Tutorial Tuesday – Three-Ring Binder Makeover, Part Three


Tutorial Tuesday

So, you guys saw the before and the terrible sewing FAIL that resulted from my first attempt.

And now, I’d like to present…the AFTER.

Meet my new, homemade, removable, fabric three-ring binder cover.

homemade removable fabric three-ring binder cover - tutorial - before and after

homemade removable fabric three-ring binder cover - tutorial - before and after

Now I get to show you how I made it.

*Note – I’m sure there is a better way to do this, and I’m sure that my sewing, pinning and creasing techniques leave much to be desired…however, I have been sewing for a total of five days, so cut me some slack :) *

*And another Note – I’m explaining this in great detail, because that’s what I do. I’m just tryin’ to live my life *

Alright, here we go…

1. Laid out my material for the front (outside) of the cover, wrong side up, with my binder on top. I measured about 1.5-2 inches on each side (I think that’s called seam allowance?) and made my cuts, which gave me this:

homemade removable fabric three-ring binder cover - tutorial - before and after

2. For the pocket, I used the same material as what I used on the front/outside of the cover. I didn’t really measure it…just made it line up with specific points on the binder and the fabric for the front/outside. Make sure you make your cut at least an inch extra above where you want the pocket top to be, because you have to make a hem there.

homemade removable fabric three-ring binder cover - tutorial - before and after

3. For the inner lining, I used a solid, coordinating color of fabric. I cut it out to the same size as my front/outside piece, and then cut that in half.

homemade removable fabric three-ring binder cover - tutorial - before and after

So, all of my pieces (five total):

homemade removable fabric three-ring binder cover - tutorial - before and after
homemade removable fabric three-ring binder cover - tutorial - before and after
homemade removable fabric three-ring binder cover - tutorial - before and after

4. Next, I started on the pocket.

I turned the material over so the wrong side was facing up, and folded it over. I ironed it down, which is maybe called “creasing” in sewing-speak. So, the fold was nice and crisp, and would be much easier to sew.

No pictures of the ironing…I can barely iron without burning something as it is, so there was no way I was going to hold a camera and iron at the same time, or else a trip to the local hospital would have to have been included in this tutorial.

homemade removable fabric three-ring binder cover - tutorial - before and after

5. Here is where I could use some lessons on sewing jargon. I lined the pretty, folded side of the hem up with the 3/8 marker on my sewing machine, and sewed, so I guess that means there was 3/8 of an inch between the fold and the seam…yeah, I know, I suck at this.

homemade removable fabric three-ring binder cover - tutorial - before and after

Anyway, I did steps 4 and 5 for both pockets, and ended up with this:

homemade removable fabric three-ring binder cover - tutorial - before and after

6. Next, I worked on attaching the pocket to the lining.

I laid out the one of the lining pieces on top of the binder, so that I could see where the pocket would need to be in relation to the height of the lining.

homemade removable fabric three-ring binder cover - tutorial - before and after

I lined it up so that the seam of my pocket that I had just completed was even with the top of the factory pocket (because, with fabric, it would not be quite as tight, and would need to be taller to keep paper in it). Does that even make sense?

You know what, maybe you should just look at the picture.

homemade removable fabric three-ring binder cover - tutorial - before and after

7. Then, I pinned the lining and the pocket together along the pocket’s seam, and folded the inside edge (inside in relation to the binder). This is where we are going to hem it to keep the pocket connected to the lining. After folding it, I ironed it down, and took my life into my own hands yet again, for the sake of creasing.

homemade removable fabric three-ring binder cover - tutorial - before and after

8. Took it to my sewing machine, and did another 3/8 inch seam from top to bottom. And just a tip that The Mama-In-Law gave me…at the end of a seam, go in reverse back over the seam for a half an inch or so…this keeps your thread from coming loose. I think I said that right.

homemade removable fabric three-ring binder cover - tutorial - before and after

9. For this next part, I kept having to lay everything out like it would be when it was finished, so I could see how every part related to the other. I recommend doing this a lot, unless you’re awesome at spatial reasoning…or just not as domestically challenged as I am.

