Want to learn how to sew a fabric book cover to protect your journal or other books? This cover is easy and even has a zippered pocket so you can stow your pens!
The measurements for this cover make it a perfect fit for a standard composition book, but you could adjust the size for other books too. It's especially good for journals or sketchbooks like might get a lot of wear, but it's also a fun way to add your own personality to an otherwise plain blank book. Keeping your writing and drawing tools with the book is an added feature!
If you've never sewn a zipper before, don't worry! First, you could skip the pocket. But better yet, give this a try and learn one simple way to sew a zipper.
Ready to sew a book cover? Choose your fabric and get started!
Equipment / Tools
- Rotary Cutting Tools
- Sewing Machine and Zipper Foot
- Iron and Ironing Board
- Seam Ripper
- Embroidery Needle
- 1/8 yard Fabric A - Top
- 1/4 yard Fabric B - Bottom
- 2/3 yard Fabric C - Lining
- Matching thread
- 1 6-inch Zipper
- Perle Cotton Embroidery Thread
Cutting and Measuring for the Zipper
From fabric A, cut a 3 x 24-1/2" piece. From fabric B, cut a 9 x 24-1/2" piece. From fabric C, cut two 10-3/4 x 24-1/2" pieces.
Pin the fabric A piece to the top of the fabric B piece. Measure in 5-1/4" from the right edge and mark with two pins. This will be where the stopper of the zipper should line up. At the other end of the zipper, mark with two pins.
Set aside the zipper.
Sew the Top and Bottom Pieces Together
Starting at the end, sew with a 5/8" seam allowance until just before the first set of double pins. Stop and backstitch, then adjust your stitch length to a basting stitch. Continue sewing until you reach just beyond the other set of double pins. Stop and adjust your stitch length back to standard, then backstitch and continue sewing to the end.
Pin the Zipper in Place
Press the seam open. On the back, pin the zipper in place so that the ends are centered in the basted area and the zipper teeth are on the seam.
Flip the piece over and repin with the pins now on the right side. Remove the pins from the back.
Pinning the back first, and then using that as a guide for pinning the front keeps the zipper in the correct place and ensures that you don't sew over the pins.
Sew around the Zipper
Attach the zipper foot to your sewing machine. Starting on the top and just to the right of the end with the zipper pull, start sewing a box around the zipper. You should be able to feel and make sure the zipper foot is up against the teeth of the zipper.
Feel or check for where the stopper is and sew just beyond that. With the needle down, pivot the fabric and sew across the zipper to the other side, then pivot it again to sew the second side of the zipper.
When you get close to the end, but before you sew next to the zipper pull, stop with the needle down. Lift the foot and turn your work a little so you can work with the seam. Carefully pick the basting stitching with a seam ripper so the zipper pull is exposed and you can unzip it a little.
Hold the unzipped zipper in place as you finish sewing the box around the zipper. End with a backstitch, then pick out the remaining basting stitches.
Note: Wendi Gratz has an excellent video showing this method of installing a zipper.
Sew the Layers Together
Pin the outside and lining pieces together. Start with a lining piece, right side up, then the outside right side up, and the second lining piece wrong side up. Mark an area on the lower left to leave as an opening.
Sew around the rectangle with a 3/8" seam allowance, backstitching at the beginning and end of the opening.
Trim the corners to reduce bulk, then turn the cover right side out. Press. Sew the opening closed with a blind stitch.
Sew the Pocket Sides
Fold the cover in half and press with an iron to crease the fold. Fold the two ends back to make 4" flaps and press to crease the fold.
Sew a straight line on all three creases. These define the edges of the pocket and the line on the back flap keeps things consistent for front and back.
Sew the Flaps
Thread a needle with perle cotton or other embroidery thread and tie a knot at the other end. Hide the knot between the layers.
Take a stitch through the front and back of the flap, then stitch the flap together with coral knot stitch.
To do this, bring the needle through the layers and pointed toward you. Lay the working thread over the seams and then bring it under the tip of the needle. Pull the stitch through.
Repeat the stitch until you reach the end. For each stitch, bring the needle through, then pass the thread across and then under the needle.
At the end, go back through one layer of the flap and secure the end with a knot.
Repeat for the top and bottom of both flaps.
Slide your composition book into the cover. You will need to fold the front and back cover back a little to get it in place. Once it's in the cover, it will hold securely.
For extra flair and to make the zipper easier to grasp, braid some embroidery thread and attach it to the zipper pull.
Add your pens and zip it closed!
Your composition book cover is all finished and it will keep your work safe and stylish! It's a fun way to make a simple supply more special.
Tips and Ideas
- Want to cover a different type of book? Use the same principle, but adjust the measurements.
- If you want to skip the pocket, you can work with just one layer of lining fabric.
- To keep the book more secure, make an elastic band to hold it closed.