DIY Padded Binder Cover {free tutorial}


diy padded binder cover

DIY is in again – sew up a padded binder cover designed by Crafty Staci for SewCanShe!

Dress up a plain binder with an easy padded cover!

This DIY binder cover makes your binder so much better with a large outside pocket and two inside pockets for pens, pencils, or scissors.

Padded Binder Cover by Crafty Staci for SewCanShe 3.JPG

This will fit a 1” binder, but with our handy formula you can make it to fit any size!

Padded Binder Cover by Crafty Staci for SewCanShe 2.JPG

All your friends will be jealous of your beautiful DIY binder cover that you made yourself!

DIY Padded Binder Cover

by Crafty Staci for SewCanShe


You will need:

  • cotton fabric (about a yard total)

  • fusible fleece (such as HeatnBond Fusible Fleece)

  • small piece of elastic cord

  • 1 button

To determine the size, you’ll need to cut your fabric and fleece, lay the binder out fully open.

Measure the height, top to bottom, and add 1 inch.

Measure the width, side to side, and add 11 inches.

My binder is 11 ¾ x 21 ¼”, so I will cut 12 ¾ x 32 ¼”.

3 - binder cover supplies.JPG


Cut the following pieces:

  • two fabric rectangles (one for outside and one inside) 12 ¾ x 32 ¼” (or to your own measurements – see instructions above)

  • one fusible fleece 12 ¾ x 32 ¼” (or your own measurements)

  • two fabric rectangles 3 ½ x 12 ½” for inner pockets

  • one fabric rectangle 6 ½ x 12 ½” for outer pocket

  • one fabric rectangle 6 ½ x 7” for outer pocket flap

  • one piece of elastic cord 3” long

Sewing Steps:

1. Fuse the fleece to the wrong side of the outside binder fabric rectangle. Set aside.

5 - pockets sewn.JPG

2. Fold one of the pocket pieces in half lengthwise with right sides together.

Stitch around ¼” from the edge, leaving 2” open on one long edge. Clip the corners and turn right side out. Press, turning in the opening. Repeat with the remaining two pockets.

7 - place elastic on flap.JPG

3. Bring the two ends of the elastic cord together and stitch or tie a thread around to create a loop.

Lay out the 6 ½’’ x 7” outer pocket flap right side up. Find the center of one 7” side. Pin the elastic loop there with the loop to the inside and the ends just past the fabric edge.

8 - completed flap.JPG

4. Fold the top edge of the flap down to meet the bottom. Stitch around, leaving 2” open on one side. Double stitch over the elastic. Clip the corners and turn right side out. Press, turning in the opening. Topstitch near the two short sides and across the edge with the elastic. Leave the other edge for now.

9 - outer pocket placed.JPG

5. Lay out the outside binder fabric, right side up. Place the outer pocket 8” from the right edge and 2 ½” from the bottom. Topstitch both sides and across the bottom.

10 - flap sewn in place.JPG

7. Topstitching around edge of placemat.JPG

6. Center the flap over the pocket with the upper edge 2 ½” from the upper edge of the outside binder fabric. The elastic loop should be pointed down. Topstitch near the top edge of the flap.

Mark the point where the elastic loop stops without stretching. Sew the button on the mark.

12 - inner pockets sewn in place.JPG

12 - inner and outer pockets completed.JPG

7. Pin the remaining two pockets 1 ½” from the left and right edges and 2 ½” from the bottom. Stitch down the sides and across the bottom of each.

8. Lay the inside binder fabric right side down over the top of the outside. Stitch around, leaving 6” open at the bottom for turning. Clip the corners and turn right side out. Press, turning in the opening. Topstitch near both short ends.

15 - cover completed.JPG

9. Lay out the entire piece with the inside up. Fold each short end in 5”. Pin well.

15 - sides folded up and sewn.JPG

10. Stitch close to the top and bottom edges, all the way across, through all layers.

16 - cover on binder.JPG

Slide the two sides of the binder into the cover and you’re ready to use it!

Now all you need is a matching 3-ring binder zipper pouch! Make one with my free tutorial.


I’ve been a maker for as long as I can remember.  If there’s a technique I haven’t tried, it’s probably on my to-do list.  At my blog, Crafty Staci, I create beginner-friendly craft and sewing tutorials, simple recipes, and curate links to fun things to make.   Sometimes people are hesitant to take that first step into making things. My goal is to guide and inspire them to jump in, and not be afraid to make mistakes along the way.  I want to do my part to keep handmade alive and well!

Follow me on Pinterest and Facebook too!

Disclosure: some of my posts contain affiliate links. If you purchase something through one of those links I may receive a small commission, so thank you for supporting SewCanShe when you shop! All of the opinions are my own and I only suggest products that I actually use. 🙂