Hello! I’m back… and the sun is shining, the weekend is inching towards us and school’s nearly out for summer.

Here’s a beautiful little project you can complete in an evening and then use in a myriad of creative ways; stitched paper pages, designed to look as if torn from those exercise books we diligently filled up when we were kids, rolling our eyes with tortured exhaustion whilst chewing on an ancient pencil.  Now of course they have a retro-chic of their very own!

I took several sheets of inexpensive handmade paper and then sewed freehand blue lines across them to simulate ruled notebook pages.  Rethread your sewing machine with a red thread for the margin and voila; a lovely blank page of stitched and textured paper just waiting for creative uses…

Harry and I used one to make a card for his form teacher as this extraordinary year draws to a close…

What I love about these is they feel like a tactile, gorgeous piece of textile art (they are!), but also look very simple and utilitarian.  You could stitch several together to make a notebook, or tuck one into the pocket of a loved one; use them as bookplates perhaps – or simply just as notecards and gift enclosures.  You can also experiment by printing on the paper first (like with my Mary Oliver poem excerpt above) and then stitching the lines in place before framing as an artwork; the possibilities are endless!

Tutorial and supplies:

You’ll need….

  • Handmade paper; I used these Khadi paper sheets, but any thick paper will do.
  • Sewing machine; blue and red threads
  1. Thread your machine with pale blue thread and stitch rows of lines, using your eye and the machine guides to ensure general straightness.  I used a medium stitch length and tension, but experiment on a piece of scrap paper to see what effect you like.  Don’t worry about precision; these look deliberately handmade and you don’t need military line alignment.  Several of mine amble up and down over the page.  You can draw pencil guidelines if you want to, but be careful when rubbing these out not to disturb your stitching
  2. Rethread the machine with red thread and rotate your paper 90 degrees and stitch a margin down the lefthand side.
  3. Snip all end threads on each row to neaten – ta-da!!

And if you’re planning on posting your stitched paper pages, don’t forget to add envelope liners or play with altered envelopes for something truly magical – and then before you put away your sewing machine, have a go at making these stitched paper vessels with your leftover paper and scraps.

Have a wonderful weekend when it comes.  We’ll be in the garden, wrestling with nature as our renovations at last move outdoors; lots of pics next week of the work in progress!