We’re working on attaching the front/outside piece to the lining and pocket piece.

So, once I got it straight in my head, I laid out my front/outside piece right side up (the pretty, printed not, not the inside). Next, I got the lining/pocket piece that would go on the left (your left, when the binder is open). I laid it wrong side up (the not-pretty side) and aligned it with the top right corner of the front/outside piece.

Man, it gives me a headache just writing this…how about ya’ll?

Time for a picture:

homemade removable fabric three-ring binder cover - tutorial - before and after

10. Once it’s lined up, pin the pieces together about a quarter to a half inch to the right of where you want your seam. I laid the binder down so I could get a better idea of where the seam should be.

homemade removable fabric three-ring binder cover - tutorial - before and after

The pins need to be close enough to help guide you when sewing, but far enough away that you don’t sew over the pins and break your needle. I was EXTRA careful on this part, because I am SO the person who would break the whole damn machine sewing over a pin.

homemade removable fabric three-ring binder cover - tutorial - before and after

11. We’re almost done, I swear.

After that seam you can lay the whole thing down, right side up, and fold it over the binder, to see how it’s going to look. This step is essential, as it gives you the satisfaction of seeing how not effed up it looks (unless, of course, it is…in which case, sorry that my instructions are so not awesome).

homemade removable fabric three-ring binder cover - tutorial - before and after

12. Do the same thing on the other side (take the lining/pocket piece that will go on the right, line it up to the top right of the front/outside part wrong side up, pin it, and sew it…got that, right?)

13. Next, I laid out my whole big piece, with everything folded in on the seams, and laid my binder on top, again, to figure out where everything was and should be. I lined the binder pocket up with my fabric pocket (the pocket was my favorite reference point), and used pins to mark where my bottom seam needed to be. Then…I sewed it.

Is that even how you say that? I sewed it?

homemade removable fabric three-ring binder cover - tutorial - before and after

If you’re wondering, you can just keep right on sewing when you get to the hem of the lining/pocket piece…this will help keep the seam from coming loose when you’re pulling it on and off the binder.

homemade removable fabric three-ring binder cover - tutorial - before and after

14. Laid my binder down again, pinned where my top seam should go, and sewed it. I have got to find out how you’re supposed to use a past tense verb to describe the act of sewing.

homemade removable fabric three-ring binder cover - tutorial - before and after

homemade removable fabric three-ring binder cover - tutorial - before and after

15. And now, dum dum de dum, you have this:

homemade removable fabric three-ring binder cover - tutorial - before and after

I had to re-do a few of my seams to make it tighter, because when I tried to put it on the binder, it was way too loose. So, if that happens, just do another seam slightly inside your first one.

Now, all you have to do is trim your extra fabric, and turn it right side out.

Another tip from The Mama-In-law…use a meat skewer to poke your corners out all nice and sharp…but do it gently, so you don’t poke a hole in your fabric. Heeheee…meat skewers poking in your corners.

And…iron again!

homemade removable fabric three-ring binder cover - tutorial - before and after

homemade removable fabric three-ring binder cover - tutorial - before and after

homemade removable fabric three-ring binder cover - tutorial - before and after

This binder cover is part of a larger project, which is making myself three custom planners…a work planner, a blog planning calendar, and a datebook (for doctor’s appointments, therapies, birthdays, etc). If anyone is interested, I’m thinking about offering the custom calendar and planner pages that I’ve designed for free download next week…so let me know if anyone wants to get more info on that.

Although, only people who really love me will even get this far, so we’ll see if anyone shows interest. I bet I could fill this space with crazy stuff and bad words, and no one would ever know. Ice cream has no bones. My pancake jumper got lost in the mail. He crawled out of a grocery hole.

And, for those who really, really love me…a quick reminder that our preschool transition meeting is today, so wish us luck!