Monday, 1 April 2013

Cover up for the Across The Pond Sew Along

There are many things I like about our sew-along group – for instance I like that we make just one project a month which gives me plenty of time to create the make-of-the-month.  And with three of us taking it in turns to organise each month’s activities you can be assured that there is a variation of projects and styles.   This month it is the turn of Susie from Susie’s Sunroom.   Susie is brilliant at routing out a project that is suitable for all skill levels and all tastes.  It was Susie that chose the bird pin cushion as the New Year make and for the month of April Susie has turned her attention to journal covers.   

Susie has highlighted three FREE journal patterns having tested two of them (I love that little birdhouse - did I mention Susie is also the paper-piecing expert of the group?) 
First pattern under the spotlight is the journal cover from Rachel at Stitched in Color. 
Rachel shows how to turn an unlined patchwork panel into a journal cover for a composition book.  For those of us on this side of the pond a composition book measures 7.5” (wide) x 9.75” (length) - you will struggle to find one on the High Street although Amazon do sell them online.   Susie used this pattern for the bottom of the two journals above.  I also used this pattern but more on that in a minute.

Next up is Urban Threads and again Susie gave this one a go so check out her blog if you fancy this pattern.  
Finally there is the Moda Bakeshop journal cover tutorial by Roslyn Mirrington of Bloom.  This recipe is for an A5 book (6.25” x 8.25”) - a size that is readily available in the UK.   The Moda pattern has a lining and uses a quilt-as-you-go method. 
Click here for the PDF version - this pattern looks a little more involved as it is lined but I really like the look of it and was going to try this one next ..... that was before Amy added several additional patterns.  So before you decide which to make pop over to Amy Made That where Amy has been busy searching the four corners of hyperspace to come up with five more patterns for us to choose from (four free patterns and one for purchase).  

Whilst I think the A5 Moda journal cover will make a good gift and I am ready to spend a few pennies on the Gingercake Notebook Slipcover that Amy found, I think I should test an idea before I make gifts.  So I set about creating a journal cover using the Stitched in Colour tutorial to fit my A4 notebook.  I always use an A4 journal (8½” x 12”) for my pattern ideas, sketches and jottings and sometimes my journal has a ringed spine. Adapting the pattern was very simple – instead of creating a patched rectangle measuring 29.5” x 12” I made it slightly bigger at 30” x 14”.

Initially I made a journal cover with an applique panel on the front.  Here is the panel I created before stitching the journal cover together.  
I thought it looked good and was confident my journal cover would look lovely.  However, once put together I found that it looked ‘bitty’ – the fabric at the sides of the applique panel are just one fabric too many and would’ve looked better in dark red and the dark red strip at the bottom was wonky.  Also, my dark purple journal was showing through the light coloured fabric at the top. 
There was no getting away from it – it just didn’t work.  In my defence I had put it together at the end of a rather bad day at work – so I shouldn’t have been surprised. 
Onto version 2 ........ Instead of redoing the first journal cover I decided to adopt a totally new look (and this was before I knew Susie had used stripes!!!).  Firstly I decided to go for one colourway – to keep some cohesion – and I chose pink as my colour of choice.  This time I made the 30” x 14” unit by stitching ten 30” x 1½” strips together before adding two final strips measuring 30” x 2¼” – one to the top and one to the bottom.  (I chose larger strips at the top and bottom so that seams did not fall on the edges of the journal.) 
My patchwork cover hides a dark purple hardback notebook and although unlined the purple journal does not show through this time.  If you are using light-coloured fabrics then you will want to line it or choose a journal with a light coloured cover.
Overall I enjoyed this project.  I like that I can take the cover off the notebook when it is full and use it on my next notebook.  I think the A4 size is a little big for a gift – but the A5 size would be perfect.  Susie added a bookmark which is a neat idea and already included in the Moda bake which I will try next.  However, if you make up the Moda recipe before me please add to the discussion group and let me know how you got on.  Also if you know of another journal pattern that let us know in the Flickr discussion thread.    Lastly don’t forget to post your completed journal covers to the Flickr group – we’re a nosey lot and like to see what everybody else is doing.

Sew until next time ......


  1. I am in love with your striped cover in Pink!!
    And your butterflies and flowers put a smile in my heart! I love them both!
    Can't wait to see what everybody will make!


  2. I like those butterflies too. I have added one tut to the flickr group if you interested. I might actually join the fun this time around.

  3. Oh my gosh! I love them BOTH!! You do such beautiful work. Now I can't wait to get home from work to pick out which journal cover I'm going to make and my fabrics!!