Making book covers is one of my favorite hobbies. I love embroidering them with my initials or an iconic image from the story itself. The only problem with these beautiful covers is that they only fit hardback books. I’ve thought through various ideas for my paperback books, but until now I have never come up with anything suitable. Just yesterday, though, I was hit with sudden inspiration. I had been wondering how I could transport Enemy Brothers and Notes from the Tilt-a-Whirl (both paperback) during my trip to Europe without them getting damaged during all of the flights and train rides. I came up with this cute little book case, and couldn’t be more pleased with the result! I took pictures throughout the entire process, so I could share my idea with all of you.
I didn’t use hardly any measurements; I eyeballed almost the entire project, using my two books as references. My tools included a cutting mat and rotary cutter, a sewing machine, blue thread, a button-hole sewing machine attachment, and an iron. I used ¼ yard of the gorgeous cotton fabric that my friend Emily gave me for Christmas last year; the button came off of an old sweater. From start to finish, the project took less than 2 hours.
Here’s how I went about making my book case:
I ironed the yard of fabric, and laid it right-side down on the floor. The fabric lay lengthwise (horizontally) on the floor. I set my books down on top of it, and marked 1 ½ inches on either side of the books. Then I cut along my marks, cutting all the way from the top of the fabric to the bottom. The result was a long rectangle of fabric.
I hemmed the bottom (short side) of the rectangle.
Then I laid my books back down in the middle of the rectangle, pulling the hemmed side up to the top of the books. I pinned the sides of the rectangle on either side of the books, so that they were enclosed in a kind of pouch. I slid my books out of the pouch, and began a French seam.
To sew a French seam, begin by making a ¼-inch seam with the wrong sides of the fabric together.
Flip the pouch inside out and iron your seams.
Sew, 5/8-inch, along the seams of your pouch.
Flip the pouch right-side out once more. The raw edges of the inside of your case are now neatly enclosed. This is especially useful with bags and cases. The repetitive sliding-in-and-out of your books will not fray the edges of your fabric.
Once my French seams were completed, I flipped my pouch inside out once more. To get nice, professional-looking corners, I flattened out both of the bottom corners, pinned, and stitched them. I can’t really describe this step – I’m sure that there is some technical sewing term for this, but I don’t know it. 🙂 I hope that the pictures convey what I’m trying to get across.
Next, I played around with the case flap. When I decided on a good length, I added a 1-inch seam-allowance to the top of the flap and cut off the excess fabric. I hemmed all three sides of the flap.
I folded the top left corner of my flap down until it almost touched the bottom right corner.
I sewed along the L-shaped portion of the flap.
Then I folded in the right-hand hem of the flap once and stitched along it.
Using the button-hole attachment of the sewing machine, I made a button hole. (Actually, I tried – and failed. I got frustrated and called in my mom to finish it for me. 😉 ) I stitched on the button by hand, and voila! A stylish cover for my paperback books.
I’ve got enough fabric left over to make a matching cover for my laptop, and hopefully even enough scraps to sew tags for my luggage. Sewing the book case was so much fun, and super easy. I hope that I’ve inspired you to try your hand at making a case of your own!