Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Notemaker Tutorial

The much-anticipated tutorial is here... You will need the following materials -
- 2 coordinating/contrasting fat quarters (Mine are Anna Maria Horner...yum yum)

- a scrap of fusible fleece (or plain old cotton batting will work, too) at least 9.5 x 12 inches

- a scrap of muslin the same size (for foundation piecing)

- a ponytail holder (for the button loop - optional closure)

- rotary cutter, quilting ruler & mat

1. Cut a 9.5 x 12 inch piece from each fat quarter, the fleece & the muslin.

Cut THREE (3) 2.5" x 10-12ish (length doesn't really matter as long as it's more than 9.5) strips from EACH fat quarter -

You will end up with SIX 2.5" strips:

Take the muslin piece (your "foundation" if you will...) and arrange the strips alternatingly on it to visualize what your front cover of the folio will look like:

Line up the first strip with the edge of the muslin and sew, not along the outer edge lined up with the muslin but along the inner edge as shown. Don't worry about the fact that you can see the seam - you are going to cover that seam up with the next step.

Take the next alternating strip, and place it right sides together down on top of the strip you just sewed down to the muslin. I like to place it at an angle, so that it turns out wonky in the end. No pinning is required. This is not precision piecing - pretty much whatever you do will end up looking great. Stitch with a scant 1/4 inch seam. Again, seam allowances in this type of piecing are really not that important - as long as it's STRAIGHT.

After you stich this down, flip the piece you just sewed down over and press along the seam. Keep adding alternate strips (at an angle of your pleasure) and flipping & pressing:

See how it's coming together?

After you sew on the last (6th) strip, flip & press, you'll have something that looks like this:

OK. Time to straighten up the cover piece. Flip it over so the muslin side is up, line up your straight edge to the edges of the muslin and trip so your piece is 9.5 x 12 inches again.

Take your 9.5 x 12 piece of fusible fleece and fuse it to the muslin side of the strip-pieced rectangle and you'll have this:

Now it's time for the quilting. This part is optional, but it's super fast, and I think it gives the folio a polished, finished look. I used (on this one) a tiny close zig-zag stitch and top-stitched through the cotton and the fleece down each seam where the fabrics met.

If you're feeling brave, or - like me, you have a 3 year old who just MUST sew like Mommy, and won't stay in her bed while Mommy is sewing, feel free to delegate this task to said 3-year old. (With supervision, of course ;) ) - Of course I had to press the pedal, but Carsie DID do the guiding, for the most part. And now she wants a kid-friendly sewing machine for her birthday. I've created a monster.

After it's quilted, it will look like this. Press well once more.

OK - the exterior is finished, so now it's time to make the inside, where your little pad will go in a pocket. Remember those 9.5 x 12 pieces you cut from the fat quarters? Take one of those and fold it in half lengthwise - (so the two 12" edges meet) and press the crease well.

Edge stitch the top (folded) edge - I forgot to change my stitch selector from the zig-zag I was using for the quilting - so I did a zig-zag edge, which I actually think looks nice - happy accident - but you can use a straight stitch, or a decorative stitch, or leave this step out all together. It's non-essential ;)

Now - line up the raw edge of the folded pocket piece with the right side of the 12" edge of the other 9.5 x 12 inch fat quarter piece. Stitch with a scant 1/4" seam.

After stitching the bottom edge of the pocket to the interior lining piece, fold the whole thing in half and find the center. Measure 1/2" from the center and mark a line from the top of the pocket to the bottom on each side of the center. This is your stitching line for the pen holder pocket. Stitch from the bottom of the interior to the top edge of the pocket with a straight stitch on those marked lines, back stitching at the top (edge of the pocket) for security. Your pen-pocket should be 1" wide.

This picture below is INACCURATE - so read these words and do as I say, not as I do ;) - pinch the ponytail holder about 1/3, and place it on the RIGHT edge of the INTERIOR LINING piece with the pocket attached. NOT the exterior (like shown in the picture.) Baste with machine stitches over the elastic. Again, you're going to want to put the ponytail elastic on the RIGHT side of the POCKET/INTERIOR piece, pointing INWARD (I show it pointing inward, but I put this one on the edge of the exterior piece, not the interior...)

Make a fabric sandwich. Put the exterior piece down, right side up, fleece side down. Place the pocket piece (with elastic basted on) on top of it, right sides together, lining up edges.

Pin around edges, leaving a 3-4" opening at the top for turning.

Stitch around all edges (leaving the 3-4" opening, pivoting 90 degrees with the needle down, and back-stitching at beginning and end) with a generous 1/4 inch seam.

Clip the corners, and turn right side out, using a turning tool, closed scissors, or fat knitting needles to turn out corners so they are sharp.

You should now have something that looks like this:
Press well, turning edges of opening under and pressing, using a pin or two to hold turning hole edges in place. Now, top-stitch very close to the edge all the way around all 4 edges.

Here's the inside!

Add a button and VOILA! You will need a mini-legal pad (5x8 size) and pen to complete!

Please note - I am sharing this tutorial which I made up on my very own out of the goodness of my heart. No, this is not the very first most original idea in the world, and yes, people have made such things before. However, I figured out these steps on my very own and these words and photos are MINE...Please feel free to link to this post and share the information freely, but please, please, PLEASE, do not sell any creations you make from this tutorial for profit, and please do not use any of my photos without permission. Yes, I am a lawyer - but I did, in fact say "please". Thank you!!! :)


  1. Did you think you wouldn't create a monster? You should make these for the teachers as thank you gifts and insert a pretty pen. I would want one, and esp if the student had helped make it!!

  2. Loving that AMH fabric, and the wonky-ness :-) These would definitely make great teacher gifts, I may have to make up a few before school is over this month!

  3. Great tutorial:) This project is at the top of the list.