Prettier Checkbook Tutorial

Feeling ambitious the other day after my triumphant checkbook creation, I decided to write up a little tutorial. So here it is…my first tutorial! Let me know if you see any mistakes, anything I missed, or just ask if there’s anything unclear. Hope you like it! I don’t remember how long it took me, but it doesn’t take long at all. It’s a great little project for your scraps!

A PDF version is available (hopefully) here. Enjoy!  This tutorial is for personal/gifting use only.

Step 1: Cut the fabric

From the outer fabric, cut two 7×8-inch (WxL) pieces. Cut two pieces of interfacing the same size.

From the pocket fabric, cut two 7×7-inch pieces. Cut two 7×3.5-inch pieces of interfacing.

Cut two 2×4-inch strips of the outer fabric.

Cut a 7-inch piece of 1/4-inch elastic.

Step 2: Make the pockets

Take one pocket fabric piece and fold it in half wrong sides together. Press. Open the pocket up again and insert the interfacing between the layers and close the pocket again.

You should now have a nice 3.5×7-inch pocket. Baste along the open edge (the one across from the folded edge) together. If you’re a fan of top-stitching, top-stitch across the folded edge. You can also use some fancy stitches here if your machine has them.

If you want to embroider anything on the pockets, now is the time to do so. Keep in mind that you’ll lose about 1/2+1/8 inches around the sides due to the seams and top-stitching.Repeat for other pocket.

Step 3: Prep the Outer Cover and Lining

Take each outer fabric piece and baste the corresponding piece of interfacing to it.Now is a good time to decide which cut of the outer fabric you prefer to be on the outside of your checkbook. Place that one aside.

Step 4: Complete Lining (Pocket Placement)

Take the other outer fabric piece (this will be the lining of the checkbook) and place the pockets width-wise, lining up the raw edges. Make sure the folded edges of the pockets face each other and the center. Baste around all 4 sides.

From here, I’ll refer to the transaction register pocket as the “top” pocket, and the check pocket as the “bottom” pocket.

Step 5: Closures and Holding Pieces

This step is optional. Depending on how you like your checkbook, you can use these ideas or come up with completely different ones.

a) First, we’ll make some pieces to hold the used pages of your transaction register.

Take one of your two 2×4-inch strips. Fold in half length-wise (wrong sides together). Open up and then fold the long edges towards the crease you just made and fold it in half again (pretend you’re making a really tiny and skinny bag handle). Sew 1/8-inch across the open long edge. There should be no raw edges on the long sides now, and your strips should be 1/2×4-inches.

Repeat for the other strip. You can also use ribbon here if you prefer instead of making your own strips.Position these pieces on the top pocket at a 45-degree angle, approximately 1.5 to 2-inches from the corner in each direction. Baste in place and trim off excess.

b) Now we’ll add a piece of elastic to hold the checkbook closed.

Take your 7” piece of elastic. Place it about 1.5-inches up from the bottom of the bottom pocket. Baste in place.

Step 6: Putting it together

Take the outer piece you set aside earlier. Now you want to decide which part will be the “top” (the side you’ll see when the book is sitting on your desk) of the checkbook exterior once you fold it in half. Embroider as desired (I originally wanted to do initials, but I was too lazy to). Take care in accounting for the 1/2-inch seams and 1/8-inch top-stitching when positioning your embroidery.

Pin right sides together with the inside piece. Make sure you orient the exterior piece so that the top part of the exterior faces the transaction pocket part of the lining. Sew along all four sides with slightly more than 1/4-inch seam allowance to hide all the basting stitches. Don’t forget to leave a gap for turning! I usually put the gap at the one of the shorter edges. Turn right side out and press.This is what it should look like. You can see how our optional holding pieces from Step 5 will work.

Now is the time to check the fit of the cover with your checkbook stuff. Upon putting it in, you want at least 1/4-inch space of horizontal wiggle room to accommodate the top-stitching. If you have too much excess wiggle room, flip the cover inside out again and stitch around with a up to 1/2-inch seam allowance. I had some variation when I made mine—the first one used a 1/2-inch seam allowance and it turned out perfect. The second required a 1/4-inch seam allowance along the length (8-inch direction) but could still use a 1/2-inch seam allowance along the width (7-inch direction).Once you’re happy with the fit, clip the corners and trim the seams to reduce bulk.

