We love discovering new, creative things to do with our journal covers, and this simple hand-stitched look has caught our eye. Created by Anna Alicia, these simple graphic patterns are perfect for making a statement journal cover.


If you’d like to have a go at creating them yourself, we have made some free downloadable templates and a video how-to just for you. They’re so simple, no previous stitching experience is required!

Anna says: "I've created one design for each season, based on snow-topped winter trees, delicate spring buds, bright summer blooms and falling autumn leaves, but in a simplified, graphic style!"

The steps below can be used to make four journals. For a full set of 12 to last the year, make each template three times using different coloured threads to vary them!

Want to do more with your journal? Learn all about bullet journalling with our what is bullet journalling guide. If you don't have time to make a bespoke journal, then check out our pick of the best bullet journals and the best mindfulness journals.

If you'd like to try making a journal from scratch, take a look at our how to make a journal guide.

Free stitched notebooks project from In The Moment Magazine

To make your stitched journal set, you will need:

  • Four A5 journals with plain card covers (Anna found some lovely, simple recycled ones by Seawhite online)
  • Embroidery needle (choose a needle with a medium sized hole so it's large enough for your thick stranded cotton)
  • Bradawl (you can pick one of these up in a craft shop or online for a couple of pounds)
  • Cutting mat or sheet of thick card (to protect your work surface)
  • Stranded cotton in 4 or 5 colours
  • Scissors
  • Double-sided tape
  • Download your stars and leaves templates
  • Download your trees and branches templates


  1. Print out your stitch templates and cut in half (widthways) so you have four A5 sheets.
  2. Choose your first stitch design and decide which colour of embroidery thread you'd like to use. Anna has chosen a different colour, with a little pop of silver-white, for each journal.
  3. Open out the front cover of one of your notebooks and lay it out face-up on a cutting mat (or piece of thick card). Lay your template on top, lining up the edges. With your bradawl, prick through each dot shown on your template. Remove your template sheet but keep it handy for copying the stitches.
  4. Cut a length of your embroidery thread (roughly the length from your fingertips to your elbow) and separate out 3 strands (so you have two lots of 3 strands).
  5. Tie a knot in the end of one of your lengths of thread (make sure the knot is big enough that it won't go through the hole your needle makes). Thread your needle with your thread.
  6. Poke your needle through one of your holes from the back of your cover to the front and pull your thread through until the knot stops it. Now follow the template, making stitches where the lines are shown. Don't worry about the back of your sewing being neat as you'll cover that!
  7. When you've almost finished your length of thread, tie another knot as close as possible to the last hole you stitched through. Continue with a new length of thread until you've finished sewing your design, changing colour as necessary.
  8. To cover the back of your embroidery, place double sided tape all the way around the edge of the first page of your journal, remove the backing and close the cover, pressing evenly all over.

Watch the video tutorial

About In The Moment Magazine

This article was first published in In The Moment Magazine. Unfortunately In The Moment Magazine is no longer available in print, but In The Moment Magazine back issues are available on Readly.