Fabric Covered Notebook with applique

I wanted to try something different today.  I really liked the JOY Christmas Pillow that Jennifer shared with us for the Seasonal Sewing series and I wanted to try my hand at applique.  But nothing on too big a scale in case it turned into something terrible and wasted my precious imported fabric stash.  At the same time, I just bought a new sewing notebook this morning so everything came together fortuitously and I made a Fabric Covered Notebook with applique.

Materials needed

All dimensions given are for my regular composition book.  Measure your book to see what size fabric you need.

  • Outer fabric – 16 x 10.5 inches
  • Inner fabric – 16 x 10.5 inches
  • Inner pockets – 2 at 8 x 10.5 inches
  • Plus scraps for the applique
  • Paper and pen for your template
  • Disappearing fabric marker
  • Piece of fleece

How to make a Fabric Covered Notebook

Measure the height of your book cover and add one inch.  My cover is 9.5 inches high, making the height of my fabric needed 10.5 inches

Measure around your book from the edge of one cover, across the spine to the edge of the cover on the other side.  Mine measured 15 inches so I added one inch to give me a piece of fabric 16 inches long.

Cut one piece of fabric for the outer, one the same size for the inner.  Then cut another piece the same size again for the two internal pockets and cut it in half.  Mine were two pieces at 8 x 10.5 inches.

Fold these two pocket pieces in half and press them.

The inside front pocket is where I decided to try out my first ever little applique.  Because of my stash of pink scraps and because Valentines Day is fast approaching, I decided to cut a small heart.  I drew this on the back side of some HeatnBond® Lite, then pressed it to the reverse of my fabric.

Then I could cut out my heart design accurately and press it again to ‘glue' it in place on my inside pocket.

I set a small zig-zag stitch and carefully stitched around the heart with the right hand swing of the needle just falling outside the edge of the heart shape.  I took it nice and slowly and kept pivoting the fabric as I went and voila – my first ever applique.  I think it turned out great.  Not the most exciting or unique subject, but I was delighted at my first attempt.

Now I wanted to try some reverse applique for the outside.  I drew a freehand irregular heart shape on paper and placed it on the fabric to see where I wanted to place it.  Draw around the template using a disappearing marker.

Then using a small stitch length, stitch a line of running stitches to trace the outline of the shape.  This will help us to turn it neatly.  Once its sewn, cut out the inside of the shape leaving about 1/2 inch of fabric inside, and then clip all around the shape up close to the traced stitching line.

Press the fabric to the underside, turning just enough so that the stitching line appears around the shape on the back.  Put this aside for now.

Use the paper template to draw the same shape on a piece of fleece or batting.

I arranged a few pink scraps of fabric how I wanted them, then roughly quilted them in place across the heart shape so I knew it would be fully covered, then cut away some of the extra fabric.

Now pin the cut out shape over the quilted backing fleece and stitch close to the edge of the shape to hold everything in place.  Pull the threads through to the back to knot them.  Then cut away any extra fleece and fabric.  Looking great!

Now it's time to put our pieces together to make the cover.  Place the cover fabric face up.  Then add on the internal pockets face down.  My applique heart for the inside is placed on the right with the heart facing down.  Then add the lining fabric face down over the top.  Pin in place, then stitch around leaving a space about 4 inches wide in the bottom center for turning.  Use a seam allowance a little less than half an inch.

Snip the corners, turn the cover right side out and give it a nice press.  Hand stitch that bottom opening closed and slide in your book.

It's done.  My first ever applique and reverse applique project was a success.  I learned some new skills, covered my boring sewing notebook in some pretty fabric and had fun doing it too.

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24 Responses to Fabric Covered Notebook with applique

  1. Pingback: Be Our Valentine: Projects for Your Loved Ones – blogdev.satellite.fm

  2. Maia says:

    I save 3-ring binders I get from commercial businesses and they have their name and or logo on. This is a wonderful way for my sewing room files to really look good and so easy. Thanks

  3. Doreen S says:

    Just now seeing it a year or so later – kind of slow huh? But it is just beautiful and looks like it would make a great quilt block done up in many different colors and tilted on different angles. You are so creative. Thank you for sharing with everyone.

  4. Gina says:

    I love this, Deby. This would be a good sewing project for my 7yr old and I to do together. She’s just getting into journaling. Thanks for linking it up at Tips and Tricks! 🙂 I hope you’ll be back next week. 🙂 Pinning and sharing!

  5. gayle says:

    Very cute, great tutorial.

  6. What a great tutorial and a great way to make a notebook look pretty!

  7. Val says:

    Hi Deby, just stopping in from Sewlicious. Your notebook cover is a work of art! Thank you for sharing your tutorial, and keep on stitching!

  8. Lovely idea! Will be trying it out soon…my daughter just loved it. Found you via Sew Many Ways!

  9. Christie says:

    I love this!! Great idea

  10. Sandra :) says:

    Saw your project on Threading My Way’s post so I came over for a peek – this is the cutest little book cover I’ve ever seen – I love it! I make covers too, for those notebooks – but mine are nowhere near as adorable as yours! Thank you for the great tutorial – I’m going to try this 🙂

  11. Pingback: {Reader Tutorials} Valentines Fabric Covered Notebook - And Sew We Craft

  12. Your reverse applique looks so effective, Deby!!!

  13. Natashalh says:

    I love the piece-y, quilted look of the heart!

  14. Awesome project! I love everything about it! Thanks for sharing tutorial!
    Hope you have a wonderful week!
    Hugs from Portugal,

  15. That’s a lovely cover – I haven’t tried reverse applique yet.

  16. Very nise heart!So sweet cover!

  17. Judy says:

    Very sweet fabric. It is a lovely notebook cover!!

  18. Clare says:

    This is lovely! Thank you for the instructions, I think I’ll have a go myself 🙂

  19. The sweetest notebook cover I’ve ever seen! You did a great job with your first reverse applique, Deby <3

    • Deby Coles says:

      I admit, I was really delighted with it! Lots of new things in one project for me. Sometimes its run to sew things that aren’t clothes and don’t need fitting.

What do you think?