Tuesday, February 2, 2016

The Perfect Quiet Book Cover Tutorial

Welcome to the very first WildChildhood tutorial! 

Have you ever had an idea that when all was said and done worked out wonderfully?! Lets be honest, this doesn't happen very often. You should see all my abandoned “ideas” in my craft room basement… actually, you’d be as horrified as my husband, so never mind.

But this one - THIS ONE - turned out so well (dare I say even better than I was hoping for) 
that I wanted to pass along its goodness.

I present to you the best quiet book cover in the history of ever! (How’s that for pinterest click bait?!) After scouring Pinterest and compiling all my MUST HAVES for a quiet book I came up with one that I hope you will love as much as I {and my twins} do:

Squishy but durable
Simple/sleek - no crazy tabs or handles or strings or doo-dads
Fit a fair amount of pages at one time (8 ish)
Removable pages so I could swap them out as my kids get older and need more advanced pages.

My finished cover ended up being 10x10” with the inside pages measuring 8X9”. I think its the perfect size because its small enough to fit in a diaper bag but large enough to make activity  pages for tiny hands.

I would classify this tutorial as INTERMEDIATE for two reasons. 

  1. You only need to know how to sew straight lines on a sewing machine (you also don't HAVE to use a sewing machine, although i’d highly recommend it!).
  1. You DO need to be able to sew a binding. Now, before you click away, I will link you to the best tutorial that will tell EXACTLY how to make and sew on a binding. They say it MUCH better than I ever could and are super helpful… Don’t be afraid to do it! You will be sewing binding like a pro in no time!

Sewing machine (Not totally necessary, but I recommend)
Three 2" Binder rings - I found mine at Target in a multi pack
Embroidery needle for hand sewing 

Main Cotton fabric - 1/3 yard
Accent Cotton fabric - 1/4 yard
Binding Cotton fabric - 1/4 yard - I chose for this to be the same as my accent fabric
White felt by the yard - 1/3 yard
Felt - scraps or about 1 8X10 sheet (For the letters)
Embroidery Floss
WONDER UNDER (Fusible webbing) ~1/4 yard. If you’re not planning to also stitch your letters on for reinforcement I would recommend getting the heavy duty variety.
Freezer paper - one 8.5X11" sheet

Okay! Here we go!

Cut the following pieces:

4 pieces - 10X10” from your main color
3 pieces - 4”X10” from your accent color 
2 pieces - 2”X44” from your binding color (or store bought binding of at least 2 yards)
2 pieces of white felt 11”X25”
Felt letters

Before cutting out the felt letters:

~Print this pattern by right clicking and saving it to your computer. From there, just open it and print onto your 8.5 X11" freezer paper (make sure you print onto the papery side and not the waxy side).

~ Following the instructions included with the wonder under, iron on the Wonder Under to the BACK side of the felt that you want to use. Keep the paper backing on until the letters are cut.

~ Cut out the letters by printing the above pattern onto the paper-y side of FREEZER PAPER (not wax paper) and ironing it slippery side down to the top of the felt. This ensures you make clean and accurate cuts of your felt.

You’re basically going to make a sandwich of WONDER UNDER :: FELT :: FREEZER PAPER which will make it super easy to cut out because the felt will be more stiff and the pattern won’t shift.


A couple things to keep in mind…

Always sew a 1/4” seam allowance unless otherwise directed.

If something is not making sense, refer to the pictures. Pictures are worth 1000 words, as they say. :) If its still not making sense please ask me to clarify!!

Okay, on to sewing the cover

Take two of your 10X10” pieces and one of your 4X10” pieces and sew them as shown below to make one long piece with the accent color in the middle. Do this twice so you have two identical pieces. Iron the seams towards the middle.

For the third 4X10” piece, fold it in half long ways, with the right side of the fabric facing in and sew straight down the cut side to end up with a tube. Flip the tube right side out and iron it so that the seam is in the middle and not on the edge.

Line up this tube in the center of the accent color of ONE of your newly sewn cover pieces (this will be the inside cover) and pin in place. Make sure that the seam of the tube is facing in towards the cover. 

Now mark three lines (these are where the binding rings will go) with a light pencil or washable marking pen. One line in the center and then one line 2.5” above and one 2.5” below. Make sure this part is pinned down really well so it doesn't slip around.

Sew a straight line on either side of these markings to make a little casing for your binder rings. The tighter the casings, the less wiggle room for your rings and the more neat your pages will look inside the book. Make sure the casing is about 1/4”.

On the OTHER cover piece (the one that will be the outside face of the cover) arrange the letters “Quiet Book” how you’d like them to be on the RIGHT HAND side or your letters will end up on the back of the book. Make sure you have removed all the paper backing (and freezer paper, if you used that method) from the felt and iron the letters on when you have them arranged just right.

You can either move on from here after they are securely ironed on OR you can hand sew with embroidery floss around each letter to ensure that they will not fall off. I choose to hand sew them on. You never know what little hands will try to do to these letters.

Now for the cover sandwich!

Lay your two layers of felt on a hard, flat surface. Take the outside face of your cover and lay it on top of the felt but line up the upper right hand corners. Smooth out the fabric and layers so there are no bumps and the top and right hand edges are straight and lined up. 

Flip over the whole sandwich being careful that nothing shifts. Lay down the inside face of your cover and line up the same corner (now should be in the upper left) and make sure there is no overhang of your outside layers. If anything, the inside felt can overhang a bit because we will be trimming this layer in a minute.

Pin the heck out of this sandwich but don't have any pins over hanging the edge (since we’ll be trimming the edge next). We also don’t want any shifting of the layers during the next few steps. 

Now, CAREFULLY trim all edges of the sandwich. Frequently check both the front and the back of what you're cutting. You should ONLY BE CUTTING FELT at this point. If you’re having to trim any of your fabric, STOP, readjust your sandwich and re-pin. If you cut off any fabric your cover will end up crooked.

Keeping the sandwich pinned, sew around the entire sandwich using a 1/2” seam allowance. We need the extra space around the edge to sew on the binging later.

PRO TIP: When you get to a corner, sew 1/2” short of the end of the fabric and keeping your needle down, lift the presser foot and turn your work 90 degrees. Put your presser foot back down and sew along your merry little way. This makes a perfect corner without having to stop and trim thread.

To reinforce your cover and to make it bend easier where its supposed to, sew on either side of your accent color (see above picture). I also sewed an “X” on what will be the back cover to make it feel more sturdy but that is optional.

ALMOST DONE! I hope you can see the light at the end of the tunnel.

For the binding… My favorite way to bind things (quilts, pages, etc.) is by using this method. Start on step #2 to walk you through making the binding and sewing it to your cover.

For this project, use a 1/4” seam allowance to sew on your binding. 

And to finish it up add in the rings...

And thats it! See? it wasn't so bad! Now that its done, it should motivate you to make pages to go inside! The best part about this cover is that even if you have one page done its useable. So make a page, add it to the rings and let your little one enjoy!

Keep your eye out for a basic page tutorial coming soon. It will give you all the basic measurements and directions to make your own 8X9” base for a page if you wanted to design your own (or adapt one you find on pinterest).

I will also be adding some my own page patterns to my Etsy shop that will have every detail explained so you can fill up your new cover with awesome pages. So look for those!

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