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Fabric Journals

Updated on September 14, 2013

Inspired by Teesha Moore

I love my art journals and love looking at other people's too. It was while looking for more inspiration at Teesha Moore's art journal videos I saw she had uploaded four videos on fabric journals. I'm not a great seamstress, but decided to take a look because I love Teesha's work.

Well, I was entranced. This was not sewing as I knew it. This is a fusion of glorious materials and clashing, vibrant colour... and the actual sewing is a happy, slapdash process which is just the sort of thing I like. It's how I create art and how I cook. In fact, it's how I live life in general!

These journals are simple signatures (folded paper) stitched into a quilted fabric cover. The cover is fashioned from a number of small quilted pillows stitched together to form a kind of fabric collage. You don't need a pattern or any kind of plan. Grab your fabric stash and you're good to go.

I couldn't wait to get started and here are the results.

© This page was created by TheRaggedEdge. All rights reserved.

Instructions to Make Fabric Journals

In this section are directions, photos and videos to help you get started on your fabric journal project.

Let Teesha Moore Show You How to Create Fabric Journals

There are four videos in the series so be sure to watch them all. I am very appreciative of Teesha's generosity in sharing her work in this way. She is an inspiration to me.

Materials for Fabric Journals

I scoured eBay for materials and found wonderful embroidery thread and some lovely hand-dyed perle cotton. I also discovered a seller from France selling Kaffe Fassett charm packs of various sizes. I bought 4 inch and 6 inch squares.

You'll also need some polyester toy filling to stuff the little pillows and needles with eyes large enough to take quite thick thread.

Make Little Pillows

Take two squares or rectangles of fabric. Place wrong sides together and baste/tack around three edges about half an inch in. Use ordinary polyester or cotton thread doubled and knotted at the end. Stuff your pillow gently with polyester wadding and sew up the fourth side. Takes a couple of minutes to make one 4" pillow.

Make lots of these. For a small journal I used ten pillows made from 4" squares. Four for the front and four for the back and two stitched to the back right edge to wrap around to the front.

Oversew the Ragged Edges

Decide which is your front side. Fold the edge over once and over-stitch, going in at the front and out at the back. See the pics and videos and it will make sense.

I use two colours of thread - don't separate the strands. The bright, contrasting thread is part of the look. If you run out while you are doing your edges, change the colours. The more the merrier.

Don't try to hide the raw edge and leave the basting/tacking stitches in place. It's this rough look which adds to the home-made-ness of it.

Incidentally, my kids love making the pillows too. It's so easy that an eight-year old can do it. My daughter just likes the basting part while my son likes to do the over sewing - I don't know what you call that in proper sewing language!

Quilt Your Pillows

Again, use double-coloured thread and quilt your pillows. Either randomly or pick out a pattern in the fabric. These gorgeous Kaffe Fassett fabrics lend themselves perfectly for this as each has an easily followed design. You can clearly see the basting/tacking stitches in the photo.

If you run out of thread simply change the colours. Like Teesha says, "Don't be too matchy-poo"

Sew them Together

Decide what size your journal is to be and stitch your pillows together accordingly. I like to rest them flat on a book on my lap. Double colour thread again if you like. Be robust with your stitching, rather than neat; no need to hide loose threads, although I do keep my knotty ends at the back.

If you look at Teesha's journals, she doesn't even bother about lining up her pillows. She only keeps the edges straight where they will be joined. She even leaves 'holes' so that the pages beneath peep through.

When you come to sewing your back cover to your front, then put them wrong sides together and whip-stitch up the 'spine', this is where you need your squares to line up properly.

Sew in the Pages (Signature)

For these journals I am using Fabriano Artistico 140lb Hot Press watercolor paper.

I tear the sheets to double the width that I want the pages to be (in the one shown I have made them even wider so that I have some interesting flappy bits), fold them, then rub the fold with the handle of scissors (if you have a bone folder then that would be better) to sharpen them. I usually use five sheets, folded to make ten pages. This is called a 'signature'. Make holes with an awl or some other sharp, pointy instrument. Ensure that they line up. Position the pages on the journal cover. Then using one length of embroidery thread doubled, sew straight up the centre.

In my next journal, I'm going to add an extra section of pillows to make a wider spine so that I can add more signatures, as Teesha shows in one of her fabric journals.

