Friday, February 29, 2008

Making your own journal/book cover

I like to buy spiral bound sketch books to take with me whenever I leave the house. I like the 9.5 x6 in size. I also find the spiral bound index cards 4"x6" handy to use as a journal. I also like to read out in public. What I don't like is having people know what I am reading. If I want to discuss the book I would join a book club. I don't want to give a book review to a stranger when I am flying or eating or just sitting and reading. So, I like a cover on my books or journals.
It's easy to create a reuseable journal or book cover.
Here are some directions you can follow to create your own covers to fit whatever size book, journal or binder.
1. Pick out the book you wish to cover. It can be bound or have a spiral binding.

2. Take your flexible measuring tape and with the BOOK CLOSED, start at the front SIDE EDGE and wrap the measuring tape around the notebook to the BACK SIDE EDGE.

3. Now, here is where you want to know how to take a measurement. You are going to record this measurement and add 3/4" for seam allowances. So, that means you have to know where the 1/8, 1/4 and 1/2" markings are on that tape measure. And, here you thought you would never use that math you learned in high school.

4. Now you written down that true measurement and added 3/4" to that measurement and you are wondering why? A 1/4" is your seam allowance and the rest is your "give so that you have enough room to slide your book into the cover.

5. Before we move on to the next measurement you did measure with the book closed, right?

6. Now turn the book so the binding is facing toward you. Measure from right to left or top edge of the book to the bottom edge and record it and then add 3/4" for seam allowances.

7. Turn the book again and now open it and measure in from the side edge to where you want the inside pocket depth to be. I like it to cover about 2/3 of the inside edge.
Write down the measurement and then DOUBLE IT and ADD 1/2". Make a note that the pocket length is the same measurement as the top to bottom measurement plus seam allowance of your book.

8. You will need these measurement so that you can refer to them when you are cutting your pieces of main fabric, lining and the side pockets. The side pockets are what you slide the cover of your book into. Is it making sense now?

9. I like to make a pattern piece of the finished shape. That way I have an idea of where I will put my embellishments or decorative items. I draw out the shape, usually a rectangle, to the size of my measurements and then I draw the 1/4" seam allowance to the inside of the rectangle. I do this to just give myself a reminder. I then lay the book on the pattern and mark where the spine will fall. I don't want to put beads or anything awkward on the curve or spine of my
cover.

10. What you use to create the cover of your journal/book is up to you. I've scanned and copied original artwork of mine onto fabric backed printer sheets. I've made a crazy quilt top with embroidery and beads. I've used pin weaving and fused, felted duckcloth with threads and scraps encased with netting.

11. To make the lining you use the same measurements you did for the cover. The lining isn't that visible when you have put this altogether. Using a fabric that will blend with your cover is probably a good idea.

12. Cut two pockets using your pocket measurements. These ARE going to be more visible so you might want to have some fun with these. You are going to fold each of the two pocket pieces in half and press. The raw edges are going to go to the outside when you start to layer all these pieces together. If you want to add a label this is probably a good time to do it before we put this whole sandwich together. If you really don't want the label to show that much you could sew it to the lining where the spine of the book will go.

13. Ready to put this puppy together?
Ok, you want to layer your pieces in the following manner.
COVER, right side up goes down on the table first.
Next place the POCKETS on top of the cover, line the raw edges up with the edges of the cover.
Check to make sure that the folded edges are towards each other.
Put your LINING RIGHT SIDE DOWN on top of the pockets.

14. You are going to pin all around the edges but remember that you are going to have an opening about 2"-3" to turn everything inside out. I like to have my opening at the bottom of my cover, in what would be the back of the book.

15. If your sewing machine has a walking foot and you know how to use it, this would be a good time to use it. You are sewing over a number of layers and the walking foot makes this easier.
If you don't have one, it's ok. I would use a sturdy needle to go through the layers.

16. The thread you use is not going to be seen so a standard weight cotton thread in the top and bobbin is fine. When you start stitching backstitch over the first couple of stitches before you continue sewing. After you have sewn all the way around to your opening stopping point, backstitch again to secure those threads.
You can now very carefully trim off the points on each corner. Cut as close to the stitching but DO NOT CUT INTO THE STITCHING.

17. Here's the fun part. Now you get to turn the whole thing inside out. Pulling everything carefully through that opening you left. Once it is turned I like to use my bonefolder to run against the inside seam and make sure that everything is as flat as possible. It's worth it to own a bonefolder.

18. With your iron at a medium heat press the edges flat, including the seam allowance at the opening. You will slipstitch that opening closed. Remember to use a pressing cloth or towel if you want to press the cover and you have done any embellishment work. No sense in melting threads or beads or ruining your iron.

19. Now you can slip that book, journal or binder into your new cover and sit back and enjoy looking at it.

20. These make great gifts for people. If you have a friend that uses a sketch book, buy one and make a cover for it. Same thing for a journal. Now it doesn't matter if the publishers change the size of paperback books. You can create a cover for any size book you want. Have fun and keep on creating.

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