Reversible Book Cover Tutorial
It’s was time to think about Christmas gifts for my children’s school teachers and also about getting a move on making the next sewing tutorial. Again, I completed both tasks in the one go.
This is very similar to the Project 1 pillow in that it uses straight stitching only and requires turning corners at a 90° angle. The main difference between the two projects is that this one requires accuracy with stitching straight lines, turning the corners, and using proper seam allowance. It is easy to stuff a pillow into a not-quite-square case, but not so easy with a book.
Once you’ve decided on the book you’d like to cover then it’s time to prepare your materials.
First you must get two measurements from your book to figure out what size to cut the fabric pieces. Using a flexible plastic or fabric measuring tape…
The first measurement is your book’s height—you will get this by measuring top to bottom of your book.
The second measurement is your book’s overall width—you will get this by measuring your closed book across the front cover, around the spine, and over the back cover. All is measured except the non-bound, exposed pages side of book.
Take these two numbers and add one inch to each and there is your cutting size; example, if book is 8 1/4″ tall x 12″ around, cut your fabric 9 1/4″ x 13″. Take notice if the fabric is directional and be sure to cut it correctly. Also, choose non stretchy fabrics. I used cotton quilting weight fabrics. When cutting measurements are determined, cut three of these rectangular pieces from coordinating fabrics. One is the outer cover with pen holder, one is the inside cover, and the third is cut in half to become the two end pockets that hold the book snugly inside the cover. You will also need a 12″ x 3/8″ piece of ribbon for bookmark, a 5″ x 1 1/2″ felt strip for pen holder, and coordinating thread.
Cut the fabric rectangle in half that is to be used for end pockets. Iron each piece in half. In my example, each piece would be 9 1/4″ tall x 6 1/2″ wide after cutting and 9 1/4″ x 3 1/4″ after ironing.
Pin and then sew pen holder strip 1 1/2″ in from both bottom edge and right side edge of front cover fabric panel using 1/4″ seam allowance. You may choose to alter this placement if your book is much bigger than the book I used in the example, in which case, do what you think looks best.
V-notch or chalk mark centre top of front cover fabric and pin book mark in place. Pin end pockets to right side of front cover fabric, aligning raw edges.
Place inside cover fabric face down, sandwiching end pockets and bookmark between the two cover fabrics. Pin in place marking stitch stop and start points with X pins 4 1/2″ in from either side of bottom edge. You will not stitch between these pins to allow for turning right side out.
Stitch together using 3/8″ seam allowance. Trim corners and turn right side out. Carefully point corners using point turner or tips of rounded scissors.
Before going any further, try book in cover to see if you are satisfied with the fit. If so, iron smooth, folding opening evenly with the rest of the stitched edge. Machine topstitch the opening closed using 1/8″ to 1/4″ seam allowance.
Voila! Your new book cover is cool and groovy and so are you. Xx
Teaching Tips Ideas Alternate Choices Bloopers
It would be nice if all students practiced at home. Most of my beginners don’t own their own machines yet, understandable that parents want to insure interest before making the investment. So at the start of each of their classes I have them practice on paper with unthreaded machines. Here is a link to two printable sheets to use just for that purpose–(sorry, you have to cut and paste it) http://sewing.about.com/library/sewingpapers.pdf One sheet is straight and slight curved lines, the other is straight lines and 90° corners. They are great to show the children if they are tugging the “fabric” because the paper will show tears where they did so. And they do not have to remove any stitches if too crooked. It’s a great warm-up, a chance to remind them of posture, and for them to refamiliarize themselves with the machine.
In this tutorial, beginners may want to stitch the bookmark on immediately after pinning. A couple of my students pulled the pin out (so as to not stitch over it, good for them) but in doing so, the ribbon slipped out of position. Oh, and speaking of bookmarks, did you notice the blooper? I switched from lavender to red in the tutorial. It was too late in the process to reshoot the pics.
On the students machines I tape colored electrical tape at the required seam allowance. It really helps them to have such an obvious line to align fabric with.