Friday, February 19, 2016

"Organised Book Cover' Tutorial

A great little book cover with an 'in-built' pencil case!  What more could one want?  A pattern perhaps, and maybe a couple of diagrams to go with it?

With colouring books being 'all the rage', this is a great way to keep it all together.  Not into colouring? Perfect also for keeping your pencil, eraser, sharpener... headache tablets, all in the one place!

Please note, the measurements given below are for A5 size (standard small notebook).  There are a couple of little colouring in books out there, so if you making a cover specifically for one of these, reduce by 1" in both width and length, for ALL cutting directions.


2 x fat quarters (for main, lining and pockets)
10" x 14" piece of pellon or wadding scrap.
30cm med/ light weight woven interfacing (or scraps),
12" (minimum) zip (plastic teeth is possible so you can cut it to length).


cut 1 x (10" x 14")

cut 2 x (3.5" x 10")
cut 2 x (7.5" x 10")
cut 1 x (8" x 10")

cut 1 x (10" x 14")

cut 1 x (9.5" x 13.5")

med/ light weight woven interfacing;
cut 2 x (3" x 10")
cut 2 x (7" x 10")
cut 1 x (8" x 10")


Start by preparing all your pieces.

1.   On the wrong side of your main fabric, centre the pellon, turn over and iron in place (rough side is the glue side).  If you do not have an iron-on product, either use a couple pins to hold in place, or use a little spray basting glue.

2.   Take  (3" x 10") piece of interfacing and iron onto wrong side of (3.5" x 10") pocket piece, leaving a 1/2" gap along one long side as shown in photo. Repeat for 2 piece.

3.   Repeat with both  (7" x 10") pieces of interfacing with (7.5" x 10") pocket pieces, again leaving 1/2" gap along long side.

4.   Iron the (8" x 10") interfacing onto the (8" x 10") pocket piece, with right sides out, fold in half and press.

5.   Using the photo below as a guide, take both (3.5" x 10") pocket pieces, and place right sides together, ensuring the side with the interfacing gap is at the top.

6.   Now, take your zip, and sandwich between both pocket pieces, right side of zip facing down, zip head to your left, and line up all raw edges.  Because your zip is a little longer than you need, centre the zip, so the head and end are well out of the way.  Pin in place.

*tip   It is important to have it lined up in exactly this matter, facing the way indicated, otherwise you will end up with zip head upside down in your finished project (.... as I did in my prototype!)

7.   Now, sewing zips is not quite as scary as people think, especially if you have the head out of the way.  Zipper feet are great, as they allow you sew closer to the teeth, and a 1/4" seam allowance is a good guide.  If you don't have a zipper foot, use your 1/4" foot, and sew as close to the teeth as your foot allows.

8.   Flip these pieces out of the way (right sides facing out).  Once again, line up and sandwich the remaining raw edge of the zip with both (7.5" x 10") pocket pieces, ensuring the short sides are in line with the sides of the piece you have already completed. (so they both meet the zip at the same 'height'. 

9.   Sew in place as in step 7.

10.   Flip fabric out so both sides are now right sides out, with the zip in the middle (ish!).  

11.   I always like to do a top stitch next to my zips as I think it gives a night neat finish.  This is a little line of stitching about 1/8th inch from the seam.  Pin first, to make sure the fabric is pulled firmly and evenly away from the zip, then sew (still easier to use your zipper foot at this stage if you have one)  Your piece should now look like the picture below.

12.   With the right side of the zip facing out, fold 'pocket' in half.

13.    Flatten and pin to hold in place.  Put a pin either side of zipper head (refer to photo below), then pull the zipper head down a couple of inches.  

14.  Cut off each end of zip, in line with raw edges. 


15.   Place down main fabric piece, right side facing up.  Place the large pocket (one with zip),with  zip facing down on the right hand side, lining up the raw edges.  Place the remaining pocket on the left hand side, again lining up raw edges. 

16.   Now place your lining fabric, right side down, on top.  Pin around all edges.

17.   Sew around edges using a 1cm seam allowance (approx 3/8") leaving an approximate 3" gap bottom centre for turning.  If you have a walking foot, I would suggest you use it.  

18.   Clip the corners, Turn out. 

19.   Push out corners and seams. and pin close to the edge.  Top stitch around edge for neat finish, and this also closes the gap at the bottom.  Make sure not to top stitch more than 1/8" as you may make your cover a tight fit.   If you prefer not to top stitch, no problem, just close the gap using a little ladder stitch.  

*tip  it is always a good idea to test a book in the cover before top stitching just in case your fit is a little tight.  

As you can see in my original at the top of the post... .. I made my zip pocket 2 tone, probably because I was using up little pieces of fabric that I had.  So don't worry about the 'rules', just have fun!  (unless the 'rules' are measurements... then stick with the rules!)

Feel free to share this pattern around, the more people that use it, (and enjoy it) the happier I am!


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