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Book cover design and pattern by Sally Stevens, editor of patchwork, quilting, embroidery and textile arts magazine 'Fabrications - Quilting for You'.  Visit to find out more.

Strippy Book Cover Tutorial


Easy sew book cover

This project will help you create the perfect journal cover for your sewing journal.  Either use sewing themed fabric like we did, or your favourite fabrics to make this useful sewing journal to plan your future projects.

You will need...

Supplies for book cover tutorial 

A5 notebook or diary (e.g. from Pound shops, The Works, Wilko, Oxfam etc)

10" square of three coordinating fabrics (or at least fifteen 1½" x 10" strips PLUS one 2" x 10" strip). We used fabrics from the 'Maker' range by Art Gallery Fabrics. For UK stockists, visit Hantex 

10" x 15" of coordinating lining fabric PLUS two 10" squares of coordinating flap fabric

5” square of coordinating fabric for business card holder

10" x 15" lightweight or fusible wadding

15" of matching narrow ribbon for bookmark, plus three or four beads or a charm to trim (optional)

Matching piecing thread, matching or contrasting topstitching thread

Spray baste (optional)

Cutting mat, ruler and rotary cutter

Sewing machine with a ¼" foot and a walking foot

Iron and board

Usual sewing supplies



Cut strips for fabric book cover

Trim your fabrics into 1½" x 10" strips. Place the lining fabric wrong side up with the wadding on top. If you wish to spray baste these together, spray the wadding and not the fabric.


Strippy book protector project


Align a 1½" strip, right side up, at the right hand edge of the wadding. Place a second strip wrong side up on top of it and pin.


Fabric book cover project 


Sew together down the left hand edge, through all layers. Remove the pins. Flip the top strip over and finger press. Place a third strip wrong side up on top of the second, pin, stitch and flip as before.


Sewing a fabric book wrap


To make the pen pocket, fold and press the 2" x 10" strip in half widthways, right sides out. Place it on top of the third strip aligning the left hand and bottom raw edges. There will be excess pocket fabric on the right hand side.


Scrap sewing project


Place a fourth strip wrong side upon top and pin carefully through all layers. Stitch and flip as before. Pin a fifth strip wrong side up on top of the pocket, aligning all the left hand and bottom raw edges. This creates the pocket 'tunnel' with room to insert a pen or pencil. Stitch and flip as before.


How to sew a patchwork journal cover


Add more strips; pin, stitch and flip until the wadding is covered.


Make a stitched notebook wrap


Press the 10" squares of flap fabric in half. Pin to either end of the lining side of the bookwrap, aligning the raw edges.


Free book cover tutorial using fabric scraps


Fold the 5” square in half across the diagonal, wrong sides together, to form a triangle. Pin to the bottom inside front cover, aligning the raw edges, to form a business card pocket. Tuck one end of the ribbon bookmark into a channel at the top of the bookwrap and pin. At the back of the wrap and slightly off centre is best. Add a charm or beads to the free end of the bookmark if you wish. Sew with a straight stitch and a scant ¼" seam around all four raw edges of the book wrap. You will need to slightly pleat the pen pocket as you go. Trim the edges and take the bulk out of the corners, being careful not to cut your stitches.



Bound Edge

Free project to sew a book cover

If you wish to bind your bookwrap, join enough 1¾" strips of fabric end to end to make a strip approx 56" long.

Stitch a notebook wrap

Press in half lengthways, pin to the front of the bookwrap and stitch with a scant ¼" seam around the raw edges, mitring the corners neatly as you go. Tuck the end of the binding inside the start of it, trimming the end to fit as necessary. Fold over to the lining side of the bookwrap and slipstitch in place by hand. 

Raw Edge

For a raw edge effect to your bookwrap, change to top stitching thread and a wide but short length zigzag stitch (you will need to remove your ¼" foot, if used, to avoid breaking your needle!). You are aiming to cover your outer seam with a close zigzag. Test your zigzag width and length on a scrap of fabric first. You can also use an overlooking stitch, blanket stitch or similar.

Sew several rounds of the bookwrap outer edge to seal and decorate the raw edges. Be careful not to trap the free end of the bookmark as you stitch. Using two or three different colours of topstitching and/or metallic thread creates a pretty effect.

Pop your notebook inside and you're ready to start planning!

Easy sewing project for sewing notebook
You might enjoy some of our other easy sew projects here.
Easy to sew beginners tutorials
If you've enjoyed this project, look out for Sally's magazine 'Fabrications - Quilting for You'
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