The Humble Composition Book

What would we do without them?


It’s that time of year again – school supply shopping is upon us! I don’t know about you, but I adore school supplies, especially now that I no longer have to buy them. (But honestly, nothing compared to that fresh box of crayons at the beginning of the year! I always envied the kids whose parents bought them boxes that contained more than eight.)

I use a composition book in order to keep track of my Etsy sales and stats and buy a new one each year. Yes, it’s all there digitally, of course, but I’m a hands-on, book-lovin’ kind of gal, and because I stare at a computer screen for 12 hours at work, I don’t necessarily want to spend all my free time doing the same thing.

Each year I try to find a composition book that is somewhat prettier than the standard black & white or solid color offerings. But there’s not much out there that isn’t geared to kids or teens. Sometimes I decorate the cover, but I don’t always have the motivation or time to do so.

So enter…the composition book cover! I wanted one in the style of the scrappy notebooks I’ve been making, inspired by Carla Sonheim. The problem was in resolving the folded-over edges with a cover that has to have separate, sewn-down flaps. I took a page from my husband’s book (he’s always inventing new gadgets and gizmos!), and made a little paper model first. The process involved a lot of head-scratching and measuring and scribbling and fiddling, but I made it work!

heart comp 1

I made the hearts by ironing scraps onto double-sided fusible interfacing. I sewed rows of zig-zag stitching on the top heart and did some random straight-stitching on the bottom one. Then I used fabrics that coordinated with the hearts to create the cover.

heart comp 2

Creating the flaps was a little fiddly, but I managed to make them work!

heart comp 3

I wish I had thought of adding the button and elastic to hold it closed before I sewed the flaps down. It all worked out in the end, though, and turned out great for what was just supposed to be a prototype. I was inspired to make two mini comp book covers as well.

mini comp bright

“Hello, I’m tiny, but just as complicated to make as the large one!”

mini comp steampunk

“You knew there had to be a Steampunk version eventually!”

I’ll probably add a button/elastic closure to these as well. I’m not sure why I made these, actually, since I don’t yet own any mini comp books. (I’ve got a small notebook standing in for the photos, but it’s not quite the right size.) Clearly it’s time to do some back-to-school shopping!


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