Sunday, 8 March 2015

The Book Cover - a sort of tutorial

For a long time now I've wanted to make a version of the book cover I saw well over a year ago on Pinterest.
Well, I'm finally going to do it! A friend sponsors children around the world through Compassion  
and is visiting one of the girls in the Philippines next month and I thought it would make a nice gift for her.
I know the construction method I want to use as I've done it before and it's really easy and I thought it would be nice to put in a tutorial that you could follow if you wanted to. But I have never written a tutorial before.  I did a very quick search online and found this one made by Charlotte Scott– it was literally the first tutorial I looked at!! – and apart from mine not being a patchwork style cover, it’s pretty much the same.
Charlotte is an "art quilter", if that's the right term and a quick look through her blog shows some pretty amazing pictorial quilts. I know I'll be going back for a proper look! And yes, she very kindly agreed I could add a link to her tutorial rather than write my own. So follow the link above to her tutorial and I'll just put in lots of photos of mine.

I have a small scrap of pale pink gingham for the top portion of my book cover (although I'll need to piece the inner flaps) and bought a piece of lovely soft raspberry Aida for the lower part, along with lace and ribbon from the wonderful Creative Crafts in Winchester. The ladies there were so helpful and I was able to buy exactly the right sized piece of Aida, rather than being told “No madam, you can’t have a piece 15cm x 40 cm - the smallest cut is half a meter of the full width. That’ll be an extortionate amount of money please.”
It only cost £3 for the fabric, the lace and the ribbon. The book I'm covering came from poundland and all the other materials are leftovers from previous projects. £4 for a handmade book cover – bargain!!!

All the fabrics ready to go...
Measure all the round the outside for your finished size, add extra for the flaps
If you measure the book opened flat, your cover will be an inch too small...
Couldn't resist taking this photo! I've had this hand wound tape measure for more than 30 years.One of my treasured things.
Everything layered ready to pin and sew.
You can see here that I had to piece the pink gingham to have enough length for the flaps.
All the layers neatly stitched together
The wrong side showing 2 rows of stitching to join the gingham and Aida (they were just overlapped,not seamed), 2 rows to attach the ribbon, and a straight row and zig zag row for the lace
I placed pins for the centre spine and front of notebook before adding appliqué hearts 
This will be the end of the bookmark
Lay the book cover right side up and fold the flaps in and check the size
Lay the lining right side down. Stitch top and bottom only

Oops! Forgot to insert the book mark!

I used to add these tiny little hearts to everything I made. This is inside the front flap
Plus a label in the back flap
Did I say I'd added a flower to the back as well??
I'm tempted to embroider the little girls name on the aida part of the front cover but at this stage
 it would be a right fiddle and probably spoil it. Should have thought of that sooner...
The back
TA-DAH !!!
It took me six hours from start to finish - but that did include a lunch break and a couple of quick coffee breaks. Plus taking loads of photos!!! But then a picture is worth a thousand words and having said I'd never written a tutorial, I haven't done too bad a job, even if I do say so myself! Although I would still recommend that you have a good look at Charlotte's.
To cut down on bulk I joined the gingham and aida by simply overlapping them and stitching 2 rows. I then placed the ribbon so it just came to the bottom of the gingham and worked another row of straight stitch, then a row of zigzagging along the top edge of the lace. The ribbon was butted up against the lace and stitched right on the edge, top and bottom. (The deep pink edge was stitched with pink thread, the only time I changed thread colour.)
The edges of the inner flaps were also finished with a length of the lace rather than folded under.

After turning through the finished cover and finger pressing the edges, I decided to insert a piece of white felt to use as "interfacing", to give a slightly padded finish. This was simply cut slightly smaller than the finished cover and carefully placed behind the lining and behind the seam allowances. It's not stitched in place, it just sits there nicely. If I'd thought of this before, I would have made the cover 1/4" larger. It's a close fit now...

I'm very pleased with the finished book and hopefully it's recipient will love it.
I want to make another one now...


  1. How clever you are. Do so appreciate your tutorials. Such a lovely journal cover.

    1. Thank you Julia! It's nice to know there's someone out there reading!
      I often look for hints and tips myself and really enjoy being able to share my own.
      I often wonder if the recipient of the journal out in the Philippines gets as much enjoyment using it as I did making it.
      Thanks again, Tina ☺