DIY Sewing Machine Bookbinding: Paper Meets Fabric

Two of my favorite materials to work with are unique PAPERS and FABRIC. In this DIY bookbinding tutorial, I am going to show you a project where the paper meets fabric. Bookbinding has always fascinated me and I have dappled in different ways to do it. In this post, I will be showing you how to bind a booklet using a sewing machine and how to apply a strip of fabric or (of course) a strip of an upcycled sweater.

I use this sewing method all the time when I make booklets to put in my traveler’s journal. Such a unique way to add charm to your planning!

It’s really quite simple, and of course, there is always a feeling of satisfaction that comes with it. The joy of making something with your own hands is what motivates those of us who like to diy (DO IT YOURSELF).

The thing is, if I’m going to spend time making something, it better be useful. These little booklets are very useful.

What do you use these booklets for?

bookbinding youmakeitsimple.com
  • Journals
  • Notes
  • Health journals (I print out a monthly health journal and this bookbinding method works like a charm).
  • Sketch booklet
  • Gifts

There are several ways to finish the binding edge: fabrics, felt, thin felted sweater, or nothing at all. There are times when I just bind the center without fabric like my health journals. These are something that I print out every month.

Items and things you’ll need for this DIY bookbinding project 

  • 7-10 sheets of paper (any size)
  • Cardstock cover paper (optional)
  • Sewing machine
  • Paper clips
  • Scissors
  • Extra sheet of paper that is cut the same size as your inner sheets for guide (I recommend using a paper that is a different color than the booklet paper, so you can have a contrast)
  • Durable needle for your machine (universal size 100, or denim needle works great)
  • Ruler
  • paper cutter (optional) I really like this one and have had it for years!
  • Exacto knife
  • Corner punch (optional)

Fabric Binding

  • Fabric strip cut to 1 ½ inches x length of booklet PLUS 1 inch
  • Heat & Bond (lite) cut the same as your fabric strip
  • Iron and ironing board

FELT OR SWEATER

  • A strip of felt or felted sweater cut 1 ¾ inch x length of booklet PLUS 1 inch (You don’t want the fabric to be too bulky or thick).

Bookbinding Instructions

Watch the Video Tutorial Here on YouTube

Play Video

If using a printed calendar or planner pages, download, and print.

Cut paper to the desired size.

Fabric Style Binding

1 -Cut strip of fabric and Heat & Bond.

2-  Place fabric strip face down on the ironing board. Apply bonding strip with the bumpy side next to the fabric. Line up edges and press using an iron without steam.

3-  Let that cool while you sew the pages.
4-  Take your cover sheet (card stock) and place paper stack on top of that. (I recommend testing your sewing machine to see how much paper it will handle) Most machines are able to handle up to 7-10 sheets.

5-  Fold your guide sheet in half and place it on the left side of the paper stack. Line up edges and paperclip in place.

6-  Take it to the sewing machine and sew along the edge of the guide paper. Backstitch at the beginning and end of the seam. Clip threads

7-  Starting from the top sheet, start folding the papers in over to make a center crease. Do one side of the notebook and then the other.

You’ll notice that the inner pages will hang over a bit, no worries.

8- Take the Exacto knife and using a ruler, slice off the excess paper. It will take several passes to cut through all the layers.

9-  Pull off the paper strip from the Heat & Bond.  Fold the strip in half lengthwise and finger press to make a crease.

10-Slide the booklet inside leaving about ½ inch overhanging. Make sure it is against the edge and press in place. Flip it over and press the other side.

Cut excess fabric off with scissors.

UPCYCLED SWEATER OR FELT BOOKBINDING

1-  Take your calendar or paper stack and cut them in half.

(If using my printable calendars, fold the pages towards each other). If using plain paper sheets, arrange them so you have the outer cardstock on top and one on the bottom.

2-  Paper clip the top, right side, and bottom of the paper stack together, lining up the edges.

3-  Apply the right side of the sweater strip face down on the left side of the paper stack. Leave ½ on each end. Take it to the sewing machine and sew the fabric strip to the paper stack. Backstitch at the beginning and end of seam. Sew slowly making sure your machine can handle the thickness. Trim threads.

4-  Fold the fabric strip around the edge to the front.

5-  Keep the fabric pulled tight as you sew in “the ditch” of the previous seam. (Right next to the fabric edge) Backstitch at the beginning and end of seam.

6-  Flip over and using your scissors, trim away excess fabric right next to the seam. Be careful not to cut into the seam. Clip off the excess fabric on the ends as well.

If your sweater fabric was prewashed and “felted” it should not fray. Some thick knit fabrics will also not fray and can be used as well as fleece. Get creative.You can round the corners of the booklet using a corner punch. (Optional)

Ta-dah!

Now wasn’t that a fun little bookbinding project.

Be sure to check out my post about the 2020 printable calendars that I have designed and that works great for bookbinding!

Stay tuned for some more bookbinding techniques coming up!

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Jan Howell

Jan Howell

My intention for this website is to share tips and tutorials that I have found on my journey of life that has brought me joy, improved health, and peace, in hopes that it will do the same for you. I hope you'll join me on this journey!

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