How to: Celtic Knotwork and Tartan Scissor Case and Keeper Assembly

Celtic Knotwork and Tartan Scissor Case and Keeper Design Story

My second design project for Casey's Curio, after my bookmarks, was the Celtic Knotwork and Tartan Scissor Case and Keeper (toggle). I wanted to make a little protective bag or case for my embroidery scissors. So I did some research on different kinds of cases people make, and settled on this triangle style. I wanted to use more of my Celtic knotwork drawings, but I also wanted the pattern design to enhance the completed triangle style of the case. I went through many prototypes of paper before finding the style of knotwork I liked best on the completed shape. I then added a tartan background using full and half stitches to achieve a textured affect.

After I had completed my design, I stitched up the first prototype. I initially wanted to have a dark background for the knotwork in the hopes of making it stand out more. After completing the first case, I decided that I wanted to try the knotworks over a lighter colour instead. The darker colour seemed to wash out the dark purple (which is my favourite colour), so I stitched a second case with a lighter background and a slightly different colour scheme for the tartan. I now use the lighter background case to keep my embroidery scissors safe.

When you purchase the pattern bundle from my shop here, you will receive both the light and dark backgrounds for both the case and the keeper, along with both tartan colour schemes, so you can customise your case and keeper set to your liking. If you would like different colours, please send me an email ( and I will happily create any colour scheme you would like. Once you have created your completed stitch, follow the directions below to make it into a usable scissor case and matching keeper.

Scissor Case and Keeper Assembly

These instructions can be used to create a scissor case from any completed stitch that is a square design. The process is the same for any size. The only variation will be how large you will need to cut your lining fabric. I have designed my pattern to have the knotwork in complimentary position when it is finished with the method below. The corner knotwork will be on the flap, the border knotwork will line down the back, and the circle knotwork will be on in the middle of the front.

Materials Needed

Finished square stitched piece

Complementary lining fabric

Contrasting thread or floss

Ribbon or cord


Tools Needed




To make the scissor case, you will need to first backstitch around your finished stitch, leaving no boarder next to the stitching. Cut away the extra fabric on your stitched piece once it is backstitched, leaving about a half an inch seam allowance. Use the trimmed stitch as a template for your lining fabric, and cut out a piece of the same size.

Once you have your two pieces, measure the finished size of the stitched piece without a border (the area within the backstitch). The size will depend on the size of the fabric you have stitched on, so you will have to take the measurement once you have complete your stitch. You will then use the measurement for the square you will draw and backstitch onto your lining fabric. Draw a square on your lining fabric that is the same size as your stitched area and then backstitch around the inside of this square. If you go around the inside of the drawn square, the stitched square will be slightly smaller than you stitched piece which will help to lesson the bulk of the lining. Try to keep the backstitches the same size as the ones on your finished piece. I used a fat quarter of a cotton fabric so I just tried to keep the stitches the same size and it worked alright for me, but if you are worried about keep the stitches even, you could use the same fabric that you stitched on for the lining, or even as a under piece as a extra layer and guide. I used 2 strands of floss for all the stitching, I tried it with regular thread first, but the whip stitch used later did not look as good as with cotton floss.

Once you have backstitched both squares, use the iron to fold down the seam allowance (border). Then with the wrong sides facing, whip stitch all along the edges to join the two pieces together. Catch both the loops of the backstitches from each piece and do not pick up any of the fabric. I found it easier to do few stitches and then pull them tight, rather than tightening each stitch. The stitch will look like a cord once it is done. When you get to the corner with the purple knotwork, slip a bit of folded ribbon or cord between the pieces before completing the seem. This will be your loop to wrap around the button to close the case.

Whip stitch example on keeper

Now that you have one piece with a loop, you will join the two corners where the green knotwork ends, and whip stitch in the same way down the seem. Start from the top and work your way to the point, it may get a bit hard to keep the lining fabric in, so make sure to pull your stitches tight as you work your way down but don't catch any of the fabric. You can then use an iron to fold down the flap with the ribbon and see where to attach your button. Once you attach your button, your case is finished!

The process for the keeper is much the same. I designed the two squares to be stitch on one piece of fabric. After stitching the pattern, backstitch around both squares. Then cut out the two stitched squares, leaving a border of about 5 Aida squares. Use the iron to fold down the seam allowance on each piece. I didn't leave myself enough fabric on one side and it started to fray as I was whip stitching, so I used some masking tape to keep the edges down. Make sure to match the tartan pattern up and then whip stitch the two pieces together with the wrong sides facing each other.

As with the case, slip a piece of cord or ribbon between the two pieces in one of the corners before finishing the seem. I stitched the ribbon to the Aida to help secure it before finishing the seem. Leave about an inch of the edge unstitched, and then stuff the keeper with fibre stuffing before finishing the whip stitch. That's it your scissor keeper is finished and you have a matching set.

Please let me know what you think, and be sure to share if you use either my pattern or tutorial to make your own case or keeper.

Until next time. Joyous stitching!,


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