Fabric Covered Notebook

Fabric Covered Notebooks - The Ribbon Retreat Blog

Hi!  It’s Amy, from Ameroonie Designs again.  Today I’m here to share a project that is a quick sew and would make a great Teacher Appreciation gift or a perfect summer journal for you or your children.  This darling covered notebook comes all decked out with a ribbon bookmark, elastic closure and a pocket for your pencils or pens.

Fabric Covered Notebook Tutorial

Fabric- will depend on the size of your notebook, but you can easily cover one notebook with one fat quarter.  But, if you want to incorporate accent fabrics, as I did, you will need 2-3 fat quarters.  For this tutorial I used a Hexi Print from Riley Blake as well as their tone on tone dots.
Decorative Elastic
Fusible Fleece Interfacing, or plain felt
Basic sewing supplies


**I am going to show you how to calculate the fabric measurements you will need for your notebook.  If you have a notebook that measures 5″ X 7″ like mine does, you can just skip to the final summary of the measurements.**

Before we can cut into our fabric, we need to measure our notebook.

Fabric Covered Notebooks - The Ribbon Retreat Blog

You need to measure how wide, how tall and how deep your notebook is.  To sew our cover, we will be using a 1/2″ seam allowance, so we need to add some extra fabric to account for that.  In my example the notebook I found was 5″ wide, 7″ tall and 1/2″ deep.  The first calculation will be the height of the fabric pieces I’ll be cutting.  My book is 7″ tall.  I need to add 1/2″ to both the top and bottom to account for the seam allowance.  I’m also going to add 1/4″ to compensate for the thickness of the front and back cover- if you’re using a composition notebook, or one with a thin cover, you won’t need to do this.  So my total will be: 7″ + 1/2″ + 1/2″ + 1/4″= 8 1/4″

The next measurement we need is the length of the cover.  My book is 5″ wide.  I need to add another 5″ for the back.  Next I’ll add my seam allowances: 1/2″ for the front cover and 1/2″ for the back cover.  Then I will add 1/2″ for the depth of the book and finally the extra 1/4″ for the thickness of the cover.
 5″ + 5″+ 1/2″+ 1/2″+ 1/2″ + 1/4″= 11 3/4″ total width for the front.

I will also need two sleeves for my covers to slide into- they will need to be 8 1/4″ tall, and we will fold them over to create the sleeve, so they will be 8″ wide so the final sleeve will be 4″ deep. 
The final measurement for my sleeve pieces: 2- 8″ X 8 1/4″ pieces.

The final measurements we need to calculate are for the pocket on the front of our notebook.  Mine is going to be 2″ wide, but we need to add in fabric for the seam allowances, which in this case will be 1/4″.  The back piece for the pocket will be 2″ + 1/4″ + 1/4″= 2 1/2″ X 8 1/4″.  The front pocket piece will also be 2 1/2″ wide, but I want it a little taller, so I’m adding a couple inches so the pocket goes higher than half-way up the book.  The front pocket piece will be 2 1/2″ X 10 1/2″. 

Now, we need to add more pieces of fabric so our final front cover piece will again measure 11 3/4″.  I want the pocket to be near the front, so the fabric on the right will be small.  I only want about 1/2″ of the main fabric to show on the edge, so I will take the 1/2″ I want to show, add the 1/2″ seam allowance for the cover pieces and the 1/4″ seam allowance for the pocket pieces- 1/2″ + 1/2″ + 1/4″= 1 1/4″ X 8 1/4″. 

The last piece we need is where it gets a bit tricky.  We know we need a total of 11 3/4″, but we need to think about how much of that we already have covered.  The pocket will be 2″ wide (I’m going to ignore the 1/2″ we added to our cut pieces because that will already be sewn into the piece) and the front edge piece will be 1/2″ + 1/2″ seam allowance- so 1″ (again we leave out the 1/4″ seam allowance because it will already be sewn in).  If we add those together 2″ + 1″= 3″ already covered in our first two pieces.  So we subtract that from our final measurement 11 3/4″-3″= 8 3/4″- then we need to add in 1/4″ seam allowance for the pocket side 8 3/4″ + 1/4″= 9″.  The final piece needs to measure 9″ X 8 1/4″.

