Fabric notebook cover with pen holder tutorial.

Every year I like to create a handmade gift as a thank you and Christmas gift for my kids teachers and teacher assistants. The intention is always to make it early enough so I can share the idea as a tutorial here on my blog, then you could make some too. As usual I missed that deadline!

This notebook cover can be made to fit any size hardback notebook or sketchbook. The front has two pen/pencil pockets and front and back pockets that form from making the pencil pockets. These pockets would be ideal for keeping post it notes, tickets or any other small paper you don’t want to lose.

I was actually hoping I had made one to many of these as one of my biggest bugbears is never having anything to write with when I want to jot down a note or sketch an idea in my notebook.

Fabric notebook with pen holder tutorial from Bobbins and Buttons
Fabric notebook with pen holder tutorial from Bobbins and Buttons

Materials and supplies:

Hardback notebook/sketchbook – I found these fun glitter hardback notebooks in Tigers they are approximately A5 in size.

Fabric – I used craft weight cotton. This is a great project for scraps, you could mix lots of different prints or stick to one. You need approximately 3 x the size of the open book.

Pattern:

You can draw the dimensions directly on the fabric with chalk or fabric marker or make a simple paper pattern if you wanted to make several covers.

Before you start cutting you might want to consider pattern placement. The fabrics I chose to use had a lovely mirrored design that I didn’t want to break up. I aligned the front pocket to the main cover piece. This however does use more fabric.

Draw out a rectangle for the main cover. 2 x width + spine depth. In this example 15cm (width)  x 2 + 1cm (spine) = 31cm wide. Height = 20cm. Add a 1.5cm seam allowance around the whole rectangle. The finished size measures 34cm x 23cm. You need to cut two of these.

Draw a second rectangle for the front pocket this needs to be the full width plus 2cm by the depth of the pocket and seam allowance. I cut this pocket 15cm deep which included seam allowance. Finished size 36cm x 15cm. Cut one of these.

The last piece is the the internal pocket that holds the cover in place. This is another rectangle measuring the height (23cm) x pocket width, I made this 14cm including seam allowances. You need to cut 2 of these.

How to make:

Fabric notebook with pen holder tutorial from Bobbins and Buttons

Turn and press a double fold 1.5cm hem at one long edge of the front pocket (or the upper edge if you are pattern matching). Make this same hem on one long edge of each of the internal pocket pieces.

Fabric notebook with pen holder tutorial from Bobbins and Buttons

Using a ruler with a right angle draw a right angle chalk line from the lower edge of one of the large panels. In this case my first line was 12.5cm from side raw edge. Draw a further 2 lines 1cm apart, 13.5cm and 14.5cm in from side. Make the lines long enough to extend beyond the top of the front pocket.

Fabric notebook with pen holder tutorial from Bobbins and Buttons

On the front pocket draw a right angle line from the raw lower edge across the width of the pocket also starting 12.5cm ( or the measurement you used on the main panel). Draw a further 2 lines 2cms apart, 14.5cm and 16.5cm.

Fabric notebook with pen holder tutorial from Bobbins and Buttons

Stitch the front pocket in place starting at the upper finished edge side seam. Stitch within the seam allowance. Turn the corner stitching along to the first chalk line. Stitch up the chalk line and down again.

Fabric notebook with pen holder tutorial from Bobbins and Buttons

Bring the second chalk line on the front pocket in line with the second line on the front panel. You will need to judge this from the extended chalk mark on the front panel. Pin in place. Stitch this from the bottom up, turning at the top and stitching back down the same line to reinforce.

Fabric notebook with pen holder tutorial from Bobbins and Buttons

Repeat this with the last line. Check a pencil fits before moving on.

Fabric notebook with pen holder tutorial from Bobbins and Buttons

Place the internal pockets right sides together and finished hem edge towards the centre. Stitch in place within the seam allowance, squashing the lower edge of the pencil pockets flat as you go.

Fabric notebook with pen holder tutorial from Bobbins and Buttons

With right sides together place the other main panel over the piece with the pockets stitched on.

Fabric notebook with pen holder tutorial from Bobbins and Buttons

Stitch around the edges using just under the seam allowance (1.3cm) leaving a small gap between the internal pockets at the lower edge. Before trimming and turning through it is worth placing the open book on top to check the stitch lines are outside the edges of the book. There should be approx 2mm at the top and bottom and 7mm each end. Trim, clip corners turn to outside and press.

Fabric notebook with pen holder tutorial from Bobbins and Buttons

Stitch the gap at the lower edge closed close to the edge. Fold the cover in half, press the centre and stitch down this line.

Fabric notebook with pen holder tutorial from Bobbins and Buttons

To put the cover on fold the book covers back and slide on. The cover should be a snug fit.

Fabric notebook with pen holder tutorial from Bobbins and Buttons

The finishing touches for these notebooks for teachers was of course a very sensible Christmas pencil or Harry Potter pencils (we know some of the teachers are big fans). I also printed a message for each one. A friend had sent me some lovely quotes which I used.

The gifts have already been delivered and I have had messages and heard reactions that these gifts have been very well received. Its the thought as much as anything, but several of the teachers know these were made especially for them and appreciate that extra level of care and love with a handmade gift.

Fabric notebook with pen holder tutorial from Bobbins and Buttons

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Julia Claridge

I was about 6 or 7 years old when I had my first go on a sewing machine, it was an old hand crank machine that my mum used with her patients, she was an occupational therapist. I still vividly remember watching with amazement as the tiny perfectly formed stitches were created as I turned the handle. I Grew up in the 70’s and 80’s when buying clothes was less affordable and dressmaking was an answer to updating your wardrobe more regularly. My own mother was a talented dressmaker who made most of my clothes and my sisters clothes as well as a many for herself. I soon got involved with making my clothes, I loved the whole experience of picking out fabrics, trims and a pattern to create a new outfit, then going home to make a new garment or outfit. When it came to leaving school I visited a careers advisor who asked what I wanted to do next. My answer was ..Sew! Read more...

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