Make a Fabric Diary Cover

Happy New Year! I hope everyone has recovered from all the partying over the holiday season! I kicked off 2011 with a fun project, I made a fabric cover with handy inner pockets for my 2011 Diary. It was really simple to make and only takes a little bit of fabric, so I thought I’d make a tutorial.

You Will Need:

* A 2011 Diary (Mine is A5 size and hardback)

* A Fat Quarter of pretty fabric, or two Fat Quarters of two different fabrics if you’d like to have a contrasting lining. I used Tokyo Textiles Skulls and Mushrooms fabric as it’s a thick cotton fabric so anything made from it will be long lasting, and it’s double sided so I can make use of both sides of the design.

* A pretty button

* About 10cm of elastic cord

* Your sewing machine, iron, pins, scissors & thread

Step 1: Cut out your fabric pieces!

Place your diary on the wrong side of your fabric (it’s hard to tell with this lovely double sided fabric but this is the ‘wrong’ side!) and draw around it with a pencil. Flip your diary over, and leave a gap a few mm wider than the spine, then draw around it again to create a long rectangle. Add a 15mm seam allowance and then cut the rectangle out, this will be the outside of your cover.

Next, draw around your Diary again, this time on the wrong side of your lining fabric. Add a 15mm seam allowance to the top, bottom and outer edge of this piece and cut it out. Repeat for the second lining piece.

Cut a third piece the same size as the lining pieces, fold it in half width-wise and cut – this will form your two pockets!

Step 2: Constructing the lining

Turn in a 1cm seam along the top of each pocket piece and top stitch to hide the raw edge.

Now place your pockets on your lining pieces, both pieces facing right side up. Turn in a 15mm seam along the side edge of both fabrics, pin and top stitch to hide the raw edge.

Do the same with the other piece but on the opposite side. The two pieces will mirror each other.

Step 3: Final Construction

Take your elastic cord and make a loop by tying a knot in it. With your outer cover piece right side up, place the loop at the centre of the short edge which will be at the back of your diary cover. Stitch the loop in place in the seam allowance. Stitch back and forth over the elastic several times to ensure that it is nice and secure.

Next, place your two lining and pocket pieces on top of the outer cover piece, right sides together with the raw edges matched up and the top stitched edges facing inwards. Sew each lining piece to the cover piece (along the yellow lines marked in the photo below) with a 15mm seam allowance, reverse stitch at the beginning and end of your stitching.

Clip the corners with scissors so that they’re nice and neat when turned the right way out. I also trimmed the seam allowance to approximately 7mm to cut down on bulk.

Now turn your cover the right way out & press!

Step 4: The finishing touch

Hand stitch your pretty button to the front cover. Use the elastic loop as a guide to where to stitch it. The loop will slip over your button to keep your diary closed.

Now your cover is ready to put on your diary! Open the diary cover as far as you can and slip the fabric cover over it, close your book and the fabric will tighten around your diary. It should be a nice snug fit.

Ta da! Now you have an awesome 2011 Diary ready for a busy and exciting year! This tutorial will work with any size diary and it is also a great way to cover note books, idea books, art journals and other books. The cover is re-usable so if you pick the same sized diary next year you can use it again.

I hope this tutorial is clear and easy to follow, feedback is appreciated! If you make a cover for your diary I’d love to see a photo! Check out the Tokyo Textiles shop for lots of gorgeous Japanese fabrics which would be perfect for this project!


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