Fabric Traveler’s Notebook {Mini Tutorial}

Fabric-Dori-1As a fabric and planner lover, I’ve been seeing some amazing traveler’s notebooks made out of fabric. A traveler’s notebook {the brand name is Midori}, if you’re not familiar with them, is a notebook cover with elastics that hold interchangeable notebooks inside. While I searched around online and found lots of tutorials for making leather, even vinyl notebooks, but I didn’t see any made out of fabric {I probably wasn’t searching for the right key words…}. So, I figured I’d just experiment myself. Above is the traveler’s notebook I made a friend. To make your own you’ll need:

  • Notebooks {mine measured 6″ x 8 1/2″} – here’s a great tutorial to make your own
  • Fabric {I used two 10″ x 14″ pieces}
  • Sturdy Interfacing {I used Pellon® 808 Décor Bond or 809 Craft Fuse – both are essentially the same}
  • Pellon® Wonder Under {to fuse all the layers together}
  • 2mm Elastic Cord {I bought mine in pretty colors here}
  • Eyelets {I used some from a fabric store, but wasn’t impressed with the quality, I think I’ll try these next time}
  • Optional: 1/2″ elastic for a pen loop

Fabric-Dori-2To make your traveler’s notebook, cut the fabric 1-2″ larger than your open notebook {the more notebooks you plan to carry, the larger you’ll want the cover}. Then interface the wrong side of both the outside and the lining fabric with the heavy interfacing. Use Wonder Under to fuse both layers together. Make sure you use plenty of steam and take your time so that all the pieces get fused evenly.

Fabric-Dori-3Once you’ve assembled your layers, you’ll need to punch holes. I punched mine like this, but I might try this next time, though I do like the closure loop being along the spine. To add extra loops for more notebooks, just tie a circle of elastic and slip it around a notebook that’s already in the cover.

Fabric-Dori-5I did also sew 1/8″ and 1/4″ from the outside perimeter to make sure all the layers stay together. I made a little loop out of 1/2″ elastic and sewed it into the perimeter seam for a pen loop too.

Fabric-Dori-4And there you have a fabric traveler’s notebook! It came together really fast and I’m looking forward to making a couple more of these. I think they’d be great teacher gifts, since it’s that time of year already. I’m kind of wanting to try a scrappy one too…we’ll see how that works out.

Sewing Other Designers Patterns

In the past, I rarely sewed patterns by other bag designers. I always worried that if I made someone’s pattern, and then later a technique she used showed up in my work, people would think I was copying that designer. But, as time has passed and I have seen more and more people designing bags, I’ve realized there really aren’t that many techniques after all. Instead, what matters is size, style, fabric choice, and somehow making something so universal look unique.

The other major reason was, I sometimes alter the pattern so much, or want to, that it doesn’t even seem like the original anymore. So, instead of putting all that work into a bag designed by someone else, I would just start from scratch, and make my own bag in my own style.

However, lately, I seem to have a few projects out of other patterns in the lineup, and I’m really enjoying making them. If I just stick to the pattern {it can be tough to not change a bunch of things}, it is actually really enjoyable sewing. I don’t have to take hundreds of pictures, write copious notes, and then spend hours at the computer creating a pattern, I can just sew and finish a project to enjoy.

So, while you’ll be seeing more Clover & Violet patterns coming in the future, I also am learning just to slow down a little bit and enjoy sewing. It’s nice to know that someone has worked really hard to make sure my project turns out exactly like I want it to. I hope I have a few more fun pattern making experiences this summer, I’m going to use the A Place for Everything bag to hold travel embroidery supplies, and I’m already working on the hexagons for the outside.

I’m really wanting to practice slowing down, I see so much life rushing by me in the growth of my children, I really want to enjoy it. What are you most looking forward to this summer, sewing or not?

Hexagon Tutorial Round-up

imageAfter a very long winter, warm weather has finally found its way to the north east! The kids have been thrilled to get back outside, and I’ve been spending more time on hand sewing these days, instead of at my machine. There is something relaxing about siting outside and having something come together by hand.

Like everything else in life, I think there are seasons for sewing different things. I know that someday my children will be older, they won’t need me to watch their every move, take them to the playground, and sitting outside while they splash in the kiddie pool. So, for this summer, I’m going to embrace hand sewing. I’ve been working on sewing together some adorable hexagons I received from Gina of Party of Eight: Our Story in a recent swap. I’ve added a few favorite fussy cuts to the mix as well {I’m new to fussy cutting, and it is so much fun searching through fabrics for those cute pictures to feature!}. If you’re interested in joining me in my hand sewing summer, I wanted to post some great hexagon resources for you!

hexagonLately I’ve been glue basting my hexagons, and I love how fast they get finished! I bought the large Fiskar’s Hexagon Punch-for hexagons with 3/4″ finished sides, for 1″ sides buy the Extra Large Hexagon-to punch my papers {I used regular typing paper, as I didn’t have any card stock on hand, but I might pick up some card stock next time}. I added a hole punch to the back too, to make them super easy to remove.

Do you find your sewing differs by season? Are you making something thing by hand this summer? Do you have a favorite hexagon tutorial I missed? I’d love for you to share.

WIP: Farm Girl Vintage Sew Along

Let me show you what I’ve been sewing! This is Lori Holt’s new book “Farm Girl Vintage“. It is featured on her blog beeinmybonnet. You can purchase it  at the Fat Quarter Shop.


I have been sewing along and trying very hard to keep up. These blocks are so cute and fun to make. Some of them are stretching my skills, which is a really good thing. The block I am currently working on has flying geese, learning some new techniques for this one. Love the PamKittyMorning fabric!

These are the first two blocks that I made. It’s a lot of fun  using such a variety of fabric and background fabric too.
FarmGirlVintage3 Then there are these two. I love the little girl from Tasha Noel’s line, The Simple Life by Riley Blake. I can’t wait until her new line, Vintage Market comes out. And for the bowl, of course, Farmdale Blossom by Alexander Henry is a favorite too (too bad it’s out of print and hard to find).

FarmGirlVintage4Here they are all together. Having fun and still stretching my skills. Perfect combination.

What are you sewing this spring?

Tip: Filling Pincushions with Vase Filler

Pincushion-1I wanted to share a little tip I have for filling pincushions. I seem to give away almost all of the pincushions I make, and a few of the recipients have asked me what I fill them with, because it has a nice feel and weight. Now, I know it is common to fill pincushions partially with crushed walnut shells, but, because of allergy concerns {many of my pincushions go to swap partners, and swaps often ask for allergy info}, I looked for a risk-free alternative. My favorite: vase filler.

pincushoin-1These plastic beads, called Colorfill are great for pincushions. They have a nice weight and texture, are affordable, and won’t have any potential allergic reactions.

pincushoin-2Here’s a look vase filler a little closer. I stuff my pincushions half full with poly-fill and then put the beads in the bottom. I’ve never had a problem with the vase filler surfacing to the top.

I have heard that crushed walnut shells will help keep your pins and needles sharp, so that is one great advantage to them. I do have one pincushion filled with the walnut shells that I was given in a swap, and it’s lovely. I just find these vase filler beads an easy alternative to have on hand, especially since a swap partner or someone I’m gifting a pincushion to may have allergies.

What do you fill your pincushions with? Do you have a favorite way to weight them? Do I not know what I’m missing by not using the crushed walnut shells? I’d love to know!