November 12, 2014

Journal Strap with Pen Holder

My sewing machine has been been giving me longing looks from across the playroom. I’ve been in this phase of…well…brain overload. I want to do everything! I want to do everything so badly, it paralyzes me a little bit and I end up playing Candy Crush because there’s not enough hours in the day to satisfy my brain.

I knew I had to break the seal and that I wanted to sew something simple, but I really don’t like sewing things I don’t think are useful and it’s hard for me to find small projects that I actually find useful.   I don’t need any more small bags for things and I’m loathe to “waste” my fabric on things we won’t want and won’t use.

So, when I saw this adorable pin from Made to be a Momma, I knew it was just the right project to break me out of my crafty slump.

This is also an amazing project for small scraps of that favorite, hard to find, hoarded fabric that you can’t stand to part with, but can’t come up with a project for.  I used my long hoarded Amy Butler fabric and since it just took small strips, I felt okay cutting up a couple of my favorites for this project.
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Start by measuring your journal.  Add .5 to .75 to the length of your journal to account for seams.    For my large journal,  I cut two pieces of fabric that were 10.5 inches by 2.5 inches.  For my small journal, I cut my fabric to be 9.5 inches by 2 inches.

Cut a third piece of fabric to be your pen pocket.  Mine were cut at 5 inches times whatever width I had cut for my journal. You’ll also need to cut a piece of elastic that is as long as the cover of your journal itself. You want it to be a little bit short, so it will actually stretch across your journal and hold things in place.

Finish off the top of your pen pocket…I folded my edge down twice, ironed it to hold it in place and then stitched it.

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You don’t have to fold it down twice to finish it, but it makes sure you don’t end up with ravel-y ends.

Now, you make a fabric sandwich.
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Your first two pieces of fabric should be laid out as shown. Your elastic should be laid out on top and your final piece of fabric should be laid out wrong side facing up to complete the sandwich.

From the top, it will look like this.
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From the bottom, it will look like this.
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I used a pin along the bottom to hold all my layers together. Starting at the top, unpinned corner, sew down the long end of your strap. I sewed both long ends first, being sure to sew carefully to make sure all three of my fabric layers were caught up and that my elastic was not. I finished by sewing across my pinned bottom.

Turn your strap inside out…
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And it will look like this (through the magic of television the fabric magically changed…OR I reverse engineered it incorrectly the first time and made a second to be sure I did it the right way).

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Use something long and pointy to poke out your corners and then iron that sucker flat. Then, carefully fold your top edges inward…

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And feed in the loose end of your elastic. This is a good time to adjust the fit on your journal to make sure you have a nice, snug fit. Sew carefully across the top making sure that all loose ends stay tucked inside and et voila!

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It even holds your place for you! It’s so polite!

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While sewing this project, it came to me that this would be a GREAT way to make your own adorable autograph book for a Disney trip! If you have kids that are into autographs, this would be a great way to use a nice quality journal (like a moleskine) and using Disney themed fabric, you could both hold your pen AND hold the book’s place for characters to sign!

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Those autograph books clutched in the children’s hands? $20/piece and I am not kidding. There weren’t enough pages, so we had to buy a SECOND autograph book at $10/piece so the girls could keep on collecting autographs. A classic moleskine? 9.99. Add into that, the special pens (at $3/piece) and…well…these journals would be as nice and a lot cheaper.

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