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It’s National Sewing Month, and to celebrate, I’ve taken my favorite scrapbooking project – the mini-album – and made it 96% fabric, needle, and thread. This is a book that can range from quite simple to intricately detailed, depending on your budget, purpose. Mine falls in the middle of that range, I think, with lots of photos in blocks for the left-hand pages (simple) and a single photo and computer-printed journaling surrounded by layered machine- and hand-stitched embellishments on the right-hand pages. Since the left sides are photo-heavy and the right sides are full of details, each page is balanced with lots of fun elements and special photos. With its raw edges, layered stitching, and eclectic mix of fabric types and patterns, you can create an interesting, meaningful book for yourself or as a gift for the upcoming holiday.
Collecting my supplies was easy because I hoard fabrics like I do patterned paper, and I have lots to choose from. If you are purchasing fabric for this project, plan to use about 3 yards of natural muslin, and one-half yard of each fabric you choose to use for your pages. I used woven cotton, wool felt, and burlap in addition to the cotton muslin. You’ll also want several thread colors and a variety of buttons. Here is an image shows the variety of color and texture I used:
2. The Foundation
Using the rotary cutter and see-through acrylic ruler, cut a 9-inch by 9-inch double layer of muslin for each page of the book you are making. I easily cut two layers at one time. Cut an 8.5-inch by 8.5-inch piece of fabric for the front of each page. Using a different thread color for each page, sew around the edge of the patterned fabric at least three times to make a triple-layered page “front” with a contrasting thread border. This will make a right-hand page for the book. The “back” of the page will make the left-hand page for a layout, and it will have a basic, natural background with a colored thread “frame.”
After making the pages, use the eyelet punch set to punch two holes on the left of the page “fronts” to set grommets or large eyelets. I measured my holes at one inch from the left edge and two inches from the top and bottom. The grommets are easily visible on this page:
3. The Details
Once the book’s foundation is finished, you’ll want to make the embellishments. All of the stitched embellishments are three layers, two layers of muslin and one layer of the top fabric piece. A few embellishments are natural. For those, I used three layers of muslin. Some of the embellishments are circles, half circles, ovals, or squares. For these, I punched the shape from cardstock and traced it onto the back of the piece I would be stitching. For example, the pumpkin is made of three ovals:
I punched the oval, traced it onto three rectangles of layered fabrics, stitched around the tracing, then cut out the stitched shape. I have found that whether I am machine sewing or hand stitching these little pieces, it is much easier to stitch the piece, THEN cut it out. I adhered all of these small, stitched elements with fabric glue.
The same process applies to all of the other shapes. Layer fabrics, cut a piece to trace on (or draw freehand), stitch along the lines, cut the shape out after stitching. Here are some other shapes:
Tag with monogram
Some of the embellishments have more stitching than just around the edges. I stitched around the inside of some shapes to add visual interest and texture.
4. Adding Photos
I wanted to include multiple photos, but I also wanted to allow the detailed stitching to be visible, so I chose one 4-inch by 6-inch photo for each right-hand page. For the left-hand pages, I created 6.5-inch by 7-inch photo collages in Adobe Photoshop. To make the photo collage, I opened six photos that were relevant to the one on the right-hand side. I merged these together using the photomerge option, then I cropped the collage to the size I wanted. I adhered this to the left-hand page with fabric glue and added buttons at the top.
5. Adding Journaling
I printed all of my journaling onto cardstock, cut it into strips using the desktop rotary trimmer, and adhered it using fabric glue.
6. The cover
The cover is made just like the inner pages. I adhered muslin to printer paper and printed the letters onto the muslin.
Create a tag and a monogram by drawing them and stitching with the same process as the embellishments inside the book. Put large rings through the holes and tie ribbon to the top ring.
Fabric Scraps, Natural Canvas Fabric