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Fabric Journal Cover Tutorial

My sew along project this week is a fabric journal cover. When I was asked to prepare a project, my brain went blank. Then I started seeing potential projects everywhere. I now have loads of ideas. And for those that know me – I get obsessive about this kind of thing so be prepared.

Many times I lamented that I have no time to sew for fun, no time to experiment and no time to make some of those items that I wanted to make for quite some time. Well – I made time and it seemed the more that I created, the more the ideas for enhancing this basic journal cover kept popping into my head. I know I have to stop at some point, but I can’t. So be prepared for lots of information and lots of pictures.

Plus it’s a great way to learn all the ins and outs of the Husqvarna Viking H|Class 100Q.

Yes – all the journal covers in this sew along were sewn exclusively on the H|Class 100Q.

Let’s get started. Here’s a list of materials that you need. By the way – you can cover any book – just adjust the measurements and you’re good to go.

I chose two coordinating fabrics (100% cotton) for my basic journal cover (one is the outside of the journal cover and the other is the lining). You don't have to use cotton, but I suggest that you start with cotton and then you can experiment with other fabric types.
I chose two coordinating fabrics (100% cotton) for my basic journal cover (one is the outside of the journal cover and the other is the lining). You don’t have to use cotton, but I suggest that you start with cotton and then you can experiment with other fabric types.

 

FUSIBLE interfacing. It's very important that you get the fusible interfacing (it should be fusible on one side only). You may or may not be doing any stitching on your piece and the job of the interfacing is to stabilize the cotton. I chose a heavy weight interfacing to work with the cotton fabric.
FUSIBLE interfacing. It’s very important that you get the fusible interfacing (it should be fusible on one side only). You may or may not be doing any stitching on your piece and the job of the interfacing is to stabilize the cotton. I chose a heavy weight interfacing to work with the cotton fabric.

 

Inexpensive journals. They were purchased at the dollar store. Any size of journal will work - you'll just have to adjust the measurements accordingly.
Inexpensive journals. They were purchased at the dollar store. Any size of journal will work – you’ll just have to adjust the measurements accordingly.

 

This journal comes with an elastic closure on the back which you'll not be able to use once the cover is on.
This journal comes with an elastic closure on the back which you’ll not be able to use once the cover is on.

 

Simply cut off the elastic. Don't throw it out. NO - put that elastic with your other elastic supplies. You never know when you'll need a piece of coloured elastic. Is it just me who is that crazy to keep EVERYTHING???
Simply cut off the elastic. Don’t throw it out. NO – put that elastic with your other elastic supplies. You never know when you’ll need a piece of coloured elastic. Is it just me who is that crazy to keep EVERYTHING???

 

Now measure your journal. DO NOT measure the journal like this. Note the number on the measuring tape - 12 inches. However look what happens when we close the journal.
Now measure your journal. DO NOT measure the journal like this. Note the number on the measuring tape – 12 inches. However look what happens when we close the journal.

 

YES - do you see? The measurement is now 1 and 1/4" LONGER than it was when the journal was open. It's VERY important that you use a tape measure to measure the width of the piece required for the outer part of the journal cover and measure the journal when it's CLOSED.
YES – do you see? The measurement is now 1 and 1/4″ LONGER than it was when the journal was open. It’s VERY important that you use a tape measure to measure the width of the piece required for the outer part of the journal cover and measure the journal when it’s CLOSED.

 

This journal measures 13 1/4″ W x 8 1/2″ H.

I must add a seam allowance and a little extra for ease.

Therefore the formula is:

the width of the book (13 1/4″) + seam allowance (1/2″) – [1/4″ for the left side and 1/4″ for the right side] + 1/4″ for ease. The same formula applies to the height of the book.

= The final size will be 14″ x 9 1/4″. I cut my piece slightly larger – once I was finished with any stitching – then I trimmed it down to the correct size.

Cut a piece of interfacing the same size as the outer piece. In this case - cut the interfacing 14" by 9 1/4" - again, I cut it slightly larger than the final size. It will be trimmed when the stitching (if any) is complete. Fuse the interfacing to the wrong side of the journal cover.
Cut a piece of interfacing the same size as the outer piece. In this case – cut the interfacing 14″ by 9 1/4″ – again, I cut it slightly larger than the final size. It will be trimmed when the stitching (if any) is complete. Fuse the interfacing to the wrong side of the journal cover.

