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Crazy about Fabric Journal Covers

Today is the day where you get to see just how ‘crazy about fabric journal covers’ I was with this assignment. Seriously, the more journal covers I made, the more the ideas came pouring into my head. I’d be out walking the dog – ‘OH – that would be a great idea’. I was quilting quilts – ‘OH – that would be a great idea’. And I got to test out the techniques on the Husqvarna Viking H|Class 100Q as well.

There was nothing that machine could not do. It never let me down once.

Three appliqued flowers from our post of June 6, 2014 on QUILTsocial.
Three appliqued flowers from our post of June 6, 2014 on QUILTsocial.

 

Let’s start with the appliqued posies I made when I was test driving the H|Class 100Q. Did you get a posie made? I would love to see your journal cover or other item that you created using the posies.

I used this posie block to make it into a journal cover at the retreat.
I used this posie block to make it into a journal cover at the retreat.

 

I started with the blue background posie.

Found two coordinating fabrics. I’m a very precise sewer/quilter. My pieces are always accurately cut but in making the journal covers, I loosened up – and roughly cut pieces. No need to get too crazy about this process. After all, we are supposed to be having fun.

Fabric ready to make a fabric journal cover.
Fabric ready to make a fabric journal cover.

 

I made a guest book for the retreat house. After I assembled the top, I had this brilliant idea of adding the words “guest” and “book” to the cover.

I had to free hand draw those letters (not my strength, but no other option). The preciseness in me said that I could not leave those letters raw edge, so I ended up doing a blanket stitch around them. I know – the H|Class 100Q stitched around them all with no problems.

It was fussy, but well worth it in the end. I apologize for the quality of the photo – I left the book at the retreat house without getting any pictures.

Add meaningful words to the cover like 'guest' and 'book', or other words that inspire you.
Add meaningful words to the cover like ‘guest’ and ‘book’, or other words that inspire you.

 

Here's a close up of the journal cover. Again - the only picture I have. I so wanted you to see what I did with the journal cover.
Here’s a close up of the journal cover. Again – the only picture I have. I so wanted you to see what I did with the journal cover.

 

A great way to showcase and play with the variety of stitches on the H|Class 100Q crazy quilting journal cover.
A great way to showcase and play with the variety of stitches on the H|Class 100Q crazy quilting journal cover.

 

On this journal cover, I created a piece of crazy patchwork that was slightly larger than the size needed for the journal cover. Then I had fun trying out all the stitches on the H|Class 100Q. What a great way to see all the stitches and test the variety of widths and lengths that are available.

I used several different colors and types of thread. No problem for the H|Class 100Q. The FIX button on the sewing machine came in very handy for this exercise. I simply hit the FIX button – the sewing machine tied a knot to secure the end of the thread. I used the FIX button at the beginning and end of each row of stitching.

It's a good idea to do a test stitch-out before you get to work on your good piece. Test the tension, test the thread, test where and how the stitch patterns stop and start. If you don't - you will not be happy with the results.
It’s a good idea to do a test stitch-out before you get to work on your good piece. Test the tension, test the thread, test where and how the stitch patterns stop and start. If you don’t – you will not be happy with the results.

 

This journal cover incorporated one of the orange posies with some batik fabric
This journal cover incorporated one of the orange posies with some batik fabric

 

I decided to try putting a pocket on the inside cover. I started by putting interfacing on the inside of one of the journal cover lining pieces.

Putting interfacing on the inside of one of the journal cover lining pieces.
Putting interfacing on the inside of one of the journal cover lining pieces.

 

Pocket is hemmed and one side folded under.
Pocket is hemmed and one side folded under.

 

I hemmed the top of the pocket and folded one side under. Then I laid the pocket onto the journal cover lining. The two raw edges of the pocket are lined up with the raw edges of the journal cover lining.

The pocket is lined up in the fabric journal cover
The pocket is lined up in the fabric journal cover

 

Then I stitched down the folded under edge and reinforced the top corner of the pocket.

Pocket in fabric journal cover stitched down.
Pocket in fabric journal cover stitched down.

 

The inside pocket of the fabric journal cover.
The inside pocket of the fabric journal cover.

 

Next I bought a small crocheted doily from the thrift store. I appliqued it to the journal cover. In addition I did a couple of other rows of stitching in the center of the doily to hold it in place.

I also added a book mark to this journal cover.

Crocheted doily used as journal cover.
Crocheted doily used as journal cover.

 

Add the bookmark between the journal cover and the middle piece of the lining. Make sure to tuck that book mark up so it doesn’t get caught in the bottom seam.

Sewing on the bookmark.
Sewing on the bookmark.

