How To Make A Fabric Journal Cover

Wednesday 6 September 2017

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I have been waiting to share this post for so long, and it's definitely a good one. I promise you, you're going to love it.

I was playing around with different designs in my head from around the start of the year, but I wasn't ready to 100% commit to anything yet. I don't know why, but when it comes to diys, I put absolutely everything I have into it. I make sure that I think about it from every angle, and make sure the materials are easily accessible for all, and it will be fun and achievable for everyone, no matter your skills level. My last diy was in April, and I would love to be able to post several diy's each month, but the perfectionist in me, well... hopefully soon I'll be able to grow an extra pair of arms and get them done much quicker. Anyway, let's start talking about today's creation.

diy fabric journal covers

I don't know about you, but I used to love covering my school books in the brightest coloured paper possible. It would always make it quicker and easier to find my book amongst the pile of horrible muted tones, plus my love for personalising every little single thing I own, has been with me FOREVER. So to continue 90s month, we are creating the coolest fabric covers. If you're still at school, (and are allowed), you can cover your planners, or school books. You can cover your work diary, or bullet journal, your favourite sketchbook, absolutely anything you can dream of.

diy fabric journal cover embroidery

The best thing about these is how completely personalised they can be. You can make it as you as you like, and just go to town with your creativity. You can pick any fabric you like, or even paint your own fabric designs. You can try different fabrications, add trims, buttons or ribbons, or use elastics or ribbons to keep your journal closed. I kept my three designs relatively simple, but I tried different techniques to help get your creative juices flowing. The first cover I made was inspired by a traditional school book. I used hand embroidery to create free-hand lines, just like you'd see in a notebook. This took me forever to do, but honestly, I find hand sewing very therapeutic, so when a blog post was stressing me out, I was right back at that embroidery hoop. I also sewed a "to-do-list" and "notes" section onto the inside flaps, and dated it on the book spine.

diy fabric journal cover pleats

Learning how to make fabric journal covers with @helloaycan

You might notice the fabric from my next journal cover from my diy pom pom cushion I did last year. I loved the fabric combination so much, plus I had a little left over, so I knew I had to use it again for another diy. For this cover, I split the book into the three sections, and created pleats on two sections, while I used to print fabric down the spine. If you're not very good with fabrications, but wanted to create something with texture, this is a very easy idea to execute. I still have a little more of the fabric left over (yes, I overbuy fabric), so you may see this design pop up once more.

diy fabric journal cover sequins

For my last design, I wanted to throw some creativity at my bullet journal (yes, I still haven't started). I used a simple gingham fabric, and appliqu├ęd LWS onto it, to make it that little more personal. You can never have too much on one cover, so I french knotted sequins across the cover, in a sort of like unorganised splat. Again, if you're not that confident at hand-sewing, you can even use a hot glue gun to attach them.

At first glance, this does look like it's going to be really complicated, but in reality, all you have to do is lay three pieces of fabric on top of each other and sew around it. The hardest part is making sure you get the pieces facing the right way, but follow the illustrated guide step by step, and you'll have your own fully personalised, handmade journal cover in no time. Let's get started.


  • Journal/notebook/book
  • A medium-weight* fabric for the cover
  • A light-weight fabric for the lining
  • Measuring tape
  • Scissors
  • Pins
  • Sewing machine
  • Any tools or materials for personalising your cover
  • *if your cover fabric is to thin, you will need fusing to add some weight


  1. diy fabric journal covers tutorial

    Lay your chosen book open and with a measuring tape or ruler, measure the width and height, and note these down. For each of these measurements, add 3 cm; 2cm for the sewing seam allowance and 1cm to give your cover a little ease. For the inside flaps, the measurement for the height will be the same as you already noted down, and for the width, that's up to you. Take your width and double it, then add 2cm. You're doubling this time, because this will be folded and form the lining of the flaps.

  2. diy fabric journal covers tutorial

    Iron your cover, flaps, and lining fabric, and if you're using fusing, iron this onto your fabric. Carefully cut out your fabric using your measurements noted down. (If you are planning on mixing different fabrics, adding pleats ect, make sure you counter this before you cut. For example, if you're mixing two different fabrics, add an extra 1cm seam allowance so you are able to sew these together.) You should have two large pieces, which are your lining and cover fabric. Take your flap pieces, fold them in half, and iron down the fold. Using a sewing machine, sew down the edge you just folded. You can do any style of stitch you like, or as many as you like. Get really decorative. Attach a pin to the back side of this fabric, it will make more sense later on.

  3. diy fabric journal covers tutorial

    (Optional) This is the part where you can get really creative. Now you've got your pieces cut out, you've got a blank canvas to do whatever you like. You can embroider, add sequins, add felt, anything you feel like doing. Just remember your lining won't be seen, so you don't need to do anything with that, plus don't work too close to the edge as this is going to get sewn into.

  4. diy fabric journal covers tutorial

    Make sure you pay attention to this part. Lay down your cover fabric with the design facing you. If you're going to add a ribbon bookmark, pin this to the centre of the fabric so it hangs off from the top and bottom. On top of that, lay the flaps with the raw unsewn edge on the outside, and the pin facing you. The right side of the flaps (the side you want to be seen), should be touching the front of the cover fabric. Take your lining and place that on top with the wrong side of the fabric (the side that is going to be tucked inside) on top of the flaps and cover. Pin in place, and sew all the way around the edge, (remembering your 1cm seam allowance) leaving a small gap at the bottom, big enough to turn your cover through. Once sewn, turn the cover the right way around, and check that it fits the way you want. Once you're 100% committed, turn it inside out, and trim the edges close to the stitches.

  5. diy fabric journal covers tutorial

    Turn your cover the right way again, and using a blunt point, poke the corners to create a crisp edge. Carefully fold in the edge of the unsewn section, and give a little press with an iron to secure. Once you're happy with the way it looks, use an invisible stitch to close. If your cover is looking a little creased, give it a quick iron. Now it's time to dress your book in its new beautiful cover you have just made!

diy fabric journal covers

I told you that was simple. Despite this taking weeks to plan, make, photograph, write and edit, I did have a lot of fun making, and have had a huge burst of new ideas, so if you like this sort of diy, let me know. If you make a journal cover of your own, please, please, please leave me a comment below, or tweet me photos, I'd love to see what you come up with.