Maybe one of these days I’ll show you what’s usually in my bag, but I’m afraid you’ll be so put off by the mess that you’ll never come back here. I will tell you that it always contains a book. Since most of my books come from the library, I realized that it might not be a good idea to leave them floating around unprotected in my bag, so I’ve started making bookcovers to keep them safe. The quilted bookcover pictured above is sized to fit a thick mass market paperback, but you can make these in any size you like.
For this bookcover, I started by determining my finished size. This is a wrap-around cover, and is secured simply by wrapping a single, thin strap around it and tucking in the end. I wanted the finished width to be 7″, and I thought that a 14″ length would be enough to cover a fairly thick book. If you’re unsure, just measure around the thickest book you’re likely to read, and add a couple of inches. I added 1/2″ to both measurements for my 1/4″ seam allowances. So, I cut my lining and batting (I used Warm & Natural this time) 7-1/2 x 14-1/2.
For the outside, I strip-pieced some 2″ fabric strips left over from another project, pressed the seams to one side, and then trimmed it to a 7-1/2 x 14-1/2 inch size. You can use any quilting pattern you like, or just use a single piece of fabric for this part. You are limited only by your imagination here.
Pictured above are the 3 layers of my bookcover, ready to be constructed.
Now, layer the outside piece, right side out, onto the batting, and quilt as desired. I did some basic straight stitching because I wanted minimal embellishment.
Next, make your strap. For mine, I used a 28″ long by 2″ wide strip of fabric. In general, it should be around twice as long as your bookcover. Fold the long edges of the strip toward the center and press carefully, then fold that in half, again lengthwise, so that your raw edges are enclosed. Press again so that you have a neat, narrow strip. Then, using an edge-stitch foot, topstitch along both long edges to secure everything. If you want, you can tuck one end in before you stitch, so that you have a cleanly finished end, but I left the edges raw and tied a little knot. (Sorry, I forgot to take a photo of this step!)
If you want the end of your bookcover to be rounded or pointed, cut your layers in that shape (on only one end) now. Next, you’ll assemble all your layers. Place your quilted piece right side up. Add the strap on top of that, and curl up the excess length so it doesn’t get caught up in your seams. Now add the lining right side down, completely covering your strap and the quilted layer below. Pin the layers together. Sew through all layers with a 1/4″ seam, leaving an opening for turning.
Clip the corners and any curves, then turn right side out. Press, folding in the edges of the opening. Again using an edge-stitch foot, topstitch all around the edges of the bookcover. This will close up the opening and give you a neat finish. Now just wrap it around your book, wrap the strap around, and tuck in the end.