Friday, May 20, 2011

{make this!} A composition book cover + FREEBIE FRIDAY!

It all started with this notebook I made for Creative Estates:

And then I {we} were HOOKED.....

So, remember long ago, when I posted pics of these fun composition notebooks I had made for my friend Erin? And how I had said I had a SUPER QUICK and SUPER EASY tutorial I was going to post? And then everyone quickly realized I was a BIG FAT LIAR? Well, who's the liar now, weenies? Because HERE IT IS, in all of it's 18 picture tutorial glory {14 of said pics are almost assuredly unnecessary}. Better late than never, friends. Better late, than never.

This project is rated SUPER EASY. How easy, you ask? Even when you are having a day where you feel like you are crafting worse than a drunk monkey? You will STILL find success with this project. I swear.{you can trust me.}
Supplies are super simple. Plug in your sewing machine and make sure that bobbin has thread on it. Plug in the ol' glue gun {if you aren't ashamed to laze it out}but if you are all proper and stuff, I will show you how to sew at my gluing point.... Gather some fabric together- {THIS MIGHT BE JUST THAT EXCUSE YOU WERE LOOKING FOR TO GO TO THE FABRIC STORE. OR? Shop online! Did you know you can order fabric at Amazon? OH FRIENDS! That means with Amazon Prime, you can get free shipping on fabric all. day. long. Its almost sinful NOT to be ordering fabric all day long, isn't it????} At least one piece needs to measure 12" x 22". You might even get a little crazy and patchwork together a few scraps to get something this size. Woot woot! You will also need an 18" piece of  pretty  elastic or stretch lace to serve as the closure.

You also need {duh} one regular composition book, like this one:
target-composition book
{these are around a dollar at Target}
An optional supply for this project is something I keep in my sewing arsenal ALWAYS! Wash away Wonder Tape is my best friend in the sewing room. {well, besides spray adhesive}I HATE HATE HATE HATE HATE to use straight pins. HATE! I REALLY prefer to just use this to tape pockets down - well, really anything that can be taped down- and then stitch. This will NOT gum up your needle and if you ever wash your cover? This stuff dissolves in water. GENIUS! {I buy this at Joann's, either with a coupon or when the notions wall is 50% off.}
Ok. We are ready to get started. Cut out a piece of fabric {or create one with patchworking} that measures 12" x 22". Try not to cut it so that your HB Pineapple motif is going to be on the front upside-down. But if this happens? Meh. Move on. There are bigger things to worry about and Erin is such a nice friend, she will never say anything :) I serged around the edges, mainly because I own a serger {or two} and I like to serge whenever possible. There aren't really going to be exposed edges, so if you don't have a serger, skip this part. Geez. How many times have I said serge? SO MANY TIMES the word looks weird to me now. Serger. Serge. Serge. Serger. OK, moving along...
Now, fold over 3" from each side and press, right sides together, along the fold.
Press, press, press. Press HARD. Iron like you MEAN IT. {Truthful moment: I cropped out the duct tape repair on my iron. And my really beefy arm.}
Now, unfold and your crease serves as the no-man's land for decorating the front of your cover. As in, don't go too near the crease and anything to the right of the crease? That is going to be on the inside of your notebook. {I didn't take a pic, but you also need to fold the entire piece in half, like a book, and press a crease there, too. That will serve as your binding mark. Anything to the left of that crease will be the back cover.}
Now, embellish to your hearts content. I taped on and then stitched a pen/pencil/marker pocket, added Erin's business initials and a bird patch I made from fabric + Heat N Bond LITE.

{did you know EVERYTHING IS BETTER when you put a bird on it????}
This is what my cover looked like after i was done embellishing the front. If I could do anything over? I would move the pocket down and the bird over...... the bird was painfully close to my elastic closure and it annoys me.... or I could just be hormonal. At this point? Its ANYONE's guess. {husband? Best for everyone if you refrain from guessing....}
Now. Take your cover back to the ironing board and touch up those creases. Now, sew along the tops and bottoms of both front and back seams {using a 1" seam} just where the fabric is overlapping. {does that make sense?}
In what is perhaps one of the lamest little layouts that has ever been made, LOOKIE I made a little pattern because I think I am complicating this WAY. TOO. MUCH!
Now, when you take your little beauty back to the ironing board and flip everything right side out, it should look something like this ^ Press down those flaps on the tops and bottoms and stitch those down too. Just where they are flapping up. Don't stitch over where your book is going to go into your cover, you dig me?
Now, convince your composition book into its new cover. Depending on how straight you sew and cut {i don't cut or sew straight hardly at all - wonky in da' house}this could be super easy (or) REALLY DIFFICULT. But. I KNOW you are going to get her in there!
Now. Here is where I am going to glue. This part can be accomplished WITH THE COVER ON with glue, but if you are stitching, it needs to be done before you put your cover on. {ahem. overachiever.}Make a loop with your 18" piece of lace or elastic, and glue the ends together. Take said loop and position on the back cover, near the edge that is NOT the binding, go somewhere in the middle and glue it like you mean it. {if you are stitching, re-read that last part but substitute the word GLUE with the word SEW. Be careful not to stitch through the back to the flap where your book cover goes.}{for the record- us glue-ers don't have such worries.....}
I like to cover my glue shame handiwork with a little heart cut from fabric. Just glue that little sucker right on top.
Voila! And just like that, you are finished.
Now that you are such a notebook cover making pro, I encourage you to try different fabrics and trims. MY FAV I have made so far is this ruffle confection! Erin is lucky I mailed it when I did. I had several little ladies in this house eye-ing it up.....

Hey, GUESS WHAT? I am going to giveaway one of these little pretties to one lucky commenter. Love this? Hate this? Having a bad hair day? Does your husband work from home as well and you are having one of those 'wanna poke his eyes out' kinda Friday's, too? Tell me about it right here in the comments and Sunday night, I will pick a winner. {did anyone else's family say 'pick a winner' in reference to picking one's nose? or was that just my weird kin???} 

{I'd love to see pictures if anyone makes one of these}


  1. Ohh I just LOVE these! My birthday was in March and I chose to forego my birthday present because of funds... so my husband suggested I take a raincheck for it because he knows I've been wanting a sewing machine for a looong time. So as soon as I can get a sewing machine, I'm going to try making one of these. :) Thanks for the tutorial!

  2. Adorable! I might just have to make this...or I could win one {wink wink}. And since you asked, every day lately has been a bad hair day. Thanks for the tute and the chance to win!

  3. These are adorable!!! I have been writing my babies miles stones in a little notebook for sometime (until I can break down and do a scrapbook for him) But I would love to make a cute cover like this for him.

  4. Meh, too complicated. How 'bout you just make me one. I like Eiffel towers. Thanks!

  5. I love your notebooks! (: Lovely. Thanks for explaining how, now I can try for myself!

  6. I just found your blog from someone sharing your couch on their on blog and then saw it again on

    I love your posts (I'm a follower now), and I love this idea for making those boring composition notebooks a lot prettier.I have been wedding planning in a composition notebook and it would look a lot prettier with one of your fancy covers.

  7. I absolutely love this! I found your blog on apartment therapy and I am new to the whole sewing, re-decortating/re-modeling and fabric world. How new you ask? So new I do not even own a sweing machine but i hope I have dropped enough hints to my husband to have a really neat bday/anniversary gift. Either way, I really enjoy reading your blog and lov the "tutes" (I i think this word is so cute I had to put it in air quotes). This will be the first thing I attempt provided I dont sew my fingers together. Ok, this comment has gone on way too long. If you need me I will be reading your old posts. thanks, Lisa M.