Teacher’s Best Friend Binder – with guest Sweet Rose Studio

Hello Brassy Apple lovelies! My name is Katie and my little slice of blog heaven is over at Sweet Rose Studio.
I started my blog as a place to showcase my photography business, but it has quickly transformed into an outlet for me to share all of my other loves too: parties, planning, and all things pretty. I seriously {heart} parties and one of my favorites that I put together was my Girlies’ Day Out Party.
I also love to bake. If I could feed my family solely cookies, cupcakes, and anything Oreo related, I totally would. One of my favorite creations were my Mini Strawberry Shortcakes.
I’ve also always wanted to learn how to sew, so I’m currently teaching myself through reading blogs (like the lovely Brassy Apple!) and watching as many YouTube videos I can find and as a teacher in my past life (like two years ago), I love learning! Today I’m putting my sewing skills to practice to share a project that would be great as a gift for your child’s new teacher: a Teacher’s Best Friend Binder!
Now please don’t hate me, but as a teacher, you can really only have so many coffee mugs and little apple decor pieces, so I wanted to make something that would put to use. The inside of the binder has a pocket perfect to hold all of the pens that a teacher hauls around.
So let’s get started! First you’ll need to collect all of your materials.
2 coordinating fabrics * 2 ft. of ribbon * binder * sewing supplies * Fray Check
1. Lay out the binder on the main fabric to figure out your dimensions. Trace around the outside adding an extra 3/4″ around the outside for seam allowances. Cut 2 of these. Take one of the newly cut pieces and cut it in half. You do NOT want long skinny pieces so make sure to cut it from top to bottom. You’ll also need to cut two pieces from your accent fabric to these measurements: one at 14″ x 8″ and one at 9″ x 11″.
2. Fold the 9″ x 11″ piece of accent fabric in half, wrong side out, and pin around the edges. Stitch around the edges leaving a 1″ opening. Turn it right side out and top stitch around the entire piece. Put it to the side for later.
3. Take the 14″ x 8″ piece of accent fabric and hem down the long edges.
4. For the short ends, you’re going to ruffle the fabric. The easiest way I’ve found to do this is to set your tension to the tightest level and your stitch length to the longest possible.
5. Pin the newly hemmed and ruffled accent fabric piece to what will be the front of the binder cover so that it is only 4 inches wide now.
6. Sew down the accent piece to the main fabric making sure to go all the way around. When it comes to the short ends, gather the fabric to make it lay more flat and have lots of ruffle-y goodness.
7. Now that the ruffle has been sewn down, you’ll sew a straight line across the ruffle at 4.5″ from the top and 4.5″ from the bottom, like this:
8. Fold the main piece of fabric in half and pin the ribbon down directly across from each other. The ribbon should go towards the middle of the fabric, not facing out!
Left side: Bad! * Right side: Good!
9. Sew down the ribbons. Because I wanted to ensure neither ribbon would fall off, I sewed each ribbon down with two lines of a triple stitch. Now they are nice and secure! This would also be a good time to apply Fray Check to the ends of your ribbons. This will help make sure your lovely ribbons don’t start unravelling!
10. Take the two smaller pieces of the main fabric and sew a 1/2″ hem down one side. Since the other three sides will be sewn to the larger piece of main fabric, those ones won’t need to be hemmed. Once the hem is done, pin the smaller piece of accent fabric to one of the smaller main pieces of fabric, preferably the one for the inside cover. Stitch around the bottom and the two sides to create a pocket. From there, measure in 2″ from the left side of the pocket and run a seam top to bottom creating a long lean pocket. Repeat this two more times to create a total of three long lean pockets and one larger pocket.
11. Lay the main fabric piece right side up with the ribbons facing in. Pin the inside pieces to the main fabric wrong right out. Stitch around the outside of each piece. When you are finished, turn it right side out. Make sure to get those corners nice and pointy!
12. Take a deep breath…you are almost done! Last step: Top stitch around the outside edge of the cover and put the binder inside.
There she is. Isn’t she pretty? And so super useful too!
When I originally thought of this project, I thought it would make a great grade book. The grade books that you buy from the teaching stores are great and all, but the boxes are too small and they can be tough to figure out. I always made my own grade sheets anyways, so this would have been perfect. If you choose to set it up that way, you could add a cute little tag that says, ” You make the grade!” or since there are spots for more than enough pens (I’m obsessed with them for some reason), you could put it together as “Getting the year off to a ‘write’ start!”
Thanks so much to Megan for letting me be here today!


  1. I have been a teacher for 12 years…so I have an endless supply of mugs! 🙂 I LOVE love this! Thanks for the great tutorial!

  2. Just a quick note to let you know that a link to this post will be placed on CraftCrave today [19 Aug 01:00am GMT]. Thanks, Maria

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