Patchwork Notebook Cover Tutorial

  • Post category:General

Are you excited about the notebook cover swap?

We’re making covers to fit a standard composition book, so everyone will be working with the same measurements, and we’ll end up with finished covers that are all the same size!


  • patchwork piece aprox 27″ x 13″
  • coordinating piece of batting
  • lining fabric 10.5″ x 10″
  • (optional) two 10.5″ binding strips, whatever width you choose
  • (optional) fabric for a pen pocket, 4.5″ x 3.25″
  • (optional) ribbon or twill tape for a bookmark, 11″-12″ long
  • (optional) elastic for closure, 10.5″ long

Step 1. To start, you’ll need to piece the patchwork for your cover, based on your partner’s likes and dislikes. Remember, it has to be at least 90% solids!

When you’re planning your patchwork, you’ll want to keep the layout in mind. At least five inches of each end will be inside the book, not visible when it’s closed, so you don’t want to centre your fussy cut in that section!

1 planning layout copy

One important tip – that i learned the hard way! – is to make your patchwork larger than you actually need. Quilting it might shrink it down quite a bit, depending on how densely you quilt it, and you want to make sure that your finished piece is still large enough to make your notebook cover. I would recommend starting with a piece of patchwork at least 27″ x 13″.

Step 2. Once you’ve finished the patchwork, you need to quilt it. You can use fusible fleece if you like, but regular cotton batting works great too. How much you quilt it is up to you!

Step 3. Press your quilted piece, and trim it to 25.5″ wide and 10.5″ tall.

2 trimming

Step 4. Finish the two short ends. You can bind them, like a regular quilt (i recommend single fold binding, to reduce bulk), or you can turn the edge over and topstitch it.

3 binding


If you want to add a pocket for a pen, this is the time to do so. I like to put the pocket on the front or the back, so that it doesn’t bend the notebook cover like it would if it was inside the flaps. If you can match fabric to the patchwork design, it doesn’t have to noticeable, but it’s definitely very handy!

3b pen pocket

To make a pocket, cut a piece of fabric 4.5″ x 3.25″. Fold the fabric in half lengthwise (it should measure 4 1/2″ x 1 7/8″ at this point) and sew around the three open edges, leaving a space for turning on the long side. Turn it right side out, press the turn space neatly closed, and topstitch the pocket onto the notebook cover. Stitch close to the edges, and you’ll close the opening as you go.


If you want to add a ribbon bookmark, this is a good time to do that too. Fold your patchwork in half, and mark the centre. Cut a piece of ribbon or twill tape 11″-12″ long. If it’s synthetic, burn the edges to prevent it from unraveling later. Pin the ribbon or twill tape to the centre of the book cover and baste it in place.

3c bookmark

Step 5.  Measure your piece again. It should be 25.5″ wide, but it’ll still work if it’s a little bit longer or shorter. Whatever the measurement, subtract 15.5″ from the number, which is the measurement of the open composition book. Divide the remainder by 2. For example, 25.5″ – 15.5″ = 10″. If you divide 10″ by 2, you’ll get 5″. On each short end, measure 5″ in from the bound edge at the top and bottom. Mark the spots with pins.

4 measure flaps


If you want to put an elastic closure on the notebook cover, you must do it before the next step. You’ll need a piece of elastic the same height as the book cover, 10.5″

You have multiple options for an elastic closure. You can buy coloured lingerie elastic (the red), wider waistband elastic (the pink) and fold over elastic (the blue zebra, the purple and the burgundy) at fabric stores. In the lower mainland, Fabricana and Dressew are good sources for coloured elastic. If you can’t find elastic that coordinates with your design, try looking for elastic headbands instead. The green elastic on the left was purchased at a dollar store in a pack of 6. Fold over elastic (FOE) is quite popular right now, as it’s often used for children’s headbands, so it’s easier to find than it used to be. If you use FOE, you might want to fold the elastic in half and topstitch it before you baste it in place.

4c elastic options

(don’t forget to include your elastic in the 10% if you use a printed elastic!)

On the far left side (the back of the book cover) measure about 1″ from the pins you just placed. Line your elastic up with these new marks, and baste it in place.

4b elastic

Step 6. Fold the edges of the patchwork in along the marks that you pinned in Step 5.

5 fold in flap

6 fold both flaps

Step 7. Cut your lining fabric 10.5″ tall  and aprox 10″ wide. Mark the centre of the lining piece, and the centre of the patchwork cover. Line these up, and pin the lining fabric to the patchwork along the long ends. You don’t need to finish the edges of the lining, because it will be hidden inside the book cover.

7 centre lining

Step 8. Sew along the two raw edges from fold to fold, using a 1/4″ seam allowance. Backstitch at the beginning and end of each seam.

8 sew top and botton

Step 9. Trim the corners carefully. Don’t cut into your stitching, just remove a little bit to reduce the bulk.

9 trim corners

Step 10. Turn your notebook cover right side out and carefully press the edges. You’re done!

10 turn right side out and press