Saturday, 2 January 2016

Reel Holder Tutorial

After some requests and encouragement I am starting 2016 by writing my first ever tutorial! It's for the cotton reel holders that I made before Christmas. It is by no means an original design, I used the one given to me by Lea, and made a few adjustments. Please let me know if you have any trouble following my instructions!
The finished reel measures 2 3/4" x 1 3/4".

8" x 6" outer fabric
8" x 3 1/2" lining fabric
2" x 1 1/2" woven wool or felt scrap
6 1/2" x 5" firm iron on interfacing. It should be firm enough to hold its shape, but soft enough to roll.
One shank button
DMC thread
Perfect Circles or cardboard to make circle template

  • From the interfacing, cut one body piece 6 1/4" x 2 1/2", rounding the corners on one short end. Cut 2 circles of 1 1/2" diameter.
  • From the main fabric cut one body 7 1/4" x 3 1/2". Take care if using directional prints.
  • From the lining fabric cut one body 7 1/4" x 3 1/2".
  • Iron the interfacing to the wrong side of the main fabric. Place main fabric and lining right sides together, and stitch using the interfacing piece as a guide. Stitch beside the interfacing, but not through it. Leave an opening on one long side for turning.
  • Trim seam allowance and corners, and clip curves. Turn and press. Don't worry if the interfacing comes unstuck, as long as it stays in position.
  • Slip stitch the side opening closed. Sew the button on the main fabric side, centered and 1 1/4" down from the short straight edge. I like to sink the knot into the layers so it doesn't show on either side.
  • Sew the wool piece to the inside curved end using a simple running stitch and two strands of DMC. Don't let the stitches show on the front. I used pinking shears to cut the wool edges.

  • Iron the interfacing circles to the back of the remaining main fabric. Cut out leaving at least 1/4" around each circle. Cut two slightly smaller circles (I used 1 3/8" diameter), also leaving 1/4" for turning.

  • Make a small running stitch around each circle so the seam allowance can be gathered. Press. Slip stitch the fabric circle to the wrong side of the interfaced circle. Repeat to make two ends.
  • To attach the ends I use quilting thread to match the main fabric. Begin by sinking the knot into the seam at one of the square corners. Hold an end piece with the smaller circle facing towards the lining. Do a couple of small stitches to anchor the two pieces, then continue to slip stitch the end in place, stitching into the main body seam as you go. The lining fabric should not be visible.
  • Sew around the end piece until 2 1/2" from the curved end. Do not finish off yet. Repeat for the other end. Make sure the end points on both sides align, and that your reel will fit snugly. Finish off with two small back stitches to secure, and sink the knot into the fabric layers. I have not worked out how to add a PDF to my blog post, but I have taken a photo of my pattern to be used as a guide.
  • Using 3 strands of DMC make a blanket stitch button hole loop about 1/2" wide in the centre of the curved end. Sherry has an excellent tutorial for making a thread loop.

Enjoy, and please contact me if anything isn't clear.

Susan x


  1. Thank you Susan,
    you sure safed me a lot of brain work. Cute thread holder.

  2. Thanks the thanks for the tutorial, I definitely want to try it before the holidays are over!

  3. Gracias por la tutoría ,es muy bonito!
    Feliz Año Nuevo

  4. Thank you. I have been wanting to make one

  5. That is looking beautiful.
    Happy New Year !

  6. Great tutorial, I might have to have a go at making one or two of these.

  7. Love my cute reel holder you gave to me for SSCS. This is a wonderful tutorial. Happy Stitching.

  8. Thank you Susan - fabulous tutorial! Very well done and such a cute gift.

  9. A great tutorial....thanks Susan....would make a great gift...or part of....

  10. thanks Susan, I have admired the ones you make...

  11. Thanks for sharing Susan, they make fabulous gifts, to give and receive! Thanks again.

  12. a great tutorial thank you x

  13. Ooh! I want to make these in bulk. I even have the perfect thread-spool-print fabric!


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