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Scraps for a Book Cover


Do you remember the skirts I made for Lily and Emma out of scraps?  After they were done, I still had leftover fabric.  I couldn’t just let it go to waste.  I found the perfect way to use them when a friend showed me the handmade book covers her daughters had received as gifts.

With the end of school coming, I thought they would make the perfect gift for my kid’s wonderful teachers.

Last week, my mom and I got together to to figure out a pattern.  After a few mistakes, we finally discovered an easy method for making these darling covers.

And we had so much fun, we both have made several more since.  I decided to make one for each of my kids as a 2009 Summer Journal.

Here’s what you need to make one of your own:

  • a basic composition book (available at a Supermarket)
  • 26 1/2″ x 10 3/4″ fabric (mine was pieced)
  • 26 1/2″ x 10 3/4″ muslin or other fabric for lining
  • fabric for design… may also use rickrack, buttons, embroidery, or other embellishments
  • Wonder Under or fusible interfacing
  • 35″ ribbon

Step 1.  Choose fabric and a design.  For the butterfly above, I modified a free template from Amy Butler.  For the sail boat, I chose a template from the pattern book Baby Love by Allison Jane Smith.  There are many free templates available online.  Just be sure to choose a simple design.  Keep in mind that you will be blanket stitching around the design, so lots of little detail will make it challenging.


2.  Cut fabric strips to 27″ in length.


3.  Using a scant 1/4″ seam piece strips together.  Press so that all the seams go in one direction.


4.  Trim so that final measurements equal 26 1/2″ x 10 3/4″.


5.  Trace pattern onto Wonder Under or fusible interfacing.  One trick for tracing is to place the Wonder Under over the pattern and trace it against a bright window.  Keep in mind that you are tracing the back side of the image (the finished product will be reversed.)


6. Press Wonder Under to back of fabric for design.


7.  Carefully cut out design.

8.  Fold pieced top in half lengthwise.  Place composition book binding against the fold as a guide and center design.  Pin design into place.


9.  Blanket stitch or zigzag around design.  Sew on any other embellishments such as buttons at this time.  You could also embroidery a message or design.

10.  With right sides together, pin together the width ends of backing and pieced top.


11.  Stitch together width ends.

12.  Turn right side out and press.


13.  Fold in half and place composition book in place as a guide.  Wrap the flaps around inside of book.  Mark the fold of flap.  Remove composition book and pin flaps to backing but not to front.


14.  Being careful not to disturb the pins (or poke yourself!) turn so right sides are together again.

15. Using a 1/4″ seam stitch along the entire top.  Stitch bottom as far as the flaps on each side, but leave the middle open to turn.


16.  Using a chopstick turn right side out.

17.  Stitch the opening closed, making sure to match the thread to the fabric front.

18.  Insert book and tie with ribbon.


Summer Journal for Ben

These fabric covers make a great gift.  I am so happy, because my mom made one for me.  Maybe I will finally start keeping a journal so I don’t forget all the funny and sweet things my kids say and do.

If you have any questions about the tutorial, don’t hesitate to leave a comment.  Happy sewing.

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6 Responses to “Scraps for a Book Cover”

  • those are great! I really love the boy one with the sailboat.

  • These are totally terrific. You should seriously consider selling them. I know I’d be interested!

  • Can you tell I’m catching up on blogs today? ha I go fast and furious for a while and then have to take time out and then I get lost in projects and forget what else I need to do. I should have my life better organized but it is kind of like reading a book from start to finish when I open a blog and have posts to catch up on. It makes me feel like I’m following your life. You have a lovely blog Calli.

  • Good blog! I genuinely love how it’s easy on my eyes as well as the information are well written. I am wondering how I can be notified whenever a new post has been made. I have subscribed to your rss feed which must do the trick! Have a nice day!

  • [...] but not least, we’ve made journal covers in the past, this year I’m adding a fun twist.  If the kids don’t know what they want [...]

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