As I couldn’t teach tomorrow at Joann‘s, due to lack of students, I decided that there was still a need for me to share something. So today is my contribution for a simple way to cover notebooks, journals or binders. So bear with me, this is my first try at writing sewing instructions.
This is what I will be teaching you how to complete. We’ll go from beginning to end for the entire project.
To complete this particular project, these are the materials that were needed:
1/3 yard (or even scraps) of lightweight iron-on interfacing.
thread to match fabrics
Embelishments of your choice
Don’t bother ironing the fabric as the fold line is the best and easiest way to find the center. Open fabric out flat with right side facing down. Place open binder flat centering the rings with the fold in the fabric (center). Hold the binder down as steady as possible and with a pen draw the binder’s outline directly on to the wrong side of your fabric. Don’t worry, no one is every going to see this but you! IMPORTANT!!!!!! At each end (not bottom or top) ADD 1/4″ to your drawn line. You now have 2 lines at each end and you now must IGNORE the inner line. Scribble it out if you need to, just to remind yourself it’s not needed any more. The reason for the extra 1/4″ is so that when the binder is closed, there is enough room for the cotton sleeve to have a relaxed hug to the binder. If this step is forgotten, the binder may not close correctly, or your fabric will stretch in funny ways we don’t even want to talk about.
Cut excess fabric off away from drawn line – leaving yourself about 1″ from the line for you to work with. DO NOT throw the extra fabric away – we’re going to put that to good use.
See the three arrows in the photo? The pen line that you just made might be fairly faint, but you can always go over it again with pen. These lines were very faint on this photo, but I wanted you to see the pen marks and how even the corner was traced onto the fabric. These lines are important in the following steps, so please make sure if this is your first try, make those lines as dark as you’d like. I would highly suggest NOT using a Sharpy Pen as they may bleed into the fabric.
Take you pen-marked cotton fabric and fold it in half, right sides together, making sure the center fold already on fabric is still your center! Notch both ends on the fold so when you iron your piece, you will have your center markings VERY obvious. Take your iron-on fleece and fold it in half also – remember to be frugal with this stuff as it is a little pricy. Line up your folded cotton, where you have your pen markings, along with the edge of the folded fleece. With a ruler, either mark with pen or pins where you will need to cut the OTHER side of the fleece. The piece you are going to cut is going to fit directly INSIDE the boarder lines you drew in step one.
Do you see where the corners were rounded with the iron-on fleece? Keep working at getting the fleece to fit within the boarder you drew – and then IRON IT ON! The cotton I had obviously wasn’t cut very well at some point, but we’ll fix that later.
After ironing your cotton and getting the fleece to hold on tight, bring it back up to a surface you can see how things are fitting. NOW is the time for adjustments to be made if needed. This photo just shows that things are on the right track.
This photo shows the two sides folded in and the spine area is showing the iron-on fleece. That’s okay! Don’t worry as that’s going to get covered up here in a little while. But look at that raggedly bottom edge! Let’s cut that down straight and workable.
Fold it all up, like it’s actually already on your notebook. Get that top edge all even (the one you cut and left about 1″ for working area in an earlier step) and line up the folded spine edge to you cutting board. Make one fell swoop with your rotary cutter for the entire bottom edge to be straight.
The two raw edges, or what may still be your selvage edges of fabric, need to be turned under and stitched down. Get creative! Here’s a good chance for you to try out some stitches on your sewing machine you’ve never had a chance to try. You are really the only one who will see this part of your project – so have some fun! Yeah, I know. I just made two straight lines on each edge. Boring.
IMPORTANT!!! STOP HERE!!!
Before you go even ONE more step, now is the time to embellish to your heart’s content. Open your piece out flat, and if you need to mark which is front cover/back cover/front inner/back inner – DO IT! You won’t regret it.
Here is what I did to decorate my own notebook to use for teaching.
Of course, I wanted to put my TygerLily logo on the front of the cover. So I started out with 4 layers: cotton fabric, iron on interfacing, batting, and scraps from another project. Yeah, I don’t ever throw anything away. That polka dot won’t be seen anyway.
I couldn’t believe the beige leaves cotton print I found lurking in one of my drawers – it had to be used. So this is all 4 layers basted together and ready to have my logo embroidered on. Just watch…
While that was sewing on it’s own, a few more things needed to be prepared…
I cut a 2″ strip of black fabric that I was planning on folding in half and making into a make-shift ruffle. Yeah, I’m not really a ruffle girl, but I couldn’t find any piping or cord on hand that would work. So we’re trying a different look. I took this 2″ strip, folded it in half and sewed a basting stitch (long stitch) down the whole long side of it….
