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Hi everyone, it’s Terra from Mama Says Sew!
I got the idea for this fabric photo album from something one of my children used to have when they were babies. I don’t know what happened to it, but the fabric used for it wasn’t nearly as cute!
The great thing about making your own (of anything, really, not just this fabric photo album!) is that you can customize it to suit your needs.
Choose whether to add a ribbon closure or a button/loop closure, or no closure at all. Change your fabric choices based on who it’s for. Add as many photo pages as you want. You could even make the pages larger to accommodate bigger sized prints or multiple photos per page.
The pages are sewn into the spine individually, so you can add as many pages as you’d like. All you need to do is change the width of the spine to fit more pages.
I used a tie to help my fabric photo album stay closed, but you can omit this if you’re going to let a baby or young child play with the photo album. Or if you don’t want to bother with tying, you could insert a loop of elastic and sew on a button (make sure it’s secure!) like I did with this I Spy bag.
The slots for the photo displays are made from clear vinyl. You can cut it to whatever size you want to hold your photos.
Isn’t my baby cute? I can’t believe how much bigger she is now!
Keep scrolling and I’ll show you how to make your own fabric photo album!
First, gather your supplies.
You will need:
- Fabric-about a fat quarter for the cover, and a fat quarter for every page set (which will hold 4 – 4×6 pictures)
- Fleece-about half a yard, or more for more pages
- Plastic Canvas
- Clear Vinyl
- Walking Foot for your machine, or other specialty foot for sewing “sticky” fabrics
- Ribbon, for ties (optional)
- Cut out your pieces. For my book, made to hold regular 4×6 prints (or whatever the true digital size is), I cut pieces as follows:
- Two cover pieces, 7 x 18inches
- Two fleece pieces for the cover, 7 x 18 inches
- Four page pieces, 7 x 17 inches
- Two fleece pieces for the pages, 7 x 17 inches
2. Also cut:
Plastic canvas for the cover, two 6 x 8 inch pieces, and one 1 x 6 inch piece
Vinyl pieces for the pictures, as many as you want up to 8 -4 x 6 inches (If you’re getting prints that are actually 4 x 6 inches, cut the vinyl a little larger)
3. Now it’s time to construct the cover. Line each fleece cover piece up with the wrong side of each fabric cover piece, then place fabric cover pieces right sides together, so you have a stack. The picture below shows the pieces slightly separated to help illustrate this, but all the pieces should be evenly lined up.
If desired, insert two lengths of ribbon for the ties for your fabric photo album between the two cover pieces of fabric at the middle of the shorter side of the cover. The long end of the tie should be going to the middle of the book, between the two right sides of the pieces of cover fabric.
4. Sew together around the outer edges of the cover, leaving one long edge completely open. Clip corners and grade or trim seam allowances as necessary to reduce bulk.
5. Turn the rectangle right side out and press. Then take your plastic canvas pieces and insert them into the cover, with the narrow piece in the middle. The narrow piece will form the spine.
6. Sew a straight line on both sides of the narrow plastic canvas to form the spine. You can either sew with the plastic canvas in place, or use a fabric marker to mark your stitching lines and then sew. Stop about an inch before reaching the open edge of the cover.
7. Insert all the plastic canvas pieces into the cover. Turn the raw edges that were left unstitched toward the inside and press, being careful of the plastic canvas on the inside.
8. Topstitch all the way around the outside edges of the cover, closing the long edge that was left open as you do so.
9. Add the 4 x 6 vinyl pieces for the photos to each of the page rectangles. There should be about 1.5 inches on the top, bottom and outside edges and the edge of the vinyl piece, and about 1 inch in the middle between the two vinyl pieces. Stitch around three sides of the vinyl, leaving the top side open so that you can slide pictures into it. Repeat for the other three page pieces of fabric, making sure that all your openings are on top!
10. Match two photo pieces of fabric right sides together, and add a fleece piece to the bottom of the stack. Again, all your edges should be lined up; the picture shows them separate a little at the bottom to help illustrate the order the pieces should be in.
11. Stitch all the way around the outside of the rectangle, leaving an opening to turn right side out. Clip corners, turn right side out and fold the raw edges of the opening toward the inside. Topstitch all the way around the rectangle. This is really similar to the cover, except there isn’t any plastic canvas inside.
12. Fold your pages in half and stack them in the order you want them in the photo album, again making sure that all your vinyl picture openings are facing up.
13. Now we are going to attach the photo pages to the cover. The fold of the photo pages will be sewn into the spine of the cover.
14. Just open up one of the pages, line it up along the spine, and stitch down the middle of the photo page. And yes, there is plastic canvas in the spine, but I’ve tried this on a couple of different machines, and haven’t had a problem with it. Just make sure you change your needle afterwards! Backstitch a couple of times at the beginning and ending of your stitching so that the pages are secured to the spine.
If you’re adding more than one page, make sure that you have room in the spine for all the pages you want to add. If you want to add more than the two pages I did, you’ll have to make the spine wider than one inch, and increase the width of the fabric pieces for the covers as well. The plastic canvas for the spine will also need to be wider.
When you’re finished adding pages, you’re done! Close the book, and you’ll see the stitching along the spine like in the picture of my finished photo album below.
Enjoy your new photo album!
Getting creative with your photos is a great way to display a little piece of your own family history! Check out a few more fun photo ideas: