Fabric Book Cover Tutorial

3/25/2018 EDIT: This has been one of my most popular posts, so thank you for the interest! I am so glad my little fabric book cover tutorial has been made so many times, decorating and protecting so many loved books!

So…can you sew a straight line? Sew it six times and you’ll be on your way to reading in style! In fact, the Quick & Dirty version only uses two lines of stitching! I mean, does it get any easier than that? Download theCrafties Fabric Book Cover Tutorial, or continue reading:)
Fabric Book Cover tutorial Fabric book covers are awesome – they protect your pages, hide your saucy titles, feel great on your hands, and look super. Make one for you or a gift for someone special – even guys can dig a smart black cover. But don’t stop there! Get creative – embroidery, embellish with beads, applique, whatever floats your boat. But be sure to add it to the Flickr Pool and share it with all of us :D It’s super easy to make, and what else is cool about it? The seams are hidden so it’s very clean looking!

I will show you how to make a book cover for a standard mass market paperback (tradeback books are a different size!). There are also directions at the end for the Quick & Dirty version.

You’ll need:

  • Fabric (nothing stretchy – I prefer corduroys, linens, and soft canvas myself)
  • Interfacing (I use medium or heavy weight, depending on how flimsy my fabric choice is)
  • Ribbon (width is up to you and the ridged kind is great – oh! and a bauble if you like)
  • Fabric glue (optional – see Step Two)
  • Fabric marker

STEP ONE : Cutting

Fabric Book Cover tutorial

Outside Cover: Cut out a piece of fabric and interfacing measuring 18 1/2 x 7 3/4 inches
*Note: Super thick or super thin books may need adjustments in the length of the cover, but this is good for roughly 200-500 pages.
Inner Lining: Cut out a piece of fabric and interfacing measuring 10 1/4 x 7 3/4 inches
Bookmark: Cut a piece of ribbon 19 inches long

STEP TWO: Bookmark

Fabric Book Cover tutorial

Finger press the ribbon in half.

Fabric Book Cover tutorial

Attach your bauble – I slip on a circle shell bead, but you can sew a button on the end, or leave it bare, or whatever you can think of.

Fabric Book Cover tutorial

Pin the end of the ribbon (I found that miniature clothes pins work great for various sewing projects!). This will help keep the ribbon in line when you proceed to the next step.

Fabric Book Cover tutorial Optional: Use fabric glue along the ribbon to secure the sides together (put a piece of scrap paper underneath!). Another option is to sew it, but I found that too tricky. Of course, you could also cut the length in half instead of doubling up and skip this part altogether.

STEP THREE: Fabric and interfacing

Fabric Book Cover tutorial

Lay each interfacing on top of the Cover and the Lining.

Fabric Book Cover tutorial

Using a 1/4 inch seam allowance, sew the two short sides of both the Cover and the Lining. You know what else is cool? It does not matter what color thread you use because you’ll never see it:)

Fabric Book Cover tutorial

Reverse both the Cover and the Lining. But see how its real loosey-goosey?

Fabric Book Cover tutorial

Introduce your iron to the problem and voila!

Fabric Book Cover tutorial

Here is the point where you can add embellishments – ideas: embroidery, buttons, applique, fabric flowers – try something out! I added a simple ribbon at the middle of the Cover along where the book binding will be.

If you decide to do something on just the front cover, measure where the center is and then measure from that point (towards the right): half of the depth of your book, and draw a line. This will be the left side of the front cover. Then measure from that point over by the width of your book and that will be the right side of your cover. Also remember to stay within the seam allowance along the top and bottom.

STEP FOUR: Folding

Fabric Book Cover tutorial

Lay the Cover face down. Measuring from both edges, mark 1 3/4 inches. The mark itself will roughly give you 1/8 of an inch for the fold allowance, so you’ll then want to move your ruler and mark 2 inches in from that. Do not worry about the 3 1/2 mark yet.

Fabric Book Cover tutorial

Flip the Cover over and fold both sides in at the 2 inch mark.

Fabric Book Cover tutorial

Fold the sides back over themselves at the 1 3/4 inch mark. Have a go with the iron again. Now is the time to mark the 3 1/2 mark at the top, only on the left side (this will be for placing the book mark).

Fabric Book Cover tutorial

Pin your bookmark centered over the 3 1/2 mark. Be sure to leave 1/4 of an inch poking passed the cover just to be extra sure it gets sewn in well during the next step.

