My last-minute handmade gift -- a sketchbook cover made from kids' swim trunks

Making a sketchbook cover from swim trunks
I asked my 9-year-old friend what he'd like for Christmas. I was expecting "Warlords of the Bleak Underworld 10" or an iTunes card. Instead he answered "one of your creations." Great. Christmas is 10 days away and the kid wants handmade. What to do?

He likes to draw, so I first thought of making him a blank sketchbook out of an old vintage kids encyclopedia.  But I worried that he might think it was too babyish.  Instead, I dug through my fabric stash looking for the most masculine fabric I could find. 
Making a sketchbook cover from swim trunks
What's more masculine than grinning skulls? Nothing! I picked up these rad swim trunks at a local thrift store. Scary, hardly used -- and best of all, they were big enough to wrap around a sketchbook.
Sizing the back of the trunks to fit the sketchbook
The first step was to cut the back side from the front, remove the waistband, and trim off extra fabric on the leg bottoms.  The back seam curved toward the crotch inseam. To straighten it, I ripped out the lower half of the seam and re-sewed the pieces back together.
Straightening the back seam
Next I needed to make flaps for the sketchbook covers to slide into. I grabbed the legs of the swim trunks that I'd trimmed off earlier and laid each leg on the side of the flat piece I'd constructed above. I sewed around three sides, right sides together. The hem of the trunk legs provided a finished edge for the flaps. 
Constructing flaps out of the trunk legs
(The seams aren't straight because I was in a hurry and too lazy to use a straight edge. But I made sure that the seams were wide enough to fit the sketchbook covers snugly.) Here's what it looked like turned right-side out.
Constructing flaps out of the trunk legs
Not so bad for eyeballing, hunh? I also folded over the raw edges on the top and bottom and top-stiched them.

The last detail was a closure. The original waistband had velcro, so I added a 3-inch piece to the back of the sketchbook cover and added the matching velcro to the cover front.
Closure made from part of the waistband
I'm pretty happy with the final result. My favorite detail is the pocket on the front (which used to be the back pocket on the swim trunks). Hard to believe it only took a couple of hours (if you don't look too closely at the seams).
Sketchbook cover refashioned from old swim trunks
I hope my 9-year-old friend likes it too.