 

If you're going to do any stitching, now is the time to do so. I used black thread and you can only see the stitching from the wrong side of the piece. YES - I would normally trim my threads as I go, but since this piece has to be trimmed - I left the threads hanging. It's NOT necessary to do any stitching, but I wanted to add extra security to the interfacing and outlined some of the shapes on the outer cover. Trim the journal cover to the correct size. In this case - it is now 14" x 9 1/4".
If you’re going to do any stitching, now is the time to do so. I used black thread and you can only see the stitching from the wrong side of the piece. YES – I would normally trim my threads as I go, but since this piece has to be trimmed – I left the threads hanging. It’s NOT necessary to do any stitching, but I wanted to add extra security to the interfacing and outlined some of the shapes on the outer cover. Trim the journal cover to the correct size. In this case – it is now 14″ x 9 1/4″.

 

Cut the inside of the journal cover. You'll need three pieces. I cut TWO pieces that create the pockets for the cover of the journal to slide into. These measure 6" x 9 1/4". And the third piece is hidden behind the journal, but this piece is necessary to get a clean finish on the top and bottom edge of the journal cover. I cut this piece 5" x 9 1/4". Note the height of these pieces has to be the same height at the journal cover, but the width of them can be varied depending on how big you want the pocket to be. You'll see in a minute when we sew it together.
Cut the inside of the journal cover. You’ll need three pieces. I cut TWO pieces that create the pockets for the cover of the journal to slide into. These measure 6″ x 9 1/4″. And the third piece is hidden behind the journal, but this piece is necessary to get a clean finish on the top and bottom edge of the journal cover. I cut this piece 5″ x 9 1/4″. Note the height of these pieces has to be the same height at the journal cover, but the width of them can be varied depending on how big you want the pocket to be. You’ll see in a minute when we sew it together.

 

Press under 1/2" on the inside edge of the two pockets. (the 6" wide pieces). This will create a hem for the pocket. No need for stitching unless you want to.
Press under 1/2″ on the inside edge of the two pockets. (the 6″ wide pieces). This will create a hem for the pocket. No need for stitching unless you want to.

 

Lay the two pockets (with the pressed under hem towards the center) onto the outside edges of the journal cover (right sides together).
Lay the two pockets (with the pressed under hem towards the center) onto the outside edges of the journal cover (right sides together).

 

Center the third piece of the journal lining over the opening between the side pockets.
Center the third piece of the journal lining over the opening between the side pockets.

 

Pin WELL and stitch around all four sides using 1/4" seam allowance
Pin WELL and stitch around all four sides using 1/4″ seam allowance

 

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Trim the corners - don't get too close to the seam, but you need to get rid of the extra bulk in the corners. Then turn the journal cover inside out. Use one of the two openings in the journal lining (remember the three pieces of the lining are NOT joined together)
Trim the corners – don’t get too close to the seam, but you need to get rid of the extra bulk in the corners. Then turn the journal cover inside out. Use one of the two openings in the journal lining (remember the three pieces of the lining are NOT joined together)

 

Use a point turner to gently poke out the corners. Press well. You may have to roll the edge of the cover between your fingers as you iron so that the lining and the journal cover will lie flat and the lining will not show on the front. This is the front of the journal cover (notice you do not see any of the red lining around the edges)
Use a point turner to gently poke out the corners. Press well. You may have to roll the edge of the cover between your fingers as you iron so that the lining and the journal cover will lie flat and the lining will not show on the front. This is the front of the journal cover (notice you do not see any of the red lining around the edges)

 

The inside of the journal cover (it's a total fluke that it appears the images are lined up). Again - you don't see any of the black cover around the edges. You can see how the three pieces of the lining work - completely covers the inside of the journal cover.
The inside of the journal cover (it’s a total fluke that it appears the images are lined up). Again – you don’t see any of the black cover around the edges. You can see how the three pieces of the lining work – completely covers the inside of the journal cover.

 

The journal inserted into the journal cover.
The journal inserted into the journal cover.

 

VOILA - a beautiful journal cover. And it probably takes less time to make than it did for me to write this out!
VOILA – a beautiful journal cover. And it probably takes less time to make than it did for me to write this out!

 

Tomorrow we’re going to look at some creative ways to dress up that basic journal cover. Don’t forget to get your supplies out and make a cover today. Send a picture so we can post it and admire your creativity.

Have a great day!

Ciao!

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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