Step 7: Finishing it off

For the last time, turn right side out, press, and then topstitch around the entire edge. We’ll be closing gap you left for turning with this topstitch.

Press again. Fold in half, and press the crease. Insert checks/transaction register and you’re done! HURRAH!

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48 Responses to Prettier Checkbook Tutorial

  1. Lynn says:

    Ah, this looks familiar! 😛 But more importantly, I’ve tagged you for a link meme! It’s fun, I promise! I’ve linked the post here!

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  3. Stephanie says:

    Wow! Now I’ll be able to actually find my elusive plain blue checkbook! Can’t wait to try it out.

  4. Anna H. says:

    This is fantastic! Thank you for sharing. I am excited to replace my blue-ugly-plastic cover.

  5. Lacey says:

    That is so cute and creative. I might have to try that one out!

  6. Christine says:

    VERY nice!! Thank you so much!! I will definitely make one of these. Just a question…do Americans mostly have chequebooks that open upwards? I noticed in the Last Minute Fabric Gifts book the same thing. I am in Canada and my cheques open sideways (longways). It would be a very easy adaptation, of course, but I was just curious for curiosity’s sake. 🙂 Is it a country thing?

  7. Miss Sassy says:

    I’m digging this. I was just thinking about making one because we have 3 here and am so glad I found your pattern. Any suggestions of what to do with duplicate checkbooks? That is all I have. Thanks!

  8. amatricis says:

    Oooh, I’m glad everyone likes this! Please show me your creations once you make them!

    Christine–yep, we use top opening checks here in America.

    Miss Sassy–for the duplicate check thing, maybe try sewing a modified (with all three showing edges finished and pretty) second smaller pocket on top of the bottom pocket before sewing the two main pieces together. Or, sew on a piece of vinyl. Or cut off a part your old checkbook and sew a piece of that on. If you do that make sure you use a Teflon foot or layer the vinyl between some tissue paper to help it feed through the machine.

  9. Amy says:

    This is so great! I just had a friend lament that her daughter needed a checkbook cover and couldn’t find one. I though briefly about sewing her one, but didn’t know exactly how to go about it.

    Problem solved!

  10. Stacy T says:

    Great job..Love the tutorial!

  11. Lola says:

    Saw it..Made it…Love it!

  12. Georgiann says:

    Thanks! I have the world’s cutest checks and most awful black cover — off to find some great fabric to make this cover!

  13. Amy says:

    I quick whipped up 2 of these over the weekend. Thanks for the wonderful instructions!

    Here’s the link to the blog entry showing my version of your checkbook cover:

  14. Mindy says:

    Thanks!! Found you from Lola…gotta try this to go with my Jenny Purse!

  15. diane says:

    Great tutorial!
    thanks for sharing..perfect for my super beginner sewing skills 🙂


  16. dori says:

    I really love this idea! My checkbooks are so ugly. The fabrics you used are great. If my sewing machine comes out of the repair shop alive, I’m trying it, so wanted to make sure to thank you!

  17. Kim says:

    What a great tutorial. Your instructions are crystal clear. I’ve got to try one now, may I link to your blog?

  18. Valerina says:

    I sew could have used this a few weeks ago when I attempted to make my own check book cover that turned out just awful! I will have to make another one using this! Thank you!

  19. amanda says:

    thank you thank you thank you!!!

  20. Leslie says:

    Thanks so much for the tutorial. I made one for my sister’s birthday coming up. I posted a picture on my blog. It turned out great thanks to your easy tutorial!

  21. Lisa says:

    you have the same sewing machine as me!
    and i love the chequebook covers!

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  24. polemonium says:

    What a really, really cute checkbook cover! You are both innovative and naturally talented.

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  26. Java says:

    WONDERFUL! Exactly what I was looking for!
    Between business & personal accounts I know have 4 separate checkbooks… and only one decent (12+ year-old) cover, which is almost worn out. I just spent a half-hour online hoping to find some covers to buy… gah!: they’re all awful. Hate to take on any more sewing projects (so many unfinished ones already piling up around the house), but THIS IS THE ANSWER! I have tons of great fabric scraps lying around, and some extra interfacing… I’m so thrilled to have found your pattern and instructions. I’ll be making new checkbook covers this weekend.

