Quilted Notebook Cover

Earlier this week I had a request to make one of my patchwork journal covers that I sell in my Etsy shop to fit a standard spiral composition notebook. I was excited to get started on a variation of what I normally make, and thought it would be fun to share how I made it with all of you.

It should be noted that this isn’t a real step by step pattern, but rather more of a loose idea of what I did to make it. If something isn’t clear though, leave a comment, and I’ll do my best to clarify!

Quilted Notebook Cover

What will you need?
*6 strips of pretty quilting cottons, measuring at least 7 1/2″ wide x 2 3/4″ tall.
*1 piece of medium weight linen, measuring at least 13″ wide x 12″ tall
*1 piece of a quilting cotton as the lining, measuring at least 17 3/4″ wide x 11 1/2″ tall
* 2 pieces of matching quilting cottons measuring at least 8″ wide x 11 1/2″ tall (these are the pockets. You’ll want them to match.)
*2 pieces of heavyweight fusible interfacing measuring 17 3/4 ” wide x 11 1/2″ tall
*a nice cup of tea and some good music to move to while you work. (optional, I suppose.)


1.) I ended up using 6 different strips of fabric to make the patchwork on the cover. Since most of the time I’m using scraps for this step, I don’t specifically measure everything. For us, however, you’re going to need the strips to be at least 7 1/2″ wide, and when sewn together, they will need to be at least 11 1/2″ tall. I used:
*2, 2 1/4″ tall strips
*3, 2 1/2″ tall strips
*1, 2 3/4″ tall strips


2.) Sew them together with a 1/4″ seam allowance and press the seams nice and open.


3.) You’ll next want to trim down the sides of the patchwork, so that it measures 7 1/2″ wide. At this point, it still doesn’t matter too much how tall it is, as long as it’s at least 11 1/2″ tall.

4.) Make sure your cut of linen is free of wrinkles and very flat. I typically spritz my linen with a spray bottle of water and iron, and then spray lightly with spray starch and iron again. (Starching will help to keep the fibers from shifting so much when working with it.)


5.) Cut a clean, straight line along one of the 12″ edges. Pin the left side of the patchwork to the linen. Sew 1/4″ from the edge. Press the seams open.
6.) Here’s where you’re going to start getting more accurate with your measurements. Fuse one of the interfacings to the back of the front panel, making sure that the right edge of the interfacing lines up with the right side of the patchwork. The panel will probably be larger than the interfacing, but this will give you the opportunity to shift the linen on the interfacing so that the warp and weft is as straight as possible.
7.) Flip the panel over and trim along the lines of the interfacing.


8.) It’s time to quilt! Since there’s only two layers, the patchwork and the interfacing it’s not completely “quilting,” but this will give it the look of being quilted. It’s up to you on how you’d like to decorate it. For these notebooks, I typically do a zig-zag line through the patchwork just onto the edge where the linen meets. It’s up to you as to how you want yours to look.


9.) Fuse the second interfacing to the wrong side of the lining panel.
10.) For both of the pockets, fold wrong sides together hot dog style (I work with kids, sorry) and press. This will make the pockets measure 4″ wide x 11 1/2″ tall. (I tend to cut them a little taller; more like 12″, just to make sure they don’t get missed when I sew it all together. The excess will get trimmed off later.)
11.) Place the front panel right side up and place each of the pockets with the long, raw edges aligned along the sides of the panel. Place the lining right side down on top of the front and pockets and pin along the right and left sides. Sew both sides, using a 1/4″ seam allowance.
12.) If there’s excess fabric from the pockets, trim along the top and bottom. Pin both sides. Sew all the way across the bottom. Sew the top, leaving about 2″ open along the top, away from both edges.


13.) Trim your corners to a scant 1/8″ and flip that bad boy right side out through its opening at the top! Make sure the corners get pressed all the way out, but be careful using sharp pointed tools that you don’t press through the corner (I’ve done that before. It’s not cool.)
14.) Press the cover nice and flat and without wrinkles. Slip stitch the opening at the top of the cover closed.


15.) There you have a finished notebook cover! Slide in your notebook and go to town filling up your notebook.

