First Look: French Seam Binder by Franklin Covey (Japan)

31 October 2014

Last week, I had mentioned some changes and that I was in the process of downsizing my planner for 2015. After being in an A5 this year, I've learned (hopefully for good this time) the size is just too big for me. I also mentioned that Compact Franklin Covey (FC) inserts would be the more ideal size of inserts I'd like to use and gave you a quick look at my newly acquired binder--the French Seam binder by Franklin Covey Japan. The French Seam would be equivalent to the Tailor binders which were sold here in the US and that are no longer available. According to its website, FC Japan has brought one of its popular planners back with a just a few design changes. As promised, here's a more closer first look.

After scouring eBay and the Franklin Covey Addicts Facebook group with no luck of finding any decent Franklin Covey Compact binders or anything similar to that would accommodate FC inserts comfortably (i.e. no overhang), I was contacted by a friend from Japan who knew I was on the hunt and who happened to be getting rid of a few planners from her collection. She agreed to sell me one of her Tailor binders in Navy. I had heard about the Tailors before so was excited for the opportunity of getting my hands on one. A few e-mails were exchanged and, in a week, my binder arrived.

My planner traveled all the way from Japan to California in this lovely periwinkle box (that was in a much larger box, of course) with the Franklin Covey logo on its cover in silver foil. It was nice to see an actual box and it reminded me of those nice black ones Filofax decided to do away with. I liked those. I'm a sucker for nice packaging.

When I first opened the box I noticed two things: First, the color. This planner is obviously not Navy. It's more of a slate blue. Of course, I knew this having already seen photos of the actual binder via e-mails, but it was still a surprise. A pleasant one at that because I actually like the color, but it's still not as light as I expected it to be. It's definitely different from what I'm normally drawn to. Second, the binder is very unstructured. It immediately reminded me of the Baroque in terms of structure. There is no stiffener at all within the covers. Just beautiful, soft, bendable leather. But, unlike the Baroque's smooth finish, the leather on the French Seam has a bit more of a pebbly texture to it.

I just love the details. Particularly, the long strap and the double poppers which allows me to adjust how the planner closes depending on how stuffed it is. It'd be awesome if all planners had this feature. I definitely prefer this over adjustable buckled straps.

This planner is fitted with 25mm (.98 inches) silver rings and has a ton of pockets. On the left, you get a total of six card slots with a neat little strap that snaps close to keep all your cards in place, one window ID, and full length pocket. And on the right, there is another full length pocket, a slit pocket that opens into the full length pocket (so not really a pocket?) that you can slip a notepad in, and a total of three extra card size slots. There is also two pen loops which are not elasticated, but fairly big. Always a plus. My 5 color Uni Style Fit multi-pen easily slides in with room to spare.

And then there is the exterior zip pocket in the back of the binder which is really easy to get into. I love the little leather pull on the zipper. ♥

The French Seam binder comes also in Black, and Pink and both Compact and Pocket sizes. It's unfortunate that Franklin Covey won't let you purchase from other FC sites like Japans, but if you'd like to get your hands on a French Seam binder, you can purchase one from Franklin Planner Japan via the Rakuten Global Market website. I have bought stationery stuff from various shops on there many times before and the service has always been great and shipping to the US is fairly quick.

Anyway, after being gone so long, I think it'll be nice to be back in a Franklin Covey planner and a really nice one at that. One that I'm sure I will enjoy starting the new year with. Having to leave my beloved Van der Spek for the moment, I don't think the transition would have been much of a success had I not been able to find myself an ideal planner. And if you're wondering, I haven't sworn off Van der Spek. Never that. But, that's an entirely different post altogether and one I'll save for next time.

Happy Friday to you all and a Happy Halloween to those celebrating. May your day be filled with more treats than tricks. Thanks for reading!


  1. I just love the look of this planner and it looks kinda squishy (which is nice!). I never would have thought of looking through Rakuzen for planners but I guess that's what I'll be doing tonight :-) By the way, I'm still quite new with this stuff. Is this FC planner close to a personal size?

    1. Yes, Franklin Covey Compact size is equivalent to a Filofax Personal size planner. The rings match up, but Franklin Covey inserts and binders are wider. FC inserts in a FF planner would stick out. Hope that helps!

  2. Lovely! I had a Levenger Circa planner in that color for a long time. I enjoy my white FC Sophia, which is also pebbly and supple, but would love something in a darker color and that slate blue is gorgeous.

    Currently I'm in a FF Bloomsbury with trimmed FC pages, but getting the itch for something new, so I'll have to think about this. Pretty pricey to import from Japan.

    1. I love Rakuten because I can find things I wouldn't be able to elsewere. But, I agree, shipping from Japan usually costs me anywhere between $15-$25, but that's because I've only purchased stationery/office supply items. I believe they go by weight so I can't imagine how much it would be for anything heavier?


Thanks for reading! Your comments are much appreciated. ♥

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