My husband and I recently celebrated our 8th anniversary. If you want a refresher on why I have every reason to celebrate this relationship feel free to visit my gushing Father’s Day post. The thing is though, in the gift-giving department my husband makes life fairly difficult. At least he was kind enough to specifically tell me what he wanted for Father’s Day this year, but generally he is hard to get for as he is quite the minimalist, non-materialistic type. He gets more excited about not spending money than about buying something for himself! But lucky for me, he tends to always appreciate a handmade gift.
My husband is a writer, both by profession and in his free time. He isn’t currently in need of a new journal, but he is constantly jotting down ideas, so his current one will have to fill up eventually. When it does, he’ll be ready!
This gift also fits the glorious “no money was spent” criteria for my husband’s optimal enjoyment. Well, almost. I think the blank book ran $1.50 at Michael’s.
The leather came from this jacket that a neighbor no longer wanted. With all of the advertisement embroidery on the back (and front as well) it wasn’t a good candidate for thrift store donation. It worked great for this project though, and I get excited thinking about how many baby shoes I can get out of it as well!
So here is the journal that is really about the last sort of cover most people would think of gifting their husband! I cut the piece of leather from the jacket sleeve.
To create the extra length to wrap around the journal, I cut an additional piece and attached it with a zigzag stitch. I flipped it to create a contrast of textures.
I cut a thin strip of leather and attached it to the inner side, cut a small slit near the edge of the flap and threaded the strap through. The leather strip should be long enough to wrap around the book twice and have a little extra tail besides.
Now to make the inside panels to hold the cover onto the book. I had a bit of this fabric left over from a previous project. It had originally been one of his favorite shirts from Urban Outfitters in Chicago. A lot of good times were had wearing that shirt! I cut two rectangles to fit the inside of the journal cover, turned in the edges and stitched them down.
I figure I’d attach the fabric to the leather with elastic to grip the book. Here is where I made a series of
incredibly stupid educational mistakes which I will spare you. Let’s just say the gift wasn’t ready for our anniversary celebration which took place a few days after the actual anniversary. Now on to the steps that were actually helpful and don’t require repeated use of a seam ripper.
I slightly melted the edges of my elastic strips to prevent fraying. It gave me another chance to put these really cool matches I got in my Christmas stocking last year to use.
I then sewed a short piece to each corner of both panels of fabric.
The inner fabric panels were then sewn to the inside of the journal cover.
The smooth side of the leather wouldn’t advance through the machine, so I put a piece of paper underneath.
When finished I flipped it over and tore away the paper.
At this point I put the journal into the cover so I could figure how much of the elastic to fold under for a good fit. You’ve probably noticed I haven’t given any measurements. It all depends on the journal. Other journals from Michael’s that I have aren’t even the same size as this one so the measurements would most likely not apply to the next attempt. Actually I did almost no measuring but cut most of the pieces just by using the journal as a guide.
I underexposed this photo hoping you can see the black elastic against the black leather. I couldn’t pin the elastic to the leather before sewing without leaving holes in the leather. Instead I folded under the elastic to the previously determined place and secured it with a couple of drops of glue. I then put a book on each fabric panel to hold everything in place until the glue dried. This held the elastic in place long enough for me to sew it down, again using a piece of paper underneath to be able to slide the leather through the machine.
Insert book and there you have it… a handmade leather journal cover!
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