I’m so happy to announce that I finally have put together a hand quilting tutorial!

hand quilting step E

Even more exciting, it’s running today at the Sew, Mama, Sew blog! I’m so happy that it will reach so many quilters that might just give hand quilting a shot now. I hope that as you use the tutorial, that you will let me know how your attempts go. I’d love to see what people make by using it. Also, if anyone has any further questions, please don’t hesitate to drop me a line. I’ll certainly try to help as best as I can!

I hope you’ll enjoy!

As promised yesterday, here’s my tutorial of how to make a simple bag! I hope to be as clear as possible, but if there are any confusing spots, please ask and I’ll be happy to clarify where I can.

First of all, you’ll need some materials. For this demonstration, I’m using a thick, cotton duck cloth for the outside, and a standard cotton quilting fabric for the inside. You’ll also want an iron on interfacing (I prefer a polyester that’s thick, but soft, so that the bag still has firmness but isn’t stiff as a board), some thread (I use 100% cotton), something for the handles (like a cotton webbing), a straight edge ruler, scissors, and straight pins. If you have access to a rotary cutter, it will also be a big time saver.

Cut It Out

The first thing you’ll want to do, is to cut your pieces. I’m making a small bag in this demonstration, but you can chose any size you prefer. Typically, my bags are about 10 inches wide and about 12 inches tall. It’s totally up to you though. You’ll want to cut your outer fabric first, then iron on your interfacing, and then cut your two inside pieces. You can either use your ruler and a pencil or fabric marker to mark your fabric and then cut with scissors, or use your rotary blade at this point.

At this point, you’ll want to add whatever you’d like to your bag for embellishment. If you’re making the Circle in the Square bag from Bead Simple, follow those instructions.

Move, Audrey!

Then, tell your cat to move. She’s always sitting where you want to be working….or maybe that’s just me.

You’ll want to cut the handles next. You can use the cotton webbing, or if you’d like, you can always make your own out of fabric.

Handles On

Setting the front panel of the back so that it’s facing you right side up, pin the handles evenly onto the bag. You’ll want to make sure to measure here. The ends of the handles will be flush with the top edge of the front panel. This is also a good time to check to make sure the handle isn’t twisted.

Put It Together

Lay the lining fabric on top of the front panel and handles, facing down. Then pin everything together on the top side. I like to pin on either sides of the handles, so that I don’t get lumps sewn in. Take your front half of your tote to the sewing machine and zip across the top, leaving at least a 1/4 inch seam allowance. I also like to backstitch over the handles for extra support.

Do It Again

Follow the last steps to put the back panel, straps, and lining fabric together. After each are done, pull out your pins and fold the pieces down so you can press the two parts with your iron to lay flat. Once that’s done, open them up again, and get ready to pin them together.

Together Again

Pin the two sides together, right sides together. Line them up as close as possible.

Butt Up

So as to not overload your sewing machine’s needle, you’ll want to butt-up the top of the bag. Fold one of the front flaps to the right, and the other to the left. You’ll be much less likely to break a needle this way.

Sew up both sides of the bag, as well as the bottom of the outside of the bag. Again, make sure you use at least 1/4 inch seam allowance at minimum. This leaves only the bottom of the lining to be sewn.

Squaring the Bottom

If you would like your bag to have a square bottom, you need to cut the edges. Using a ruler, mark on the interfacing a square, measuring from the seam line and not the fabric edge. For this smaller bag, I chose to measure in 3/4 inch. Do this on both sides and cut the squares out with scissors.

Squaring the Bottom

Using the same technique as in the last seam, butt the two edges up to each other, folding one to the right, and one to the left. Stitch the seam once, and then backstitch over the whole edge once more. Making sure that the seams are going the right way, do the same on the other square.

Other side

Now working on the lining fabric, stitch in on either side about 1 1/2 inches. Then, make the square on each side of the bottom, following the same directions for the outside fabric.

Flip Out

Flip the bag right side out through the bottom of the lining.

Stitch Closed

Pull the lining fabric out of the bag, and pin the bottom together, with edges facing inside. Using a blind stitch (this website has a good instruction of how to make a blind stitch) sew the small opening together, and finish with a small knot slipped into the fabric fold at the end. String the thread into the middle of the bag, and bring the needle out away from your work before clipping it.

Around the Top

Pin the top flat and sew around the edge of the bag, about 1/4 of an inch away from the top. Press the bag to get out any extra wrinkles.

Around the Top

That’s it! You’ve made a bag….hopefully!