Because life’s celebrations shouldn’t cost the Earth

Friday, 27 September 2013

A little bird told me.....

Upcycled Fabric Journal Cover

My niece has just started her first term at Nottingham University, so I thought I would mark the occasion by stitching her a journal cover.  I altered the original design a little, so that it included both her university and field of study as well as her name.  The birds were created using raw-edge applique and freestyle machine embroidery.  The writing is also freestyle (freehand) machine stitched.  It's such a great technique, no wonder Kirstie Allsopp has described it as 'the crack cocaine of the crafting world'! 

Yes, Ellie is off to study Politics at Nottingham and we're all very proud of her. Although, I can't believe that she is old enough to be going!  I can still remember how excited I was when I first went off to university and how much I valued getting letters and parcels.  I'm not sure that people send so many letters these days and today's youngsters could easily miss out on the thrill that comes from checking the post each day.  With this in mind it was lovely to stitch a little gift to package and send.  I purchased an academic diary to pop inside the cover, but ensured that it was not such a snug fit that she couldn't swap it for a notebook or journal if she preferred. 

The lining was cut from this adorable piece of soft vintage cotton lawn in muted tones of pink and blue,

as you can see it's a 'Laura Ashley' classic from 1977.  I'm sure that to Ellie this will seem absolutely ancient!

The cute design I used is extremely versatile and is both easy to sew and very effective when finished.   

Well done Ellie xxx


  1. Hi Josie, what a lovely personal gift! You are so talented! I don't get how you manage to do that really fine writing on the books.
    Thanks for posting,

  2. Hi Charlotte, if you just take it slow you'll be fine! If it's your first attempt use an open toed foot, leave the feed dogs up (engaged) and reduce your stitch length by at least half. Then go very slowly and leaving the needle down, gently pivot the fabric to follow the shape of your script. It may even be necessary to pivot the fabric after each and every stitch. You could also try turning the fly wheel by hand to maintain complete control. It can be a slow process at first, but no slower than hand sewing, and you will get much quicker with practice.

  3. Just gorgeous Josie. I think Ellie will be thrilled to receive this as a gift.

  4. Lovely notebook cover, its adorable, I'm sure she'll treasure it x

  5. Your freehand embroidery is amazing! A wonderful gift, I'm sure she'll love it x

  6. A fabuous gift and awesome sewing, it must have taken you ages to freehand embroider like that!

  7. What a beautiful gift. Lucky girl.