Thursday 9 October 2014

New journal cover tutorial

One of my most popular free tutorials over the years has been my journal cover tutorial. I have returned to it over and over to whiz up a quick gift. 

I've updated my tutorial to provide instructions to custom fit the dimensions of any journal. I've also come up with a couple of nifty options for elastic closures. Enjoy!

Step 1: Preliminary measuring

Measure and record the length (A) of your journal in inches.


Measure and record the total width of the back cover + spine + front cover of your journal(B) in inches. Do this by wrapping your measuring tape around your closed journal. 


A = length of journal
B = total width of back cover + spine + front cover of journal

Step 2: Gather your supplies

  • Main fabric - yardage required = (A + 2)" For example, a journal with length 9" requires 11" x width of fabric
  • Lightweight fusible batting, e.g. Vilene H630 - (A + 2)"
  • Lining fabric - (A + 2)"
  • ½" wide elastic - (A + 2)" length
  • General sewing supplies
  • Purchased white crocheted flower, approximately 2" diameter (optional)
  • White stranded embroidery cotton (optional)

Step 3: Cutting

From each of the main fabric and the fusible batting, cut: 
One rectangle that has a length of (A + 1)" and a width of (1.5 x B)".

From the lining fabric, cut: 
One rectangle that has a length of (A + 1)" and a width of B".

Step 4:

A ¼" seam allowance is used unless otherwise stated. 

Fuse the batting rectangle to the wrong side of the main fabric rectangle. 

Overlock or zigzag the short edges of both the main fabric and lining rectangles. Note: Overlocking or zigzagging the edges is optional - it just gives a neater and more robust finish.

Turn the short ends of the main fabric rectangle to the wrong side by ¼" to form a hem. Top stitch the hem in place.

Step 5: Optional embellishment

If you would like to embellish your journal cover with a crocheted flower, mark the centre of your cover with pins as shown below. Using a pencil, lightly mark a line 6½" long, at a point 4½" to the right of centre.

Please note, my journal is approximately A5 size. If your chosen journal is significantly different in size, you may need to 'eyeball' the position of your stem and flower.

Using 6 strands of embroidery floss, work a running stitch along this pencil line. Hand stitch the crocheted flower in place.

Step 6: Elastic closure #1

Cut the ½" wide elastic to the length of your cover. Position the elastic 1" in from the right hand edge. Baste the ends of the elastic in place at the top and bottom edges using ⅛" seam.

Step 7:

Place the main fabric rectangle wrong side down on a flat surface. Fold each of the short ends of the rectangle in equally, right sides together, so that the total width of the cover measures B". Pin the ends in place. 


Step 8: Lining the cover

Lay the lining rectangle on the cover, right sides together. Pin all layers together.

Using ¼" seam, sew along the top and bottom edges of the cover through all layers. Overlock or zigzag to neaten the seams if desired.

Step 9: Turning the cover

Turn the cover right side out and press well. This is the only step that can be a little confusing. I've addressed this in the following (rather dodgy!) clip:

That's it! Nothing remains but to slip your journal inside your cover and stand back to admire your work!

The elastic closure should extend from the front cover and wrap around the back of the journal.

The journal that I used had a transparent cover, which by chance was perfect because it allows you to see the lining fabric you've chosen when the journal is open.

A variation: Elastic closure #2

I made a second journal cover to show you an alternative elastic closure.

Follow the previous instructions up to and including Step 4. 
Place your main fabric rectangle wrong side down on a flat surface. Using a pencil, lightly mark vertical lines at equal distances from the left and right edges of the rectangle, so that the width between the lines measures (B + ½)", as shown below. 

Mark each of these lines at the midpoint. Place marks 2" either side of the midpoint on the left hand line.

Cut three 1¾" lengths of ½" wide elastic. Fold them in half to form loops and pin them at the three points that you just marked. The raw ends of the elastic should meet the marked line. Baste each of them in place using ⅛" seam, as shown below. 

Fold each of the short ends of the rectangle along the vertical pencil lines, right sides together. Sew a ¼" seam at each short end of the cover. This seam encloses the raw ends of the elastic loops.

Complete the journal cover by following the previous instructions from Step 8. Note that the width of lining fabric should lay between the two seam lines that you have just sewn. 

On turning your cover, it should look like this, with elastic loops at either end:

Insert your journal, and slide a pen through the loops to secure the journal closed. Nifty huh?

I hope you have as much fun with this tutorial as my previous one.

I would love to see your creations, so please send me photos! Best wishes, Bloom x
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