Fabric Covered Notebooks - The Ribbon Retreat Blog

To summarize:
Main fabric:
[1.] 9″ X 8 1/4″ (main front piece)
[4.] 1 1/4″ X 8 1/4″ (front edge)
[6.] (2) 8″ X 8 1/4″ (sleeves)

Accent Fabric(s):
[2.] 2 1/2″ X 8 1/4″ (pocket back)
[3.] 2 1/2″ X 10 1/2″
11 3/4″ X 8 1/4″ (inside of notebook- not shown in picture)

Fusible Fleece or felt
[5.] 10 3/4′ X 7 1/4″ if using fusible fleece, 11 3/4″ X 8 1/4″ if using felt


We will start with our front cover. 

Fabric Covered Notebooks - The Ribbon Retreat Blog

Fold the front pocket piece in half, wrong sides together, and press.  Top stitch the folded seam if desired.  Line up the front pocket piece with the bottom of the pocket back, all edges should be raw, the folded edge should be in the center.  Line up the small edge piece with the right side of the pocket piece, right sides together (RST).  Sew using a 1/4″ seam allowance.  Repeat for the large cover piece, lining it up with the left side of the pocket (RST).  Sew (1/4″ s.a.).

Fabric Covered Notebooks - The Ribbon Retreat Blog

Fabric Covered Notebooks - The Ribbon Retreat Blog
Press the pocket seams toward the main cover pieces as shown.  If desired top stitch along the side seams.  (see picture)

Fabric Covered Notebooks - The Ribbon Retreat Blog

Center the fusible fleece on the back side of the front cover with the fusible side down.  Turn over and fuse to the cover.  (If using felt, just line it up with the inside cover piece before sewing around the whole cover).  Press the sleeve pieces in half to create two pieces that are 4″ X 8 1/4″.

Fabric Covered Notebooks - The Ribbon Retreat Blog

Cut your elastic to the height of your notebook, in my case 8 1/4″.  Cut your ribbon the height of your notebook + a few inches- in my case approx. 12″.  Line up the elastic 2″ from the left edge, pin in place right side down.  Center the ribbon on the top edge of the cover piece.  Pin in place.

Fabric Covered Notebooks - The Ribbon Retreat Blog

Line up the sleeves with the short edges of the cover, raw edges out (the folds should be in the center).  Place the inside of the cover (the white fabric in my sample) on top, (RST) lining up all edges.  Pin around the whole cover leaving the bottom between the two sleeves open for turning. (marked with arrows)
Sew around with 1/2″ seam allowance, back stitch at beginning and end.  Clip corners and turn right side out.  Press all seams, folding under the edges left open for turning.  Sew the opening shut with a scant top stitch.

Fabric Covered Notebooks - The Ribbon Retreat Blog

Slide in your notebook and you’re done!  Once you have your measurements figured out, the hardest part of making these is choosing which darling fabrics to get from The Ribbon Retreat to use!

If you’re interested in more sewing projects, I hope you’ll check out my blog at

How much fun would it be to walk into a work meeting or your next class with a trendy notebook covered in your favorite fabric. Not only will your notebook be the most stylish there, you will not have to waste time digging in your purse or backpack for your pens. They are so conveniently located on the front of your notebook; you have all you need in one adorable little package.

Thank you so much Amy for sharing this super fun and innovative project with us. I love this notebook and can’t wait to cover my notebooks and take them to my next meeting! For more fabulous projects, just like this fun notebook, visit Amy at Ameroonie Designs. Her fun blog is FULL of incredible and cute, cute, cute sewing projects!

When I was little, I LOVED purses/bags (well….I guess I still do) and anything I could “write” and doodle in (well…I guess I still love them too). I would have loved to get a cute little notebook just like this to put into one of my MANY bags. Do you have a little person in your life, that is just like me, and would LOVE this notebook? I think they would love these projects too…

Coloring Book and Crayon Holder Tutorial - perfect for the little artist! {The Ribbon Retreat Blog}
Coloring Book and Crayon Holder

Ribbon and Feather Bookmarks - The Ribbon Retreat Blog
Ribbon and Feather Bookmarks

Toddler Backpack Tutorial - Perfect for daycare, preschool, or just for fun! {The Ribbon Retreat Blog}
Toddler Backpack

Happy Creating & Happy Notebooks!
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  1. Cathy Going
    Posted August 29, 2014 at 9:29 am | Permalink

    Great colors to add to a charity quilt 🙂

    • The Ribbon Retreat
      Posted September 2, 2014 at 9:31 am | Permalink

      Hi Cathy! Thank you so much! I love bold and bright colors and the colors in this Fabric Covered Notebook are so much fun! And yes, they would look incredible in a charity quilt! Love the idea! Have a wonderful day! Michelle 🙂

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