Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Tutorial for a Fabric Book

Have you ever wondered how to make a fabric book the most complicated, yet also most lovely, way possible? Are you looking for something awesome to do with your coveted Heather Ross prints that have storybook text and sweet pictures? Are you pregnant and compulsively channeling your nesting instincts into making baby items?

Then you have come to the right place!

I had another great weekend with my mom visiting. Two heads are certainly better than one, especially when one of them is hers. We brainstormed a couple different ideas for a fabric book, and finally came up with a method that seems to work beautifully. I truly couldn't have done this without a creative, sew smart thought partner (and, let's be real, someone to do the pressing, cutting, and pinning when pregnancy demanded I sit down for a while).

I'm happy to share our process with you here.

Disclaimer: This is the first tutorial I've written, so if something is confusing, please comment or message me. I am happy to try and clarify a step. We really did make this up on our own, without referencing any online patterns or tutorials; it's totally possible someone else has independently discovered something similar.

More disclaimer: The pictures aren't that great. My camera is having focusing issues.

How to Make a Fabric Book

1. Cut out the pages. Page 1 - 11x11". Page 2 - 11x10 3/4". Page 3 - 11x11". (You can cut them any size; this is what we used. Just make sure to cut the middle page(s) a quarter inch smaller in width than the 1st and last pages.) I used one print in 3 different colors from Heather Ross's Far Fay Away III, fussy cutting each one to showcase a different scene.

2. Cut out the cover - 11 1/4 x 11". Again, if you are making different size pages, the cover should be the same height as the pages, and a 1/4" wider than the 1st and last pages. I chose a natural linen for the cover.

3. Cut out the batting - 11 1/4 x 11", same size as the cover fabric. I picked Quilter's Dream Green - it's made from recycled bottles and the perfect loft to use in small projects.

4. Press each page in half length-wise so you have a nice sharp crease.

5. Place pages 1 and 2 right sides together, with page 2 on top. Line up the EDGES, not the pressed fold. Sew on the right-hand side from the fold of page 2 out to the edge, all the way down the side, and back to the fold along the bottom. Clip the corners.

6. Fold back half of page 1. Place page 3 right sides together with page 2.

You'll get a little tri-cornered tent looking thing. Sew from the fold, all along the edge, to the other fold. It's okay if you have a little gap (not bigger than a 1/4") between the folds, since you will be top stitching later. Clip the corners. (To add more pages, just keep repeating this step.)

7. Turn the pages right side out and press. Yay! The inside of the book is done!

8. Where all the pages meet, the 1st and 3rd pages have a little quarter inch fold, from where you sewed the pages together. Clip both the 1st and 3rd pages vertically a quarter of a inch. This will allow you to easily sew the cover to the pages.

9. Make a little sandwich with your pages (right side up), book cover (right side down), and batting. It's helpful to fold the pages in so they don't accidentally get caught in the seam.

10. Pin and sew all the way around, leaving about a 3" opening on the bottom right side. Clip the corners.

11. Turn the whole thing right side out, and press. Wow! You're amazing! You've almost made a book!

12. Now the fun part - pretty it up. I chose to do all of the top stitching by hand with linen thread, but you could easily do it by machine. First, make a nice line down the middle. I looped around the top and bottom where all the pages meet, for extra security.

13. Top stitch about 1/8" away from the edge around the cover pages. Be sure to seal up the 3" opening where you turned the book right side out.

14. Make a title placard. Cut out a piece of your cover fabric and use a darning foot to free-motion "write" the title. (This took A LOT of practice before I had a decent result.) Next cut out a scrap of contrasting fabric to frame the title. Stitched them together, leaving the edges raw. I used perle cotton thread. Then carefully hand-stitch the whole placard to the cover while avoiding going all the way through the quilt sandwich. I also added a little squirrel. He was too cute!

I also found this little apple in the selvedge and tacked it onto the back cover. :o)

15. Yay, you made an awesome book! Celebrate by finding a little friend to share it with!

Snow White
"She awoke in the woods, with new friends to greet her."
"Snow White found the cottage full of charm and laundry."
"They were a merry band of brothers, without a mother to mind them..."
The End!

As for my other works-in-progress:
1. Ball - Both halves are complete and sewn together, just need to stuff with fluff and close.
2. Gobbi mobile - Waiting on some perle cotton to arrive in the mail.
3. 2nd Baby Quilt - Yes, it's back! I couldn't bear the thought of having only one quilt to welcome both my sons. With mom's help, I picked out lovely complementary fabrics that I already had on hand, and chose a very simple 9-patch pattern. It's pieced and in the process of being quilted.

And the most important WIPs? The babies are still both head down, and growing rapidly. Last week, Baby A was about 5 lbs, 2 oz, and Baby B was about 4 lbs, 12 oz. We all seem to be doing well. In only 5 more days, I will have carried them for 36 weeks, and they are officially approved for birth! (Twins born at 36 weeks are considered full term.) My OB says it could be any day...but I hope they don't decide to make an appearance for another couple of weeks. Yeep!!

More WIPs here:

1 comment:

  1. absolutely fabulous!!! the tutorial is great, and the book turned out so wonderfully :) so happy to have been a part of the process xoxoxo mom


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