Friday 7 June 2013

Quilted Notebook Cover Tutorial

Well here we are in the last half term of the school year - where did that time go?  I decided to make Quilted Journal or Notebook Covers as teacher presents this year and I'm pleased to share how I made them with you.

I looked around but couldn't see a tutorial that had all the elements I wanted, so here is my version which includes a ribbon bookmark, an elastic pen holder and elastic closure.

For an A6 sized notebook you will need:
At least 1 FQ fabric
some wadding
ribbon for the bookmark
elastic for the closure and pen holder

First you will need to choose your notebook, mine is A6 sized (5.75 inches tall x 4.25 inches wide). 

Calculating your fabric requirements:

1. Measure the total length of the book, laid flat on it's spine - mine is 9 inches (pictured notebook differs from the one I measured - sorry!)

For the outer cover measurement: take your measurement from above, 9"+ 1" seam allowances & ease room = 10"


2. Measure the height of the book, mine is 5.75 inches + 1.25" seam allowances and ease room = 7"

These two measurements are the size of the fabric required for your outer cover.
You will also need a piece of wadding slightly larger than this to quilt the cover to (mine is 10" long x 7" high).
3. Take a look at the front inside cover of your book and measure where you would like your flaps to fit to.  I decided to have 2" flaps so will require 2 pieces of fabric 2.5" wide (adding the extra 0.5" for seam allowances) x 7" tall (measurement taken from step 2)

4. For the inner lining fabric measurement take your outer cover measurement 10" + 5" (2x2.5" flaps) = 15" long x 7" high.

At this point you can make a paper template on which to write all your measurements and to help with cutting and laying out the cover, flaps and lining pieces if you would like to.  I used grease proof paper from my kitchen only because that's all I had, hence the brown paper!

Here are my fabric pieces laid out on the paper template, grey for the inner lining, 2 green pieces for flaps, outer cover fabric (mine is patchwork pieced and then trimmed down to size) and a piece of batting to quilt to.
Please note that when sewing all seam allowances will be 0.25".

You can either cut one piece of fabric for the outer cover or piece one together with fabrics from your stash.  You can be as creative as you like at this stage as long as your finished piece is the measurement from step 1.
Baste this piece of fabric to your piece of wadding and quilt as desired using a walking foot on your machine, remove pins and trim any excess wadding away.
Now we are going to add the ribbon bookmark.  
Measure and cut a piece of ribbon to 2" longer than your outer cover, mine will be 9".  With your outer cover piece facing right side up, find the middle of the top edge of your fabric, place your ribbon lengthwise down the cover, with an overhang of 1" at each end of the cover, pin in place, sew your ribbon across the top, within 0.25" of the edge of the fabric.  I oversew it a couple of times to make it secure but be careful as some ribbons don't like this and snag.  Trim away excess ribbon at the top in line with the raw edge of your cover piece, see picture below.

For your elastic closure;

Cut a piece of elastic the height of your outer cover, mine will be 7".  
Now measure 1" in from the top left hand corner of your fabric along the top edge, place the elastic so that it is lengthwise down the cover piece, overhanging the fabric at the top by half an inch, pin in place, sew on just the top end of your elastic in the same way you did the ribbon, within 0.25" of the raw edge, oversewing to make it secure, then trim away the overehanging excess at the top.  The bottom end will be attached later because it is going to pull the fabric out of shape.  See picture below.

For the elastic pen holder (seen on the right of the picture above); 
The pens I bought are bulbous at both ends and skinny in the middle... Whoops! So I needed a piece of elastic slightly larger than the middle of the pen itself so that it could stretch over the fat bit when putting the pen in and out. I cut a piece of elastic 2" long, fold it in half, align it halfway down your outer cover piece on the right hand side with the raw edge overhanging the edge of the fabric by 0.25" - see placement in the picture above, pin or hold firmly in place and sew on as you did with the ribbon, within 0.25" of the edge of the fabric, oversewing to make it secure and then trimming away the excess elastic. 

Now we will attach the flaps.  
Align one of your flap pieces to the right hand side of your outer fabric piece, right sides together, stitch in place down the right hand seam ONLY and do the same for the left hand flap on the other side.
If you are using directional prints please make sure it's up the right way once it opens out to the side. See in the above picture, the left hand side flap is attached and opened out, the right hand side flap is right sides together waiting to be sewn on.  Backstitch at the beginning and end to make it secure.
Press the seams towards the flaps.

Now lay your inner lining fabric piece on the table with right side facing up, align your outer cover and flap piece over the top with right side facing down, your wadding will be on the top now.  Pin in place. 

I have marked with 2 pink headed pins on the right hand side where the other end of my elastic closure will need to be attached.  You can see on the opposite side where it was attached and oversewn several times in grey thread.

