Although I am not a seamstress, I was able to make two book covers and a matching doll from the fabric I was sent. The doll was made to accompany the journal cover on the right as a stand alone paper doll embellishment (although I realize she is shown next to the cover on the left in this photo). She is a small art doll that can be removed from the journal cover and taken on "photo shoots."
Barbara sent this lovely retro design fabric with the stipulation:
You can use any other complementary fabric in your personal stash but the paper doll fabric must be the focus of the project.I believe I have accomplished that.
In all my other tutorials, I have used larger photos, and it is hard to read the words under each photo and still keep the relevant photo on the screen. These photos all enlarge, so feel free to click or double click on them to see details.
Supplies clockwise from back:
self healing mat
other embellishments from your stash
butcher paper (or other paper to make a pattern)
ink pen or pencil
You will need two sets of signatures. These were made using various paper techniques and the process will not be covered here. Each signature, which is a fancy name for a set of pages, contains 48 journal pages, with a total of 96 pages in the book. I like to make my signatures first,
then measure the thickness of the two signatures stacked together.
To make a pattern for your journal cover, measure the height and width of your book. Don't forget to include the thickness of the signatures in the width.
For this book, I will be adding a pointed overflap, something I have not done before. In all honesty, I've never made a pattern before, either, but felt it was important in order to get the correct size of the book. These are my measurements, but you should make yours relevant to the size of your pages. I made my pattern using my 8 1/2" X 11" (21.59 cm X 27.94 cm) book pages. I added 1" ( 2.54 cm) to the height and 2" (5.08 cm) to the width. I added an additional 2 1/2" (6.35 cm) to include the decorative point that would overlap the front of the journal cover.
I made the spine using some hand dyed shibori fabric. I used a stencil and Staz-on permanent ink to make the words.
Then I cut the fabric using the self healing mat, rotary cutter, and plastic ruler. I forgot to take a photo of this process, but I'm sure you will be able to get the correct size of your fabric without a photo.
I cut fabric for both the outside and inside of the journal cover at the same time. I left the lovely paper doll print intact. I wanted it to be the focal point of the journal.
I apologize for this photo, but it is intended to show that you should add all your embellishments to each side before they are sewn together.
I added a rectangle of fabric from my stash to the inside cover and sewed a line down the center. Since this is an art journal, it will be the perfect place for both a small and large diameter ink pen of your choice.
For the strap that keeps the journal closed, I sewed decorative ribbon to quilter's tape.
Now here is where it gets complicated. I probably should not show this process because it is wrong. In fact, I had no idea why it was wrong or what happened, until I took the photos off my camera and saw my mistake. Had I assembled the pieces correctly, I believe I was supposed to put the long end of the strap to the inside of the two covers. However, since I am not a seamstress and have never before followed a pattern, and had no instructions for hiding a strap, I spent a good deal of time reworking this step.
However, before I knew I had the strap wrong, I placed RIGHT sides together
and did something else I never do: I pinned around the edges of the fabric. Please note you are looking at the back, or wrong side of the fabric, even though it is nearly as lovely as the front.
Once you sew the two fabrics on three sides, you need to turn the piece right side out. I'm sure you seamstresses out there are laughing at the position of the strap, which, when the project was turned right side out, was now on the inside.
After a great deal of rework, I got it on the correct side with the end hidden, which was the original intention. Next, I sewed the final side of the cover.
Whew! Both sides were now made and assembled. Now it was time to add the signatures.
I'm really lucky to have a good friend who is a seamstress. After a few tearful moments of conversation, she agreed to help finish the journal. I took the journal to her home, where she chose the signature she preferred to be on top.
While I talked, she determined where the height,
and thickness must be located so the signatures will fit properly in the sewn book.
Next, she found the center of the first set of signatures
and clipped them in place on the journal cover, making sure the inside of the cover was next to the paper signature.
Although this is not a good photo, and her machine is far different from mine, she showed that in order to sew the paper into the fabric, you should use the longest stitch possible. That way, pages won't tear away as easily once the journal is handled. I would never have thought of that, so I'm really glad she pointed that out.
For the second set of signatures, she got out her zipper foot, something I'd never seen before. She used the zipper foot because it gave her the option to get the signature close to the first one that was already sewn into the book. She explained the zipper foot was helpful because the needle sits to one side or the other (in this case to the right) of the sewing line. So, if you have a zipper foot, you should use it and set it to the side opposite the signatures that are already sewn in the book. Had I not had her help, I'm sure this would be a far different (and less informative) tutorial.
Back home, it was time to make the darling stand-alone doll. Supplies from left:
doll from fabric
double sided iron-on adhesive with backing
coordinating felt about the size of the doll
craft mat (heat resistant)
Plug in your iron and set to the setting listed on the instructions for your iron-on adhesive. All of these adhesive brands are different, so be sure to read the instructions for you particular brand. Adhere the sticky side that doesn't have paper on it, to the BACK side of your doll fabric. Iron for the length of time required.
When cool to the touch, remove the protective backing to expose the adhesive that is now part of your doll. Iron wrong side of the fabric (doll) to the wrong side of your felt. Allow to cool. Cut out your doll.
Here is the completed project, along with the doll.
You can see how she sits perfectly on the fabric with no help whatsoever. She will also adhere to most clothing, so you can wear her when you take her on photo shoots. No need for pins or velcro, she will tag along just as she is.
Because I had fabric left over, and because the above tutorial is not something most altered artists unfamiliar with complicated sewing instructions would make, I decided to make another journal cover the way I would normally make it. The supply list is basically the same as the first tutorial, although, if you don't have a sewing machine, I suspect you could adhere the outside and inside covers using the heat activated iron on adhesive.
For this cover, I used scraps from my stash, a frame, and one of the lovely paper dolls from the paper doll print. I adhered the frame and paper doll using the iron-on adhesive and a pressing cloth. Please note that I do not own an ironing board, so I have used my craft sheet in its place.
While I had the iron out, I ironed the inside and outside covers, as well as making sure the various seams were ironed flat.
The only pin I used was to hold the strap in place. Note that I also tore the fabric, rather than cutting it.
As you can see, I sewed WRONG sides together, which meant the edges were allowed to fray.
Here is the finished cover. I have no signatures made for this book because they take a long time to make, but the cover is ready whenever I make them.
This is the inside of the completed cover. I added a tall pocket on the left that will hold two ink pens, pencils, or other drawing tools. The shorter, fat pocket on the right can hold tags, notes, post its, crayons, or other art supplies you want to keep handy for when the spirit moves you.
Not wanting to take away from the darling paper doll in her frame, I chose to keep the outside of this journal cover simple and elegant, letting the little girl speak for the book. I hope these two projects have inspired you to use fabric in your altered art. Even if you aren't a seamstress, if I can muddle through these projects, so can you.
Today's blog pick is Barbara at Ruby Jane's Retro Fabric. She has the most beautiful fabric around, especially if you like retro and vintage styles that range from vintage magazine advertisements to retro style teapots. The shop by the same name is located in Garland, TX in the US. I'm sure you'll like her blog and get lots of ideas for sewing real projects that real seamstresses will appreciate. She also has fabric that we altered artists who play at sewing can appreciate.