I wanted to make a planner cover for a couple years, but didn’t know where to start. I knew I wanted a 3 or 6 ring binder, so I could re-use it every year. I looked online for an inexpensive planner and the one that made the most sense was a basic Avery 8.5″ x 5.5″ 3-ring binder from Amazon for only $3.99 (here). Why spend $30 or more on a leather cover that I’ll just hide under fabric? Plus there are so many free printable planner pages that fit this size binder. Amazon also sells Avery calendar pages that fit this binder, if you don’t want to go to the trouble of printing your own. They are also very inexpensive.
What you’ll need….
1 Avery 8.5″ x 5.5″ 3 ring binder
18″ x 11″ piece of Soft and Stable interfacing (or equivalent) *this will be cut down to size after quilting
1/3 yard of denim (canvas or linen will work as well)
1 fat quarter quilting weight fabric for pocket
1/4 yard of quilting weight fabric for binding
8 scraps your favorite quilting weight fabric at least 4” square for half-rectangle triangles
2 scraps of fabric quilting weight fabric for hexagon snap closure at least 2″ square
1 set of magnetic snaps
1.5″ strip of 1/4″ width elastic (or wider if you prefer)
1/4 yard Pellon SF101 Interfacing
505 Basting Spray (optional)
From denim, cut the following:
2 – 4.5″ x 18″ strips
1 – 10″ x 15.5″ strip
1 – 10″ x 13″ strip
1 – 2.5″ x 3″ strip
2 – 2″x 3.5″ strip
From binding fabric cut the following:
2 – 2.25″ x WOF strips
From scraps for half-rectangle triangles cut the following:
8 – 3.25″ x 4″ rectangles
From fat quarter for pocket cut the following:
2 – 6.5″ x 5.5″ pieces
From Pellon SF101 cut the following:
1 – 6.5″ x 5.5″ piece
4 – 2″ squares
Making the half-rectangle triangle blocks….
I found a great tutorial awhile back on Sew Mama Sew for making half-rectangle triangles (you can find the tutorial here). I want to give full credit for the method I’m using to Josée Carrier from The Charming Needle. I have re-traced her template to make it easier for you to use, since she includes overlapping templates to make both sides of a half-rectangle triangle and I only used one side for my planner.
Print this template (be sure to chose ‘actual size’ in your printer settings)
You will need 4 light and 4 dark rectangles measuring 3.25″ x 4″
Take 1 light and 1 dark rectangle and overlap them as shown. Mark a line and pin your pieces together to prevent shifting. Sew 1/4″ from both sides of the marked line. Cut along the marked line then press the seams open. You now have 2 half-rectangle triangles. Repeat these steps 3 more times until you have 8 half-rectangle triangles.
I have also included a trimming template here. Print then cut out the trimming template and tape it to your ruler as a guide.
Trim your half-rectangle triangles to 2.5″ x 3.5″, making sure to line the diagonal seam with the diagonal line on your guide.
Once you have 8 trimmed half-rectangle triangles, arrange them in the order you wish to sew them.
Sew your row together, adding a 2″ x 3.5″ strip of denim to each side of the row. Place your sewn row on the center of your 18″ x 11″ piece of Soft and Stable (it will overlap slightly). Spray baste your strip in place (you may also pin or just hold it in place if you feel comfortable).
Quilt the center strip as desired.
*For those of you wondering…in my first attempt at this, I pieced the entire cover and then quilted just the center strip. This caused some puckering that I just wasn’t happy with.
If you would like to add embellishments to your cover, now would be the time to do so (before adding the denim strips to the Soft and Stable).
Using 1/4″ seam allowance, sew the 4.5″ x 18″ strips to each side of the quilted strip, then top stitch 1/4″ from the seam.
Trim your cover to 17.5″ x 10″
Insert magnetic snap 1/2″ from the right edge of the cover.
Making the interior…
Take both the 10″ x 15.5″ and 10″ x 13″ pieces of fabric and press them in half.
Press the 5.5″ x 6.5″ piece of interfacing to the wrong side of one of the 5.5″ x ” 6.5″ pieces of pocket fabric. Place both pieces of pocket fabric right sides together and sew 1/4″ seam allowance all the way around, leaving 2-3″ at the bottom edge for turning (back-stitch at the beginning and end). Clip the corners and turn the pocket right-side-out. Top-stitch 1/4″ from the top of the pocket.
Align the finished pocket 1″ from the left side and 1″ from the bottom of the larger of the 2 interior flaps. Be sure that the raw edge is on the left side and the fold is on the right. Stitch the pocket along both sides and the bottom to secure the pocket to the interior flap.
Attach the interior pockets to the wrong side of the cover (you will see the back side of the Soft and Stable through the opening, don’t worry that will be covered once your binder is in place).
You’ll notice the flap on the right side is shorter than the left. That’s because the Avery binder has the rings off-centered.
Sew the flaps down to the cover, using a scant 1/4″ seam allowance, being careful around the magnetic snap. You may also want to zig-zag stitch over the edges all the way around to keep the denim fraying in check.
Making the hexagon snap closure….
Using a paper hexagon template, trace and cut 4 hexagons from the Pellon SF101 interfacing.
Press 2 hexagon interfacing pieces (on top of one another to double the thickness of your interfacing) onto the back of your fabric scrap. Then cut your fabric scraps, leaving about 1/4″ around the hexagon shape.
Using a small amount of glue, baste the seam allowances
Insert magnetic snap into one of the hexagon shapes.
Press the 2.5″ x 3″ strip of denim in half lengthwise, then press the edges toward the center crease. Sew a topstitch along both sides of your strap, about 1/4″ from the outside edges.
6. Place end of strap between 2 hexagons (wrong sides facing inward) and top stitch around the hexagon 1/8″ from the outside edges.
7. Sew the strap to the outside of the back half of the binder cover with the magnetic snap facing out, just shy of 1/4″ from the edge.
Attach the 2 binding strips to make one long strip. Prepare binding, just as you would for a quilt. attach binding to the from side of the cover (again, be careful around the magnetic snap.
Fold 1.5″ elastic strap and sew along the interior 1/4″ from right edge
Fold the binding around to the interior and stitch the binding down by machine or hand.
Insert binder….and done!
Now go find some beautiful planner pages from Pinterest or Etsy and start planning some fun things to do!
I’d love to see your planner cover made from this tutorial. Feel free to tag me in any Instagram pictures you post and use the hashtag #chellesquiltsplanner.