How to: an artful book jacket

How to: an artful book jacket

Whether you are leaning into the weather on your way to the library or tucked into your favorite coffeehouse, this is the perfect accessory: an easy way to carry your writing or sketchbook with a pouch for phone, pens and pencils.

This easy-to-make cover is a lovely way to wrap a book you are reading or a journal you write in every day. Make it in canvas, and you can showcase your latest sketching right on the cover.

Tools and materials

1. Fabric: Figure pieces big enough to cover the book's size plus 1/2-inch seam allowance all around; two inside flaps (see illustrations for folded size). You also will need two pieces for straps — either two short ones for hand-held or a shorter one and a longer one for a short strap and a shoulder strap. Reading through the directions once will give a good idea of how much fabric is needed.

2. Enough batting for a single layer inside the book cover (optional).

3. A 12-inch zipper (for an 8 1/2-by-11-inch book cover) or 9-inch zipper (for a 5 1/2-by-8 1/2-inch cover).

4. Ribbons or trims as desired; one for a bookmark.

5. Lining fabric (about the size of one book cover).

We will be working with 1/2-inch seam allowances, so you need to add the allowances onto the measurement of your fabric pieces.


I will give measurements to cut your fabric for an 8 1/2-by-11, 1-inch-thick book cover in parentheses below.

A. Front and back cover: Open your book out flat on top of your cover fabric. Next, close the book and wrap the fabric around. Mark all the edges and add 1/2-inch seam allowances on all four sides (12 by 19 inches).

B. Inside flaps: Two pieces of fabric, which, when folded in half, cover three-fourths of the inside book cover (12 by 12 inches).

C. Pocket: The length of the book-jacket fabric from top to bottom and 12 inches wide (12 by 6 inches). The zipper will be used along the edge of this piece (9 inches).

D. A lining piece: This fabric can be thinner than the cover fabric and should be the size of the front of the book cover. (12 by 8 inches).


Cover: Design cover with any piecing, drawing, quilting or stitching.

If you are adding a batting, layer the batting and cover together then baste around the edge to hold.

Pencil pocket:

1. Fold 1/2 inch under on long edge of pocket, then stitch one side of the zipper to the edge.

2. To sew pocket to book cover: Fold second long edge under 1/2 inch. Mark center of book cover, then mark a line 2 inches up from center. Place edge on cover and stitch across. This seam can be covered with ribbon or trim. Pin edge of zipper to cover and stitch down with a ribbon or zigzag stitch.

3. Make a strip that's long enough to cut into two straps by folding the raw edges under several times and topstitch.

4. Pin the straps to each side of the front as shown, with raw edges hanging off the edge. Strap options: Two short handles or one long (shoulder strap) and one short one to put the shoulder strap through to hold it closed.

5. Optional: Pin bookmark ribbon on the cover at center fold mark and let raw end hang off the edge.

6. Underflaps: Fold fabric in half for flaps and press. With right sides together, pin to each side of jacket front (folded edge to the inside), covering the straps on the sides.

7. Lining piece: Finish edges on both sides, then lay lining piece centered on top. It should overlap some of the side flap pieces.

8. Stitch (through all the layers) around all four sides. Trim corners off of seam allowance. Reach inside the lining piece and turn the cover through the opening. Press if needed and insert your notebook or journal.

For more book-cover options and bags, see Diane's Creative Companion Pattern No. 110 at www.dianeericson.com.

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