Sew Cute: Hand-Stitched Journals

There’s a definite end-of-the-school-year feeling in the air at this time of year. I certainly feel it, even though as a working “adult” I sadly don’t get those months off anymore. Still, it’s hard not to dream about summer vacations, about long lazy days on a beach somewhere or road trips with stops at kitschy roadside attractions. I’ve mentioned before that I’m a journaler, and that habit definitely extends to travel journals as well. Keeping a written record of my trips helps me relive fun memories later.

This week, I decided to put together some simple little journals perfect to pack for a summer getaway. They’re a snap to whip up, and easy to customize with your favorite colors and patterns. These journals also make thoughtful gifts for anyone in your life about to embark on an adventure, whether it’s a trip overseas or their first year of college.


  • Heavy, colorful paper
  • White cardstock
  • Embroidery floss
  • Tapestry needle
  • Scissors
  • Measuring tape
  • Ballpoint pen

Craft away:

  • Trace a rectangle onto the colorful paper, 12-inches long by 8 1/4-inches wide. Cut out the rectangle.
  • Trace 3 rectangles onto the white cardstock, 11 1/2-inches long by 7 1/4-inches wide. Cut out the rectangles.
  • Fold each rectangle in half, hamburger style (short end to short end).
  • Stack the pieces of paper on top of each other with the folds touching, placing the white paper inside of the colorful paper.
  • Using the tapestry needle, carefully poke holes through all layers of the paper along the fold. Space your holes about 1/2-inch apart. You may find it easier to make the holes with a regular sewing needle or a straight pin.
  • Cut a couple of feet of embroidery floss. Knot one end, and thread the other through the eye of the tapestry needle. Don’t knot the tail end of your floss (the part that is threaded through the eye of the needle).
  • Begin stitching the pages of your journal together, using a simple in-and-out motion to weave the floss through the holes. Once you’ve reached the top of the journal, stitch back down the other way to create a strong spine. Be sure to tie a small knot at the end of the row of stitches to hold your work in place.
  • You’re finished! Give your handmade notebook to someone as a gift, or keep it to jot down memories and inspirations.