12 Days of Christmas Project Five – Journal Covers

10 12 2011

Okay, I have a cup of tea so I am ready to post these instructions.  I have used the most basic of fabrics and embellishments for this project for three reasons: to show that projects don’t need to be complex to be effective; to focus on the construction not the ‘tizzy’ bits; and to keep this to a very quick project.

You can make these in any size, so I am going to tell you how to calculate your measurements rather than give you a set of measurements you must use.  You can make these with any fabrics; you can piece the back ground; you can use paints, inks, bleaching etc and surface design the fabric that you use as your feature;  you can make multiple layers, more than I did; or use luxury fabrics like velvets, silk, silk paper and more; you can do more embroidery either by hand or machine; you can bead, add lace, buttons or other embellishments.  In other words, one you master the very basic construction, the sky is the limit on how you decorate your covers.

Gather your materials.  You need some Light weight fusible Pellon (or similar soft wadding), fabric for the inside and outside, fabric for your feature and some embellishments (optional) .  In addition you need a rotary cutter, quilters ruler and cutting mat and your sewing machine with thread that matches your fabric.  I also used an offcut of Vliesofix (Wonder Under or whatever double sided web you like) plus some bonding powder.

The most important part is the book you are covering.  It needs to have a firmish cover, but does not need to be solid as the journal cover will add structure to the whole piece.  Initially I was going to cut some velvet circles for this project, but in the end, I choose not to use these.  Next time.

Measure your book.  To do that, open it out and measure from one side to the other, allowing for the binding method.  Wire like this book need a bit more than a flat spine.  Measure the height also.

To calculate what you need in materials, take the width of the opened book and multiply it by 1.75.  This gives you enough fabric to make the folds which hold the book in without going right to the inside of the spine.  So my book was 14 inches wide.  When I multiplied it and rounded it down, I cut my wadding and both fabrics to 24.5 inches.

For the height, you just use the height of the book plus half an inch which allows you two lots of a quarter inch seam.  My book was 9 inches tall, so everything was cut 24.5 by 9.5 inches.

Go to your iron and, with baking paper underneath to protect your ironing board, iron your fabric to both sides of the Pellon.  Right side out for both.  One will be inside your book, so it does not need to be beautiful, use scraps if you can.  If your Pellon does not have adhesive on either or both sides, cut some vliesofix to match, iron it to one side, remove the paper and iron your fabric down.  Repeat for the other side.  Either way, you want fabric adhered to Pellon or wadding on both sides.

Fold you pellon sandwich in half and measure or use your book as a guide, to place pins at the point away from the fold where the book ends, in other words, mark where you will be folding the flaps.  For a book that is 14 inches wide, my two pins will both be 7 inches from the centre fold.  This will allow define the space you have available to decorate and embellish.

Decorate your front (and back if you want to).  Experiment a bit to work out how many layers, what colours, and how you will apply these layers.  As I said before, I have kept this to the most basic.  I ironed some vliesofix to the back of the green fabric and cut out a 3 by 9.5 inch strip.  I also had the one inch rust coloured satin ribbon which I wanted to use.  I discarded my velvet at this stage.

My ribbon was a bit slippery and I did not want to cut it to straighten the sides, so I did not iron vliesofix to this, though I still wanted it to be fusible, so I used the bonding powder.  Bonding powder is like glue in a salt shaker, it is fantastic for items that are small, slippery, sheer or just mischievious in any way.  I dampened the ribbon with tap water  and lay it out flat.  Then I shook a small amount of bonding powder onto the damp ribbon.  The moisture lets the bonding powder grab and you can shake off the excess.  Reuse the excess by pouring it back into the shaker.

Iron the ribbon onto the fabric strip.  If you want your pieces to be straight, you need to spend a bit of time making sure that everything is squared up.  Use a ruler before you iron to make sure everything is straight.

Take the paper off the Vliesofix on the back of the fabric and iron it to your journal cover, carefully placing it and ensuring that everything is straight and square.

Stitch the fabric through all of the layers.  You might choose to do some decorative stitching here if you like.

Working on the wrong side, fold the short edges in about half an inch and stitch it down.  Don’t worry about exposed wadding, this is going to be the seam inside the inside flap.

Flip the cover over so that you have the outside up.  Fold the ends over to where your pins are marking the folds.  This should be right sides together on both ends.  Pin these in place and pop your book between or on the cover to check that it is going to be a firm, snug fit but not too snug.

Stitch these down at the top and bottom.  I started at one corner and stitched a quarter inch seam all the way across the whole piece to the other corner, then did the same on the bottom.  This secured my flaps but also gave me a fold line for the cover that is not going to be faced by the flaps.

Fold the flaps over, pushing out the corners.  Give the whole piece a good press, rolling the quarter inch seam into the inside.

Stitch the quarter inch seam down, close to the edge.  Now all your raw edges should be either faced or inside the cover.

Slip the covers of the book into the flaps, check that everything fits before you do any more embellishing.

Now that you are happy you can stop here or add some further embellishment.  Beading, buttons, lace, hand embroidery, you name it and you can add it.  I just used four of the Tim Holtz Idea-ology Embellishments  – the Muse Tokens.  I used the bronze ones as they went best with my colour scheme.  I will use the gold and silver on another project.  They really lift the whole piece, giving it a focal point.  I glued these down, but you can stitch them too (lazy and in a hurry – glue is good).

So, now you know how easy these are, you can make heaps in an evening and experiment with different fabrics and finishes.  I would love to see photos if you make some.





One response

10 12 2011
Sandra Askill

This looks good – never thought of covering display folders!

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