Sewing fabric journal patches together
Sewing fabric journal patches together

Embellish Your Fabric Journal

I used buttons to embellish the front of my journals and tiny silver bells down the spine of one. Be mindful that you will be writing in them so you don't want anything that is too lumpy to rest on. I added the buttons to the wrap-around flap of mine so they don't interfere with later use.

Did you see how Teesha adapted the technique to make bags and purses? Fabulous! I can't wait to order more fabric!

Shop for Fabric Journal Supplies

In this section, I have gathered together some resources to help you get started. There are some fabulous books, gorgeous fabrics and thread.

Fast, Fun & Easy Book Cover Art - Add a Quilted Fabric Touch to Binders, Scrapbooks, Journals & More

With basic sewing skills and a handful of embellishments, you can make beautiful covers for everything from brag books to date books to checkbooks.

Fast, Fun & Easy Book Cover Art: Add a Quilted Fabric Touch to Binders, Scrapbooks, Journals & More
Fast, Fun & Easy Book Cover Art: Add a Quilted Fabric Touch to Binders, Scrapbooks, Journals & More

K. McGee says, "This is one of my all time favorite sewing books and it DOES live up to it's name. Fast, fun and EASY! I made two covers within the first week of getting the book.

The instructions are detailed, concise and easily understood, even by me and I'm a self-taught, novice.

Best things about this book are that the instructions allow you to cover ANY book you want from checkbooks, journals to cookbooks, paperbacks, EVERYTHING. I absolutely LOVE this book! Also, for other "hoarders" like me, who can't bear to get rid of the bigger scraps of fabric I have left from other projects, not to worry! You can easily incorporate those scraps into fabulous designs! If I sound like I'm gushing, I AM! I can see myself using this book for years and years to come without getting tired of it.

The sky's the limit with this book and I found it really stimulated my creativity. This one's a keeper!"

 

Fabric Journal Gallery

A gallery of my own fabric journal creations.

Black & White Fabric Journal

Click thumbnail to view full-size
I made this black and white fabric for a friend's Christmas present.Yep, her name begins with 'S' so I added a Zentangle pocket to the first page.Close up of the Zentangle.An open book.Bells and buttons sewn up the spine. I made a braided tie and added glass beads for the finishing touch.
I made this black and white fabric for a friend's Christmas present.
I made this black and white fabric for a friend's Christmas present.
Yep, her name begins with 'S' so I added a Zentangle pocket to the first page.
Yep, her name begins with 'S' so I added a Zentangle pocket to the first page.
Close up of the Zentangle.
Close up of the Zentangle.
An open book.
An open book.
Bells and buttons sewn up the spine. I made a braided tie and added glass beads for the finishing touch.
Bells and buttons sewn up the spine. I made a braided tie and added glass beads for the finishing touch.
Fabric Journal by theraggededge
Fabric Journal by theraggededge

Quilted Bag

Quilted Bag
Quilted Bag

Love Fabric Art? - Leave your comment

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    • myraggededge profile image
      Author

      myraggededge 3 years ago

      @Judikunstek: Thank you :) Happy stash-sifting!

    • profile image

      Judikunstek 3 years ago

      Love it. You have brightened up this cold grey day and inspired me to get out of bed and go ransack through my stash and get going. Your directions are clear and explicit. Thank you...... and "more power to your arm"

    • myraggededge profile image
      Author

      myraggededge 3 years ago

      @anonymous: Thank you so much, Deb. It is lovely to give new life to old things :)

    • profile image

      anonymous 3 years ago

      Fabric art might be my most favorite thing to do with my hands, especially when the fabric has been repurposed from worn out or outdated clothing, curtains or whatever. Your things are inspirational. Thank you for sharing your work. Very generous.

    • myraggededge profile image
      Author

      myraggededge 4 years ago

      @junecampbell: Thanks so much!

    • junecampbell profile image

      June Campbell 4 years ago from North Vancouver, BC, Canada

      Absolutely beautiful. I have sent the link to my mixed media art group.

    • ItayaLightbourne profile image

      Itaya Lightbourne 5 years ago from Topeka, KS

      So very pretty! I have made a fabric journal but nothing this elaborate and detailed. These are wonderful. Have you considered hanging the joined squares as art pieces versus book covers? I especially like the second image in your Fabric Journal Gallery and could totally see it hanging as an art piece with or without a frame. :)

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      I was just doing a search for this and your page was the first one I clicked on, it was your intro image that caught my eye. So happy you have a lens on this now, I am gearing up to have a go myself. Super lens, blessed *

    • Di Annesley profile image

      Di Annesley 5 years ago from New Zealand

      Hi there, Been looking through your lenses and I love them. You do a lot of similar creative work to me..:-) Oh I see I have been here before LOL Never mind, you are doing a great job. Would love to chat to you about squidoo etc, my email is di54412 at gmail.com

    • flycatcherrr profile image

      flycatcherrr 5 years ago

      These are so bright and fascinating, such a fun project to contemplate - I do think I'll give this a try!

