How to make a fabric journal / book cover

I have recently joined in with the "bullet journal" system to help to get organised and set goals, but being the fabric addict that I am I just had to make a pretty journal cover, and I have had several requests for a tutorial on how to make one, so here is it ....

How to make a fabric journal / book cover...

What will you need?

  • The main fabric (see measurements lower down)
  • Lining fabric
  • lightweight (I used 2oz) wadding (you could omit the wadding but the cover will then not be padded).
  • A sewing machine, ideally with a walking foot (the walking foot is not essential, especially if not using wadding).
  • Thread
  • Any lace or trims that you want to use to embellish 

Step 1

First you need to get your journal measurements, for the width you need to measure all the way around the width of the book, its important that you do this with the book closed and not open (this ensures that it allows for the spine), you can see mine below was approx 33cm.

Next you need to measure the length as shown below.

Step 2

Next is the maths to work out the measurements to cut your fabric, I like to make mine with 3 sections of fabric but if you wanted it to be easier you could use just one fabric, the maths for both options are shown below...

If using 3 sections you can choose how big you want each section to be, just ensure that they add up to the total required length as shown below.

Step 3

Next step is to cut out your fabric pieces to the measurements you have worked out above, I use a quilting ruler to help with this as it helps to ensure that you are drawing the lines straight!

So, for mine I have ended up with 2 x spotty sections and 1 x floral section.

Step 4

Next step is to sew these 3 sections together in order to make one rectangle, place the fabric right side to right side and pin in place, then stitch together using a 1.5cm seam allowance.

Repeat this step with the other section of fabric, and press the seam allowance towards the spotty fabric with an iron.

Step 5

Next step add any embellishments that you want, I added lace trim to both of the seam allowances.

Step 6

Next step is to cut out your lining fabric to be the same size as your completed fabric front, the easiest way to do this is to place your completed front on top of your lining fabric and cut around it.

Step 7

Next step is to cut out your wadding, you should cut this bigger than the fabric front piece as it often goes out of shape as you sew it, you will trim the excess edges off once you've attached it to the front piece (look carefully at the picture below to see the wadding as its difficult to see).

Step 8

Next step is to quilt the wadding to the fabric front, all I did was stitch along the seam allowance where you have joined the 3 sections of fabric together, this is enough to hold it in place. Once you have quilted it you can trim the excess edges from the wadding.

NOTE: The walking foot recalling helps from this point on as it is great to plough through thick layers of fabric, a standard foot can struggle to get through them.

Step 9

Next step is to line the quilted fabric front, place the lining on top of the fabric front, with right side to right side, first of all you will stitch the 2 side edges and NOT the top and bottom, see where the pins are on the second picture below! I used a seam allowance slightly smaller than 1.5cm (about 1.2cm) just to give a bit extra play as wadding can make the seams quite bulky.

Step 10

Turn the book cover right side out and press the seams you have just completed, and then top stitch to neaten the edge.

Step 11

Next step is to check the size of your inside flaps, I wanted mine to be approximately 10cm each so measure 10cm on each side and fold over the flap, place the book inside and open and close to check the fit, once its ok use an iron to press a crease on the fold (this just makes it easier in the next step).

Step 12

Now turn the book cover inside out again and fold the flaps in as shown in the picture below, this step is really difficult to explain so look carefully at how I have folded it, the seam that you have already sewn is pushed inside and the top fabric piece and lining is folded over and sandwiched together.

Step 13

Nearly finished now!!! Next step is to sew the top and bottom seams, on one side you will sew all the way along, but on the other side you will need to leave a gap to turn it right side out again, see the 2 larger pins in the image above, between these 2 pins is the gap that I will leave. I again used a seam allowance slightly smaller than the 1.5cm (about 1.2cm)

Once stitched, turn the book cover right side out (carefully) through the gap, and use a blunt pencil or something to push the corners out.

Step 14

Check the fit is ok by inserting the book and opening and closing it (don't worry if its a tiny bit baggy as you need to top stitch the edges yet which will make it slightly smaller).

Step 15 - THE FINAL STEP!!!!

Final step is to topstitch all the way around the edge, ensuring that when you get to the gap you ensure the fabric is tucked in nicely so that you topstitch it closed, and give everything a good press.

Now sit back and admire your work!! This book cover will cover your books for many years to come as you can simply change the book / journal for a new one once you have filled one book!

I hope you found this tutorial useful, please comment below with your thoughts!

Of course, if you don't fancy making one yourself, or don't have the equipment to do so, I would love to make one for you! I can make these to order so just drop me a message!! Click here for more details.