Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Tutorial : bound diary/journal cover...

Today I finished the final project for the November issue of Elefantz Home e-zine. YIPPEE!! 
I celebrated with a Pumpkin Spice Frappe, and it was delicious!
(recipe HERE if you're interested in making one yourself)

As I was tidying up the studio mess left after one long month of stitching for the e-zine, I realised it was time to change the sharps in my sewing tools. I try to do this after every magazine marathon, and it occurred to me that perhaps you might need a reminder too?

How long since you changed the blades on your rotary cutters, the needle in your machine, or your hand stitching needle?

If it's been a while, why not take a break right now and set things right. Your sewing will be a breeze with new sharps!
You could make this simple diary cover as your first project to test them out...

There are a lot of sweet 'girly' projects in the next ezine, but I've also included a very simple stitchery that can be used on a lot of different things for 2014.
I call it my 'useful' stitchery because just by changing the year inside the heart you could use this for decades!

I am busy planning for Elefantz in 2014, and part of that planning is preparing a daily 'to-do' diary that sits by my laptop. I decided to use my 2014  'useful' stitchery on the cover...

...and while the idea was brewing, I thought it would be fun to do a tutorial for my favourite bound diary cover so you can make one (or a dozen!) yourself.

The stores are brimming with 2014 diaries at the moment, so start with purchasing one because you'll need to measure it's size before you cut your fabric.
(or use this cover for a journal you have instead

Once you have your diary, measure around it...
 (I used my current 2013 diary for this tutorial, as it is the same size as my new one)

...and measure down the front as well.

Write the measurements down, and add 3/4" to both. 
My diary measured 8 1/4" x 12 1/4" so my new measurements became 9" x 13".

At this stage you can cut a piece of fabric to that size, or piece one. I chose to piece strips from some bright, cheery fabrics.
Fuse a piece of thin Pellon to the back, and then another piece of fabric behind it - just like a tiny quilt!
Machine or hand quilt them together...

If you have a little stitchery you want to put on the front, now is the time to do so.
I trimmed mine with pinking shears, and positioned it slightly on an angle...

Then I machine stitched it to the cover, just inside the pinked edges. 
I left a length of thread without trimming for sewing this button on later.

The next step is to make your side flaps. 
Cut two pieces of fabric as high as your front cover, and 7" wide. For my flaps I cut two pieces 9" x 7".
Fold them in half down their length and press.

 Place one at each end of the inside of your diary cover, raw edges sitting atop the raw side edges of the cover..

 Sew around the three raw edged sides of both flaps with a scant 1/8th inch seam to secure the flaps to the inside of the cover.

If you have some sweet cotton lace, sew a strip down the right front edge of the cover.

Make a length of quilt binding (or use some leftover binding from a previous project!).
I cut two, 2 1/4" wide strips from the full width of some aqua fabric for my binding...

NOTE: If you have never made binding before, be assured it is easy. Go HERE to my step by step tutorial for help.

Once you have attached the binding, press it away from the cover...

...and turn it over to the back, mitring your corners.

Slip stitch the binding to the inside of the cover in a thread that matches the fabric you used as your binding.
Sew the button in place on the front if you're using one, and place your diary inside!

 This project would be great for fabric scraps, or orphan quilt blocks!
Imagine all the Christmas gifts you could make...



  1. Thank you for these tutorial and the very good pictures.
    Hugs Gudi from Germany

  2. Love it! so pretty and such a wonderful gift idea for any occasion - guess what I'll be stitching today.... Great tutorial too so I can't go wrong. Thanks Jenny.

  3. What a lovely idea. Thanks for the little stitchery and the tutorial.

  4. What a lovely gift for a friend. Thanks so much for sharing this and for writing this brilliant tutorial. Your generosity is truly wonderful.

  5. es preciosa!!!!se la voy a hacer a mi hija!!! gracias por el tutorial!!!Rosa

  6. Lol! Have you been sitting in my head the last couple of days Jenny?!!! This is a really good example of a cover I've been tossing around in my mind the last day or so - right down to the stitchery .... though yours is much cleaner & cuter than my sketches came out looking like, lol!! ... I am loving the fabrics you've used in this cover!!! What a fabulous cover for your diary for the coming year!!! Hugz! xx

  7. Thank you for the great tutorial and photos you a a gem.!!!

  8. Genial! Obrigada por este tutorial! Eu costuro capas mas meu acabamento é muito trabalhoso. Adorei o seu! Vou usar! Obrigada!
    Um abraço!

    Genial! Thank you for this tutorial! I sew covers but my finish is very laborious. I love your! I will use! Thank you!

  9. Sehr schön und vielen Dank für deine Erklärung.
    Liebe Grüße Annerose

  10. Oh this is so pretty. Thank you for the fabulous tutorial

  11. What a beautiful journal cover! Thanks for the tute.

  12. Gorgeous! Love it! So kind of you to share this tutorial. Have a nice day!

  13. Adorable joournal cover!!! Thanks for sharing this with the cyber world!!

  14. Thank you for the tutorial. Your Journal cover is so sweet and beautiful.

  15. Thanks for a great tutorial and idea! Yes, I change everything on the first of every month, and clean the machine where I can, too. More often, if I'm sewing extra.

  16. What an adorable journal cover. Thank you for sharing the tutorial. Your generosity is amazing.
    Love and hugs.

  17. Oh my goodness...I am in LOVE! I can't wait to make myself one! Thank you so much!

  18. Thank you for sharing the journal cover tutorial Jenny, I look forward to making some of these for myself and friends.

  19. Beautiful, Jenny! I hope I can find some time to make one of these.

  20. Precioso Jenny!!! un buen tutorial.

  21. I love this!! Going to make one for my journal :)


  23. c'est très joli
    merci pour toutes ces idées et tout le bonheur que tu dégages dans tout ce que tu fais
    ton blog est agréable et donne envie de faire pleins de belles choses
    Véronik de France

  24. Just wanted to say thank you so much for the wonderful journal pattern, your instructions were great! I just made one tonight and it's adorable :) I'm going to make more for gifts for friends and family, thanks again!