The easiest way to sew up a fabric book cover

I’m old enough to remember going to school with my school book covers carefully wrapped in brown paper for their protection. Normally the brown paper came from the paper bags our groceries came home in. Back in those days, there were no such things as plastic bags!

An old fashion book cover

Now, moving forward a few decades, I believe the need to cover school books may have gone the way of the Dodo. The need to cover notebooks, however, may still exist!

I don’t know about you, but I’ve had times when I found a notebook on sale or in a discount bin but the cover was damaged, didn’t match my style or was, frankly, hideous. So why not rescue those lost and lonely notebooks and make them uniquely yours by covering them with fabric?

With so many fabric lines available out there, you’ll be able to customize a book cover using the fabrics you or a child, friend or family member REALLY like! For this project, I’ll be using Northcott fabrics from the Stonehenge Quilts of Valor and Stonehenge Gradations Brights collections.

Notebooks purchased from different locations that could use a cover

Once you decided which notebook to cover with fabric, you need to start measuring. There are three measurements you must take.

The first measurement is the vertical height of the book.

Measuring the height of the book

The second is the horizontal width of the book. This measurement must include the front cover, the binding and the back cover.

Measuring the width of a book including the back cover and the binding.

The last measurement you need to take is the width of the inside cover (the height measurement is the same as the outside measurement). Cut the width of piece of fabric for the inside cover narrower than the inside cover itself. Doing this will give you the flexibility to use the space between the fabric and the book cover to store papers. You’ll need to cut two pieces of fabric, one for the inside front cover and one for the inside back cover.

Measuring the inside of a book cover.

Now that you have all your measurements it’s time to start cutting fabric. As with all sewing projects you’ll need to add seam allowances to all of your cut pieces.

You must choose between two possible seam allowances:

(Note: it’s very important that you choose the correct one depending on your notebook)

  1. For a softcover book add ½” seam allowance to your pieces of fabric; OR
  2. For a hardcover book add ⅝ʺ seam allowance to your fabric pieces.

Once all your pieces are cut, sew the inside fabric pieces. Fold under approximately ¼ʺ along one of the long edges of inside fabric and sew. I sew approximately ⅛ʺ away from the fold.

Fabric pieces for the inside book covers

Place your inside and outside fabrics right sides together, placing the book’s inside pieces to the ends of the longer piece.

Sewing the book cover

Once finished sewing your inside fabric edge, place right sides together, sew both inside pieces to the short edges of the outer piece using a ¼” seam allowance.

Sewing the inner pieces to the outside book cover

When the sewing is done, turn your project inside out. You’ll notice that you have a fold between both inner pieces. To properly secure these flaps do a quick seam over both flaps.

Sewing down the small flap between inside pieces

You can now turn what you’ve done inside out, slip it over the book and voila, your book cover is now complete and ready to be placed over the book.

You’ll be the talk of the town once your friends see what you made.

For those among you that are more adventurous, you may want to add a quilting element to your cover or even make the whole book cover using a quilt block!

Give it a try!

Finished book covers

The inside of a completed book cover.

This is part 2 of 5 in this series.
Go back to part 1:  Use quilting dog ears to match up your points

Go to part 3: Matching grid lines on your quilts

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Sarah C August 4, 2016 - 11:39 pm
Really need to make some of these for my kids great tutorial thanks
VickiT August 4, 2016 - 10:31 am
HA! I totally remember those 'old fashioned' paper book covers. They made great places for scribbling, but they were sure not very pretty for sure. I really like this tutorial and will find it very useful for making covers for my Grandchildren's books if they need them. Thank you for such a great tutorial.
Paul Leger August 4, 2016 - 7:17 pm
OH i do remember the scribbling, did not make a painter out of me but it was fun. PAul
Janie August 2, 2016 - 3:47 pm
I will enjoy using this tutorial. Thank you!
Paul Leger August 3, 2016 - 9:27 pm
I am happy you enjoyed it.
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