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Sew News Magazine

From SEW NEWS December '82/January '83 Issue

Book covers to make for everyone
Carol Nanninga

If you don't have a prayer of completing Uncle Avery's half-finished sweater before the holidays, a sew-fast book cover may be the answer to your Christmas traumas.
This quick gift can be made in about a half hour, using fabric scraps and trims leftover from other sewing projects. The instructions below specify lace for the trim and ribbon as the tie closure, but use your imagination to customize your gift to the recipient.
A birdwatcher would enjoy a cover of coated pack cloth for a well-worn manual. Instead of a ribbon tie, use nylon webbing that slips through two small metal loops or a buckle. A suedecloth cover with -an embroidered monogram in the corner makes a dignified-looking cover for a Bible or prayerbook.
For a cook, use lightweight, plastic coated fabric--without interfacing--and slip it over an exotic cookbook. Dress up your mother's worn address book with a cover of synthetic leather or suede. A little girl would love her favorite book of fairytales covered in a Strawbeny Shortcake print, edged with lots of pink trim. Cover a school notebook with a sturdy denim cover piped with orange trim. Or make it from an old pair of jeans, with a back pocket centered on the front to hold pencils or notes. Use the piece of waistband with the snap closure in place of the ribbon closure.

Half-hour gifts for the whole family

Most paperback books are 7" in height (top to bottom) but vary in thickness. If planning to cover a specific paperback or hardback book, you'll need the height and wrap-around length--the measurement from the edge of the front cover, around the spine to the edge of the back cover.


1 cover, the height of the book plus 1 1/2 ", by the wrap-around length of the book plus 1 1/2"
1 piece of lining the same size as above, in the same or contrasting fabric
2 inside flaps, 4" wide by the height of the book plus 11/2"
1 piece fusible interfacing cut to match the main cover
2 pieces of fusible interfacing cut to fit the inside flaps
2 pieces of ribbon, about 10" each, for tie closures
1 piece of ribbon the height of the book, for a bookmark
Ruffles, piping, lace or other trim, as desired

1. Fuse the interfacing to the wrong side of the cover and the wrong side of the inside flaps.
Figure 1

2. Press under 1/2" on one long edge of each of the inside flaps, and machine stitch along the pressed edge.
3. Pin and baste the ruffle or piping along the edges of the cover, easing extra trim into corners, and matching the edge of the trim to the cut edge of the fabric (Figure 1).
4. Baste ribbons to the edge of the center front and back, so the loose ends trail to the middle of the cover. Baste the book marker slightly to the right of center on the upper edge of the cover (Figure 1).
Figure 2

5. Pin the right sides of the flaps, sewn edge toward center, to the right side of the main cover. Pin the lining over all. (Figure 2) Using a 1/2" seam allowance, sew only the upper and lower edge seams, keeping trim free. (Figure 3)
Figure 3
6. Turn inside out so the cover is on one side, lining and flaps on the other. Press.
7. Flip only the inside flap so its right side faces the right side of the main cover. Pin edge, keeping trim free. Stitch the end, using 1/2 seam allowance (Figure 4). Repeat on other side.
Figure 4

8. Trim corners, turn and press.
9. Trim ribbons to desired lengths. Use Fray-Check on ribbon ends to prevent raveling.

Neckties for piping Cut old neckties into lengthwise bias strips for making piping. Use it at the inside seam line that joins the facing and lining of a jacket, for an elegant finishing touch. Pressing bias Garment pieces cut on the bias should be pressed with the lengthwise grainline, to avoid stretching. Finishing a trim After stitching a narrow braid (soutache) to a garment, finish the raw edge of the trim by piercing a hole in the fabric, spreading the fibers apart instead of tearing them. Carefully force the end of the braid through the hole and hand tack it on the underside.
Copyright © 1983
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