I use 4 1/2" x 7 1/2" as a goal not an absolute measurement for the whole top. This includes any sashing and borders. You can make yours a bit bigger but I wouldn't make it any smaller. I ended up using a 4 3/4" by 7 3/4" for this one. It is a bit bigger than absolutely necessary to fit the checkbook cover the bank gives you but I usually stick papers (used checks receipts credit cards etc) behind my checkbook so it takes up space in the checkbook cover.
So if you are using the quilt block you made from the above tutorial you can go back and cut down the sashing to 1/2" instead of 3/4" or you can use 5/8" if 1/2" Is too scary sounding. But since it is already sewn on before you cut down it isn't hard to do. I like the look of the 1/4" finished sashing or border.
You can use the quilt block just as it is and add a 1/2" to top and bottom for a border or you can leave it just the way it is and not add any borders. I like the look of the border because it stops the eye and creates a finished look. But it is entirely up to you.
I am posting other ideas for extending the sides of your checkbook cover so you might want to check them out before you make this one. The only thing I did differant ly in them was to repeat one half of the center block on each side or I used combination triangle or square blocks. Or I used a row of hsts along the edges on each side. Easy to do if you want a differant look than the one I chose today.
I will show you how I did mine. Any way you would like to make variations feel free to do so!
So today I took my quilt block and I recut the sashing down to 1/2". Then I reassembed the quilt block.
For the sashing
I cut two strips that were about 1" wide by a bit more than the length of the side of my quilt block. I don't like to rely on accurate measurements here because the side of my quilt block might not be exactly the same as the other side no matter how much I trimmed my quilt block.
So I prefer to cut the strip and then pin it on and sew it on so the ends of the strip are longer than the side of the quilt block.
I did that for the other side too. Then trim the ends even with the quilt block.
Quilt block with sashing on left and right side
I don't like to use exact measurements as every time I make one it may be slightly differant measurment due to seam allowances might be a bit smaller or wider and I might have had to make the top a bit wider or longer to accomodate the design I chose to use, So I prefer to turn the top over face down onto the fabric and trim it to match the top. This will be the back of the checkbook cover.
I cut strips and sewed together alternating strips. I sewed them on each side to make the top wider. I also added more of the light blue strips at top and bottom for borders or sashing. I cut the botton blue strip 1/2" and the top one I cut 3/4". I like to allow a bit more room where the checkbook cover is going to bend. Make sure at this point that your top is squared up.
Sew the two together on the sashing you cut slightly larger. This is the body of your checkbook cover.
Turn this over and lay it face down onto the liner fabric. Again trim it to match. Be careful you don't catch the top and cut it accidently when you trim.
I cut 2 pieces of fabric 8 1/4" x 8 1/2". Fold them in half right side out. Iron them flat. Make sure the edges match. Lay one on one half of the liner. Baste it across the bottom and along both sides. Do the same for the second one. Then turn the whole thing over and trim the pockets.
After trimming the pockets pin the front and the liner with the pockets together
Starting at the bottom backstitch and then sew around the edge until you get back to the bottom again. Leave an opening about 2" to turn the cover with.
Turn the cover right side out and poke out the corners. When you tirn it make sure you have the pockets on the right side. Then iron it flat. I then sew a finishing seam around the edge. I start at the bottom and that will close the opening.
So here is the finished Bear's Paw Checkbook Cover!
You can make the sashing wider and add a row of small HSTs
You can add some squares on the sides
You could use HSTs in a flying geese variation. I make my flying geese with two HSTs
Or you can repeat half of the center design on each side of the sashing. One of the first checkbook covers I made was a Bear's Paw and I repeated the Paws on each side. It is really cool looking!