How to Sew Fabric-Covered Art Journals or Sketchbooks


Learn how to sew your own DIY journals with a sturdy cover sewn from cotton fabric and fusible stabilizer. This fun and easy sewing project is perfect for beginners and makes a sweet gift. You can choose to use one of the decorative stitches on your sewing machine too!

DIY journals sketchbooks.jpg

I love having little sketchbooks or art journals handy for when inspiration strikes. These little journals are so pretty that I’m sure they will inspire me all by themselves. Read on for a tutorial to sew your own adorable journals.

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DIY Fabric Covered Art Journals

You will need:

  • 2 fat quarters of fabric (enough to make several coordinating journals

  • extra firm double sided fusible interfacing (such as Peltex 72f or Fast2Fuse)

  • Coordinating thread (topstitch weight or embroidery thread is lovely here)

  • 9’’ x 12’’ sketchbook paper

  • 1/4’’ wide ribbon

  • other embellishments, as desired


Cut a piece of stabilizer the same size as your paper (or a bit larger) for the cover.

My sheet of fast2fuse was folded in quarters in the package, which was just perfect for two art journals. I cut it in two along the horizontal line. Then laying my (already center-creased) paper along the vertical line, I trimmed the sides to match my paper. Then I decided to make my paper smaller than the cover so I trimmed about 1/8” off of each edge of my paper.

Sandwich the two stabilizer cover pieces between the wrong sides of your fabric and press to fuse. I found that my two covers fit perfectly between the two fat quarters.


Cut around the stabilizer pieces to separate them and remove any extra fabric. This is both my covers. They are the same, with the AMH butterfly print on one side and the yellow on the other.


Here’s my heavy duty yellow thread.


Sew with a wide zig-zag stitch around the edges of your covers. This is decorative and it will keep the cover together in case the fabric decides to un-fuse from the interfacing.

If you like, try one of the decorative stitches that came on your sewing machine instead of a zig zag stitch!

If you want to add any embellishments, now’s the time. On one of my covers I added the velvet ribbon for a tie. On the other one I sewed three little butterflies.

Once your covers are embellished, lay the paper inside with the crease in your paper along the center of the cover. Use a long stitch and your heavy thread to slowly sew along the binding.

I was sewing through 5 sheets of paper and the cover on my older (not my favorite) sewing machine. If you are worried about putting your sewing machine through this job, consider hand-sewing the binding or punching holes and weaving ribbon through it.

Once your paper is secured, you’re done!

Happy sketching!


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