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How To Sew Your Own Traveler’s Journal Cover

Traveler’s journals are hot right now, and they are perfect for creating mini scrapbooks while you are actually on your trip. But did you know that it is surprisingly easy to create your own cover that is themed to your trip? In only a few steps, you can learn how to sew your own traveler’s journal cover!

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How to sew your own traveler's journal cover

Since I was anticipating spending a few days in Paris as part of my trip to Creativeworld in Frankfurt, I decided to make myself a Paris themed journal to record this long-awaited trip. My traveler’s journal cover holds three Midori Traveler’s Notebook refills – just enough to have one for each day in Paris, and one for my time in Frankfurt at the show.

How To Sew Your Own Traveler's Journal Cover

You do not have to be an advanced skill sewist to learn how to sew your own traveler’s journal cover. There are no fancy techniques in this project. It’s about choosing the right materials and tools. If you can use an iron and an eyelet setter, and sew a straight line, you can make your own traveler’s journal cover for your next trip!

DIY Traveler’s Journal Supplies:

How To Sew Your Own Traveler’s Journal Cover:

1) To begin, cut your fabric and interfacing to sizes indicated in supply list.

I selected a Paris themed fabric for my journal, to fit my theme, and used the same fabric for the inside and outside of the journal. If you’d like to have different colors or patterns on the inside and outside of your journal, just cut each 10″ x 12″ fabric panel from different fabrics. This project is great for using up leftover fabric!

ByAnnie’s Soft & Stable, if you have never used it, is what is known as “headliner” fabric – an extremely thick sewable interfacing that is perfect for giving structure to projects like bags and totes. Using it adds a whole new level of professionalism to your sewing, and it makes a great shortcut to stiffen this traveler’s journal cover.

2) Following the package instructions, iron a piece of the Thermoweb Heat’n Bond Lite onto one side of each of the pieces of Soft & Stable. Center each of the pieces of Soft & Stable on top of the back side of a piece of the fabric with the Heat’n Bond side down, and iron to adhere.

3) You should now have two pieces of fabric with a piece of Soft & Stable adhered to the center of the back of them, with a half inch of fabric showing all around it.

4) Fold the corners of the seam allowance in diagonally and iron in place. Then fold over the sides and iron in place as well. (By folding the corners in first, this will leave you with nice clean mitred corners!)

5) After trimming it down slightly, iron the remaining sheet of Heat’n Bond Lite onto the back of one of the cover pieces. Then lay the other cover piece back to back with it, make sure they are correctly aligned, and iron to adhere them together with the Heat’n Bond.

6) Sew around the outside edge of the covers with a sewing machine, stitching approximately 1/8″ from the edge. If necessary, pin the two covers together to keep the edges aligned while sewing.

How to sew your own traveler's journal cover

Now you have the structure of a cover, but it needs attachments for the journal books. My finished cover looked like the photo above. It has two loops of elastic cord, anchored in different ways to hold the three journal books.

First, you need to create the eyelets that are the anchors of the whole cord system.

7) Using a tool like a CropADile or a leather punch, make two holes 5/32″ or slightly smaller that are centered 1/4″ in from the edge along the center fold of your traveler’s journal cover.

8) Place the 5/32″ two part eyelets in the holes and firmly set them using the Dritz 2 Part Eyelet Tool.

how to sew your own traveler's journal cover

9) Cut a piece of round elastic cord that is slightly more than twice the height of your traveler’s journal cover. Thread it snugly through the eyelet holes and knot it at the bottom of the outside of the cover’s spine. Snip off the excess cord and apply Dritz Fray Check to keep the ends from fraying.

how to sew your own traveler's journal cover

10) For the second cord, cut a piece of cord just slightly longer than the distance between the two eyelets. Fold the cord in half and holding both strands together, tie a half knot to create a loop. Trim the ends and apply Dritz Fray Check to secure them.

11) Thread the loop through the eyelet at the top of the traveler’s journal cover, leaving the knot on the outside of the cover. Pull the loop so that it lays underneath the elastic that is threaded through both eyelets. (See picture after #6 above for reference.)

how to sew your own traveler's journal cover

12) Open a journal book to the center staples and slide it under the loop that goes through both eyelets. Close the journal book, capturing the elastic in the center page. This book is now your center of the three journal books.

how to sew your own traveler's journal cover

13) Insert the center page of a journal book through each of the elastics on either side of the center journal book.

how to sew your own traveler's journal cover

14) To keep your journal closed, cut a piece of round elastic cord that fits snugly around the closed journal and tie it. snip the ends and treat with Dritz Fray Check to protect from fraying.

Your journal is complete! I chose three blank books for my journal, but there are lined, graph, and plenty other types of Midori journal books available. Mix and match to create space for writing and drawing, or whatever else you can imagine!

Once you know how to sew your own traveler’s journal cover, it is easy! You won’t be able to stop making them! I’m already planning my next one!

