9.03.2010

Legal Pad Cozy Tutorial!

Huzzah! Kitty Cats and Airplanes first tutorial!


A few weeks ago I made this little cover for a legal pad I wanted to keep in my purse because let's face it, life is so much better when boring things are a little cuter. :)

I made this one for me, with pretty lace, bows, and buttons! I love it, it keeps my legal pad from getting destroyed in my purse and it makes me smile when I see it. I knew with such a simple design that it would completely customizable, and I wanted to show how it can easily be altered for different tastes and styles. So the hubs became my guinea pig! I didn't think he'd appreciate bows and lace, so after thinking it over, I decided to make him a black vinyl one to match his leather briefcase.

And here is the final result! The hubs likes it and it think it goes great with his leather briefcase! Want to make one for yourself? Here's what you need:

*Note: These are just the measurements I used for a 5''x8''ish legal pad, but this design is so easy to alter for different sizes.
  • Two large pieces fabric, 9''x12'' each
  • Two small pieces of fabric, 2''x3'' each
  • Two pieces of thin, stiff cardboard (I used a granola box for this, but I used a cereal box for the previous one with equally good results) 5''x8''ish each
  • Strip of 1 inch elastic, about 5 1/2 inches long
  • Scraps of sew-on velcro
  • Sewing machine and other sewing related items (coordinating thread, scissors, etc.)
Keep in mind that I used 1/4'' seams for my project unless otherwise noted. Got all your supplies? Let's get to work!

We'll start with the fastener. Grab one of your small pieces of fabric and the softer side of your velcro. Center the velcro on one end of the fabric and sew in place. Then, take the other small piece of fabric and place the two together, right sides together. Sew around on three sides, making sure to leave the open side opposite of the velcro. Turn right side out (trim the extra seam allowance for easier turning), and using a very narrow stitch (1/8 of an inch), carefully topstitch around the three sides, leaving the bottom open. You will end up with...

This! See how the open end is opposite the velcro? (It's only open to save you some sewing, you can sew it up if you really want to.) Set it aside, you won't need it for a little while.

Note: this is the time to add any kind of embellishments to the outside of your cozy. This is where I added the other side of the velcro for this vinyl one, and where I sewed on the button and added the lace on my brown one. Anything you want to add; lace, ric rac, buttons, ruffles, anything, do it now!! Once you've customized it to your liking, you'll need to take the two larger pieces of fabric and pin them together with the right sides facing. Sew around only three sides, this is important! You need to make sure the cardboard can fit in later, so don't be tempted to only leave a little opening. :) Like the fastener, the side with the velcro should be the side that was sewed.

If you're using a thicker material like me, trim the excess seam allowance so it will lay flat. Iron it flat to make topstictching easier (don't do this with vinyl though! ;)  and using 1/8'' seam, topstitch around the same three sides you sewed before.

You should now have something like this! Not only is the topstitching pretty, it serves a sneaky, practical purpose too! More on that later.

Next we need to add the cardboard! The cardboard makes it a lot easier to write on, so the stiffer the cardboard, the easier it will be to take notes anywhere! Take one piece of cardboard and wiggle it into the cozy. Keep in mind you will almost definitely need to trim it to fit, I had to trim mine a few times!

Don't mind my manicured-two-weeks-ago nails. Once your cardboard is snugly inside, feel around to find out where it ends. For the next step it would be helpful to draw a line along the cardboard with a disappearing ink pen or quilter's chalk, but since I used vinyl I wasn't able to.

Sew a long straight stitch very close to the cardboard (this is why a line is helpful), being very careful not to sew through the cardboard. Don't want any broken needles!

Now, you've gotta do it again. This is just to make it easier to fold up your cozy nicely, if you don't include this extra straight stitch, your cozy will be more like a file folder and bulge a little when you close it. So, sew another long stitch 1/4'' away from the first stitch. Shimmy that second piece of cardboard in there and make sure it's nice and snug.

Bust out that iron again! You'll need to fold in the open edges of the side you didn't sew so you can finish the edge. This is ten times easier if you iron the unfinished edges in! I couldn't do that with the vinyl so trust me, iron those edges under. Grab the fastener you set aside and pin it into your folded edges, making sure to line it up with the other piece of velcro. Topstitch all of that down, using 1/8'' seam.

And you're done!! ...ok, you're almost done. You're really close! See how pretty it is already? All you need is the elastic so the legal pad can stay snugly in your little cozy!

This is where the topstitching becomes practical! Place your elastic about an inch and a half down from the top and sew it on right over the topstitching! So sneaky, the elastic is gets sewn securely in place, and you don't even notice from the other side. Go ahead, laugh your sneaky laugh, no one can hear you. :) Trim any excess aaand...

You are done! Take a bow and admire your handwork.

I used my lace covered legal pad for aesthetic purposes. :)

You can also use this little closure to tuck a pen away, so you always have one handy.


Let me know if you have any questions or if something is unclear. I wold love to see your results, so don't be shy to shoot me an email! (See my "contact" tab.) Happy sewing!




7 comments:

funfunfun said...

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Please feel free to enter my $35 CSN Gift Certificate Giveaway.
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Marie said...

Hi there, I'm your newest follower via Boost my Blog Friday. Love the look of your blog.
Looking forward to reading more from you.

Marie (hope you'll come by for a visit sometime, I love new followers.)
The Things We Find Inside

Courtney said...

This is really cute! I can't wait to make one!

I'm a new follower :) And thanks for joining my blog hop!

Crystal said...

I really love these. The leather look is really cool.

Van said...

Lovely craft! I wish I could sew as well as you can, I work as a writer and I go through a legal pad a week on a slow week! Mine get all bend and warped. I'll have to try this!

Love your blog, I shall follow to be inspired! :)

Fawnda@Fireflies and Jellybeans said...

Congrats!!! You made it in to the Iron Crafter TOP TEN!!

Come and check it out here:
http://firefliesandjellybeans.blogspot.com/2008/09/iron-crafter-cardboard-boxes-top-ten.html

Tana said...

Found you over at Fireflies and Jeelly Beans. Such a cute idea with the cardboard, Love it.
I'm now a new follower, and would like to invite you to my blog as well. Pop on in at http://littlebirdseeds.blogspot.com/ view my post, become a follower (if you would like), and feel free to grab the Hector Bat graphic I created for fellow bloggers to decorate their sites with for Halloween. (Just click on the image following it to my Photobucket album and copy the HTML code and paste it into your HTML gadget box.)
enjoy~

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