I recently had a request to show how I made my traveler’s notebook cover and since I needed a larger one, I figured I would give it a try! It’s not an exact tutorial, more of a general idea of how to make it, so if you are the type that needs step by step with exact details and measurements, this is not the tutorial for you. This is a basic explanation so you can take it and use it to make your own notebook that fits your needs.
Warning: Tons of pictures ahead. I’m going to try to show you each step I took. Sewing is required, so general knowledge of a sewing machine is helpful.
First things first, gather your supplies:
- Fabric of your choice, at least a half yard (Type isn’t super important but don’t get anything stretchy! I chose a decorator’s fabric because it has a nice thickness to it.)
- Poly pocket folder without brads
- Eyelet kit
- Elastic cord
- Elastic for pen loop (optional)
- (There is quilter’s batting in this picture under the fabric, but I ended up not using it)
- You will need a sewing machine and thread, with a heavy duty needle
Step one, cut the pockets off the folder and set aside. You’ll want to save them for the pockets in your notebook, so cut neatly.
I’m not going to offer measurements because the beauty with this is that you can make whatever size you want! If you have a specific insert in mind, make sure your cover will fit it. I will say that you may want to add extra width depending on how many inserts you will want to carry. I added an extra inch.
You want to basically take the height of the insert (I’m using my 6-Month Scripture Coloring Planner here) and add half an inch, so the cover will have a quarter inch of cover over the top and bottom. Then you’ll want to take the width of the insert and add an inch. You’ll use that measurement to measure out from the center fold of the folder on each side. If you double that measurement that will be the entire width of your cover. Measure twice, cut once!
After you cut the folder to the correct size, the next step is to cut the fabric. I was going to try to measure the fabric but instead…
I folded the fabric in half to make a sort of sleeve. In the photo below, the fabric is folded in half, with the right sides facing, and the folder is lined up to the top of the fold. I’m using a ruler to draw a line right along the bottom edge of the folder, the entire length of the fabric. I will sew right on that line.
After you sew, turn your sleeve right side out. and slide the folder into it, making sure to position the seam to the inside of the folder.
Then fold the ends in, making sure to fold them all the way flush against the folder edge, nice and tight. I used a glue stick to make sure they stayed in place until I was ready to sew.
Set that main piece aside to work on your pockets. You’ll do the same thing, making a sleeve for each pocket.
The sleeve for the pocket was a little snug and was causing the plastic to curl, so I just trimmed it a little so that it was still snug in the sleeve but not curling.
Fold the end inside, just like you did on the main piece. The top isn’t flat across so that will take a couple folds.
Fold in just like the bottom, but then fold it again to create the bent edge that follows the plastic.
Sew the top edge and the inner edge (not the bottom or the edge that will get sewn onto the outer folder). This is the back (or right) pocket.
I wanted to add a smaller pocket onto the front pocket so I cut a piece of the plastic from the extra I had. I made sure that it was the same width of the pocket and then created a little sleeve for it as well. I then sewed it to the pocket, only on the inside edge.
If you want a pen loop, cut a short piece of elastic and loop it around your pen. Insert the loose ends inside the fold of the main piece. (I wanted my pen loop to sit inside the cover instead of hanging out, so I pulled it in to allow for the quarter inch seam and then made sure to sew over it. Also, remove the pen before you sew it! haha! I was just using it to make sure the loop was the correct size.)
Now you get to put it all together! I used binder clips to hold everything in place, and removed them as I sewed. I just sewed all the way around the perimeter of the cover, going very slowly over the thick parts that were several layers thick. You may want to make sure you are using a heavy duty needle!
After you’ve sewn it all together it’s time to put the eyelets in. Measure and mark in the center for the elastic cord that will go outside to hold it together. You also need to mark where your eyelets will go for the cords that hold your inserts. You need two on top and two on bottom, just to the left and right of center. (I have three marked because I marked the center first, and then marked where the eyelets would go to either side.)
Follow the instructions on the package to insert your eyelets!
Next, thread the elastic cord down through the bottom right eyelet and back up through the bottom left. Pull the cord up and down through the top left eyelet and back up through the top right.
Repeat the process again until you have three elastics running parallel to each other and the two ends that you tie to make the fourth cord.
Pull the cords to tighten them, making sure each it tight enough to hold your inserts in, but not too tight. Tie the ends to make the fourth cord. In the photo below, you can see how my cords pulled the cover a little too much. It is fine though because the inserts will stretch it out.
For the outer cord, fold it in half and push it through the center eyelet to the outside.
Pull it out to about 3/4 the width of the cover. You want it to hold the cover closed, but not be too tight.
Knot it on the inside to hold it in place.
And… you’re done! Now you can load it up with inserts! If there is anything that wasn’t clear, please leave me a comment and I’ll try to answer.