  27. Joyce says:

    Cool! Thank you for the checkbook cover tutorial/instructions! I just made one with some of my scrap fabric and it turned out well! I’m off to find more scraps to sew more of these. Thank you, thank you for the instructions! 🙂

  28. Jenna says:

    Thank you soooo much! I tried out last night and it worked perfectly! i have to make many more now for gifts for friends… deffinitly makes finding the check book, and balancing it 😦 much more fun!!! 🙂 thanks again!!!! ❤ it!

  29. Great tutorial! I can’t wait to get home and give this a try. Thanks so much for posting your directions!!

  30. Amanda says:

    I really enjoyed your tutorial. It was easy to follow. Great pics and clear directions! I made a few changes to the pattern to fit Canadian-style checkbooks (a little longer and they open from the side). Check out my blog for details:

  31. renee says:

    Great directions, your first tutorial Bravo.

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  33. Rorage says:

    I’m so stoked to start this project as I bought some really cool corduroy fabric. However, I wasn’t sure what thickness to get for the interfacing. Which did you use or find worked best?

  34. Kristine Tsai says:


    I think I used Pellon 40 (maybe 50?) that I got from Joann’s. I’d say it was medium/heavy…maybe 1 or 2 steps down from Peltex/Timtex heavy. I was using it in combination with typical quilting-weight fabric. I was going for a final sturdiness similar to a regular checkbook. You don’t want your cover to flop around or be overwhelmed by the checkbook once you insert it. It’s also the same interfacing I typically use when making bags. Personally, I like to use sew-in (non-fusible) interfacing.

    With corduroy, you can probably use pretty medium or even light weight interfacing or possibly skip it all together. I made one cover where the inside pockets used home-dec fabric–so I skipped the interfacing for the inside pockets. If I did it again, I might use some light weight stuff though.

    Hope this helps 🙂

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  36. Ronnie says:

    Pretty checkbook cover!! Could anyone tell me where I might find an Origami checkbook cover pattern? Preferably a free one?

    Thanks so much

  37. luvyrnaybor says:

    Thank you for the wonderful tutorial! I just finished making my new checkbook cover. No more digging through my purse trying to find my checkbook at the store! Your directions were very thorough and easy to follow.

  38. makingthishome says:

    Followed this pattern last week and love it. My husband and I are in Germany where we don’t use the same kind of checkbooks, so he was totally okay with me dolling up our American one. Love it!

  39. Apesar de não ser muito fluente no ingles não tive duvidas em realizar este projeto. Fico encantada com quem tem o dom de ensinar.
    Parabens e obrigada.
    Beijo em seu coração.

  40. Christina says:

    thanks for the great tutorial!! i just linked your blog on mine.

  41. brandi says:

    OH MY GOSH!! I love these! I can’t wait to make one! I think I am going to make them for my friends for christmas!

  42. cate says:

    I shall make one of these beauties for moi. I heart pretty things in my pretty purse! I heart feeling pretty! Merci!

  43. Pingback: Who wants a fabulous checkbook cover?! | M Avery Designs LLC | Sewing & Crafting Classes for Kids & Adults

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  45. I made one today. Love it~ I did a couple tweaks, but that’s what tutorials are for!! I also pinned the pictures and your tutorial on my pinterest page.

  46. Karen says:

    I really liked this free pattern and wanted to make some for Christmas gifts. The problem I’m having however is with the thickness when I turn it to top stitch it my machine won’t go through that thickness in the corner and the job looks awful. I tried another one and cut the interfacing off at the corners hoping that this would help. I have not topstitched it yet, hope it works. Getting frustrated as I have lots of sewing to do yet for Christmas!

  47. I have made several of these now, I added a skinny pocket to the front to hold my pen too. Love it!

  48. Jennifer says:

    Love it!! I’m making this for my sisters at church. Just something for a Christmas gift. Thank You for the tutorial!! Merry Christmas 🎄

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