Friday, 30 November 2012

Make your own Midori Traveler's Notebook insert

I was toying with the idea of buying a Midori Traveler's Notebook. In that post, Imy really made me want one, and her subsequent posts have only made me want one more.

But, the inserts represent quite a cost, so I thought I'd see before I took the plunge if might be able to make my own inserts. It turns out to be quite easy. You can use the same method to make a stand-alone notebook, if you prefer, like these ones I made recently.

Here are the instructions.

Start with a simple file folder. It can be A4, Letter, Legal or Foolscap size. Open it up and it'll look like this:


Note the central fold. Later, this will be the spine of our notebook insert.

A Traveler's Notebook insert is 210 mm tall and 110 mm wide. Ours is going to have an inner pocket on the back cover.

Get out a ruler and a pencil and start drawing all the lines you can see below. That 120 mm measurement isn't an error, by the way; the extra 10 mm will be disappearing later in the process.


Once you've drawn all the lines, you can start cutting all the red lines and scoring the green ones. Here's what you should be left with:


From this you should be able to see how the pocket is going to work, but first we're going to add the pages.

210 mm is exactly the width of A4 paper. Letter paper is slightly wider. Either will do to make the pages inside the notebook, but if you're using Letter paper, you'll need to trim the width down to 210 mm.

Take about a dozen of so sheets of paper (no more than 16) and fold them all very precisely in half, using a bone folder to make the creases as sharp as possible. Open the folds and put the paper together, then refold all the pages together, so you have what looks like an A5-sized newspaper.

With a pencil, mark out some dots along the centre fold, starting about 10 mm from each edge and equally-spaced along the fold, like this:


Now place the stack of pages on top of your cover, aligning the folds in the paper and the spine of the cover. Use some bulldog clips to keep these perfectly aligned. The paper will be wider than the cover at this point. This is intentional.

Use an awl with a hammer to punch a hole through every layer at each of the pencil marks.

Next, thread an embroidery needle with strong thread and start sewing.


Put your needle first through hole C from the paper side and leave the end of the thread hanging. Pass the needle beck through hole B from the cover side, then back through hole A from the paper side. Pass it again through B from the cover side, then C from the paper side, D from the cover side, E from the paper side, F from the cover side, E again from the paper side and finally D from the cover side. Remove the needle so you have one end of thread hanging from hole C and one from hole D.



Tie these ends together with a double knot, tightening the thread, and cut the loose ends close to the knot. You can now remove the bulldog clips.

Next we're going to assemble the inside pocket:


Fold over Flap X. Then apply glue to Flap Y, then fold it up to hold Flap X in place.


Now it's time to get out the ruler and pencil again. measure a line on the page as shown below:


Now you'll need a steel ruler and a very sharp knife or a rotary cutter, because you are going to cut though all the pages in the notebook and the cover to give the whole thing a straight edge.

Here is the finished product:


Here is a close-up internal view. You can just about see the stitching:


And finally, that cheeky internal pocket at the back. I've slipped some contrasting paper in there so you can see what's going on:




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