Wednesday, February 13, 2013

52 Crafts in 52 Weeks – Week Six and a Journal Cover Tutorial

If there is one realization I have come to over these past five weeks of craft blogging, then it is definitely how quickly the days go by!  No sooner do we finish one craft project, photograph it and document it on my blog, the next one is ready to be undertaken!  But so far I think we have done remarkably well and I can honestly say we have enjoyed every minute.   I look forward to many more hours of creating pleasure this year...

This week I have decided to share a tutorial for a sewing project with all my readers.  This tutorial was developed by my thirteen year old sister, Nancy and I.  Nancy came up with the method of making a fabric covered journal cover through some genius innovation and then I had the task of testing and tweaking it.  I have also spent some time writing a tutorial, as well as taking photographs to illustrate my instructions and help you along.  

 The lovely thing about our way of making these journal covers is that they are padded to prevent damage to the book and can come on and off to be washed or placed on a new diary or journal of the same size.  They are really very simple to make, provided you keep your wits about you in when joining everything together!!  Anyone can enjoy making a pretty cover for their journal or diary and I hope you will find this tutorial easy and informative.  If you have any trouble, please feel free to contact me and I will get back to you.

Things you will need to gather, buy and organize before you start:

Two coordinating fabrics of your choice
Thread to match
A hardcover book or diary (Although my measurements are suited to a 14.5x21cm book, you can make a cover for any size book.  You just need to add on 1cm to the top and 1cm on to the bottom of the book.  You will also have to add on 1.5cm to each side of the book, too.  Otherwise, follow the instructions as I have given them.)
Embellishments for the front cover (ribbon, lace, beads or buttons)
A sewing machine
A ruler or tape measure
Material and paper scissors
A pen and a tailor’s pen
A large piece of sturdy cardboard


1.  First of all you will need to make your template with the firm cardboard.  Cut out one piece to measure 23x33cm and the other to measure 23x9cm. 

2.  Now you will need to trace the 23x33cm template on both of your chosen fabrics.  You will also need to trace and cut out a piece of batting the same size, too.  All in all you will have two pieces of fabric (one for the cover, one for the inner) and one piece of batting.  Above I have made a basic ‘sketch’ on PowerPoint to hopefully help you understand a little better...  

3.  Using your 9x23cm template, trace it twice on both of your fabrics.  Cut out.  You should have four fabric rectangles measuring 9x23cm  (x2 of each fabric). 

4.  Now you can embellish your cover as you please.  I sewed ribbon onto mine but you can play around with many different things.  For example Nancy appliqued a material heart onto her front cover and it looked just beautiful – have fun and experiment!  Or if you prefer, leave it blank... 

5.  Once this has been done, you will need to pin the right sides of your flaps together.  One side of the flap must be of the one patterned fabric, and the other side must be of the other patterned fabric.  Pin only on the sides measuring 23cm.  Leave the tops open.


Sew a straight stitch along the pinned sides of the flaps.  Trim edges and turn the right way around.  Place iron on a very low heat and press seams flat. 

6.  Now comes the part where all distractions need to be removed or you need to be removed from all distractions:)  In other words, much concentration is required...  Begin by laying out your cover fabric right side up on a clear surface.  Then gather your flaps.  Lay them down on each side of the cover like this.  Place same pattern to same pattern as shown below...

Now place the right side of the inner fabric down on top of the right side of the cover fabric.  Place the batting on top of that piece as pictured below. 

Basically the order must be: cover fabric – flaps – inner fabric – batting.  NB:  Before you pin and sew, do a double and a triple check – it saves time, unpicking and frustration further along - trust me, I know:D

7.  You can now carefully pin everything together and sew, leaving a small opening on the back side of the cover at the bottom.  I used the machine’s foot as a guide for my seam allowance to ensure the book fitted snugly in its cover...

8.  Once you have finished joining everything together, trim edges and turn the cover right way around.  You will need to press and iron the seams flat for a neat finish.  The small gap at the bottom through which you turned the fabric the right way around now needs to be closed up using a slip stitch.  I found this part extremely tricky and had to ask my mom to help me.  Use cotton that will not easily be seen...

Now smooth out cover and place your book or diary inside.  You might need to give the book a light iron on both sides to flatten the batting a bit.

...And you’re done!

I hope you have found this tutorial of help to you.  If you decide to give it a go, then I would love you leave me a comment telling me how you got on and if anything was wrong with my instructions – it would be a pleasure to hear from you!  And if you have a photograph of your finished journal cover, then you can either leave me a comment with the link to a photograph, or mail me at!  Happy sewing!

With much crafty love

P.S.  My seventh verse of fifty two for 2013 is James 1:19...
“Let everyone be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to get angry.”

Please do not copy any part of this tutorial or any of my photographs without written permission.  If you so kindly wish to feature or link my post somewhere, please let me know so I can also have a look!!

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