DIY Notebook Tool Roll

Hey, I don’t know if you’ve noticed the author name on this post or on the homepage but it’s not Kristen. Yeah, I know you don’t see the author name of El Granto here a lot. Frankly Kristen’s just better at it. But I’m here now and I’m all you’ve got for today, so you better like it!

I’ve been looking at really nice tool rolls (for motorcycles) recently, and was completely inspired. I wanted one of my own but thought I’d re-purpose the idea to hold my notebook, pencil and a few other things. I’ll probably make one for tools in the near future too.

But before we get in to it I have a little disclosure. This is only my second time using a sewing machine. I am not a pro. I also had no plan. This project was 100% by the seat of my pants. BUT I had very minimal help from Kristen so I feel it’s not unreasonable for me to be proud. I am also not as good at taking pictures of my progress as Kristen is. She’s usually the one snapping away while I’m sawing, hitting, or drilling.

I started off by drawing out what I thought would be a good plan on some leftover fabric from Kristen’s outdoor daybed project.

IMG_20150425_131407I had an idea in mind of what I wanted, then promptly forgot that idea and stormed ahead!

Cut it out and iron the seams!


Then I remembered that I┬áneeded a way to have pockets… So I cut out a panel to sew in with the seams that would act as the front of all the pockets.

IMG_20150425_145440While sewing I didn’t take a single picture because my brain was either thinking up new insults to hurl at the people that make sewing machines or way too busy concentrating on not getting the threads all tangled up. Kristen did have to step in a few times to suggest technique or talk me through untangling bobbins.

After double sewing all the seams I ran a few vertical stitches to create each pocket and added a leather strap to make sure it doesn’t come unrolled in my bag.


IMG_20150425_161327IMG_20150425_160858IMG_20150425_160910The original plan was to wax the fabric. But I think I’ll leave it as is. It won’t be seeing aggressive use and will mostly be in backpacks and saddle bags. I’ll be making another version soon to actually hold tools that will be a little more detailed. I’ll probably wax that one using the method we used on my workshop apron.

What do you think of my tool roll? It’s like a manly pencil case!


Scrap fabric – Sunbrella
Scrap leather – Designer Fabrics
Upholstery thread – Designer Fabrics

Fabric Scissors
Measuring Tape
Difficulty Level (on a scale of 1-5):

two out of five

Total Time: 1 day

Total Cost: $15

Author: El Granto

El Granto is Kristen's devoted husband. When he's not listening to what she tells him to do he's a motorcycle maniac and an avid beer, whiskey and cigar connoisseur.

5 thoughts on “DIY Notebook Tool Roll”

  1. Great project. I am going to adapt the idea in super hero fabric. I’ll double the fabric and use bias tape I make from a matching solid color. This will hold a drawing journal and pencils for children in the car. Wonder Woman here I come. Thanks for the inspiration.

  2. My first thought was “why doesn’t my fiance write for me blog?” then I saw your mum comment on the blog post and that just zapped my attention. (1) my mom doesn’t even look at my blog and (2) best comment ever. Also awesome man tool roll!

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