August 9, 2010

Fabric Covered Notebook Tutorial


As hard as it is to believe, it’s already back to school time! Although I don’t have kids, as a former middle school teacher, I know this time of year is full of excitement and nervousness…for parents and students alike!

Back in the day, I always loved back to school shopping. New binders, notebooks, pencil cases…nothing is better! Maybe this is where my obsession with office supply stores came into play? Seriously – Office Max and Staples keep me enthralled for hours on end.

I also remember needing to have book covers for all my texts – though back then, we didn’t have those cool stretchy fabric ones. We took paper grocery bags and made them ourselves – including tons of “radical” decorations. Puff paint, anyone?

For my first tutorial (hopefully of many), I came up with this great idea for a book cover. It’s made of coordinating fabrics and you can make it whatever size you like. It can work well as a notebook or journal cover, or you can adjust it for large textbooks.

Why don’t you take some time to throw together a bunch of them? They’re pretty easy and don’t take very long to create.

Contact me with any questions or if you notice an error in my instructions.

Feel free to use these instructions for yourself or to sell. Just make sure you give me a shout out! Thanks!

Fabric Notebook or Book Cover

What You’ll Need:

- Basic Sewing Supplies (scissors or rotary cutter, thread, sewing machine, pins, etc.)
- Two Coordinating Fabrics
- Interfacing or Stabilizer *
- Notebook or book to cover

Optional (for flower embellishment):

- One Button
- Fabric scraps
- Hot glue

Instructions:

1.) Measure your book. The first measurement you’ll need is the length from top to bottom. The second measurement is from the right hand edge of the front cover to the left hand edge of the back cover.


2.) Jot down these measurements! For your first measurement (from the top to bottom of the notebook) add 2 inches. For your second measurement (around the notebook from front to back) add 9 inches.

3.) Cut your two coordinating fabrics to these measurements. Since my book was 9-3/4” from top to bottom and 15” around, my fabric pieces were 11-3/4” by 24”. If you are going to use interfacing or stabilizer, make sure you cut one to this size, as well. My fabric was thick enough for my taste, so I didn’t use it.

4.) Choose which piece is going to be your front cover piece. If you choose to embellish it, this is the time! Place your notebook in the middle of the piece and fold it so it is perfectly in half and mark where the book will lie. This ensures that, however you decorate, you will be sure to be working where the front cover of the book will be.

5.) If you want to make a flower like the one on mine, cut out 4 circles in diminishing size from your scraps. If you want a bigger flower, cut out more circles – smaller, cut out fewer.

6.) Sew around the inside of each circle approximately 1/4”. Don’t forget to lower your feed dogs for this! I used my free motion foot, but you can use whatever is easiest for you. THIS DOESN’T HAVE TO BE PERFECT! In fact, a little less perfect makes it even cuter!

7.) Once all the circles have a 1/4” seam around them, place them one on top of each other and sew on your button in the center to anchor it. I frayed out the edges with my finger, but sometimes throwing it in a dryer for a bit will help loosen the edges to get a frayed look. Now you have a cute flower!

8.) Mark the spot where you want your flower, and attach it to your front cover piece. I sewed mine through the button holes, and also added a little hot glue to the back for extra security. Since these may be going in and out of backpacks a lot, make sure it is nicely secured.

9.) Now that you have the front decorated (and really, you can do anything you want to the front of your cover – get creative!) it’s time to put it all together. Take your fabrics and place them wrong sides together. *If you are using interfacing, place it on the top of the “fabric sandwich”* Pin in place. Sew around the outside with a 1/2” seam allowance. Make sure to leave a 3” opening for turning. I placed my opening along the long side of the fabric, since you’ll be sewing over it a little later. This eliminates having to hand-sew your opening closed. Anything to save me from hand sewing is a little blessing!

10.) Clip your corners and turn right-side out. Make sure to push out those little corners nicely! I use my plastic paper scorer, but feel free to use whatever is handy and not sharp. Press to get out any creases or wrinkles and also make sure to press your opening in.

11.) Now you need to mark the location of your flaps. Place your book in the center of the book cover, fold over the edge to the inside cover of the book, and mark with a fabric pen where the flap needs to be anchored. You want it to be snug, but also have a little bit of wiggle room so the book will open nicely.

12.) Once you have your fabric marked, remove the book and pin the flaps in where they need to be.

13.) Sew across the top of the top flap and the bottom of the bottom of the flap to anchor them in place. I used a 1/8” seam allowance, but you may need to use a 1/4” allowance or more. Adjust it as needed for how you want your book to fit.


14.) Now all that’s left is sliding in your book. This step can be a little tricky, but I promise, you’ll get it!


15.) All finished! You have an adorable notebook or book cover!

4 comments:

  1. So much cuter than my own brown paper bag or white paper covers...although much harder to write your love interest's name all over ;)

    Can't wait to see other tutorials!

    ReplyDelete
  2. cute! I am featuring this Saturday at somedaycrafts.blogspot.com. Grab my "featured" button.

    ReplyDelete
  3. I wanted to make these for Christmas and have looked all over for a tutorial. This is the easiest one to follow that I've found. Thanks so much for sharing!

    ReplyDelete

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