 

The inside of the journal cover and you can see the book mark inserted in the top seam.
The inside of the journal cover and you can see the book mark inserted in the top seam.

 

I didn't like the bookmark just dangling without anything at the end, so I made a small tab and sewed the tab to the ribbon.
I didn’t like the bookmark just dangling without anything at the end, so I made a small tab and sewed the tab to the ribbon.

 

Found some decorator fabric that has been sitting in the stash for YEARS. Guess what it was earmarked to be used for? YES – journal covers. I find that very funny. The journals were even with the fabric. Well I can say that I have used it now. I also added a book mark to this journal cover.

Upholstery fabric has a perfect texture for a fabric journal cover,
Upholstery fabric has a perfect texture for a fabric journal cover,

 

A bead was added to the end of the book mark.
A bead was added to the end of the book mark.

 

This fabric wanted to fray a lot, so I used the SEAM and OVERCAST stitch (04) on the H|Class 100Q to secure the edges.
This fabric wanted to fray a lot, so I used the SEAM and OVERCAST stitch (04) on the H|Class 100Q to secure the edges.

 

So the H|Class 100Q can sew fabric, but can it sew other things?

I have always wanted to “make” my own fabric. I got out the craft glue and some tissue paper. I laid out a base of freezer paper, then a piece of muslin as the base for my “new” fabric. Then I ripped up the tissue paper and coated everything with glue/water mixture. Let it dry over night.

The process of making "fabric" from tissue paper.
The process of making “fabric” from tissue paper.

 

This is what I ended up with. At first, I was a bit disappointed because the end result was a bit bland, but that was the only type of tissue paper I could quickly get my hands on – OK – so it was late at night! Now we have a new piece of “fabric”, but what can we do with it?

The raw paper fabric waiting to be trimmed.
The raw paper fabric waiting to be trimmed.

 

Although the "fabric" was pretty stiff, I still put a layer of fusible interfacing on the wrong side. I also did NOT want to pin through the paper, so I used binding clips to pin the pieces together. That worked slick.
Although the “fabric” was pretty stiff, I still put a layer of fusible interfacing on the wrong side. I also did NOT want to pin through the paper, so I used binding clips to pin the pieces together. That worked slick.

 

The H|Class 100Q sewed through all those layers like a knife through butter. I could barely wait to get it turned inside out. Oh yes – that was a test of strength for me. Perhaps I didn’t need quite that heavy of a stabilizer on this particular fabric. But I got it turned and pressed and I LOVE IT.  Like I said – I was a bit disappointed at first, but now I love it.

Journal cover made with tissue paper.
Journal cover made with tissue paper.

 

With some of the left over scraps that were cut off when I trimmed the piece, I had enough to make a tab closure.  I did not turn it inside out. Just folded in half and stitched around the edges. I sewed a piece of Velcro to the journal cover (before adding the lining) and then the other part of the Velcro to the tab.

I am thrilled with the piece.

Velcro tab on tissue fabric journal cover.
Velcro tab on tissue fabric journal cover.

 

I did something interesting on the inside pocket of the journal cover. I added a place for the owner to put their name.
I did something interesting on the inside pocket of the journal cover. I added a place for the owner to put their name.

 

I know – you want to know how I did that…

I made the image in a word processing program. Then I taped the piece of lining (make it bigger than needed as the edges will fray when you take the tape off) to a scrap piece of paper. Then I ran the paper and the fabric through the ink jet printer.

Give it a good press to heat set, trim to size and ready to sew.

How to stabilize fabric to print on inkjet printers.
How to stabilize fabric to print on inkjet printers.

 

Are you seeing a pattern here? My obsessive side is coming out loud and clear.

Like I said – once I got started, I couldn’t stop. The ideas were coming faster than I could process them. WAIT – I’m not done. There’s more.

My friend Mary gave me some orphan blocks that she no longer wanted. Hmmm – I wonder if there’s anything in that bag that could be made into a journal cover?

These look interesting.

Orphan blocks used for journal covers, uses of orphan blocks.
Orphan blocks used for journal covers, uses of orphan blocks.

 

Here is a great design with those orphan blocks. And there are a few more of these blocks left. I see more journal covers.
Here is a great design with those orphan blocks. And there are a few more of these blocks left. I see more journal covers.

 

Another orphan block from Mary. Looks so cute as a journal cover. The orphan block is the lady bug - I found the other green in my stash.
Another orphan block from Mary. Looks so cute as a journal cover. The orphan block is the lady bug – I found the other green in my stash.

 

I added some glue on crystals for the spots on the lady bug.
I added some glue on crystals for the spots on the lady bug.