Fabric Book Cover tutorial

**This is really important!!** Make sure that you twist your bookmark out to the side because if you don’t, and you leave it poking down at the bottom, you will sew it into the cover and curse yourself as you rip the seams out! Trust me!

Fabric Book Cover tutorial

Lay the Lining facedown on top of the folded Cover. Make sure you see that bookmark poked out of the side, gosh darnit!

STEP FIVE: Sew it up!

Fabric Book Cover tutorial

Along the top and bottom, sew with 1/4 seam allowance.

Fabric Book Cover tutorial

Clip the corners and the 1/4 tab left from the bookmark.

STEP SIX: Flip it out!

Fabric Book Cover tutorial

Reverse the cover.

Fabric Book Cover tutorial

Reverse the pockets.

Fabric Book Cover tutorial

Use your finger to poke the corners nicely and then iron the sucker out.

Fabric Book Cover tutorial tutorial


Fabric Book Cover tutorial

I would love for you to add your photos to theCrafties Fabric Book Cover Pool, or leave a comment here, or send an email. Photos are awesome but so are any issues you had when making the cover. I’d be glad to work out quirks!

Fabric Book Cover tutorial


The Q&R version omits the interfacing and is best with thicker fabrics because thinner ones will feel flimsy and cheap (and may even be see-through!). Because of that, the side edges are raw but this really doesn’t matter since they ultimately end up in the very inside of the cover.

  • Reduce the Length of both the Cover and Lining by 1/2 inch.
  • Skip the talk about cutting out interfacing, and the part about sewing the interfacing to the fabric in STEP THREE.
  • Follow all the other steps.

Quick, huh? :)

Do tell me if you enjoyed this, won’t you? And please remember to add your photos to theCrafties Fabric Book Cover Pool! :D

more fabric book covers

All the winners responded, so the covers were mailed on Tuesday from NYC. We are back home now, and I’ll be catching up a few things then I will post the tutorial! :D

Meanwhile, I had made an additional cover as a present:
fabric book cover
fabric book cover Then I also made a trade back size cover. Which incidentally seemed way more popular on the subways in NYC than mass market books, so perhaps I should give some of those away in the future, eh?
fabric book cover
fabric book coverWhat do you think – are mass market books or tradeback books more popular? Or is it that I should be making eBook covers instead?

SMS Giveaway Winners!

I may be hanging out in NYC and all, but my feet and I are having a bit of a respite at my bro’s apartment so I can take the time to announce the lucky winners!

For those of you who did not win, remember to check back here soon (after our NYC trip and I am home) for the tutorial on how to make a cover for yourself:)

Boy worked his techno-guru magic to randomly select the winners. I’ve pruned the output for ease of read and they are:

mysql> select * from wp_comments where comment_post_ID = 2241 order by rand() limit 4;

| comment_author | comment_date_gmt  | comment_content

| Eileen | 2011-05-25 01:56:14 | I would love to meet August from “A Secret Life of Bees”! The book is so rich and delicious, I never wanted it to end! It’s my favorite! I love the Embroidery Experiment cover! It’s gorgeous!

| Maria | 2011-05-24 08:22:30 | I would like to meet Alice from Alice in Wonderland to see the world again through children’s eyes. I really like the embroided cover! Thanks for the nice giveaway!

| Stephanie | 2011-05-25 15:12:13 | Thank you for the great giveaway. I would like to see the characters from Callahan’s Crosstime Saloon in real life.

| Liz | 2011-05-23 22:28:10 | Its really silly but I’d love to meet Eric from the Sookie Stackhouse books by Charlaine Harris because I just love his character in the books…so sexy.  In real life though I’d be freakin’ terrified by any vampire (if they were real)…whether hot and sexy or not. I love all the book covers so if I win no worries about which one.

Emails have been sent out to you but if I do not hear from you before I roll out of bed on Sunday morning, I will select another. Nothing against you, just wanting to keep in line with the SMS policy of shipping out by the 30th if I can.

I also was surprised to discover that the main theme of characters selected was not what I had hypothesized! I didn’t run any stats but it seems like most of you would want to meet someone to be your friend above any other kind of character. Second to that is someone wise. I had expected Mr. Darcy and the like to be higher on the scale so you surprised me! Choosing a character is hard, especially if I must pick only one. I can think of many for different reasons. Some to befriend, some for amour (in another life of course;), some to protect. But I think ultimately it would be a certain historian from Elizabeth Kostova’s The Historian. What a wealth of knowledge! Of course, I would come prepared…

Thanks for playing, and thank you Sew Mama Sew for another cool internet community event :)