First birthdays are special aren't they? My 6th grandchild’s first birthday was coming up and I wanted to make her a gift that she could appreciate and use now. I decided on a washable cloth photo album where mom and dad could put pictures of her family for her to see whenever she wanted.
First I choose a size for my book; it needed to be big enough to hold the pictures with a little room left over for embellishing; about 8 1/2 inches square finished. Next I decided on picture pockets so the pictures could be removed and changed out if desired. Then I chose my fabrics. I also decided to use a ‘shabby chic’ design style for my book, and this made construction easy and fast, stitching the edges together with a zigzag stitch rather than turning the raw edges to the inside.
After cutting out your fabric pages and fleece pieces, fold it over together to see how thick it will be before continuing. I needed to be careful not to have it so thick my machine would not sew through all the layers. It could be done by hand of course, but in the interest of time, I wanted to use my machine. For the photo pockets I made a template and cut heavy clear vinyl making the pockets large enough to hold 4x6 inch pictures with seam allowance.
I made my album cover, rehearsing each piece of fabric before committing it to the sewing machine. I chose to stitch the fabric pieces onto the cover without turning the edges under. The pink chenille was stitched down by hand after all the pages were sewn into the book for a nice finish on the binding. The front has a place for the title "My Family" and a place to put "from Gramma" on the back.
I needed to attach my vinyl pockets to the pages before I ironed on the interfacing, because it would be difficult to attach them afterwards stitching through the thickness of the fleece. Notice the blue tape on the bottom of my sewing machine foot. It's there to help it slide over the vinyl. If you don't like this idea there are other ways of sewing over vinyl. Don't say I didn't warn you, it can be tricky! I wish I had made a placement template so that each pocket lined up perfectly with the preceding page, but because of my shabby chic design style, I think I got away with it not being exact.
When I ironed on the fusible fleece, I was careful to go around the out side edges only avoiding ironing over the vinyl photo holders. Cover your fleece and cloth layers with a thin pressing cloth so you won’t get adhesive on your iron.
Put all of your pages in the order you want them to be and fold them over. I found that the inside pages needed to be trimmed a little so that each one would not be wider than the next after folding over. The first and last pages I trimmed about a 1/8th of an inch back, the next two pages (the middle ones) about a ¼ inch back. Now I was ready to sew around each page edge with a zigzag stitch.
Then I stacked each page in the order I wanted them, pinned carefully and machine stitched down the center. I wanted to make a cover for the spine of my book, and I attached it last by hand, though it could have been done by machine. I decided last minute I wanted an embroidered title on my album front, originally thinking I would use an iron on transfer method. It would have been much easier to do before the title piece was stitched down.
I love my finished Cloth Photo Album for my sweet birthday girl! I think she will love it too.
*Update: I am hosting a link up party at Family Home and Life, Wow Us Wednesdays.
I linked up this post at Cornerstone Confessions, Bear Rabbit Bear, The Shabby Nest and Skip to my Lou. It is also linked at Grandma's Briefs an Under the Table and Dreaming .
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