The black pin in the middle of the right hand side of this photo indicates where I will start sewing the two layers together.  I'll be sewing it clockwise, down and around, using a 0.25" seam allowance. Backstitch at the beginning to secure the first few stitches.  Make sure your ribbon bookmark and elastics are not tucked into any seams as they'll get sewn in somewhere they don't want to be!
When you turn that last top right corner you'll need to remove the pins and reach in for the end of your elastic, pull it through to overhang the raw edge of your fabric by 0.5", hold firmly in place and sew over it, backstitching and oversewing to make it secure.  It will pull the opposite side out of place but that's ok, we'll need it to be a good tight fit once it is pulled around your finished cover.
Just past the elastic, stop sewing, backstitching to secure the end of your sewing.  Trim away the excess overhanging elastic.

Trim your corners and any excess fabric to avoid unnecessary bulk. The unsewn part is your hole for turning the piece through the right way.
Once the cover is turned out the right way, get your finger right into the corners and push them out as far and as neat as they will sit.  Now hand stitch your turning hole closed.
At this point I ironed/pressed the cover. Press the flaps inwards and pin in place over the inner lining fabric. See how the flap is tucked under the elastic closure, we don't want to sew this down in the next step!

Using a walking foot on your machine, top stitch 1/8" from the edge around the full perimeter of the cover, backstitching and oversewing at the edges of the flaps to make them secure.
When you get to the elastic closure you will have to wriggle it out of the way, around your walking foot, so that it doesn't get sewn down.
The sewing is now complete!
Insert the front and back covers of your notebook into the flaps of your fabric cover, sometimes the book may need to be almost folded backwards on itself to allow it to slide in, especially if it is a hardcover book. Lay the ribbon bookmark in between the pages, pop the elastic from back to front, insert pen and voila!
Now stand back and admire your work!


Phew!  I hope that all made sense, please feel free to ask me any questions if not!
Happy sewing and if you make any notebook covers using my tutorial please add your photo's to the flikr group! I'd love to see them!

Linking up with;
Link a Finish Friday
Can I Get a Whoop Whoop
TGIFF @ QuokkaQuilts
Finish it up Friday
Lets Get Acquainted
Made With Love


Linda Wulf Koenig said...

These are precious, I bet the teachers loved them. Thank you so much for sharing the directions. I was wondering if you knew approximately how long it took you to make your first one (I imagine it got faster as you made each additional one). Thanks again!

Canadian Abroad said...

Very concise tutorial. I am going to go pin it to my Tutorials pin board. Love your covered notebooks, Karen, and am sure the teachers will too.

Freddie said...

I am a sucker for fabric covered note books. I will have to make one.

M-R Charbonneau said...

Ooh, love it! I've been wondering what to make for my kids' teachers. Great tutorial, Karen. Thanks for linking up to TGIFF!

Mrs Flying Blind... said...

Woo hoo! Pinned already xxx

Liz said...

Heading over from Let's Get Acquainted. Great tutorial!

DeborahGun said...

A great tutorial - thanks!

heart of charnwood said...

Great tutorial, and love the fabric choices, good luck with the hop! :o)

Unknown said...

Such a nice fabrics, clear tutorial, I will sew some too!

Chris Dodsley @made by ChrissieD said...

You've done it, they're made! Absolutely gorgeous and you've still got so much time before the end of term! :)

Kristy @ Quiet Play said...

These are fabulous - great teacher gifts!

Catrin Lewis said...

great tutorial. love your versions. trying to pick a favourite, torn between the trees and radios.

Heidi Staples said...

Karen, these are adorable! Such a perfect teacher present!

Gina's Craft Corner said...

These are so cute, Karen! I have something like this on my to-do list. It will be a good 'first' sewing project for my 7 year old. :)Saw you on Sew Chatty. I posted something as well. I'd love for you to visit if you have time.

Laura C @ littleandlots said...

Oh, I have two composition books that I need to cover. I like that you've included an elastic closure in your tutorial! Thank you for writing this tutorial up, and for linking up at Let's Get Acquainted.

Stephanie said...

Love this tutorial! I'm going to have to mark it to come back to for next year! :)

D+B said...

I love your website!! Its soooo cute.. I am so glad I found it... If you would like to check out my blog too, I would LOVE it.. I am new to the blogging... So if you have any tips you should let me know... I am your newest follower :) I would love it if you followed me back... I'm going to be doing a HUGE fun giveaway soon if your a follower on Facebook or Instagram :)


Biff said...

Love these! & great tutorial. Been trying to think what to make for my son's nursery teacher, had been toying with the idea of a mug rug but this is much better :) Just need to get it done by Wednesday night! Wish me luck ;)

DownHome Designs said...

I just wanted to say how much I enjoyed your tutorial. I have been sewing for almost 45 yrs, but I never get tired of seeing how other people create. You've done a wonderful job on this tute. Your photos are very good and the instructions are detailed and so easy to follow. Great job!

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