Sunday, 21 March 2021


Blogger tells me that this is my 500th blog post - blimey! I can't believe that I've been here since January 2012, and writing a regular Sunday post since 2013. This seems to call for something a bit more appropriate than a latest-dress-project-update post, and fortunately this week I've been working on a side project which fits the bill nicely.

This week's work

I don't know if other people do this, but I tend to take notes as I'm working - jotted down measurements, reminders of something I will need to do later on, that sort of thing. Usually these are scribbled on a piece of A6, or the back of an envelope, or whatever comes to hand. It's not pretty - papers get lost or accidentally put out in the recycling before they are finished with, and if I have written on multiple pieces of paper than the one I need is always, always the last one I pick up!

I hadn't really given this unsatisfactory method a lot of thought until Jen Thompson, who blogs as Festive Attyre, posted a picture of one of her notebooks on Instagram. As well as making stunning costumes Jen collects, and uses, vintage cameras. She keeps all her notes on the quirks and details of each camera in a beautifully illustrated notebook, and at this point it finally dawned on me that a notebook for my sewing projects would be a Good Idea.

I did have a suitable notebook already but unfortunately, it wasn't exactly aesthetically pleasing.

Functional, but boring

Fortunately, also on Instagram, @wendyadamsedin has been posting pictures of the amazing notebooks and folders she has been making on a bookbinding course, and this gave me the idea to make a cloth cover for mine. Ages ago I had acquired a piece of Liberty lawn which was too small to be of much use and too pretty to throw away, and this was the perfect chance to finally use it. I selected some matching embroidery threads, and found a mystery piece of home-made bias binding which was ideal for the spine (I eventually worked out that it was leftover from the neckline of my peacock dress).

Gathering supplies - the binding was just the right length

The fabric was so thin that I had to line it with some white cotton, and used a leftover piece for the embroidered label. I embroidered the letters in stem stitch first, then did a running stitch oval around this, and laced the two shades of orange through the stitches.

Lettering and outline

Adding decoration

There are no 'in progress' pictures of the cover itself because I didn't really follow a process; it was more a case of wrapping the cloth round the book, pinning it in place, then trimming off the excess and sewing the end result together.

The page keeper was made from two circles of scrap buckram covered in fabric, lightly stuffed and sewn together, with a plaited cord of the embroidery flosses sewn into this and the cover.

I really like this little detail

And here is the end result. All my notes in one place, a cover which can be removed and slipped onto another notebook (I do have a spare) once this one is eventually filled - and all done with bits and pieces I already had. Result!

Front and back views

It's being used already

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