Embellished Journal or Binder Cover

Julie Yonge 2007

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I am sure many of you have covered books or journals from time-to-time. I even remember (in the old days when I was a kid) when we would come home from school the first day with all our books and sit for hours covering them by making paper-sack book jackets. Well, this one is a bit more fun. It will display your personality and creativity.

Binder, book, or journal to be covered
Piece of muslin (for foundation if you choose to CQ) or a fancy fabric enough to cover the outside of the book
Nice piece of fabric for lining the book cover, same size as outside fabric piece
Piece of fabric to be used for inside pocket panels for book cover (same size as outside fabric piece)
A piece of clear plastic/vinyl which can be purchased at your local craft store such as Hobby Lobby in the fabric department, enough to cover the outside of the book.
*Please note that you can use the same fabrics all throughout this project for the outside, lining and pockets or you can mix and match as you like.

You will first lay out your book and measure it - measure it top to bottom, side to side, laying out open from side to side, the spine, and all the way around the book while it is closed from outer edge around the back to the other outer edge. These measurements will help you fit your cover precisely to your book and judge where you would like placement of your embellishments. I chose a 3" 3-ring binder to cover. It is going to be my "eye-candy" book where I will store inspirational pictures of crazy quilting and embroidery stitches.

Once you have your measurements, cut out your outside fabrics (outside fabric, lining fabric and clear vinyl plastic) to fit the outside of the book from outside edge around to the other outside edge, plus 1" seam allowance all the way around.

My book measured 30" around from outside edge to outside edge and 12" high so I cut my fabric pieces 32" wide by 14" high. For the inside pocket panels, cut two pieces of fabric the same height as the other pieces of fabric, but only 1/3 of the width. For example, my fabric pieces are 32" wide by 14" tall so my pocket panels would be 11" wide by 14" high.

Take each pocket panel piece and put a 1" hem on the right side of one and the left side of the other (the piece with the right hem will go on the front inside of the book cover, the piece with the left hem will go on the back inside of the book cover) and set them aside.

Gather your embellishments such as threads, pictures, motifs, lace, pieces of fabric, paper, Angelina fibers, leaves, etc. and lay them out in what would be the front area of the cover and the back area of the cover in a design that is fun and pleasing. Once happy with your design, stick down what you can with a touch of a glue stick just to help things stay in place a bit. I also used some of Kreinik's Fusible Iron-On Thread in gold which I was able to iron in place in my design which was a nice and easy design element.

Now, you take your clear vinyl plastic and lay it down over your final design and pin it into place around the edges only. Remember, once you have a hole in plastic it is permanent so try not to get your pins in your finished cover area, but only around the outside edges. I laid down my book again with it open upon this sandwich of fabric and vinyl and marked the outside lightly with a pencil to give me an idea of my stitching line (remembering, that I will give it a bit of ease when I stitch it together).

You are now ready to quilt the clear plastic vinyl over your designed/embellished fabric. First, run a basting stitch all around the edges outside the final stitching line. Then, you will free-motion quilt the vinyl to the embellished fabric top. I used a variegated metallic thread for fun and a vine design for my quilting pattern. You may want to practice for a moment on a scrap to get your rhythm remembering that holes are permanent in the plastic. You will want to make sure you have enough quilting on your cover to capture all the design elements you have placed there; your quilting will ultimately hold them in place. 

Once you have finished quilting your top piece, you will sandwich the remaining fabrics as follows: lining right side UP, pocket panels in correct positions right side UP with hems facing center, then top quilted piece right side DOWN.

This is put together as you would do a pillow cover. You will then pin well around the edges and sew leaving about a 6-8" opening for turning, then trim the seams, clip the corners and turn right side out. Finger press all your seams and slip stitch the opening closed. Then just slip the book pockets onto the front and back on your book and there you have it! A fun book cover with lots of your personality and creativity with all its embellishments protected with a quilted vinyl cover.


Here are pictures of a couple other examples. Your background fabric can be crazy quilted and hand embroidered or it can be as simple as dropping snippets of threads and ribbons all over a background fabric which the quilting will hold in place. Experiment and have fun!


Kreinik: silk threads and fusible iron on thread

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