Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Made: Fabric Covered Journal DIY

Fabric covered journals aren't a new concept, but after reviewing this project again in Sania Pell's 'Homemade Home' I was inspired to put my own spin on it. The best part? If you sew, you probably already have everything you need, plus you could definitely do it in one evening!
I have to say I was really motivated to do this project simply because I am so excited about what the future contents of this book will be! Most of you probably know I freelance for a living. I mainly edit medical research articles, but I also do some teaching and coaching. While I like the nature of my work and like to support a good cause (and help people), I get far more excited about creative endeavors. Ever since I went to the Handarbeit + Hobby Fachmesse Fair where Allison and I met Amy Butler earlier this year, I've been dying to work in the creative industry somehow. Just recently I was contacted by a couple of creatives about helping them in their work, one of which is a longer-term contract. Needless to say, I'm super excited! So to celebrate taking a step into the creative business world, I thought I would dress up one of the notebooks I'll be using.

I don't think it's too hard to cover a book, so I'm not going to spend time on that. However, I wanted to personalize my cover beyond a fabric's pattern. I've been really liking messy-stitched applique trend and thought I could try that on this project. The end result is a very tactile book with a lot of visual dimension.

What I used:
* sewing machine with zig-zag stitch (even the older machines have this)
* solid base fabric (I used curtain remnant which was almost too thick to work with)
* patterned fabric with shapes you can easily cut out (I used Ikea's Gronska Blom)
* contrast thread for stitching (optional, I didn't have a color I was loving, so I just went with a matching color I had on hand)
* ribbon for a bookmark (I like the durability of grosgrain)
* a third fabric to line your book (optional)
* adhesive (fabric glue worked well for me, but stronger double-sided tape would be wonderful; sadly mine wasn't strong enough, probably because of the heavy curtain fabric I used)
Cut your patterned fabric out and decide on placement. TIP: I folded my background fabric around my book and used the creases as my guidelines. I wanted a wrap-around effect for main main applique piece, so it took a little wiggling to get things right. Pin cutouts into place. If you want to add a bookmark ribbon, plan that now as well. I used a smaller cutout of my patterned fabric to hold down my ribbon.

***NOTE*** I thought I was so clever adding three bookmark ribbons; while that might have been a nice idea, it would have been smart to put them close to the spine of the book. Good idea, bad execution. I ended up having to snip 2 ribbons because of poor placement. Whoops. Learn from my mistake!
Zig-zag stitch the cutouts onto your background fabric. Mine looks pretty tatty, but since that's the look I was going for, I don't care. Expect it to take a while if you want a cleaner look, especially if your shape has an irregular border!
Neatly adhere the cover to your book. Now, you could stop here, but since the outside looks so nice, I decided to keep going and polish off the insides. I grabbed another blue fabric I had (curtain liner remnant, woot) and cut it to size. For the inside of the front cover I cut a longer section to fold over so I could have a pocket.

I could have just placed my rectangles in my book, but it looked unfinished to me. I thought if I just stitched a border it would look a little more intentional plus make it look as though I'd sewn it onto the cover itself. Then I figured I'd just go ahead and add some applique inside to continue the look of the book cover. The bonus to this was that when I added my fabric glue to the back, I just did it along the stitching and any bumps from the glue were hidden.

I'm really happy with my finished project! This really didn't take long at all and I especially love the little pocket on the inside. Yay!


Monica said...


Barb said...

How fun -- good for you. I've done this same technique on a favorite Bible that was falling apart and "resurrected it from the dead"! Excited to hear about your new venture!

dunja said...

liebe juliette, danke für das ausführliche tutorial! die hüllen sind wunderschön-gemacht!!! herzliche grüße, dunja

StarletStarlet said...

Secret pocket! That's so smart and cutely made too! Great project~

Sewandthecity said...

I love your fabric covered journal…it turned out great and the detail with the ribbons and the flower is just gorgeous!

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