Friday, November 13, 2009

moleskine cover, the tutorial

Okay, here's a quick and dirty tutorial for the Moleskin notebook cover. [[Edited to add - this is for the "large" Cahier notebook, which is 5" x 8.25". And last I looked, they were still on sale for $6 (for a set of 3) at Amazon.]] I'm in the middle of creating a PDF file which has more details (including cutting instructions to make 3 identical covers at once). But if you have some basic sewing skills, I'm sure you'll be able to figure things out from these rough instructions. Once again, I'd like to give credit to the Mr. Monkeysuit moleskin cover tutorial that I started with, and the Moda Bake Shop binder cover tutorial, from which I took my modifications.

Step 1. Cut your fabric and notions:
  • Focus fabric (my red) - one piece 11.5" x 9", two pieces 4.5" x 9"
  • Contrast fabric (my green) - one piece 2" x 9", two pieces 4.5" x 9"
  • Lining fabric (my white) - one piece 11.5" x 9"
  • Interfacing - one piece 11" x 8.5"
  • 3/8" woven elastic - 9"
  • 1/4" ribbon - 12"

Step 2: Take that narrow strip of contrast fabric, fold in half (right sides together) and sew around the edges using a 1/4" seam allowance, and leaving about 1.5" open. Clip three corners (not the unsewn one), turn and press.

Step 3: While you're at the ironing board, center the interfacing (glue side down!) on the wrong side of the large piece of the focus fabric, and adhere according to the manufacturer's instructions.

Step 4: Still at the iron... fold the coordinating pieces in half (wrong sides together) and press.

Step 5: Fold the outer cover in half lengthwise, and finger press. Pin the pen holder (folded edge up) to the right side of the outer cover, about 1" to the right of the center, and 1" up from the bottom. Edge stitch on three sides, as shown.

Step 6: Lay out your two smaller pieces of focal fabric. Layer the folded pieces of contrast fabric on top (folded edges up, bottom and sides even with the focal fabric). Then add the elastic on the left side, about an inch from the edge. Pin and then machine baste on the dashed lines (about 1/8" from the edges), as shown.

Step 7: Fold over about 3/8" on the long edges that have been basted (the inner edges above), and press. Sew them down with about a 1/4" seam. You can use a straight stitch, or zigzag.

Step 8: Lay out the outer cover, and pin the ribbon at the center top. Tuck the other end of the ribbon into the pen holder pocket, or just let it poke straight out the bottom (you'll be leaving that area open anyway).

Step 9: Lay the flaps on top, right sides down, with the hemmed edges to the inside.

Step 10: Lay the lining piece on top, and pin all the way around. Using a 1/4" seam allowance, start at the bottom at the inner edge of one flap, and sew all the way around to the inner edge of the other flap. The space between the flaps will be your opening for turning.

Step 11: Clip the corners, and turn. Don't get freaked out if you see the wrong side of the flaps!

Step 12: If you're seeing the wrong side of the flaps, just pull them around to the other side. Press all edges, and sew the opening shut (by machine or hand).

Step 13: Insert the notebook by holding the inner pages in one hand and folding the covers straight back, and putting both covers into the flaps at the same time.

Step 14: Sit back and admire! Oh, and pull the elastic around the back, and add a pen. Now you're done!

Please let me know if anything is unclear (or if anything is incorrect!). And if you make one, let me know - I'd love to see them!!


  1. this is great! you made such a good tutorial.

  2. I like this moleskin cover and might might one or a few -- but I find moleskins in different sizes. You don't say here what size this is for? Is it 8x6 or some other size. I'd have to modify accordingly. But what a nice way to use beautiful fabrics -- of which I haver several.

  3. lovely!!

    maria from spain!!