Sunday 18 November 2012

How To Make A Notebook Fabric Cover

You know I like to make stuff, and I like to sew, and I love stationery, well what would be the perfect thing for me to make?


Fabric covered notebook

A fabric cover for a notebook (or diary or address book).

I was inspired by this one I found at Patchwork Delights blog

patchwork delights

And it is pretty easy to make. I made my first one at a workshop held by Jo Leatherland at Heartstitch Workshops in Stamford. I have unashamedly borrowed her tutorial to share with you here.

First measure the book you are going to cover.
Measure the length of the book from top to bottom, then add 5cm for seam allowances.
Then measure around the width of the notebook. You need to start at the right hand edge of the front cover and measure all the way around the back. You can't just measure the width and double it because you also need to allow for the depth of the notebook and the spine. Take this measurement and add 5 cm for seam allowances.

You will need to cut two pieces of fabric of these dimensions. One for the outer cover and one for the lining.

Next you need to measure the flaps that secure the notebook inside its cover. This is the length of the notebook from top to bottom plus 5 cm, by the width of the notebook (literally just the width this time) plus 5 cm. You need to cut two pieces of these dimensions. I used the same fabric as the outer.

Next you can cut an optional pocket for the inside of the front flap. This needs to be half the width of the notebook plus 5cm by 20cm in length. Cut this from the lining fabric for a contrast if you wish.

Finally cut a strip of lining fabric for the spine. This needs to be the length of the notebook plus 5cm, by approximately 10cm in width. The width is dependent on the depth of the notebook, the thicker the book the wider the spine, so use your judgement to adjust this according to your notebook.

If you have used dress weight fabric you will need to add a layer of medium weight interfacing to reinforce the cover. Cut this to the size of the cover piece of fabric. I would also add interfacing to the flap pieces. If you are using heavier weight fabric you won't need interfacing.

You should have a selection of pieces that looks like this. (I forgot to add the spine piece to the photo - numpty!)

your pieces

If you fancy adding embellishment to your cover like embroidery or applique, do this now before you construct the cover. I added a little embroidery to mine. You can be as creative as you wish! But make sure that whatever embellishment you add is sited correctly on the fabric for your cover.

Now sewing.

Fold and iron a seam allowance of 1cm along each long side of the spine piece. Line this up centrally on your outer cover section and top stitch along both long edges to secure. You could use contrasting sewing thread or a fancy stitch on your sewing machine.

Top stitch the spine

Take the pocket section and fold in half with right sides together along its length so that it measures about 10cm by the width of your flap. Sew along one side of this piece and turn right side out. Then top stitch along the top folded edge.

Take each flap piece and fold and press in half lengthwise with wrong sides together. Ensure the interfacing is sandwiched in the middle if you are using it.

Pocket on your front flap

Place your pocket piece on to what will be the left hand flap lining up the bottom edge. Top stitch closely to the right hand edge to join the pocket to the flap.

Now it is time to join all the pieces together.

First lay the outer cover piece right side up on your work surface.
Next lay each flap section to meet the left and right edges of the cover piece. Ensure that the folded edge is centremost and raw edges are meeting the left and right edges of the cover. The pocket should be facing down.
Next lay the lining piece on top with the right side down.

Layer up your pieces

Pin through all the layers and stitch all the way around the cover starting and ending at the bottom but leaving a 5cm gap through which you will turn the cover inside out.

Don't forget to leave a gap

Trim the fabric back close to your stitching to reduce bulk. Cut across all the corners to within a couple of millimeters of the stitching so your corners can be turned easily.

Trim seams and corners

When you have turned the cover you will need to use a pencil or the end of a knitting needle to push the corners right through. When you have done this press your cover thoroughly and then topstitch all the way around.

Top stitch edges

It is now ready to fit onto your notebook :-)

Moment of truth

If you have a go, do come back and add a link to it in the comments. Joining the Pinaddicts


  1. It's gorgeous! I just love the fabric that you have chosen!

  2. What a fantastic tutorial, and it turned out GREAT! you're so clever.... thanks so much for linking up, will FB and tweet and PIN of course! xx

  3. Very very pretty. Brilliant tutorial, thanks for sharing x

  4. OOooo gorgeous fabric. What a wonderful tutorial too. Have you ever considered teaching? :)

  5. I love it! I've already pinned it for a future project!

  6. I LOVE your fabric!

    Made one of these as an idea notebook for a craty friend, I think the little pockets make it....I didn't do the spine bit (didn't think of that!) but it looks lovely, so I shall give it a go next time!


  7. That looks rather fabby tastic and agree - the fabric is lush! x

  8. This looks great, and great tutorial too x

  9. I love that you embroidered the centre of some of the flowers

  10. Yours looks fab - but even following the instructions to the letter - mine was far too big! Not sure what went wrong!! Double checked my measurements too..? Instead of adding 5cm SA, next time I would instead add 3cm.

  11. So sorry that yours turned out too big Sarah, I like to have it a bit bigger so if I get a thicker note book to refill it with next time there is room. A good tip is to pin it together and then slip the notebook in to double check the size so you can adjust to fit. Thanks for commenting and letting me know x

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  13. this is very interesting to me, so it makes me want to learn it.


Oooh, I do like a good comment :-)