Monday, 7 April 2014

Making a quilted cover for an A5 notebook

Warning - a photo heavy post

I thought I would put together a bit of a photo guide for the A5 notebook cover I made plus some of my thoughts along the way.

The cover fabric can be any fabric you like, if you are going to do a lot of quilting (feathers etc) then a plain fabric will probably show your quilting off nicely.  Or you might just want to use a patterned fabric that you like, in which case your quilting may just be a grid or some curving lines.

The lining fabric is not really seen apart from when there is no notebook in it, so I just use a plain fabric for that, it could be a good way to use up fabrics you don't really like.

The sleeve pockets will be visible so a fabric that you like would be more suitable for them.

The measurements for the cover and the backing are approximate, you can get away with a bit smaller than I have used as the fabric does get trimmed back, just be aware that if you are doing more complex quilting then it is better to have some fabric to hold onto when you are moving everything around.

For an A5 notebook:

Batting - 20" x 15" approximately
Cover fabric - 15 1/2" x 12" approximate
Lining fabric - 13 3/4" x 9 1/4"
Fabric for sleeve pockets - 2 x 10" squares (I used 2 pieces from a layer cake)

 Lay the cover fabric on top of the batting,
I don't worry about basting it together
as I usually put a couple of quilting lines through the middle to
hold it all together, or just pin it.
Basting spray also works well.

 The white lining fabric and the sleeve pocket fabrics
to make the sleeve pocket just fold in half and press

 lay each sleeve pocket on the lining fabric, right sides together
 with the folded edge facing to the middle of the lining fabric. 
I usually pin top and bottom to hold it together 
and to make the next step easier.
If you want to add a label to the sleeve pocket
then now is the time to do it before you sew
it all together.
 Carefully flip it over and pin as shown,
don't forget to take out the pins on the other side if you used them

Stitch a 1/4" seam all the way around,
I backstitch at the start and finish and I also backstitch 
at the folded edge of the sleeve pockets for a bit of extra strength

 Trim off any overhanging fabric using the 
lining fabric as a guide

 Quilt the cover fabric and batting as desired.
As you can see there is no backing fabric used,  but
I think that if I was going to do complicated quilting
then I would put a thin backing fabric on as well.****
It is also worthwhile to lay the lining fabric on top 
of the cover fabric and mark the edges so you
have a rough guide for your quilting.

 If you want to add a ribbon or cord for a bookmark,
fold the lining fabric in half, give it a quick
press with the iron and glue the ribbon in the centre crease, 
leave a bit to overhang the top edge as I have done,
and make sure to curl the ribbon up so
it doesn't get caught up in the stitching.

 Lay the lining fabric and sleeve pocket component 
onto the quilted cover fabric, make sure they
are placed right sides together, then pin
as shown.  Mark an opening between the sleeve pockets
approximately three inches, this is for turning the 
cover once it is stitched.
(very important, ask me how I know)

Once again I backstitch at the start and finish for added security.
Stitch just inside the original 1/4" stitching line 
on the lining fabric and sleeve pocket component.
I used the edge of my machine foot as a guide
Don't forget to backstitch at the start and finish.
Don't forget to leave a turning gap :)

Trim the edges of the quilted cover fabric using
the lining fabric as a guide.
  Make sure to leave a little bit untrimmed at
the turning opening (I forgot this time)
A rotary cutter makes it nice and quick.
I trimmed the corners like this,
make sure you don't trim too much off.

This is where I forgot to leave the extra fabric,
if you forget (like I did,) it doesn't really matter,
it just makes it easier when you slip stitch the opening closed.

I also did an extra backstitch on the ribbon

I trimmed the batting back on the corners,
and also trimmed some of the fabric layers as well.
Careful when you do this as you don't want to
cut into the stitching.
You can turn the cover now, it looks quite a mess,
I usually put my fingers through and grab a bit
then gently pull it through, once there
is a fair bit through, you can use a chopstick or
something similar to poke the rest through.
Be gentle as you don't want to poke
it through the stitching.

 The journal cover will look like this now,
it doesn't look quite right does it?
Not to worry, you just need to flip the sleeve pockets
around to the other side.
 like this, now do the other one, 
you might like to gently poke the corners out a bit
and then give the whole thing a press with the iron.
 Nearly finished, you just need to slip stitch the
turning opening closed, the lining fabric
folds nicely over the stitching line and I usually
press the batting side down, and use
a bit of glue to hold it together, then slip stitch it.
You can use pins if you like.

The finished cover, all ready to put a notebook in

Some other covers I have made, these ones were not
quilted, I used iron-on interfacing instead of batting
 and used a few embroidery stitches from my machine.

Two quilted covers, if you wish to add
beads it is easier to add them after the cover
has been completed.

**** You will need to clean your sewing machine after the quilting as there can be a lot of lint
buildup from the quilting.


  1. very comprehensive tutorial... must have a go at one , or a few

  2. What a wonderful tutorial Pip!
    I will definitely have to make one of these...thanks so much for sharing!

  3. thankyou Pip! I have to buy some notebooks and then I shall settle down to go through your instructions, but they look pretty straightforward, even to a dummy like me LOL


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