Idea Notebook Tutorial

As promised, here is a way to turn plain notebooks (or very beat up ones) into something attractive, functional and…frankly, fun.

I am particularly pleased with this tutorial because it can use scrap, and not create any more of it.  If you choose to use a single color of fabric, you will use a strip 3 3/4″ wide and WOF (Width Of Fabric) assuming 42-44″. That would give you two covers from a quarter yard (NOT a fat quarter).  Combined with the relatively low cost of the 3×5 notepads, you can create a very nice gift for someone (like you) for not a whole lot of money.  Even if you buy fabric.  But, wise quilters remember to shop the “home fabric store” (as my friend Mary calls it) first.



one 3×5 notebook

1 strip WOF 3 3/4″ wide

1 1/2″ velcro dot

Button (optional)


1. Remove the selveges and cut the strip of fabric as follows:  2 pieces 11 1/4″ long, two pieces 9 inches long, and the little extra bit.


2. Fold the two 9-inch pieces in half, right sides out, making folded pieces 4-1/2 inches in length.  Also, fold in the end of the extra little bit about 1/4 inch and iron.  Then, depending on the width of your little bit, fold in such a way as to make a piece 3/4-7/8 inches wide, with no raw edges showing.  Trim to two inches in length. I sort of folded mine like bias tape then adjusted the width.  I know these directions are a little rough, but it is hard to be precise because your piece of fabric will be different from mine depending on the width of your fabric and the selvege.  If this isn’t clear, please ask questions and I will do my best.

3. Stack your fabric for sewing as follows:  11-inch strip for outside cover face UP. The two folded pieces, raw edges matching at the outside with folded edges towards the middle. The little bit prepared to be the closure centered at one end with the raw edge lined up with all the other raw edges.  The finished edge should be to the center.  Finally, the inside cover face DOWN.  Got all the layers straight?  Great.  Put a few pins in to keep it stable.

4.  Sew around outer edge using a 1/4-inch seam allowance. 

Remember to leave a space for turning it inside out.  I like to leave a space on one long side between the pocket edges. 

5.  Trim corners and turn inside out, poking the corners out nice and square.  Iron, folding the seams at the opening inside straight.  Then I like to stitch very close to the edge (topstitch) between the pockets on both sides.  It closes up the opening and gives the edge a nice look.  BUT, do NOT topstitch all the way around or the cover will not fit the notebook.

6.  Add the velcro dot and button, if desired.  Insert the notebook and, ta-dah, you have a really fine looking item, if I do say so myself.

And, because quilters can’t leave well enough alone, I had to do a pieced one.  I sort of like it, too.

I hope you enjoy this idea and will feel free to ask any questions you might have.  If you make some, I’d love to see how they turn out.

11 thoughts on “Idea Notebook Tutorial

  1. What a cute project! I never go ANYWHERE without my notebook – and it gets pretty beat up before I’m done with it.

    One question: When you stack your fabrics, should the first piece be face UP rather than face down?

  2. love it and such a good tutorial..will get some of the little notebooks and make some for holiday gifts..and i have lots of scraps to do it with..LOL..

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