      *blessed*

    • Gayle Dowell profile image

      Gayle Dowell 5 years ago from Kansas

      Wonderful idea for a journal. I hate sewing as well, but may have to try this.

    • curious0927 profile image

      curious0927 5 years ago

      Extraordinary! Thank you for the step by step! I have most of the supplies needed. Might have to start one! Great lens and of course, Blessed!

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      this is the most wonderful journals yet, fantastic!!!

    • Di Annesley profile image

      Di Annesley 6 years ago from New Zealand

      gorgeous!!! I have made some of these too....such fun:-)

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      yes i an in the UK and ooh found some! thank you very much, i was hoping to make a wall hanging of some description hopefully including some of the techniques you have shown in the video! they are very good by the way!

    • myraggededge profile image
      Author

      myraggededge 6 years ago

      @anonymous: Hello Georgia - this kind of project would be perfect for your GCSE... don't tell anyone how easy they are! You are in the UK, yes? I got my fabrics from an eBay seller. Do a search on eBay UK for Kaffe Fassett fabric squares. They used to have a website but have shut it down due to lack of time. Good luck in your GCSEs!

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      i love these so much, there amazing. i want to do something similar for my GCSE Textiles but i was just wondering where you got all the fabric from? the flower squares :)

    • Craftyville profile image

      Craftyville 6 years ago

      Love it bunches! The button embellishments are super cute, blessed.

    • Sylvestermouse profile image

      Cynthia Sylvestermouse 6 years ago from United States

      This is really awesome! I love the idea, your directions and your suggestions! Angel Blessed and featured on Squid Angel Mouse Tracks in Crafts.

    • Rachel Field profile image

      Rachel Field 6 years ago

      This lens is oh so utterly scrumptious! Your fabric journal is totally yummy. I love Teesha's videos too! I never got into art journalling (yet) but I used to love looking through all the pages on her website.

    • ZenandChic profile image

      Patricia 6 years ago

      This is cool!

    • MoonandMagic profile image

      MoonandMagic 6 years ago

      I really love this idea, I am certainly planning to make a notebook for next year now. Great lens, Thank you

    • jmsp206 profile image

      Julia M S Pearce 6 years ago from Melbourne, Australia

      Beautiful works here,lovely!

    • profile image

      ohcaroline 6 years ago

      The beauty of these craft projects caught my breath. Bookmarking it to do some for myself. Thanks. It must be blessed by an Angel.

    • profile image

      poutine 6 years ago

      Lots of creativity in this lens.

    • unstucktheory profile image

      unstucktheory 6 years ago

      Ooh these look fantastic! So fun and vibrant and full of colour. Your photos are amazing, the journal covers look so tactile - I just want to reach out and touch them on my computer screen. This lens is definitely a favourite :-)

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      thank you so much for such a fun lense.....i found this first on ezine articles and followed my way back here. You have such a wonderful way of sharing projects that have inspired you!

      Love, violette (www.violette.ca)

      p.s. I love Teesha Moore!

    • indigoj profile image

      Indigo Janson 6 years ago from UK

      What a fun and creative project this would be. So cute and colourful! Though I did worry a bit when you said to "sew in theraggededge".... oh you were talking about the edges? Phew!

      Lensrolling to my pincushions lens.

    • Niki Goddard profile image

      Niki Goddard 6 years ago

      These look amazing - definitely a project for me to try.

    • aka-rms profile image

      Robin S 6 years ago from USA

      Very cool! thanks for sharing!

    • profile image

      jangamm 6 years ago

      Colourful and vibrant and beautiful as always - Bev's work is always radiant and tactile - the kind of creative style you pay a fortune for in all major chain stores.

    • profile image

      Qualitee 6 years ago

      Awww, your fabric journal covers are just like you... colourful, beautiful and soft... with a Ragged Edge!

      Absolutely beautiful Bev. A wonderful, creative and colourful lens too. 5*

    • LoKackl profile image

      LoKackl 6 years ago

      AAAADorable!! Your fabric journals are creativity at its best. Personal and engaging! SquidAngel Blessed.

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