Notes on a “frozen” notebook cover

Today I’m going to introduce you to my machine embroidered notebook cover (it’s nearly back to school, yikes). I made it two years ago for my new calendar, but luckily it has been the perfect size for the calendar I got after that, too. I’m completely in love with it, so I only hope I can use it third year in a row.

If you’re new to my Notes on completed projects series, it consists of posts where I let you in on the process of creating the crafts I finished before I started this blog. The previous one in the category was Notes on a galaxy dress.

Before I even began designing this project all that time ago, I came across a book which introduced me to free-motion machine embroidery. It is a technique used to create fabric art by lowering the machine teeth and moving the fabric manually – hence the name. I hate trying a new technique on a piece of scrap fabric and then throwing it away, so I figured I could use the result of my practicing as a cover for my calendar. It’s also ecological ;). (The denim is from my mothers old jeans, can’t beat that in recycling!)

My goal was to create a frozen look with just fabric and paint. That’s why I chose to use only whites and different shades of blue.

Maybe I should show you the end result before I continue about the construction process. Sorry for the broken flower on the front (heavy use makes no good to sequins).


Here’s the other side (where the flower is still intact).


As for the construction, I’ll start with the sewing process and then continue to the embroidery part (feel free to skip the next two paragraphs if you already now how to sew a notebook cover).

I didn’t have any pattern for this. I just cut a rectangular piece of denim which the same size as my calendar from edge to the other + I added 10 centimeters to the width and 2 centimeters to the height (seam allowances and pockets (à 5 cm) to keep the cover in place). I also ironed interfacing to the back. The seams were of course sewn right sides facing each other. The next picture only shows the cover right side turned out. The cover keeps in place by placing the front and back covers of the notebook into the pockets.


The seam allowances on the upper and lower edge needed to be secured in place with a row of hand stitching. Here you can see more clearly how they were sewn down.


I really enjoyed the machine embroidery. For visual reasons I left the center without any embellishments, but you could definitely stitch the whole surface full if you wanted to (nothing limits the area to embroider, at least with a project this small).

My embroidery has many layers which were done by placing pieces of white and light blue tulle underneath a bigger piece of turquoise tulle. I also added the ends of sewing thread that would have been thrown away otherwise between the white and turquoise tulle. The free-motion stitching worked as glue and secured all the material to the denim. I used white thread in my machine and “drew” circular scribbling with the needle when I was embroidering. The trick is to move the needle fast and the fabric slow if you want to have softer curves. This is because the needle needs to make more stitches, obviously. For sharper edges you can to move the fabric faster. Whichever way you’re doing it, free-motion embroidery will take time.

Because I’m such a fanatic with painting, I applied different colored fabric paints here and there to create depth. You can see from the picture below that I applied some silver paint onto the denim, too. That is because it makes the line between embroidery and plain fabric softer. Plus, glitter paint added a nice touch (also with this project 🙂 ). On top of all that, I couldn’t resist adding light pink flower sequins and painting a few snowflakes on by hand.


I’m absolutely amazed by how intricate the embroidery is from up close. The layers of tulle mix so beautifully with the stitching. I would love to try embellishing a whole dress with this technique, but perhaps with different colors.


By the way, I decided to use a different camera this time and I think it’s a lot better than the one I have used so far. I might just switch for this new camera for good ;).

Thank you for reading!


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