Thread color didn’t matter as it would all be hidden anyway in the finished design.
After embroidering my name, I looked around for a good shape. Trimmed the excess off the edges and drew an oval design on tear-away paper (sold in fabric stores). Pinned the tear-away onto my logo, centering as good as I could.
I used a scrapbooking template I hadn’t gotten rid of yet to draw my oval. Once drawn, I sewed along that line through all layers of the padded logo and tore the paper off.
So now I had a base shape drawn, and next was attaching a little lightly ruffled black piece all around the edge. I trimmed all the excess fabric all the way around so when I tuck it all underneath, there won’t be a lot of bulk. I hate bulk.
To get that oval placed in the best spot, I measured the REAL notebook to see exactly how wide the front was: 10-1/4″. So I folded everything up like it was already a ‘notebook’ and measured in 10-1/4″ from the right front side. Tried to center the logo at 5-1/8″, but really, that’s splitting hairs. So I proceeded to pin the embellishment to the front and got ready to attach it.
As I sewed around the oval, I tucked all that excess bulk (ick) underneath towards the center of the oval. I then put black upper thread in and did the old “stitch in the ditch” method of sewing: sewing as close to the edge as possible. You can’t even see where it was sewed on and the ruffle poofs out just enough.
HOLD ON! I’m not done embellishing yet!
I cut a piece of vinyl 4″ X 2-1/8″ and zig-zagged it on three sides to the inner front cover. Best place to show off a business card and have easy access to hand out!
Now is the time to put a tag on the back inside flap if you want. Gifting the item? Throw your tag, label, whatever back there so they know who made it for them.
Who doesn’t need a place for pens!?!? Measured a piece that was cut off about an hour ago to fit the pen. I cut the fabric right where the wrong side starts showing. I sewed three sides, turned it inside out, ironed it, and sewed it on right above the vinyl business card holder.
OK, now that all the embellishments you want to add are completed, this is what your piece should look like all sprawed out with the right side facing down. See the oval shape? That’s where the TygerLily embroidered piece went.
Remember the piece that was cut off after you drew those lines? After we used some of it for the pen pocket, we have a great strip of it left. The cover itself is laying there, each side folded inward towards the center, right side together. The best thing I’ve learned is to use LONG pins. That way their little heads stick out WAY beyond the fabric so whichever way you decide to sew your seam, those pin heads will always show and warn you. Now go iron that scrap and on each long side, iron about 1/4″ in for a hem to be stitched.
Now that you’ve ironed that long piece, stitched a little 1/4″ hem on each long side, place it along the center spine area (see the notch at the bottom there) and pin pin pin everything down.
Now that everything has been pinned, flip it over so the fleece side is facing up. See the pin heads sticking out so you can see them? Uh-huh. I knew you did. Now get ready to SEW the final seams that will make this into something very YOU and very UNIQUE!
Not a great photo, but listen to the instructions here. When you sew this seam, remember the pen marks you made way at the beginning showing the outline of your binder? Those marks should also be the ENDING point of your iron-on fleece. DO NOT SEW ON THE PEN LINES!!! Set up your seam to be about 1/8″ BEYOND the fleece and pen marks. This is so hugely important if you want your creation to turn and stay flat. Remember how I don’t like bulk? If you don’t do this, you will not only have bulk, but you may have a binder cover that won’t easily slip on or off the binder for easy cleaning. So please heed the warning. After sewing the top and bottom seam, trim these seams down to 1/4″ to 1/2″, whatever you are comfortable with. Just get rid of the extra BULK!
Once you have done all your seams (and yes, there are only two seams to be sewn in the last step: the top and the bottom of the binder cover) it’s the time for the REVEAL! Take you hand and get underneath that middle section you did in the last step, and grab either front or back fabrics and pull it through. Do the same for the other side. Take a chop stick, YES, a chop stick and get the corners turned the best way possible (this one shows rounded corners, but they don’t have to be if you’re a beginner – make STRAIGHT lines if it’s easier).
Once it has been turned right side out, get your steam iron in gear and press along all edges.
See what can happen if you are not afraid of your iron? Steam your cover into place – make it crisp and sharp. I know you can do it. This just shows the inside front and back of the embellishments I decided to include.
Now get your binder – fold front and back backwards on itself and slip the ‘sleeves’ of your cover right into place. Work with it a little and hopefully it will be JUST enough of a loose fit that there are NO struggles getting it placed onto the binder.
Thank you for coming along this ride with me! I’m now all ready for class, and if this has inspired you to do something creative for yourself, or someone you love, I would love to see what you’ve created!
Please leave questions, ideas or comments – I would love to hear them all!
Happy creating to all my blog-land friends.