This post is written by Jenelle Clark of Echinops & Aster.
I’m Jenelle, and I’m a new guest contributor for Imagine Gnats. I blog over at Echinops & Aster, and I am so happy to have the opportunity to jump over here every-so-often (from now into the future) to share my ideas and tips with you as well.
For my inaugural Imagine Gnats contributor post, I thought that I might share a quick tutorial to make something that has revolutionized my note-taking life. See, I love small Moleskine-type notebooks. The compact cuteness kills me, plus they’re dead useful to have around too. I’m always filling them up with endless to-do-lists, doodles, and other important info that I scribble down during the day.
As a quilter, I find these small notebooks to be the perfect size to keep together sewing notes or fabric swatches to take with me to my local quilt shop. I’ve been using these notebooks for several years now, but lately I realized that it would be so nice to have a cover for my notebook that could perhaps also function as my pen/Starbucks card/ID holder. The “Take Note” Notebook Wallet was born.
This minimalist notebook wallet is really a perfect way to whip up an easy, instant gratification project that’s also super useful in the end. I love the way that this project begs for fun fabric mixing, while also using smaller fabric pieces that many of us have in our stashes. Make one for yourself or make one as a gift for the other note takers and list makers in your life.
- 5 quarter yard cuts of coordinating fabrics
- Small batting piece (approximately 14″ x 10″)
- Light woven interfacing (optional, but especially useful for lighter weight fabrics)
- Coordinating thread
- Snap set, button, or velcro for strap closure (I used a size 16 snap)
- Small Moleskine (or like) cahier style notebook 3.5″ x 5.5″
- Sewing Machine
- Iron and pressing surface
- Walking foot
- Turning tool (a chopstick works great)
- Clover clips (optional, but very helpful)
- Basting spray or pins
Cut the 5 coordinating fabrics according to the diagram below. You may also choose to cut some interfacing pieces as well to add structure to quilting-weight cotton and lighter fabrics. Fuse these pieces before moving on to sewing. NOTE: WOF indicates a “width of fabric” cut for the binding strips.
This project uses two types of binding methods, double fold tape and quilt-style binding. To prepare the double fold tape, cut a 19″ piece from the binding fabric. Using an iron, fold and press the long sides of the tape together, in half. Open up this fold and then press the long sides of the tape towards the center crease on both sides. Finally fold the fabric along the central crease (keeping the previous fold intact) and press to create a slightly larger than 0.5″ width tape. To make the quilt-style binding, first join the remaining two strips of binding fabric on the short sides using a 1/4″ seam allowance. Press this seam open. Finally, fold and press the long sides of the fabric strip together, in half, to form a long and continuous piece of binding, just slightly wider than 1 inch.
1. Grab the batting scrap and the 12″ x 6.5″ piece of fabric. Baste the fabric to the batting using your preferred method. 2. Quilt the basted fabric piece using a walking foot. I used variable-width matchstick-style quilting. Once finished with the quilting, trim the excess batting away. Then set aside the quilted piece for later.
3. To make the notebook pockets, grab the two 2.5″ x 6.5″ fabric pieces and the 19″ piece of prepared double-fold tape. From the tape, cut two 6.5″ pieces and wrap them around the long edges of the 2.5″ x 6.5″ fabric pieces as shown. Pin and topstitch the double-fold tape to the fabric pieces. 4. Next, grab one of the 4.25″ x 6.5″ fabric pieces and the 4.5″ x 6.5″ fabric piece. Pin the prepared notebook pockets from step 3 to these fabric pieces as shown in photo 4. Baste the pockets to the fabric pieces along the top and bottom edges using a scant 1/8″ seam. Then set aside.
5. To make the additional pocket, grab the 4.25″ x 4″ fabric piece and the remaining length of prepared binding tape. Wrap the tape around the longer edge of the fabric piece as shown. Pin and topstitch the double-fold tape to the fabric piece. 6. Baste the prepared fabric pocket top from step 5 to the remaining 4.25″ x 6.5″ fabric piece as shown in photo 6.
7. Taking the three prepared pocket panels from steps 3-6, sew them together as shown in photo 7 using a scant 1/4″ seam allowance. Make sure the 4.5″ x 6.5″ pocket panel is positioned in the center, between the two narrower panels. Press these seams open to reduce bulk.
8. Using pins or clover clips, layer the quilted fabric piece with the prepared pocket panels, wrong sides together as shown in photo 8. To attach these pieces together, sew in the ditch of the two seams located on the front of the prepared pocket panels as shown in the diagram below. Be careful to use a thread color the coordinates with the quilting as well as blends with the fabric on the pocket panels as much as possible.
9. To complete the edges of the wallet, sew the prepared quilt-style binding to the quilted side of the unfinished wallet. Make sure to fold the corners carefully, mitering them as you go.
10. Then fold over your binding and hand or machine sew it to the pocket panel side to get a finished, bound edge as shown in photo 10.
11. To make the outer wallet strap, start with the 3″ x 12″ fabric piece. Fold and press it in half length-wise and sew along the long, unfinished side using a 1/4″ seam allowance. Then fold and press this seam allowance under about a two inches on each end of the fabric piece (as shown in the second image in photo 11). On one of the short sides, sew over this folded seam as shown in the third image in photo 11. On the other short side simply sew a few tacking stitches into the folded seam to hold it in place while still providing an opening to turn the fabric tube inside out. Using a chopstick or turning tool, turn the fabric tube right side out.
12. Press the seams and corners carefully on the fabric strap to make them crisp and square. Then topstitch all around the completed strap closely to the edge, closing the turning opening as you go. At this point attach the snaps, velcro, or sew a button and buttonhole to create a closure for the strap, using the preferred method of your choice.
13. Finally, to attach the strap to the wallet, insert the notebook into the wallet. Then fold the wallet up and position the strap as it should be in the closed position once finished. Pin in place and open the wallet up again, removing the notebook. Smooth out the strap and make sure it is aligned to be straight with the edges of the wallet, and place a couple more pins to secure. To stitch the strap in place, sew once again in the ditch on the left seam of the pocket panel side of the wallet (not the quilted side) to secure the strap. Sew only over the width of the strap and use a coordinating thread color to blend with the fabric color. Once finished, insert the notebook and fold the wallet, securing the strap closure to make sure it is aligned correctly and closes snugly. Then go take some notes and enjoy your new wallet!