Review | Clover Pin ‘n Stow Magnetic Wrist Pin Caddy

Reported by Maria del Pinto

Clover Pin & Stow Magnetic Pin Holder

I recently had a chance to try out the Clover Pin ‘n Stow Magnetic Wrist Pin Caddy, and really like it. I found the Caddy to be a more convenient way than the more traditional pin cushion to hold my pins while pining my sewing project. If I am doing adjustments on my costume while using the mannequin, I prefer to not have to bend down to add a pin to my pin cushion. This product solved that problem!

The Pin ‘n Stow Magnetic Wrist Pin caddy was so easy to use. The green wrist part is adjustable and just slaps onto the wrist. It is also soft and quite comfortable to wear.

Clover Pin 'n Stow Pin Holder side view

To use it is very simple. All you do is drop pins onto the light green surface on the top, and the magnet holds onto them until you need them.

Clover Pin n Stow Pin Holder

One really nice feature of the Pin Caddy is that it has a center grove that makes it really easy to pick up the pins to use them.

This is just convenient – it’s safe as well. I find it is a better idea to store my pins in a plastic case when I am not using them than leaving them on a pin cushion where my kids might access them. In the past, that was a bit of a pain whenever I was done with a sewing project because I would have to remove the pins from the cushion and put them in their plastic case. Now, I just sweep them off of the Magnetic Wrist Caddy and they drop right into the  box. It’s a more efficient way for me to work. And if I drop a few pins on the floor, I just sweep the caddy over the top of them to pick them back up. No more surprise stabbings because I missed one!

This is a great sewing accessory and exhibits the usual great quality of Clover products.

Pros:

  • Easy to pick up dropped pins.
  • The band is slightly adjustable since it just slaps on.
  • Easy to put on your wrist.

Cons:

  • It could be slightly bulky if you have really small wrist.
  • If you have small wrists, it may move around a bit.  It would be great if they offered two sizes.
  • It is a magnet so use with care if you have issues with magnets.

The Clover Pin ‘n Stow Magnetic Wrist Pin Caddy is currently available for about $13 on Amazon.com.

Upcycle a Skirt for Earth Day!

Happy Earth Day! Earth Day is a great day to think about how to reduce, reuse, and recycle in our lives – and maybe save some money in the process, too!

I decided, in preparation for Earth Day here on Craft Critique, to head out to my local thrift store and see what I could find that could be repurposed or updated to be more useful.

The key to this kind of thrifting is to look at pieces not for what they are, but for what they could be. You’re not looking for pieces that are perfect. You’re looking for pieces that are perfect in their imperfection – meaning that they have solid bones that you can work with.

Thrift Store Skirt

I lucked out finding the skirt above! For $4.49, it’s a Sag Harbor Polyester/Rayon blend that is a black and blue school girl plaid. Being dark and almost floor length, it’s definitely more suited to winter up north than life here in Florida – which is probably how it ended up at the thrift store in a town full of snowbird retirees.

The solid A line of the skirt and plaid immediately brought to mind the current fad for schoolgirl mini skirts. With a vision, I headed to the checkout!

Marking on Skirt

Once home I used a tape measure to figure out a length to use to hem the skirt up shorter. Then I added about an inch to that and started marking the point to cut off the length with my marking pencil. I measured at intervals from the waistband.

Creating Cut Line

Once I had enough measurement spots, I used my marking pencil to fill in between them to create the entire cut line. Then, it was the moment of truth – time to cut!

This skirt had lining, so after cutting the main part of the skirt shorter, I traced the new bottom of the skirt onto the lining with my marking pencil and then cut along that line as well. To ensure the lining was not visible beneath the bottom of the skirt, I turned it up 5/8″ and pressed, and then turned it up again before stitching the hem. This turned under a total of 1 1/4″.

Shortened Skirt Hem

The only additional item I purchased was a $3 roll of Offray lace at Walmart, and applying the lace to the hem was easy! I just pinned it to the outside of the skirt, with the scalloped edge facing up towards the waistband. The straight edge of it I lined up just a smidge below the line of where I wanted to turn the hem. Then I stitched right along that straight edge.

After taking my pinking shears to the bottom edge, I turned my hem right at the edge of the attached lace and pinned it in place. Hand stitching right along the edge secured it. (At a later date I can use Heat n’ Bond tape to secure the edge of the hem a bit more if I decide it needs it.)

lace skirt hem

The lace hangs beautifully from the finished hem!

The finished piece is pretty, more climate appropriate, and certainly more current with trends. I can’t wait to get a chance to wear it!

Upcycled Skirt

To see how far this skirt has come, check out a side-by side comparison of the before and after:

Upcycled Skirt before after

A few simple changes can make a huge difference when you upcycle a skirt! And it is an affordable project too – the total budget was only a total of $7.50 for the skirt and the lace!

Do you thrift clothing for upcycling? What kind of things have you updated or rescued with your sewing and crafting skills?