Friday, May 7, 2010

Notebook Tutorial

This was a little nature journal I made for my son. There are all kinds of great ideas for making little notebooks and "moleskines" out there; here's my version.

First, you take a little clump of computer paper. I used 81/2 by 14 inch paper, because it makes a more square shape when folded in half, which is friendlier for drawing on, I find. I'm also not a huge fan of white computer paper for drawing. I find it a bit glaring, or something. I used ivory parchment paper for this project. Note: imagine what could be made with pretty pieces of handmade paper! Oh, drool!

Next, you lay it on a piece of fabric. This is the cover for your notebook. I used a heavy, unbleached cotton.

Trace and cut.

Take the fabric rectangle that you just cut, and hem around the edge...

...or just leave the edges raw and sew zig-zag.

Or two rows of zig-zag. (I do enjoy that stitch).

Assemble some pieces of fabric that you would like to decorate the cover.

Play around until you see what you like...

...and pin it in place.

Sew securely. (Look, more zig-zag stitch!)

Back to the paper. Fold your clump of paper in half, using a hand-carved ivory page-creaser. Don't have one? Just fold it in half.

Lay it on the newly-completed fabric cover.

And sew down the middle of the crease. I find the stiffness of the paper keeps it in place. Chances are it will not slip. But if you like to be cautious, go ahead and pin first.

I added some ties as an afterthought from some orange cotton twill tape.

And there it is, all ready to pop into the nature bag, along with some new pencils and pencil crayons, and a spiffy bug-viewer. We do love our bugs. And our drawing.


  1. Oh Mary...please teach me to sew so I can make these lovelies! You should sell these on Etsy. Love it, love it, love it.

  2. thank you for sharing this beautiful idea!
    enjoy your weekend : )

  3. Great tutorial and idea!
    Love your blog :)

  4. i'm over from gardenmama. i love this book! and your granny tee! what a lovely blog you have here : )

  5. Great tutorials...this craft is going into the "birthday gift" idea archives!!! Also...the granny tee is awesome!
    thanks for the inspiration