How to Make Fabric Covered Journals

How to Make Fabric Covered Journals

Hey there friends, it's time to show you how to make fabric covered journals. These make a perfect gift, perfect for Mother's day, graduation, all the things.

These are so much fun and so easy to make and you can make them personalized with your fabric choices. The front cover of the journal is where you will see most of the personality of your handmade notebooks, so spend a bit of time choosing your exterior fabric. With so many beautiful fabrics out there, it can be hard to narrow it down. One of most favorite journals I made was made from vintage fabric for a friend of mine. She had some of her grandmother's fabric but she didn't sew. It was such a treat to make her a travelers journal from that fabric so she could take her grandmother with her on all her journeys.

The Supplies

To make these fabric covered journals, you need a handful of supplies.  Let me share them with you.

The Measuring

Measure your journal. Mine is a composition book, so the measurements are based off of these. Luckily, composition books seem to be pretty standard is size across different brands. You can also use a spiral notebook as well.

For this, you want both fabric pieces to start at 29-1/2″ x 11-1/2″. We will be using a 1/2″ seam allowance for this. Since we will be flipping this inside out and we don't need Structure in our seams and seam allowance, we want to cut our Structure down to our finished size, which is 28-1/2″ x 10-1/2″. And then we want our batting to be the same size as our fabric. We will be trimming it down as needed, as it likes to stretch and pull, so I like to start with it a little bigger than needed and cut it down.

We are using Structure to give stability to our fabric. If you aren't familiar with it, it's a fusible interfacing that helps hold the shape of our project and makes our soft fabric more hefty in nature. It's super easy to use, all you need is a dry iron to go with it. We will talk about how it is used when we get to this step. But I think understanding what it is helps make the measurements easier to understand as to why it's smaller than our fabric size.


I am making mine with a quilted finish look and want low loft batting along with the shape that Structure will give us. You have a choice if you want to do the same thing. You can either add your Structure to the outside piece (as I have done) or to the inside piece. The way to choose is to know where you want “the fluff” to be. I wanted mine to have a bit of batting, but since this journal is going to be used on the go, I really wanted the support from the Structure on the outer most side. In essence, we are making a sandwich, you get to choose which material you want to use where. It works great either way, so there is no wrong choice!

The Making

Choose which fabric you want on the outside of our journal. I went with the more colorful pattern for this and a soft pattern free pink for the inside of the cover.

Begin by ironing your outside pattern, we don't want it to have any wrinkles in it. Allow it to cool. Now we get to add our Structure. With this, all we want to do is put it shiny side down into the middle of our fabric. We should have a 1/2″ of fabric border around the Structure. Shiny side goes against the wrong side of our fabric.

Use a dry iron and work in sections.  The directions say to allow about 30 seconds per section.  We do get the best results when we follow instructions, so please don't rush this process.

Once your Structure is applied and cooled, we will add our Poly-Fil Low-Loft® Batting on top of the Structure.  Pin away!   I chose Poly-Fil Low-Loft® Batting because it's the “Goldilocks” batting of general crafting.  It's not too thick, it's not to thin, it's just right.  It's the everyday batting I go to every time.

Head to your sewing machine and decide if you want the quilted look or not.  If you do, start with that.   Either straight on or on a bias, start your stitching.  Use a ruler to help keep your lines straight.   My sections are about 3-1/2″ wide.

Once you are done with that, it's time to add your inside fabric's wrong side against the wrong side of your outer fabric.

Stitch all the way around except for a section to leave open so you can flip your fabric journal cover right side out.  Stitch all the way around, trim off your corners and cut away any excess batting.

Flip it right side out and press.  Finish stitching your opening closed.

We have our journal “blanket” made, it's now time to fold in our sides and stitch.  Open your journal all the way on the inside piece of fabric and fold your edge over.  I have mine right at 6-1/4″ folded over.

Pin each flap over, remove the journal, piddle your way back to your machine and do one long stitch across both the top and the bottom of your journal cover.

You have this delightful fabric journal cover complete in about 45 minutes.

Keep in mind that you can also add a pocket to your inside flaps, or to the front if you want. Pockets are a great way to use up fabric scraps. You can also use scraps of fabric or vintage lace for extra trim of you want to decorate them more. You can keep special greeting cards in the pockets, or fun little mementos.

Thank You

Thank you so much for stopping by to see this fun craft. I love making fabric notebooks, and I hope you find making them as addictive as I have! All you need is the right supplies and a wee bit of time. I can't wait to share more projects with you so keep coming back to Makeable Crafts for more ideas. XOXO, Meg

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  1. Loved the tutorial Meg.
    I used to make many fabric covered journals and confess I haven’t for awhile. I definitely need to revisit this sweet craft.
    Thanks for sharing your tutorial at Create, Bake, Grow & Gather this week. I’m delighted to be featuring your fabric covered journal at tonight’s party and pinning too.

  2. This is soooooo cool! Shared and bookmarked.. I will make one for myself. I love unique journals! You rock 🙂

    Wow me Wednesday #511, Minnie Mouse Rattle

  3. That is such a pretty way to customize a journal. I’ll be featuring it tomorrow at the Thursday Favorite Things link party. Congrats! 🙂

  4. Such a fun project and how perfect is that fabric for a journal cover!
    Thank you for sharing your tutorial for making fabric covered journals at Create, Bake, Grow & Gather this week. I’m delighted to be featuring it at the party tonight and pinning too.
    Happy New Year,

  5. I’ll be making one of these for my daughter , however, in the instructions about ironing on the Structure you say ” Use a dry iron and work in sections. The directions say to allow about 30 minutes per section.”
    I’ve never used this product – is thirty minutes correct?
    Thanks for your help,

    1. Oh my! No, it wasn’t right at all! Great catch, thank you so much. It should say 30 seconds! Thank you, thank you, thank you for bringing this to me, I’ve corrected it.

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