Freebie Friday! Hardback Portfolio


This was another personal project that I wanted to share with all of you! Every time I attend a convention I always need to be super organized, keeping together all my payment receipts, ledgers, inventory, and what not. I actually have this poor beaten up school folder that I’ve been using for the past few years that’s seen some better days xD I thought maybe it was time to upgrade to something a little more substantial.

It’s true I could have purchased something similar to get what I needed, but this way I know I’m getting exactly what I want and I got to use some pretty floral fabric from my stash (that matched almost nothing else in my collection! Grrr! I can’t be the only one that runs into that problem!)

To give it the right feel of sturdy without the hard edges, I used interfaced cotton with a layer of cotton batting for stabilizing, then inserted some mat board for support. You can use different combinations of stabilizer to achieve your own support, such as using Peltex or cardboard.

In addition to the side pockets, mine also has pen slot and brackets in the middle for holding 3-hole punched paper. This of course is completely optional and just what I needed for all my organizing :B You might want something simpler so you can skip it.


Some of the details can make a big difference in the finished product, but ultimately it is a fast project.
Makes one portfolio that’s 10” wide by 12” tall

Materials & Tools:
• 3/4 yd. of 45” wide or 1/2 yd. of 60” wide light to medium weight woven fabric for main portfolio (I used quilting cotton)
• 1/3 yd. of contract fabric for pockets (I used quilting cotton)
• 15” of 3/8” wide elastic
• 22” x 13” piece of cotton batting
• 1 1/3 yds. of 20” wide lightweight fusible interfacing (I used Pellon SF101)
• 1/3 yd. of 20” wide medium-heavyweight fusible interfacing
• 2 pieces of mat board – 9 3/4” x 12”
• 3 small eyelets, about 3/8” (optional – see step 9)
• 3 brads (optional – see step 9)
• Heavy duty glue (I used Liquid Fusion)
• Matching sewing thread
• Basic sewing tools (sewing machine, scissors, iron, needles, pins, fabric marker, seam ripper)

Before you begin:
1. Print out the project pattern here
2. Assemble the pattern pieces, see the page here for more help
3. Lay out the pattern pieces on your fabric, batting, & interfacing and cut them out.
4. Mark the fabric with any symbols or markings from the paper pattern.

1. First up is the pockets! To create these, begin by fusing your fusible interfacing to the wrong side of the fabric pocket pieces. These should be centered in the middle of the piece, leaving room for the seam allowances around the edge to avoid extra bulk. When you finish, fold it in half widthwise (matching up the short edges), and sew it together along one of the new short sides as shown. Repeat this with the other pocket piece for two pockets total.

2. When you’re done, turn the pocket right side out and poke the corner a bit with a chopstick or other blunt tool. Press the seam and the folded edge, then edge stitch along the folded edge of the pocke. This will become the top of the pocket later.

3. Before we get into this step, take the opportunity to fuse the lightweight interfacing to your portfolio pieces if you’re choosing to use it and if you haven’t done so already.

Take your newly edge stitched pocket and align it along one of the rounded corners of an inner portfolio piece. The raw edges should line up with the sides and bottom, and the sewn edge (from step 1) will point towards the square corner. There are guidelines on the pattern to help along with this.

Baste the pocket in place along the side and bottom, then trim the excess pocket fabric from the corner. Finally, edge stitch the sewn edge of the pocket to the portfolio fabric. Repeat this with the other inner portfolio piece and the other pocket piece – the other side should look reversed from the photo. That is, the sewn edge will be on the right side and the raw, basted edges will be on the left.

4. With both sides complete, sew them together along the edge with the square corners. You should end up with pockets on opposite sides of the inner portfolio.

5. Take your length of elastic and trim it down to 13” long, reserving the remaining bit of elastic for step 14. Then take your outer portfolio piece and lay the elastic on top of it as shown. Baste the elastic in place where the pattern guidelines indicate along the top and bottom raw edges.

