Let’s start with a disclaimer: I won’t pretend that I can do any of this without some sort of assistance. So this tutorial is lifted right from this site. But if it gives you any inspiration, I am a complete novice at sewing and I was able to do this project in, as the original author promises, about an hour.
I gave it to my mom for her birthday because she carries around her to-do list. Unfortunately, the biggest to-do was to replace her squat piece of cardboard stacked up with dozens of little shreds of paper all strapped together with a rubber band. Now, since then, I think she’s adopted a new and more formal system and as it turns out, this handmade one seemed disappointingly big for her purse. But you could modify it to any shape or size. (Mom, if you want a smaller one, you just say the word.)
My trip to Michael’s was a success when I found a 4×8 notepad with my mom’s initial on it. And I happened to have some fabric scraps that matched the black and white theme, so I was good to go.
I’m just going to reiterate the instructions from Megan’s site (dang, she’s so cute and perky and perfect) and modify according to my process. If you want the original instruction (and better pictures, perhaps), jump to her site.
So here’s what you need to fit a 4″ x 8″ notepad (which you can find at Michael’s!):
10″ by 11″ fabric for front cover
10″ by 11″ fabric for lining
4.5″ by 8″ fabric for inside pocket
10″ by 11″ batting
3/8″ elastic to hold notepad (1/4 yard)
Button, 3/4″ to 1 1/8″ diameter
Narrow ribbon or cording for closure (1/4 yard)
1. I didn’t embellish my notepad (I had to have it done quicker than lightning) but if you wanted some decor on the front of your carrier, you can embellish the right side of the front fabric rectangle with quilting, needlework, stamping, or any technique of your choice. Keep in mind the center fold and 1/2″ seam allowance hen planning your embellishment. See the cute work on Megan’s site.
2. Press the pocket fabric side and bottom edges under 1/2″. Press the top edge under in a double 1/2″ hem and top stitch it. Position the pocket on the right side of the lining fabric, 1 1/4″ from the left edge and 2 1/2″ from the top edge; pin in place. Top stitch the side and bottom edges of the pocket to the lining.
3. Cut (2) 4 1/4″ long strips of elastic. Pin 1 strip across the right half of the lining. 1 1/2″ from the top edge and 3/4″ from the right edge. Pin the second strip 2″ from the bottom edge and 3/4″ from the right edge.
4. Use a wide zigzag stitch and a short stitch length to securely stitch all 4 of the elastic ends to the lining. Slide the cardboard back of the notepad through the elastic strips and make sure it fits snugly. If not, zigzag stitch again, making the opening a bit smaller. (I had zigzagged mine so securely that I prayed it fit [and it did!]… I wasn’t going to do it over!)
5. Place the embellished front right-side up on the batting. Sew the button in place through both layers, 3/4″ from the right edge and 5″ from the top edge. My button happened to be too big for this measure and I should have moved it in further. I couldn’t get my sewing foot [even a zipper foot] close enough so I had to blind stitch at the end.
6. Wrap the ribbon around the button and, adding 2″ to the length for overhang, cut the ribbon. Fold it in half to make a loop, then tack the ribbon together 1″ from the ends. My ribbon turned out to be way too loose in the end. I wasn’t sure how to adjust without a lot of extra effort so I put a small knot at the end of the ribbon loop and adjusted it to fit.
7. Pin the lining to the front fabric with right sides together and the batting on the bottom. Measure 5″ from the top of the left edge and pin the looped ribbon between the front and lining layers with the 1″ ends extending outward and the loop lying between the front fabric and lining.
8. Sew the layers together, stitching around the perimeter with a 1/2″ seam allowance and leaving a 2″ opening for turning. Trim the corners. Turn the notepad cover right-side out and press, pressing the opening seam allowances under. Check to see if the ribbon wraps nicely around the button and adjust if needed (once again, I wasn’t sure how I would have adjusted this – I didn’t feel like un-stitching the whole darned thing?). Top stitch around the perimeter, stitching the opening closed.
9. Pass that little notepad through the elastics and get that to-do list started!