myBearpaw Blog by Jo Avery

Warning – vintage notebook overdose alert!!

A couple of months ago I made my first two of these notebook holders. I wrote about them here and I hoped to teach a workshop on them. However this was another of those classes that didn’t get enough interest (I seem to be always saying this, but lots of my classes do get booked up – honest!). So I decided to sell the notebooks in the shop.

They sold very quickly. So I decided to try some diaries too. These sold quickly too, so I started making quite a few more! In fact this is one of the reasons I have been so busy these last few weeks.

Here is one I just finished today, before it gets wrapped around the notebook. I have been using pieces of my vintage embroidered linen stash and just patchworking a wee frame for it.

This is the other side. I started off using the excellent tutorial on Teresadownunder’s blog, but I have adapted this quite a bit now to make it quicker. I don’t use any interfacing, I use one piece of fabric, folded in half, for the pocket and find this needs to be no bigger than 7″ (and can be quite a bit smaller) unfolded, and I don’t topstitch round the outside.

So basically, they are very quick and easy to make. And actually lots of fun, as I really enjoy putting the different combinations of fabric and linen together. And picking out the perfect button from my vintage collection (many of which belonged to my Mum).  I also like practicing my embroidery with the word ‘diary’!

 And I am using fabric from my ‘everyday’ stash, not my ‘precious’ stash, so it’s not so hard to part with!

In the end customers were buying 3 or 4 at a time so I have had put the price up! I was selling them for £14.99 (with book or diary), which probably was a bit cheap for handmade (but they are way quicker to make than my little crocheted owls and I can only get away with selling them for £9.99!). Now they are selling for £17.99 and the sales have slowed down a bit.

Are you getting bored yet? I really hope you like looking at vintage linen notebook holders, because if you don’t you’ve come to the wrong place today!

I also made a few special ones (using ‘precious’ fabric) for Christmas presents, like the one below for my best friend in London, who is kindly putting me up for the retreat next June, and lending me her sewing machine for the weekend.
I was so pleased and excited to discover, after my last post, that so many of you European bloggers are going to be coming to the Fat Quaterly Community Retreat next year, and quite a few from Scotland too!

I also made one for a very special, long distance, blogging friend. I forgot to take a photo of this one but  she has received it and has promised to blog about it, so soon you can take a look at it here (I know you will be just dying to see more of these!).

Nearly finished now! Here’s 3 more I just finished this afternoon, some still waiting for buttons. I did make one more after this but the light had faded by then so you will be spared one more!
Well Christmas is nearly upon us, and that will be the last one I make this year.
But I think I might just have time to top up on my owl stock…


  1. They're lovely! You won't need to take a sewing machine to the retreat neither, it's been sponsored by Pfaff I think so they're providing machines for the weekend! I was worried about getting mine there as well!!

  2. I'm so delighted you are selling them for a fair price, when I started reading that they were selling well I made an assumption that you were selling them for 'peanuts' but you weren't! And then you put the price up – hurrah. I make notebook covers and get really irritated when people frown at the price, but I've sold quite a few at recent fairs – little A6 ones for £10. Yours are beautiful and I love the use of the embroidered linens, I often see them in the charity shop but don't buy as I'm not sure I would use them, now however I am inspired! thanks for sharing.

  3. They are gorgeous! 🙂 I made my first journal cover about 6 weeks ago for an advent swap. Didn't add a button but sewed a beaded ribbon marker in the top centre. I intend to make more, and like you, I will not use any interfacing next time, to reduce the bulk. 🙂

  4. Made it right to the end of the post! I lvoe the covers and enjoy making this sort of thing too – it is very refreshing to hear that you are getting a fair price for the too.
    I also love that you have two stashes, I know what you mean tho.

  5. These notebook covers are gorgeous. I've just finished making something similar for a friend for her Christmas pressie… I love the fabrics that you've been using, so pretty. 🙂

    Ashley xxx

  6. These are so pretty and will make many people happy when they unwrap them on Christmas Day. I loved looking at the different colour combinations. The vintage linen in the centre is lovely and gives them your personal stamp.
    Teresa x

  7. Your note books are so beautiful!! I love all your fabric combinations and the bit of vintage embroidery really gives it that special touch. I can see why people are snapping them up!!

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