Crafty Corner: Saddle Stitch Notebook

Last week on The Monday Mix I posted about making an embroidered notebook. I was a little stumped as to where I might get a small kraft paper bound notebook at a reasonable price though. Those things always seemed to be marked up like crazy. Miraculously I came across this tutorial video by SeaLemonDIY on how to make your own saddle stitched notebook. That was all the inspiration I needed!

The materials I used for this project were:

  • A rotary cutter with self healing mat and large plastic ruler
  • Old notebook paper
  • Two medium sized binder clips
  • Utility bone folder
  • A 14×14 piece of sturdy scrapbook brown kraft paper
  • A size 24 tapestry needle
  • Colored hemp cord
  • Hole punch
  • Colorful elastic band
  • Embroidery floss and needle

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Start by clipping together a stack of notebook paper. Using the ruler and rotary cutter, cut off the edge and/or holes.

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Once the paper is cut, take one sheet out of the stack to use as a template. Cut it in half and use that as the guide to cut the entire stack in half.

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Using the template piece of paper as a guide, cut two pieces from the brown paper for the back and front cover of the notebook.

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Use the paper template to mark off 1 inch points as a guide for the binding. I started in the exact middle of the paper, marked it, and then, moving outward, marked two 1 inch points on the left and right.

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You will need a paper awl or another tool to gently score the holes through the notebook paper. I picked up this utility bone folder by Martha Stewart at the craft store and I love it. It’s a bone folder, utility knife, tweezer set, embossing tip, and piercing tip all in one. Gotta love a multitasker like this!

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Clip the front cover, back cover, and notebook paper together with the binder clips. Position the template on top to use as a guide. Using an awl or piercing tool, poke holes down through all of the layers. You don’t want to make huge holes here, there should be just enough space to get the tapestry needle through each layer.

When that step is done remove the paper template.

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Now it’s time to bind! Again, I used a size 24 tapestry needle. Tapestry needles are great because they have a blunted tip and a large eye for easy threading. I was hoping to use waxed cotton or something similar for the binding thread and was really excited when I sew the hemp cord at the craft store.

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I cut a 22 inch piece of the hemp cord to make sure I didn’t run out while sewing my binding. I started in the center, sewing down through the inside of the notebook and back up from the outside, leaving 1 inch of the cord in the center for a knot later.

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Alternating stitches from the inside to outside, I sewed the binding so that I had a piece of cord from hole to hole on the inside and outside of the notebook. I hope that makes sense, if not watch the SeaLemonDIY video I linked to at the beginning of this post.

When the binding is complete, tie a small knot with the remaining cord and the 1 inch of cord left on the inside.

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Put the knot through to the inside (it’s less likely to be noticed inside then on the outside binding) and cut off the excess cord.

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Fold the pages and cover to form a crisp crease. I folded the pages and cover in the correct and opposite directions and used my bone folder to perfect the crease.

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Use the mat, ruler, and rotary cutter to trim off any excess/overhang on the edge.

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You’ll end up with a perfect edge to the notebook.

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I opted to add an elastic band to hold the notebook together but you could omit this step.

Using a hole punch, punch two single holes 1/4 inch away from the edge of the notebook cover. Insert both ends of an elastic band through each hole, loop one end through the other, and pull tight.

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The elastic band can then be used horizontally or vertically to hold the notebook together. I prefer it vertically but either way works!

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The final step was to embroider the cover. To begin, I sketched a quick design on the cover in pencil.

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Using regular embroidery floss and embroidery needle, I used a simple backstitch to embroider on my design.

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That’s it! This project is pretty time consuming but I’m so happy I made the whole thing myself. It allowed me to make exactly what I wanted and customize the notebook how I originally envisioned it. I can’t wait to make a bunch of these!

Author: Domestocrat

I'm a lady who enjoys photography, football, cooking, long drives with the windows down, This American Life, kettlecorn, hot yoga, pop punk, my nephews, my cat Reggie, and my home: Boston.

9 thoughts

  1. All this DIY self stuff drives me insane! I mean I get that it’s fun to craft and make cute things, but it’s also kind of driving women back to the 50s. Have you read any Deborah Sparr and her thoughts on how magazines like Real Simple and Good Housekeeping are projecting images that women have to be perfect?

    1. I don’t really see the correlation between my love of crafting and setting women back to the 50’s. It’s not that complicated – I like crafting because I like being creative. I work 40 hours a week at a professionally and intellectually challenging job. I have hobbies and interests that I like to do when I’m not working. Crafting and baking happen to be a few, traveling and reading happen to be a few more, and UFC, smoked meat, and beer happen to be even more. I’m not trying to fit my hobbies into a gender role – I do them because I love them, they take me out of my own head for a little while, and allow me to be proud of something. I don’t see how that’s wrong.

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