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Portable sewing case gets pretty with Gütermann thread


Gütermann thread
Gütermann thread


Now that the outside and lining fabrics of the portfolio are quilted, it’s time to make it pretty with Gütermann thread.

Cut a strip of fabric 2″ x 14″ long. Fold it in half and finger press a small crease to mark the center.

Press the raw edges of this strip toward the wrong side of the fabric. Use quilter’s tape to baste this strip down the outside of the portfolio.

Topstitch the strip to the center of the outside of the portfolio so that it resembles the spine of a book.

Use 505 to spray baste a spine to the outside of the portfolio.
Use 505 to spray baste a spine to the outside of the portfolio.


Cut a scrap of fabric about 2″ x 5″. On one end, sew the hook (rough) side of the hook and loop tape.

Sew the strap to the center of the back side of the portfolio.

Sew to the loop (soft) side to the front of portfolio, so that it matches the hook position.

Attach the closing strap to the back of the portfolio.
Attach the closing strap to the back of the portfolio.


Create a label for your portfolio. I thought it would be fun to make a label that looks like ruled paper using the right colors of thread. I found it’s easier to work with the white fabric scrap by backing it with medium weight fusible interfacing.

I wrote out my words on the lines using a soft pencil.

Set up your machine for free motion stitching, and then follow the pencil lines with black thread to mimic ink. This is a fun technique that takes a bit of practice, but has potential for all kinds of creative embellishment.

I trimmed the label to the size I wanted using a rotary cutter fitted with a scallop edged blade. I used some printed cotton tape to add to the label, and stitched them down when I attached the label.

Use your machine's FMQ features to embroider. It takes some practice, but it looks more like handwriting.
Use your machine’s FMQ features to embroider. It takes some practice, but it looks more like handwriting.


I usually have a number of hexagon flowers in various sizes ready to take center stage. For more about how to make them, check out my previous post on English Paper Piecing.

Use ½ʺ, 1″ and 1½ʺ Sew Easy hexagon templates to create small, medium and large flowers. I used one large flower for the front of the portfolio and three for the back.

Press the hexi flowers well. Carefully remove the basting stitches from the foundation paper. Protect your work surface with an applique mat.

Spray baste the flower with 505 spray.

Hand stitch the flowers to the outside of the portfolio. I found it was easier to use a larger  embroidery needle than a thinner applique needle, because you’ll be navigating through a lot of interfacing and fabric. A thimble is a must.

Try a lightweight silicone thimble. They are easy to wear and enable a good grip when pulling it through several tough layers of fabric, batting and interfacing.

Join me tomorrow when we get to the inside story of our pret-a-porter portfolio.

This is part 3 of 5 in this series.

Go back to part 2:  Why use pressing spray for your pret-a-porter?

Go to part 4: Sew Easy Templates make perfect circles and hexies


Nancy Devine is a self-confessed craft-crazed blogger. She is a regular contributor to A Needle Pulling Thread Magazine, one of the administrators for The Craft Café, a Facebook page devoted to the international sharing of the creative life, and a curator of an impressive collection of fabrics, notions and seam rippers. In her spare time, she wrangles dust bunnies and writes a blog called Nancy Dee Needleworks. Understandably, her house is a mess.


  1. Thank you for the many tips and tricks on your quilt social blog cite. I love doing lettering
    On pillowcases.

    • Oh yes! Monograms on pillowcases are so romantic! Great suggestion.

  2. Linda E in AZ

    Thanks for the detailed instructions on this case

    • You are welcome, Linda. Necessity is the mother of both invention and creativity.
      I hope you get a change to make a portfolio for your creative journeys.

  3. Pam

    What fun! I love the notebook paper/handwriting motif! I never imagined that I could create this with thread. Thanks for the inspiration and tutorial.

    • Thanks for visiting Pam.
      The notepaper idea is fun, and I am now thinking about all the quilt blocks and labels I can churn out now that I have the right Gutermann thread colors!
      Try it out. It’s fun.

  4. Clara Chandler

    Thank you for the tutorial on the use of this spray. I’ve seen it in my LQS but haven’t seen a demonstration.

    • This spray is the best stuff on earth! I know you will find a lot of uses for it.

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