Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Storing schoolwork/artwork - a covered binder tutorial!

This was Addy's first year of VBS and preschool, and I was overwhelmed with all of the paperwork that she brought home. She doesn't want me to get rid of anything, but the clutter was starting to get to me! That's when I decided to buy a 3-ring binder and a pack of sheet protectors. For the larger projects, I tried to alter them to fit relatively flat. And I still do toss many of the coloring pages after they've been on the fridge for a bit.

So I went from clutter to organized, but the binder was ugly! I thought about asking Addy to color a page for the cover, and then got the idea to create a fabric cover. Here's what I did to cover a standard 1.5" 3-ring binder:

13" x 25" main fabric print for exterior
13" x 25" lining fabric
25" x 15" coordinating fabric to create the interior "pockets" to slide the binder into
4" x 5" clear plastic sheet (in the table cloth section at JoAnn's)

From the fabric, you'll need to cut to the following dimensions:
12.5" x 23.75" main print
12.5" x 23.75" lining
2 - 12.5" x 14" for interior pockets
3" x 4" clear plastic
water/air soluble marker or pencil or chalk
sewing machine

Next you will need to sew the clear plastic onto the exterior fabric. This creates a small pocket where you can add a label.
Using your marker/pencil/chalk, draw the following 4 lines:
3.25" left of the right cut edge
7.25" left of the right cut edge (3" over from the first line)
3" down from the cut top edge
6" down from the cut top edge
You only need the markings where you are going to place the plastic. I just made a few corner markings instead of full lines. Do whatever you're comfortable with.
Once the lines are marked, position the clear plastic in the area that you marked out. I don't like to pin through the plastic, so I pin at the corners like so:
You can see that I take a small bite with the pin before and after the corner, and the pin lays over the plastic.
Now go to your sewing machine and sew down the plastic along the sides and bottom - don't forget to leave the top open! I used a wide zig zag stitch. A straight stitch will work just as well, though.
Now grab the 12.5" x 14" pieces that you cut, and fold them in half wrong sides together so that they measure 12.5" tall x 7" wide. Press.
And we are ready to assemble the cover!
Lay the exterior print right side up. Take the 2 pieces that you just pressed and place them on the exterior fabric right sides together. Match up the raw edges and make sure that your prints are both facing the right way, if you're working with directional fabric.
 Finally, lay the lining fabric over the exterior and pocket fabrics. Pin. Sew, leaving a 3" opening at the bottom to turn the cover right side out. I like to leave the opening near the center bottom. Below you can see the opening in my cover.
 Clip your corners.
 Turn the cover right side out - if you get confused, remember that the pockets should be on the lining side. Push your corners out and press. To close up the opening that you left for turning, you can hand sew it with a whip stitch or topstitch (I prefer to topstitch).
I chose to topstitch the cover at the top and bottom, but only in the area between the pockets. If you topstitch the pockets, you run the risk of the cover being too snug for the binder.
 Now cover up your ugly 3-ring binder, stand back and admire! Don't forget to label your binder. I just wrote "Addy, VBS & Preschool, 2010-2011" on a piece of scrapbook paper and tucked it into the pocket.



Wow, I was thinking yesturday that I need to make some folder covers...dododo!! I luv the frogs,,,to cute.

Kay in NJ said...

I've only just discovered your blog. The instructions read like they were done by a professional teacher (which I was for nearly 40 years). My hat is off to you. Great job.