Tuesday, 14 December 2010

Journal Cover Tutorial

This will work for any size journal - be careful with your measurements and write them down!!  Caveat - if your journal is less than 6"/15.25cm wide, you will need to adjust the size of your flaps!

Measure your journal from the front cover, moving left round the spine to the back cover.  Do not include the pages at the front.  This measurement is the width.
Measure your journal from top to bottom.  This measurement is the height.

Fabric cutting:
For your focus fabric, add 6"/15.25 cm to the width and 1"/2.54cm to the height.  If your journal is 12" X 6", cut your focus fabric 18"/45.75cm X 7"/17.80cm.

For your lining fabric, add 1"/2.54cm to the width, and 1"/2.54cm to the height.  If your journal is 12" X 6", cut your lining fabric 13" X 7".

For the batting, I used iron-on pellon to make it less bulky, and also easier to work with.  I try to cut the pellon 1/2" or 1/4" smaller all round than the width and height of the journal so you don't have bulky seams.  I ironed the pellon on to the lining fabric.  Using slightly smaller sized iron-on pellon also makes it easier to find and align the centres of the focus and lining fabrics when you are constructing.

Put 1/4"/6mm (1/2"/12mm total) double seams on the flap ends, and 1/4"/6mm single seams on the lining ends.  If you want to have double seams on the lining ends, it's your call but it's not really necessary (unless you're the Peppermint Penguin, who will probably turn the cover inside out to see how it was done!).

If you want to decorate the cover, do it before you sew anything.  Make sure you mark the dimensions of the cover with washout pen, so you don't lose any of the decoration into the spine or the flaps:

The first two of these I made required additional stitching at the bottom as I was over-careful and left too much room - the fit should be snug.  If it's so tight once it's finished that it lifts the cover, put an elastic band round the cover for a couple of days until the fabric stretches to fit (which it will).  

Making up:

Wrap the focus fabric round the journal, and mark at the top (with washout pen) where the flaps sit.  Make sure the flaps are evenly distributed around the book, you don't want one to be huge & the other one tiny.  

Find and mark the centre of the focus fabric.  Pin the flaps into place, RS together.  Find & mark the centre of the lining, then place your lining fabric RS down on top of the (WS up) flaps, aligning the centre marks.  You will have three layers - lining, flaps, focus.  Pin all into place, and sew with a generous 1/4"/6mm seam allowance, all the way across the top.  

If you want to add a ribbon bookmark, do it before you sew it up.  I recommend putting it on the back (the RHS of the cover), but again, it's your call.  Make sure it's long enough to come out the bottom, otherwise there's no point.

Turn the cover out, and check for fit.  Poke your flap corners out with a point turner or knitting needle, taking care not to stick holes in your cover.  Your flaps should now be RS out, your lining & focus should be WS together, with the bottom seam open.

Insert the journal, pin for fit, then take it out.  If you want, you can mark the entire stitching line in wash-out marker.  Stitch the bottom seam:

Be careful not to catch your bookmark in the bottom seam, unless you are using elastic (hey!  Great idea!) and you want it caught!  You should now have a tube.  

As you can see here, the lining is ever so slightly larger than the cover.  Not sure why this happened, but you can cheat like I did; just pink off the ends (very annoying if you've made the effort to double-seam them!) to make them the same size.  The lining should be either exactly the same finished size as your cover (without the flaps), or just smaller.  

Turn it all out, through the opening in the tube.  Insert your journal again, taking care not to bend its covers, and check for fit.  This journal is a bit tricky in that it has rounded corners, but it didn't affect the overall fit.

Remove journal again (d'oh), press carefully, re-insert journal, wrap beautifully and hand to lucky recipient.

Questions?  Comments?  More info?  Less info?  Tell all, Gentle Readers.  I'd love to see your finished items... 


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