After months of thinking about it (read: trying to find enough motivation to actually do it), I designed and sewed a tri-fold folder that’s the perfect size for all of my daughter’s Personal Progress booklets, plus a pen!  And then I passed along the pattern to the twelve-year-old Young Women class at church to make their own.  This folder only requires a few straight seams, so it was simple enough for even the most beginning seamstress to tackle.


Personal Progress is a program of our church that encourages young women to “form personal habits of prayer, scripture study, obedience to the commandments, and service to others,” which “will strengthen [their] faith in and testimony of Jesus Christ,…[and] allow [them] to recognize and develop [their] unique gifts.”  It’s a wonderful program that builds upon the good things that these young women are already doing in their lives.


Here is the pattern and instructions for personal use only.


For each tri-fold Personal Progress folder you will need:

  • 1 “fat quarter” of woven, printed fabric (or ½ yard of cut yardage, which is enough to make two)
  • 15” x 18” rectangle of heavyweight fusible interfacing (which is sold in 20-inch wide strips)
  • 32” of 3/8-inch wide grosgrain ribbon  (let’s practice saying it: GROWgrain)
  • Matching thread


How to construct the folder:

1– Cut the print fabric into a perfect 18” x 19” rectangle. (The 18” is the side-to-side direction, and the 19” is the top-to-bottom direction, if you want to orient the fabric design a certain way.)

2– Cut the fusible interfacing into a perfect 15” x 18” rectangle.

3– Cut 32” of ribbon, angle the ends, and apply clear nail polish, Fray Check, or carefully melt the ends to prevent fraying. Set aside.
Tri-fold Personal Progress folder picture showing the three pieces to cut out
Tri-fold Personal Progress folder pictures showing three ways to keep the ribbon from fraying: clear polish, Fray Check, a flame


4– Place the fusible side of the interfacing to the wrong side of the (top edge of the) fabric, matching the 18” edges, and lining up the sides. Fuse the interfacing in place following the manufacturer’s directions.  (I use a hot iron and a press cloth to protect my iron and ironing board cover, and to prevent the interfacing from scorching/melting.)
Tri-fold Personal Progress folder picture showing how the interfacing fits on the fabric


5– While you’re at the ironing board, press the other 18” side under ½” and then ¼” in to prepare the hem edge of the pocket.
Tri-fold Personal Progress folder picture showing how to hem the pocket edge

6– Stitch the hem in place along its inside fold, using a long-ish stitch length (about a 3). This is the top edge of the pocket.


7– Fold the pocket up, right sides together, folding exactly along the straight edge where the interfacing ends, and pin in place.
Tri-fold Personal Progress folder picture showing where to fold up the pocket
Tri-fold Personal Progress folder showing pocket folded up


8– Fold the top of the fabric down, right sides together, to meet the bottom fold that was created by folding the pocket up. Pin sides in place.  Stitch a scant ½” seam down each side, starting from the bottom/pocket edge.  (I like to do a bit of backstitching when I reach each pocket hem, to provide a bit of reinforcement there.)
Tri-fold Personal Progress folder showing how to fold down the top edge

Tri-fold Personal Progress folder showing how to stitch the side seams


9– Turn everything right side out, creating nice, sharp corners, lining the lower edge up (inside and out) carefully, and press the whole thing flat. It should measure exactly 17” from side to side.  (If it doesn’t you may have to fudge a bit on the pocket measurements.)


10– Mark off the spaces for the pockets, from left to right, using a pin at the top and bottom of the holder:

5¼  inches;      ⅞ inches;      5⅝ inches;      5¼  inches

Tri-fold Personal Progress folder pictures showing how to measure and mark pocket lines for stitching

11– Use a sewing pencil (or other) and a ruler to draw a stitching line between the top and bottom pin markings.

12– Stitch along each line, starting from the bottom edge (and doing a short little backstitch at each pocket hem edge for reinforcement, optional, but highly recommended).


13– Mark the center of the ribbon. Pin the center of the ribbon to the center of the ⅞” section, on the outside of the folder, having the lower edge of the ribbon 3¾ inches from the bottom edge of the folder.  Pin it along that same 3¾-inch line across the pocket panel to its right, and to the pocket panel to its left (but not to the last pocket panel on the far left.)
Tri-fold Personal Progress folder picture showing where to pin on ribbon ties


14– Starting at the midpoint of the ribbon, stitch carefully along each long edge, pivoting and stitching across the ends, pivoting and stitching all the way around (doing a short little backstitch at the ends to reinforce, optional). Clip threads and you are done!
Tri-fold Personal Progress folder showing inside ribbon stitching


15– Stuff your booklets into the pockets as shown, add a pen, fold it up, and tie the ribbons.  Enjoy!

Tri-fold Personal Progress holder filled with booklets and a pen


Tri-fold Personal Progress folder with booklets




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