Wow! I couldn’t believe the response to the Gratitude Folder I wrote about last week. I lost count of how many of you chimed in requesting the instructions, but it was great to read your messages. This message was pretty typical.
I have been wanting to make such a folder for quite sometime, but I was not sure how to do the sides. So another type of perfectionism by not even starting or experimenting. Your folder is beautiful with all of the bright colors. I would be more than pleased if you would share the instructions. [Thanks, Pat!]
Are you ready? Let’s get started!
The brand names listed are the things I happened to have on hand.
- Peltex 72F Ultra Firm Stabilizer (fusible on both sides)
- Cover Fabric
- Lining Fabric
- Gusset Fabric
- Fusible Web – Wonder Under
- Rotary Cutter with pinking blade or pinking shears (helps prevent raveling)
Choose Your Size
Decide how large or small you want your folder to be. The sample folder in the photo sequence is square — I wanted a smaller folder for a different purpose — I hope I don’t confuse anyone…
If you use the measurements shown in BOLD print in the instructions, you’ll have a folder that measures 9.5″ x 12″. It will be large enough to hold standard sheets of paper.
Create Appliqués or Embellishments
The time to make any embellishments you plan to add to the outside of the folder is BEFORE you assemble the folder. I created my colorful “Thank You!!” motif by cutting letters from colored felt. I arranged the letters on a darker felt background and then used my Huskystar needle punch machine to attach the letters to the background. (I don’t use it often, but I absolutely love that machine!)
This is a perfect time to stretch your creative muscles. I’ll bet you have a ton of stuff in your stash that would be just perfect on the side of a folder. You can paint images on your fabric, make appliqués, use up a piece of fabric you created in a class that has yet to find the perfect home… you name it. Got an orphan quilt block laying around? Use it here!
I can’t wait to see what you come up with — please promise me that you’ll post pictures of your folder over on our Facebook page — I really want to see what you do with this project. Now, let’s dive right into making a folder.
Add Cover Fabric to Stabilizer
Cut 2 pieces of stabilizer (Peltex) the size of the finished folder. (9.5″ x 12″)
Cut 2 pieces of cover fabric 2″ wider and 2″ longer than the stabilizer. (11.5″ x 14″) Use a pinking blade if you have one.
Center the stabilizer on the wrong side of the cover fabric.
Flip the stabilizer & fabric over so the fabric is on top (right side up). Press with a hot, dry iron to baste the fabric to the stabilizer. Don’t press too long — you don’t want to fuse the Peltex to your ironing board cover…
Turn the piece over (stabilizer side up). Fold each side of the cover fabric over the edge and press. The stabilizer has “sticky stuff” on both sides, so don’t touch the stabilizer with the iron.
Repeat the process for the second cover.
Add Embellishments and/or Quilting
If you are adding appliqués, lettering, or quilting to your covers, do it now. You’ll be able to cover any loose threads with the lining fabric in the next step.
Add Lining to Covers
Cut a piece of fusible web (Wonder Under) large enough to cover both pieces of Peltex stabilizer. (19″ x 12″)
Fuse the Wonder Under to the wrong side of your lining fabric.
Cut 2 rectangles 1/2″ smaller than the covers in both directions. (9″ x 11.5″) Use a pinking blade if you have one.
Remove the paper backing from each square of lining fabric.
Fuse the lining fabric to the inside of each cover.
Top stitch around each cover twice, at 3/8″ from the edge and 1/8″ from the edge.
Create Gusset Strips
Cut one piece of fusible web 7″ x the length of the cover. (7″ x 12″)
Fuse the web to a piece of gusset fabric. Remove the paper backing and fuse a second piece of gusset fabric to the first to create a strong, 2-layer piece of fabric for the gussets.
Using the pinking blade cutter, Cut 1 bottom gusset strip 2″ x (longest side – 1/2″) (2″ x 11.5″) and
Cut 2 side gusset strip 2 ” x (side measurement – 1/2″) (2″ x 9″)
Fold the gusset strips in half the long way and press to form a crease.
Optional: For easier stitching, cut 45 degree angles in both ends of the bottom strip and one end of each side strip.
If you cut the angles, you’ll have a definite gap at the corners when the folder is open. It’s definitely easier to assemble. If you don’t like the idea of the gaps, leave the strips straight on the ends and the gap will be minimized.
If you cut the angles, your gusset strips will look like this.
Sew it Together!
Place one cover on your work surface, lining side up. Arrange the 3 gusset strips so they meet properly in the bottom corners. Pin strips in place.
Stitch strips to cover. Stitch from the FRONT side of the cover, using the 3/8″ topstitching line as a stitching guide. Take care not to catch the loose corners of the gusset strips in the stitching. (Yes… I did this… that’s how I know to warn you of what NOT to do…)
With the 2 covers lining sides together, pin the bottom gusset to the second cover.
Stitch the bottom gusset strip to the second cover. Stitch from top side of the cover, using the 3/8″ topstitching as your seam guide.
Pin the first side gusset to the second cover.
Stitch the side gusset to the second cover. Hold the covers carefully to ensure you are only stitching through one cover, not both.
Repeat for the second side gusset and you’re done!
Here’s the view from the top of my sample folder…
And here’s the view from the side. Isn’t she beautiful!
One More Creative Opportunity
I made my folders open at the top, but you can change that if you want. This is another great “creative opportunity!” Here are a couple of ideas to get you started…
- Add a button and button loop
- Add a long ribbon as a tie closure
- Add a flap that goes over the top
- Maybe a snap or magnet closure?
As you can see, the creative possibilities are as endless as your imagination is incredible. Yes, I’m talking to YOU! I have great faith in your creative talents — and you should too. If you take some time to create your own Gratitude Folder, I’m quite certain that you’ll come up with even better ideas than I have. Have faith, take time to play, and enjoy the process as much as the result. You deserve it.
Just one more quick note… If you plan to add a closure, think about WHEN you should add the necessary elements to the folder. It’s probably a heck of a lot easier to add some things before the folder is assembled.
Have fun, enjoy your Gratitude Folder — and don’t forget to post your photos on our Facebook page. Really — I can’t wait to see what you come up with!