6. Now we’re finally sewing the body of the portfolio 😀 Take your inner and outer portfolio pieces and layer them as follows: inner portfolio (right side up, pockets on bottom), outer portfolio (right side down, elastic on right side), and lastly quilt batting. Pin all the layers together.

It should be noted that if you want the elastic connected on the back of your portfolio so it wraps to the front, make sure it’s on the right side during this step. If you want the elastic on the front side of the portfolio so it wraps to the back, keep it on the left side.

7. With all of your layers pinned, you can now sew them together. Sew around the perimeter of the portfolio, leaving an opening in the top where the pattern guidelines indicate so you can turn it right side out and add the mat board. Be sure to notch the seam allowances in the rounded corner area to reduce all the extra bulk. When you’re all set, turn the portfolio right side out and poke out the corners.

8. Now to add the mat board! From your 9 3/4” x 12” rectangles, round two of the corners along one long side (like the inner portfolio pattern piece). Insert one of the boards through the opening you left in the previous step and push it to the other side. The fit should be nice and snug, but not impossibly tight, so feel free to trim the board to make it fit. When it’s all set, you’ll find that the board does not quite reach the middle, which is great because it leaves the spine flexible for adding our pen slot!

We’ll be adding the second board later. Next up is the little bracket panel and the pencil slot. If you want to skip those, feel free to move onto step 15.

9. Take your page bracket piece and fuse the interfacing to the wrong side, centered in the middle of the piece so the seam allowances extend around all the sides. Layer the two pieces right sides together and sew around the perimeter, leaving an opening along one side for turning right side out later. Notch the seam allowances and turn the whole piece right side out.

10. Tuck in the seam allowances in the opening you left in the previous step and press the whole piece flat. Then edge stitch around the perimeter to close up the opening.

11. Install 3 eyelets along one side of the page bracket where the pattern guidelines indicate. We’ll be doing the brads later to make sure the placement is just right.

12. Fold the page bracket piece in half and align the fold on the inside of the portfolio where the pattern guideline indicates. I have mine to the right of the center, while the pen holder will be to its left. Sew the bracket in place along the fold. This will also trap the mat board piece you placed in step 8, so be sure you still have your opening from step 7 ready for the second piece of mat board later.

13. Use your fabric marker to make dots on the page bracket opposite the eyelets. Make small slits in those dots and slide a brad through as shown, the prongs should fit through the eyelet, just as a pronged folder would. The paper pattern also provides guidelines for the brads, so you can check against those to be sure you have the best alignment. When everything’s all set, glue the head of the brad in place.

14. Take the remaining 2” of elastic you had back in step 5 and align it next to the page bracket as shown. I have mine set a bit higher than the middle. If you’ll be using standard size pens in your portfolio, you’ll want to trim the elastic down to about 1 1/4”. Larger pens might need about 1 1/2” and slimmer pens just 1”. Either way, stitch it in place along both raw edges and leave it free in the middle for holding your pen when you need it.

15. With all that extra stuff out of the way you can finally finish up your portfolio! Insert your second piece of mat board (being sure to round the corners like you did in step 8) into the opening at the top and push it against the remaining side. You’ll see the spine of the portfolio has a gap so you have room for your pen and all that stuff.
With everything all snug, close up the opening with a ladder stitch and you’re done!

I hope yours is as useful to you as it is to me! I’ve used it a few times, but I can’t wait to really break it in for Metrocon in June 😀
If you do try making the project, I’d love to see it! Send me a photo and I’ll send you exclusive free patterns as a reward!

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4 thoughts on “Freebie Friday! Hardback Portfolio”

  1. Reblogged this on Lisa's Buzz and commented:
    This is today’s project! I’m going to add embroidery to the front cover so the first step for me is to mark the outside fabric – I am going to use a cotton twill – and embroider my design. I’ll keep you posted on my progress!

    1. Oh wow! That’s got to be the fastest turnaround I’ve ever seen! Amazing job — the applique is so cute 😀 Thanks so much for sharing! I’ve sent this month’s pattern prize your way via email, hopefully you get it okay!

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