Rather than spend a fortune on designer jotting pads and pencil cases or settling for reasonably priced, drab choices, showcase your creative flair by revamping cheap basics. We've taken an everyday notepad and turned it into a vibrant wonder, showing how a few carefully placed motifs and embroidery stitch accents can make all the difference
- Fabric: cotton, scraps, brightly coloured; gingham, fat quarter, green; linen, 30cm square
- Fusible webbing
- Embroidery thread; yellow, teal
- Zip, pastel shade, 20cm
- Notebook, A5, hardback
- Tape, double-sided
- Sizzix Big Shot, 655268
- Sizzix Bigz Die, Flower layers, #10 657242
- Embroidery frame
- Notebook: A5
- Pencil case: 11cm x 15cm
Create a Motif
Select five coordinated patterned cotton scraps and back each with fusible webbing, leaving the paper in place. Cut several flower components from each fabric and use any small leftover pieces to cut lots of the smallest flower shape on the die block.
Cut green gingham cotton to size (30cm x 40cm for notebook, 25cm x 30cm for pencil case) and press. Remove the backing paper from the die cut flowers and arrange them in the area of the fabric that will be most prominent when made up. Press the shapes with a hot iron.
If desired, place the fabric in an embroidery frame and sew around the die cuts with a small back stitch. Use three strands of yellow thread for the outline and teal thread for the central stamens of the flowers. Avoid stretching the thread across the back of the work and fasten off behind each flower before starting on the next one. Press each panel of appliqué again before making up.
Make a Pencil Case
Take a 12cm x 30cm piece of gingham cotton, fold under by 1cm along the two shorter edges and pin. Place one side of a pastel-coloured zip underneath a folded edge and tack in place before top stitching securely with back stitch in matching cotton. Fold the fabric panel in half to bring the other folded edge over the other side of the zip. Pin in place, open the zip to make it easier to tack and stitch.
Turn the panel right sides together and close the zip. Back stitch the side seams, following the line of the check for a neater finish. Manipulate the zip through the fabric to open it and turn the pouch right side out.
Cut a panel of lining fabric 30cm by 25cm and stitch up the side seams as on the pencil case. Fold over 1cm on both top edges and pin inside the case to cover the raw edges of the gingham. Slip stitch the lining in place, ensuring that it doesn’t interfere with the zip.
Create a Covered Notebook
Place your appliquéd panel face down on a clean flat surface. Fix a length of double-sided tape down the right hand edge of the front of the notebook.
Position the fabric, so the embroidered work is in the correct place on the cover and there is at least 2cm of spare fabric overlapping the edge of the book. Fix double sided tape to the edge of the back cover.
Fold the rest of the fabric over and secure, trimming the excess overlap to about 2cm. Open the notebook and stick the material to the inside of the covers.
Clip the fabric at the spine of the book so that the edges can be folded in and the remaining strip of material can be tucked down into the holes at each end of the spine. Mitre the corners of the book one by one, trimming away excess fabric if necessary.
Secure the top and bottom edges with double-sided tape. Neaten the book by sticking the fly leaves down over the raw edges of fabric.