Make a Book Cover Out of an Unwanted T-shirt




Introduction: Make a Book Cover Out of an Unwanted T-shirt

In this Instructable you will learn how to make a book cover out of an old T-shirt.
This project can be finished either with a sewing machine or be sewn by hand.

Things you need
The book you would like to make a cover for
An old T-shirt
Scissors that can cut fabric
A pen or pencil 
Straight pins 
A hand needle or Sewing machine
A ruler 

Step 1: Measure Your Book

First lay your book open on your shirt to make sure you will have enough fabric to fit your book.

Once you are sure your book will fit take your ruler to measure the length and height of your book.

When you measure the length the book should be opened and layed flat like in picture 2.

My book is 14in long by 9.5in high, those will be the measurements used for our example, your book will probably be a different measurement.

Step 2: Drawing Your Pattern

Get your paper and ruler to begin drawing the pattern you will use to cut the pieces to make your book cover.

Draw a rectangle on the paper using the measurements you took in step 1. Do not draw your rectangle close to the edges of the paper, this is important for our next step.

The end product should look something like in picture 1.

When you are finished drawing your rectangle to double check your measurement place your book in the rectangle, the book should sit just within the line.

Step 3: Measuring and Pattern for the Inner Cover

This will be the pattern for the inside of the cover. This is the piece that holds your book cover to the book.

Measure the length of the cover of your book (picture 1).
My books cover was about 6 1/4in, for the book cover we want half of the length of the cover.
I will be using 3 1/4, a little over half.

Draw a new rectangle next to your first one, but not touching it, using your new measurement for the length but use the same hight measurement as before 9.5in.

You should end up with a rectangle looking like the one in picture 2.

Step 4: Adding Seam Allowance

Take your Ruler and add 1/2in on all the sides of the large rectangle, it will look like picture 1 when finished.
For the smaller rectangle only add 1/2in to the two short sides and one long side. leaving one long side unchanged which will look like picture 2 when finished.

Seam allowance is an extra 1/2 inch that is added to the outside of a pattern on all sides that are going to be sewn so that there is material to sew to and the finished product will be the intended measurements. 

Now when you set the book in the rectangle it will have extra space all around, like picture 3.

Step 5: Cut Out Your Pattern

Cut out both rectangles along the outer line. The cut patterns will look like in the picture.

Step 6: Prepping the T-Shirt

Lay out your shirt as flat as you can.
Next cut the shirt up one side, remove the sleeves and cut the shoulders. You can use the red dashed lines in picture 1 as a guide.

Once the shirt is cut you should be able to lay the shirt out flat like in picture 2

Step 7: Pinning the Pattern

lay out one side of your shirt so that there is only one layer of fabric and place your large rectangle patter on it. 
You can place your pattern anywhere on the fabric. If there is a pattern or graphic on the t-shirt you want on your book cover you can place the pattern over that.

Once you have placed the pattern where you would like it take your straight pins and begin pinning it to the fabric. 
It is very important the pins are placed parallel to the sides of the pattern as in the example pictures.

Once you are finished pinning cut out the rectangle.

Step 8: Pinning the Small Pattern

Lay out the other part of your shirt then fold it so that the fabric has two layers, like in picture 2.

Now lay your small rectangle pattern on the part of the fabric with two layers and pin it, as shown in picture 3.

Again It is very important the pins are placed parallel to the sides of the pattern and through all the layers of fabric as in the example pictures.

Once you are finished pinning go ahead and cut out the rectangle.

Step 9: Prepping for Sewing

Now you should have three pieces of fabric, one large rectangle and two small ones.
take the two smaller rectangles and place them on the opposite ends of the larger rectangle as illustrated in picture 2 and 3.

If your book cover has a pattern on it make sure you place the smaller rectangles on the side with the pattern. This is because after the book cover is sewn together it will be flipped inside out. 

Now that your pieces are placed pin them together.
It is important for this part that the straight pins are placed perpendicular to the sides of the fabric. Shown in picture 3 and 4.

The pins are places perpendicular to the fabric to let the sewing machine sew over them without the pins having to be removed.

Step 10: Sewing

For this step you can either use a sewing machine or you can hand stitch it.

Stitch along the out edge, remembering to leave your 1/2in seam allowance, where the small rectangles are on the large rectangle, but do not sew the inner edge, You can use the red dashed lines in the first picture as a guide.

When you are done sewing it should look like the 3rd picture.

Step 11: Cutting Corner (in a Good Way)

now clip off the excess thread and cut the corner as shown in picture 1, the finished product should look like picture 2.

Step 12: Flipping

Flip your finished book cover inside-out 

Finally place your newly made book cover on your book by sliding it over the cover.

Step 13: DONE

And there you have it! you have successfully recycles an unwanted t-shirt into a new book cover.

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    2 Discussions

    That's an awesome reuse! I never thought of using a t-shirt :)

    Also, it would be awesome if you put a picture of the finished book cover first so people can see right away what you are making!


    Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

    Thank you for the suggestion! c: I'm glad you liked it.