Many of you asked for the instructions of how to make this great faux leather journal cover.  It was a project that we made during our MC15000 test drives around Canada last year. Linda P in Toronto designed the project and I am happy to say that it met with universal appeal at all our test drives. Most folk were real surprised at how easily the Janome Mc15000 dealt with the faux leather (or nogahyde) which is quite thick. We did not even use a special needle or thread. We simply sat down at the machine & made this:

Tone -on-tone embroidery on a lovely shade of lavender nougahyde (faux leather)

Tone -on-tone embroidery on a lovely shade of lavender nogahyde (faux leather)

Journal Cover (journal 7 ¼” x 9 ½” – 3/8” thick)

Supplies and Machine set up:

GR hoop (hooped with heavy weight stabilizer); P foot (on machine); Yellow dot bobbin case; Straight stitch needle plate (on machine); Acufeed Flex Narrow VD ; Cloth Guide; Foot holder ; Buttonhole foot with Stabilizer Plate; Embroidery thread and bobbin thread; Polyester thread for needle and bobbin to sew journal together; Marking pen – FRIXION works great; Ruler;  Scissors;  Quilt clips; Painters tape;  Large Rotary cutter, mat and ruler; Nogahyde (faux leather/vinyl)  or other fabric that does not fray cut as follows. Not all fabric stores carry this type of fabric although we did not find it too hard to locate. It is the type of backed vinyl which is used to cover chairs or make bags. Thickness and quality seems to vary:

1 large piece for the front and back (16” x 11 1/4″”) Cut  1 ½” larger then journal 9 3/4” x 7 ½” front

2 narrower pieces for the inside flaps, the front flap is 6” wide, back flap 4” wide

2  pieces for tab – 1” x 4.5”  (one end should be pointed & can be pre-stitched)

journal 4


This project was made on the Janome MC15000 but the Janome Mc12000 will is also perfect for this project (although you would need to select a different embroidery design). We used the large GR hoop (11.8 x 9.1 inches). It could be adapted and made on other Janome embroidery machines though the embroidery may need to be different & smaller.

  1. In the Edit Mode, select the GR hoop, open design #21 in World of Embroidery folder
  2. Reduce size of the design to 80%
  3. Select Monogram – Font: Galant – Size: Medium . Type the word “Dream”
  4. Use the kerning tool 2x – to stretch it out a little.
  5. Make everything monochromatic using the wonderful new icon in version 2 on the MC15000.
  6. Select Monogram & Galant font and select the PERIOD – Press OK.
  7. Use arrows to move this PERIOD to the upper left corner. The location depends on the size of your journal. I laid my journal on the GR template to determine the location.
  8. This process is just to create a rectangle baste trace that is a little larger than the front of your journal.  THE PERIODS WILL NOT BE STITCHED
  9. Repeat this process, copying/pasting and dragging a PERIOD to the same spot in each corner. Each period needs to be located just inside the corner.
  10. Embroidering – St. Stitch plate, P foot, stabilizer in hoop, attach hoop to machine
  11. Lay vinyl on stabilizer, having one short edge 1 ¼” from the inside right edge of the hoop.
  12. Baste Trace to hold the vinyl in place on top of the tear away stabilizer.
  13. Embroider the design (the design takes 11min at 600spm) Do not embroider the PERIODS
  14.  Sewing – switch needle plates, put on foot holder, open BH foot to its largest opening
  15. Buttonholes – #4 – increase opening to 2, slip a 4” piece of the vinyl underneath for more stability) – naugahyde is almost like a knit. BH placement is parallel to the basting, edge of BH foot is along basting edge – stitch 1st BH
  16. Stitch 2nd BH, ¼” in from the 1st one   (you should be able to see the edge of the 1st BH in the ‘window’ of the BH foot)
  17. To cut open, a Buttonhole Cutter is preferred
  18. Attach Cloth Guide, attach narrow Acufeed foot holder with VD foot.
  19. Set Cloth Guide to 2” –straight stitch at SL 3, along shorter edge of the back cover, then another row at 2 ½” and another row at 3”

    A couple of extra rows of dec. stitching on this cover - you can have fun and devise your own embellishment.

    A couple of extra rows of dec. stitching on this cover – you can have fun and devise your own embellishment.

  20. Stitch Decorative Stitch in Quilting #8, Serpentine, in between the rows of straight stitch  journal 3
  21. Stitch the 2 tab pieces, RST, using a straight stitch, SL 3  journal 6
  22. Topstitch along one edge of each inside flap, ¼” from raw edge
  23. Using the basting lines as a guide, draw lines to create the outline of the cover
  24. Lay the 2 pieces for the flaps in place on wrong side of front cover, WST, use painters tape or quilting clips to hold in place. Do not use pins as they leave holes in the nogahyde. Insert tab into edge of back of cover, centered to match up with BH on front cover. journal 2
  25. Topstitch, SL 3, around the entire cover, using the Trace Baste lines and the drawn lines as a guide
  26. Trim down to ¼” from topstitching with rotary cutter and ruler
  27. Insert the journal into your cover and wait for the compliments when you use your journal! Or when you give it as a gift to a friend!
On this cover, I embroidered the word dream on a separate piece of faux leather & then stitched it onto the cover.... creative options!

On this cover, I embroidered the word dream on a separate piece of faux leather & then stitched it onto the cover…. creative options!



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  1. Louise says:

    This project is just super Liz ! Have a brilliant weekend everyone !


    • lizafrica says:

      Glad you like it, Louise. Everyone who participated in this program really liked that they went home with a journal with pretty and unique cover. Now you, too, can make your own journal cover.



  2. Yvonne says:

    Hi Liz, I can’t seem to find the Nogahyde (faux leather/vinyl) to do this lovely Project. I found this on Fabric.com – it is described as upholstery weight faux leather fabric with a cotton flannel backing. Do you think this could be used instead? I have a Janome 9900 machine.


    • lizafrica says:

      Hi Yvonne,

      I don’t know what fabric you are referring to as I don’t unfortunately have time to search for it on fabric.com. But it sounds as though it might work. Why not give it a try? Yes, your Mc9900 will work just perfectly although you would have to choose a different hoop and design.



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