Sewing on your journal pagesby aisling d'art ©2007
You can use any page in a book like fabric (to sew on, for example) by using iron-on interfacing on the back side of the page.
Yes, just iron it on, the same as you would iron interfacing onto fabric. It won't always stick 100%, but it will work well enough that you can sew through it.
(If you try to embroider or sew beads onto regular pages in a book, the thread tends to pull right through the paper, if the thread is tugged.)
You can do the same thing with your journal cover. A strong crewel embroidery needle will usually sew through cardboard... but you'll probably need a thimble to push the needle through.
At left, you can see one of my journal covers that I've embellished with sewn-on buttons. (Click on the image to see it larger.) The biggest button is part of the journal closure. When it's not in use, a string of hemp (secured to the back cover) is wrapped around the button on the front cover to hold the journal closed.
After you've finished your sewing (or other embellishment), you can glue a page or fabric over the ironed-on interfacing, so your stitches are concealed. If I'm doing a lot of this in a book, I'll buy a second copy of the same book, so the "backing" page is what it would have been, if I hadn't covered the original with interfacing.
You'll find iron-on interfacing at any fabric shop. It's usually kept in a bin or on shelving next to where they cut fabric yardage for you.
You can also iron on Stitch Witchery or another fusible adhesive, and that gives you the option of sticking something wonderful on the other side... interfacing isn't all that interesting.
Then again, after I sew beads onto the page, I like to cover the interfacing side with more paper... maybe a collage.