Introduction: Fabric Book Sleeve

Do you carry your beloved books around with you everywhere but hate when they get damaged in your bag? We have a solution: a fabric book sleeve! This project can be made for your favorite book, whether it be a novel, a notebook, a journal or even a textbook. With these instructions you will be learning how to make a fabric book sleeve. It is a great way to distinguish your books from someone else’s and will protect it from being torn and bent in your backpack or briefcase in a fun and unique way!

Step 1: Materials

  • Cloth fabric of your choice
    • Fat squares of cotton cloth work best due to durability and ease to work with
    • Available at Walmart or craft stores such as Hobby Lobby or Michael’s
  • Felt
    • This is not seen in the finished product, so any scraps will do
  • Sewing thread of any color
  • Sewing needle
  • Scissors
  • Ruler
  • Sewing pins (optional)
  • Sewing machine (optional)

Step 2: Measure and Cut the Material

Measure and cut a pieces of cloth into 4 different pieces, each piece 7.5” x 9.5”

NOTE: Different sizes can be substituted depending on the type of book you want to put into the sleeve. Look below for some helpful sizes:

  • Textbooks: 12” x 12”
  • Paperback novels: 6” x 9”
  • Journals: 7” x 9.5”
  • Measure your own: (length of book + 2” x width of book + 2”)

NOTE: Using a ruler and marker to draw straight guidelines is helpful.

Cut the felt into 2 rectangles sized 7.5” x 9.5”. You should have 6 pieces of rectangular fabric in total: 4 decorative pieces and 2 felt pieces. They should all be equal in size.

Step 3: Stack the Material

Stack the rectangles you just cut, ensuring that all the edges line up as best as possible, as follows:

  1. Decorative cloth (design side down towards the table)
  2. Felt
  3. Decorative cloth (design side up facing you)
  4. Decorative cloth (design side down towards the table)
  5. Felt
  6. Decorative cloth (design side up facing you)

Step 4: Pin the Material Together

Pin together the stack of material with the sewing pins in the order stated previously. Pin the fabric together so there is little movement between the layers. If there is movement between the layers, your book sleeve will not come out even. The best location for the pins is one across the bottom short side of the rectangles, and two parallel with the long edges on each side of the rectangle.

NOTE: If you do not have sewing pins, extra sewing needles would work as well.

NOTE: If you have a sewing machine and know how to use it, you may use that. Skip these next instructions for threading a needle and jump to step 5.

NOTE: It can be helpful to add guidelines to sew along. Measure three perpendicular lines running along the edges of the book sleeve with a ruler to ensure that you have straight lines. Keep the lines as close as possible to the edge while still being able to draw a full line above all all six pieces of material. The distance should be about ⅛ of an inch away from the edges. Slight variation is possible.

Step 5: Thread the Needle

Cut a 15 inch piece of thread. Stick one end of the thread through the hole at the top of the sewing needle, thus threading the needle. Knot the two ends of the thread together, creating a big closed loop.

Step 6: Prepare to Sew

Take the pile of fabrics that you have pinned together and, starting on the end of a long side, begin sewing the stack of material together. Leave the sewing pins (or needles) in the fabric to ensure that there is little movement between the pieces as you are sewing the fabrics and felt together.

NOTE: You will be sewing from the inside of the book sleeve. When you are finished you should not be able to see the stitching.

Step 7: Begin Sewing

To start sewing, ensure that you are about ⅛ of an inch away from the edge of the material or on the guideline on a long side of the rectangle. Start by pushing the needle through the material from the top. Create a loop around the edges of the material, and then push the needle through the top of the material again about 3 centimeters (or the width of your index finger) away from the last hole you made. Pull the thread as tight as possible. Repeat this process, always pushing the needle through the material from the top, never the bottom. Once you get to the end of your first long side, continue to sew along the bottom of the book sleeve. Repeat this process around all of the sides except one short side. Only three of the four sides should be sewed together in order to make the opening for you book to slide in and out.

Once you have finished sewing 3 sides of the material together, cut the needle off of the thread and knot the free ends together to hold the stitching. Cut off any excess thread.

NOTE: If you run out of thread while sewing, then go back to step 5 to rethread a needle and repeat the steps again until you have sewn 3 sides of the materials together.

If you need further assistance, click here and view "whipstitch."

Step 8: Remove the Pins

Once the two long sides and one short side are sewn together successfully, remove the sewing pins from the material.

Step 9: Flip the Sleeve

Turn the sleeve inside out so the stitching is on the inside.

Optional additions can include buttons, ribbons, or additional stitching for decoration to make the book sleeve your own unique design.