DIY fabric planner and notebook covers: A stylish way to avoid PVC and other plastics

The following is a guest-posting I wrote for plannerisms.com – please check out Laurie’s highly informative blog about all things planner-related!

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If you’ve used any number of planners, odds are that you are familiar with that leather-like cover they usually come in. It is very difficult to find a planner without a PVC (poly-vinyl-chloride) cover, especially if you seek some variety, and I’m sure that many Plannerisms readers are quite picky about their planners!

Some of the problems with PVC are that:

–  it outgases indefinitely, even in landfills

–  it releases dioxins when incinerated (carcinogenic and contributing to climate change)

–  it is a group A human carcinogen, linked to liver cancer

–  it is a known hormone disruptor

–  like any petroleum product, its source, production and disposal are associated with environmental harm.

Some people actually seek out PVC for its visual characteristics, and many people enjoy plastic products for their obvious practical appeal. I am one of the (probably) few people who avoid PVC like the plague, and I try to avoid new plastic products in general.

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For the last few years I have used Quo Vadis planner refills and ‘dressed’ them in simple fabric covers that I sewed. Here you see them stacked up; I have used the Quo Vadis President, Trinote, Minister, Journal 21, and for 2014 I’m using their APB1. On top you see a little Clairfontaine Notebook. I promise that I have not been paid a cent or received merchandise to write this (although that would be nice)! I like Quo Vadis planners for their variety in formats as well as the craftmanship. I have always preferred their Equology line (100% post-consumer paper) over their regular products, but I don’t have access to their recycled planner refills.

Making your own cover is easy:

1. Get yourself some fabric you love, ideally of medium weight. In the past, my fabrics included old (‘vintage’) pillowcases; now I use fabric I designed myself.

2. If using new fabric, prewash or simply dunk it into hot water for a minute and let it dry – then your cover won’t shrink later on. NOTE: “oilcloth” fabric is coated with plastic (by far most commonly PVC)

3. Using a tape measure, measure the length of your planner or notebook: measure the closed book from edge to edge around the spine. Then measure the height. Add 1/2 inch (1 cm) to the height and about 4 inches (10 cm) to the length measurement – less, if your planner is very small. Mark the fabric on the wrong side with a pencil or pins. Cut out the piece.

4. Hem the short edges of the fabric, either by using an over-edge function of your sewing machine or by using needle and thread to prevent fraying.

5. Fold over the short edges of the fabric by about 2 inches – it helps to wrap the planner in the fabric and pin the top and bottom fabric edges together. Remove planner and machine-stitch along the top and bottom. Use the over-edge function of your sewing machine OR straight-stitch by hand first and follow up with a simple manual over-edging as you did in step 3.

6. Your cover is finished! When it gets dirty, just wash in the machine or quickly by hand. I recommend air-drying.

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I hope that some of you now feel inspired to make your own fabric cover for your planner refill, perhaps at the end of this year. If you have any questions or thoughts, please don’t hesitate to leave me a comment!

SOURCES:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Polyvinyl_chloride

http://www.epa.gov/airtoxics/hlthef/vinylchl.html

http://www.consumer.org.my/index.php/products/106-household/206-pvc-plastic-products-outgas-poisons

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