DIY Sketchbook Cover

DIY Sketchbook and pen case

DIY Sketchbook and pen case
I’m not known as light-packer. The number of bags I take for a weekend trip compares to what someone else might take for a month-long European vacation! I take a yearly road trip to the beach with some of my high school friends and they can’t seem to understand why I pack three different kinds of sunscreen (spray, cream + stick), 20 magazines, a watercolor paint set, two journals (one for writing & the other for art), enough vitamins to set up a small health food store and margarita salt.

I tell them the truth. I hate being unprepared. If the mood strikes to paint or write (or sun!!)—I want to know I have what I need.

We’re headed to beach again this May, and this time I wanted to be a bit more organized. Fishing around for your best pens and notebook at the bottom of an overstuffed bag isn’t fun—so I sewed myself this DIY sketchbook & pen case. I’m also going to take it with me to our yearly business and makers conference, Craftcation.

Throw it in your bag along with your sun hat this summer. There is true satisfaction in knowing you’ve got everything you need.

Materials to Make a DIY Sketchbook Cover

  • Sewing machine (I used my BERNINA 380)
  • Pins
  • Fabric
    Two pieces that are 21″ x 12″ (one for the inside and one for the outside) *I used a contrasting fabric for the inside.
    Two pieces that are 21″ x 8″ (for the inner pocket)
    Two pieces that are 10″ x 3″ (for the ties)
  • Iron and ironing board
  • Two pieces of fusible interfacing that are 21″ x 12″
  • Thread to match your fabric
    *All seam allowances are 3/8″

DIY Sketchbook and pen case Gather your materials

Instructions to Make a DIY Sketchbook Cover

1. Iron the interfacing onto the wrong (non-printed) side of the inside piece of fabric. Repeat for the outside piece of fabric. Make sure the interfacing is fully adhered to the fabric.

DIY Sketchbook and pen case Step one: iron the interfacing
2. Put the wrong sides of the pocket fabric together and sew a straight seam around the two sides (shorter sides) and the bottom (either of the longer sides).

DIY Sketchbook and pen case Step two: sew the pocket

DIY Sketchbook and pen case Step two: sew the pocket

3. Turn the pocket right way out and iron the edges.

DIY Sketchbook and pen case Step three: Turn the pocket right way out and iron the edges
4. Fold both sides of the top of the pocket in (about ½”) and iron.

DIY Sketchbook and pen case Step four: Fold both sides of the top of the pocket in (about ½”) and iron
5. Sew the open folded sides of the top together.

DIY Sketchbook and pen case Step five: Sew the open folded sides of the top together

DIY Sketchbook and pen case Step five: Sew the open folded sides of the top together
6. Place the pocket on top in the middle of the inside piece. Then place your pens and sketchbook inside and pin the areas you want to sew to divide the pocket as well as the two sides and bottom.

DIY Sketchbook and pen case Step six: Use pins to divide the pocket

DIY Sketchbook and pen case Step six: Use pins to divide the pocket
7. Sew down the spots on the pocket where you have your pins to divide it.

DIY Sketchbook and pen case Step seven: Sew to divide the pocket
8. Sew down the sides and bottom of the pocket.

DIY Sketchbook and pen case Step eight: Sew down the sides and bottom of the pocket

DIY Sketchbook and pen case Step eight: Sew down the sides and bottom of the pocket
9. Fold one of the ties in half longways with the wrong side of the fabric facing in.

DIY Sketchbook and pen case Step nine: fold the tie
10. Sew down the length of the tie.

DIY Sketchbook and pen case Step ten: sew the tie
11. Turn the tie right way out by pushing one end in and continuing to push it until it comes out the other side.

Tip: You can also use the blunt end of a chopstick or the eraser end of a pencil to help push the tie inside out.

DIY Sketchbook and pen case Step eleven: turn tie right way out
12. Iron the tie so that the seam is in the middle.

DIY Sketchbook and pen case Step twelve: Iron the tie
13. Fold one end of the tie in about ¼” and iron the end.

DIY Sketchbook and pen case Step thirteen: fold tie end in
14. Repeat steps 9-13 for the second tie. Then topstitch around all edges both of ties.

DIY Sketchbook and pen case Step fourteen: topstitch ties
15. Place the end of the tie with the raw edge on top of the inside piece and pocket and pin it. Repeat for the other side and place the outside piece of fabric on top with the right side facing down.

DIY Sketchbook and pen case Step fifteen: put the pieces together
16. Sew around the two sides and top of the case.

DIY Sketchbook and pen case Step sixteen: sew top and sides
17. Turn the case right way out.

18. Fold the open top edges of the inside and outside fabrics in about ½” and iron, then sew it closed.

DIY Sketchbook and pen case Step eighteen: fold, iron and sew it closed

DIY Sketchbook and pen case Step eighteen: fold, iron and sew it closed

DIY Sketchbook and pen case

Difficulty level: Beginner
Time to Complete: Evening
Used Material: coordinating thread, fabric, fusible interfacing, pins
Projects: art
Seasons: all seasons, fall, spring, summer, winter
Techniques: crafts, sewing

4 thoughts on “DIY Sketchbook Cover

  1. Nicole,

    I, too, am a heavy packer, as is my mother and my sister!! And yes, someone is always complaining about how much we bring to an outing/event. BUT, it never ceases to amaze me how someone always needs something that I have!!!! So, I will continue to take the heat and help friends out of a tight bind!!! It’s really a joke for those who travel with me!! They say, “oh, I don’t need to pack that because Lee will have it!!!” Happy travels!!

  2. I too pack too much on my travels. I do have a “things to do” bag to carry projects and items to occupy my grandchildren. I am always routing around in the bag looking for my sketch book and travel watercolor paint set. I love this idea and will try to expand it to a trifold cover to add an extra space for the watercolor items. I think if I make the tie longer and attach it to the second section it will be long enough to keep it closed. Will take some planning but can’t wait to try.

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