Sunny Clamshell Needlebook

I made this fun little needlebook about a year ago when Sunny Day hosted a Needlebook Sew Along. It's pretty cute and easy to stitch up! I hope this tutorial inspires you to make your own Sunny Clamshell Needlebook #sunnyclamshellneedlebook

Clamshell Exterior Template

Clamshell 2.25" Template   


Variety of fabrics for the clamshells

Quilters Template Plastic or cardboard to make clamshell template

Muslin of light colored solid fabric for the foundation (8" X 8")


Small piece of Vinyl for a pocket

8" X 8" fabric for lining

8" X 8" batting

1 yard of bias binding 

Snap or closure of your choice 

Fabric Marking Pen with disappearing ink

Begin by choosing fabrics for you clamshells. You may repeat prints, but choose a good variety of prints....I usually have about 12 on hand for my needlebook clamshells. 

You will need an 8" X 8" piece of muslin (foundation fabric) for this needlebook. If you want to make your needlebook larger, cut a piece of muslin that is at least 2" larger than the diameter of your circle. Your muslin needs to be oversized so that when you cut the shape of your needlebook, the entire area is covered with clamshells and none of the muslin foundation fabric is showing.

Using a Frixion Pen or fabric marking pen, mark a 2.25" grid on the foundation fabric. For this small project I found it worked best to make my first vertical line (top to bottom) in the center of my foundation fabric and then continue with 2.25" lines to the right and to the left of the center line. Begin at the top of the foundation fabric and move your way down to the bottom, making 2.25" lines (horizontally) from the top of the foundation piece to the bottom.


Copy the Clamshell Template and transfer the clamshell to a piece of Quilters Template Plastic or to a piece of cardboard.

Trace Clamshells onto the right side of your fabric with a fabric pen (disappearing ink) or a Frixion Pen. 

Cut the Clamshells out LEAVING A SCANT 1/4" SEAM ALLOWANCE OUTSIDE THE MARKED LINES. It's important to leave this seam allowance so that you have fabric to turn under in the applique (on the curved part) and you will have a bit of wiggle room on the scooped out section of the clamshell. 


For this project, I started applying my clamshells at the top and placing a clamshell directly on the center grid line. The next clamshells will be placed on the grid lines to the right and left of the center. Applique the top curve only on the clamshells. For the next row fill in between the clamshells above.


Continue adding clamshells and filling in all the spaces to cover the foundation fabric. If you use a frixion pen, be sure to NOT iron until you have finished the piece. The marks from a Frixion Pen disappear when heat is applied. Follow manufacturers instructions for any other marking pen you are using.  

Once you have filled in the space on the foundation fabric, use the exterior circle template to cut the outside circle for your clamshell needlebook.


I pressed a crease in the center of my circle. This will be where the clamshell needlebook will fold.



If you desire quilt the clamshell circle with perle cotton (do not add batting before quilting).

Once the circle is quilted, spray baste batting to the lining fabric and then spray baste the circle to the batting and lining (wrong side of lining and clamshell circle to the batting). You may wish to do a basting stitch very close to the outside edge of the circle. Cut away the excess batting and lining.

Take your piece of vinyl for the inside pocket and add a ribbon or piece of binding along the long top edge. The vinyl will be larger than needed....we will cut back after basting it onto the needlebook.

I cut my vinyl piece 3.5" X 8". You may want to cut your vinyl larger or smaller, but to be safe, oversize the piece of vinyl. 

Place your vinyl on one inside half of your needlebook. Your vinyl should extend beyond the needlebook on both sides and bottom. And the vinyl pocket should be slightly below the center of the needlebook circle.  Hold in place with wonder clips and stitch baste the sides and bottom of the vinyl pocket. Trim even with the circle needlebook.

Apply bias binding to the INSIDE of the needlebook. The binding will be hand stitched on the outside. It's much easier to hand stitch the binding on the exterior so you don't have to try to stitch through the vinyl by hand. Use your favorite method to finish the binding ends.


Flip the circle over and hand stitch the binding on the front. I used our La Stephanoise binding. It is a bit wider so I simply use a 1/4" seam allowance to apply to the inside of the needlebook. Then the crease falls perfectly along the edge of the circle. 


As I mentioned, our bias is wider... so on the front, I simply fold the bias under one more time to make it half as wide. Then hand stich in place.

Once the binding is added, cut your felt using the template provided. I chose to cut mine with pinking shears for a decorative finish. Find the center of felt by folding in half and finger pressing. Place the center of the felt circle on the center lining of the needlebook. Stitch in place and remember to back stitch at the beginning and end.

Sew a snap at the top to close off your clamshell needlebook. That's it!!!


If you make a Sunny Clamshell Needlebook be sure to tag us @sunnydaysupply and use the hashtag #sunnyclamshellneedlebook

I can't wait to see your Clams!