up and ready to go – and then I get this wave of runaway bride syndrome that comes over me.  I stubble with doing something I passionately love (quilting, sewing, stitchery, crafting – all forms of making) and having it also be “work”.  I have not been able to find a balance where I can marry the two.  I know one day I would very much want to write a book (there are so many projects just bursting to jump out of my head), but for now it’s on hold.”

Follow Monica’s quick and simple needle case book using Liberty Lifestyle fabric. With some nifty, tricky sewing techniques this book finishes smartly and with no visible raw edges to fuss over. Ironically, you won’t need a single sewing needle to make this needle case book.

What you will need:

For book exterior:

Fabric A, cut 1:  3½” x 9½” (8.89cm x 24.13cm)

Fabric B, cut 1:  1½” x 9½” (3.81cm x 24.13cm)

Fabric C: cut 1:  2½” x 9½” (6.35cm x 24.13cm)


For book interior:

Fabric D, cut 2:  6½” x 6½” (16.51cm x 16.51cm) These are for the interior pockets

Fabric E, cut 2:  6½” x 9½” (16.51 x 24.13cm) These are for the interior lining


For book function pieces:

Piece F, cut 1:  7” x 10” (17.78cm x 25.4cm) – Use low loft cotton or cotton blend batting

Piece G, cut 2:  5½” x 8” (13.97cm x 20.32cm) – These are the wool felt book pages

Piece H, cut 2:  5½” x 7” (13.97cm x 17.78) – Use thin cardboard

Fabric I, cut 1:  7½” x 10½” (19.05cm x 26.67cm) – Muslin



All seams ¼” unless noted

Walking foot recommended but not required – I used Quilters Dream brand for a nice low loft batting.


Assemble exterior

Join fabric piece A to fabric piece B, then join A-B piece to fabric C to make a 6½” x 9½” 16.51cm x 24.13cm exterior unit. Press seams open.

Sandwich A-B-C exterior unit > on top of batting > on top of muslin.  Press and quilt as desired (I quilted mine in a 1” cross-hatch).  Press.  Press again.  Trim off muslin and batting edges so your exterior unit is 6½” x 9½” 16.51cm x 24.13cm.


Assemble the interior

From a thin cardboard box (like cereal, dog biscuits, snack crackers, etc.) you will be cutting your piece and then folding it over on to it’s printed side.  Tip: Because cardboard can be difficult to fold neatly, make smart edges by folding your cardboard in half and then cut (so your finished/folded H unit is 5½” x 3½” 13.97cm x 8.89cm ).

Layer two E fabric pieces on top of each other, right sides together.  Find the center at 4¾” and mark a ½” line from the top edge down, and a ½” line from bottom edge up.  Make a stitch on top of each line to join both pieces.

Trickier to explain than to execute, fold one end over to the other end (wrong sides together) and press.  Flip unit over and repeat on the other side.  The seams you made with be on the inside and not visible.  Finished unit will have a center opening.  It’s like magic.

Assemble exterior to interior

Fold D pocket pieces in half, press.


Layer the quilted exterior A-B-C unit (print side facing you) > next the pocket unit D units (raw edges outward, folded edges inward) > next the E liner unit.  Pin and sewing a ¼” seam around the edge of the entire unit.  Snip off some of the bulk at the corners.  Not too close to the seam, though.

Turn unit inside out from the center of the E unit.  Get the corners a sharp as possible, but not too sharp that you compromise your seam.  Press.  Referring to photo (below), insert cardboard H units into each end.

Center the two wool felt pieces on top of each other and then on top of the needlebook.  I marked my wool felt by folding it in half and pressing it with my iron.  Pin in place.

Starting in the center of the wool felt, you will top-stitch around your entire center line by ⅛” to join the wool felt to the book – resulting in a ¼” wide rectangle that not only joins the pages to the needle book, it also incases the opening on the E liner unit.  It’s magic.  Sewing magic.

Follow Monica on twitter @happy_zombie


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