 

And yet another orphan block from Mary. I mean - really what are you going to do with ONE block like this? Certainly not make more blocks to make a quilt. A journal cover is the perfect solution.
And yet another orphan block from Mary. I mean – really what are you going to do with ONE block like this? Certainly not make more blocks to make a quilt. A journal cover is the perfect solution.

 

In this case – the block was a hexagon.

I just added black to make the block the size I needed for the journal cover. I chose to put the block in the center, but you could position it wherever you like.

Don’t forget to take seam allowances into account.

Orphan blocks used in a fabric journal cover.
Orphan blocks used in a fabric journal cover.

 

Got a scrap of embroidery that you have no idea what to do with?

I made this many years ago and it has been languishing in a box.  While I was coming up with ideas, I remembered this piece.  The design came from Lorelei Designs and  I confess my machine embroidery skills were not the best (I’ve since improved), but it is perfect for a journal cover.

Using machine embroidery as a journal cover.
Using machine embroidery as a journal cover.

 

Another journal cover DONE. YES - notice I did trim those thread jumps from the first photo!
Another journal cover DONE.
YES – notice I did trim those thread jumps from the first photo!

 

This journal cover started out as a mini-quilt. The president of our guild gave us a challenge at the beginning of last year. We each got a bag with three buttons. We were to make a mini quilt.  I got mine part way done and then time ran out. As I was searching for more things to make into journal covers, I thought of my unfinished mini quilt.  Yep – the size was pretty much right on.

Did a bit of stitch in the ditch and another journal cover is born.

Journal cover using buttons, Journal cover converted from mini quilt.
Journal cover using buttons, Journal cover converted from mini quilt.

 

Did you notice the elastic and button closure on the journal?

Well I had to make use of my three buttons. Two of them became decorative elements and the third button is functional. I used a color coordinated hair elastic that I cut apart at the join. Then I sewed the elastic into the seam.  I reinforced that seam a couple of times.

Button closure on fabric journal cover.
Button closure on fabric journal cover.

 

I even used the machine to sew on the two flat buttons.  I know – you can do anything with a sewing machine. Well not everything. I had to hand stitch that fancy button on. It had a shank and I didn’t think I could get the machine to stitch that, although I am sure there is some way!

Sewing buttons on fabric journal cover with sewing machine.
Sewing buttons on fabric journal cover with sewing machine.

 

If you were counting, you would have taken note that I only showed you TWO journal covers made with my posie block. Here is the third.
If you were counting, you would have taken note that I only showed you TWO journal covers made with my posie block. Here is the third.

 

Size matters. I did say that you could make a journal cover for any size journal. Just use the formula.
Size matters. I did say that you could make a journal cover for any size journal. Just use the formula.

 

This is the journal cover I made for the small journal. Isn't it cute!!!
This is the journal cover I made for the small journal. Isn’t it cute!!!

 

Before I go – here are a couple of tips to help you with your journal cover making.

If you do not have a ruler big enough to cut the journal cover – then simply put two rulers  together to get the size needed. Just watch when you cut where the two rulers meet – you do not want to nick your cutter on the second ruler.

How to use two rulers as one for cutting large pieces.
How to use two rulers as one for cutting large pieces.

 

You may want to reinforce the corners of your journal cover. I stitched around the perimeter of the journal cover, then I went back and stitched an L around the corner. Just in case I got too excited in the process of poking out the corners.

How to reinforce corners of journal covers.
How to reinforce corners of journal covers.

 

I made 17 journal covers.  Oh dear – a tad obsessive to say the least. In case you are checking up on me – I gave one journal cover away already and my daughter has hers.

Finished journal covers.
Finished journal covers.

 

There you have it – way more than you ever wanted to know about making journal covers.

But imagine the possibilities in the great gift ideas – can be customized for anyone and any occasion. So simple, the journal cover can be made by anyone. The possibilities are endless.

Don’t forgot that ALL the stitching on those covers – the stitching on the outside and the assembly were all done on the Husqvarna Viking H|Class 100Q. Goes to show you that you do not need a top of the line sewing machine to make beautiful things. You just need a basic machine and some imagination.

Don’t forget to send us pictures of your journal cover.  I would really love to see them.

It’s fun to be crazy about fabric journal covers – it inspires so much creativity and on that note – I am off to work on another project.

Elaine Theriault is a teacher, writer and pattern designer who is completely obsessed with quilting. Elaine’s Tech Tips column (originally published in A Needle Pulling Thread magazine) is now available online in e-book format at QUILTsocial.com. When not quilting, she enjoys spending time with her two dogs, Lexi and Murphy, or can be found cycling across the country. Her blog is crazyquilteronabike.blogspot.com.

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