Fabric Book Cover With Handles and Zipper

  • 01 of 09

    Make a Fabric Book Cover

    fabric book cover
    The Spruce / Debbie Colgrove

    A fabric book cover is a fun sewing project and this tutorial will show you how to make one with pockets and handles that closes with a zipper. It makes a perfect Bible cover and will work for any other special books that someone carries often. You'll enjoy this simple project and it's a thoughtful handmade gift that will be treasured for years to come.

    Materials Needed

    Assemble these items:

    • Fabric. The exact amount will depend on the size of your pattern and book. A lightweight quilted fabric works beautifully for this project.
    • Zipper
    • Sewing thread
    • 1-inch nylon webbing for straps
    • Paper or another pattern-making material
    • Heavy craft interfacing if your fabric lacks body (optional)
    Continue to 2 of 9 below.
  • 02 of 09

    Measure the Book

    how to measure a book
    The Spruce / Debbie Colgrove

    The book cover can be custom-fit to any size of book, so the first step is to take three measurements: 

    • Measurement A: With the book closed, measure the distance from the outer edge of one cover, around the book to the outer edge of the other cover. Add 1 1/2 inches to this measurement (1 inch for seam allowances and 1/2 inch for ease).
    • Measurement B: Measure the height of the book and add 1 1/2 inches to this measurement (1 inch for seam allowances and 1/2 inch for ease).
    • Measurement C: Make note of the width of the book's spine.
    Continue to 3 of 9 below.
  • 03 of 09

    Make a Paper Pattern and Cut the Fabric

    Paper Pattern to Sew a Fabric Bookcover
    The Spruce / Debbie Colgrove

    To make this project easier, take the time to make a paper pattern for all of the pieces you will need. Just like any other sewing pattern, it helps you avoid wasting fabric by giving you a template to work with to ensure all your measurements are correct.

    1. Make a paper pattern. This will usually be a rectangle of measurement A by measurement B.
    2. Find the center of measurement A by folding the paper in half. Divide measurement C so you have equal parts of measurement C on each side of the center mark.
    3. Mark 1/2 inch around the edge of the entire paper pattern.
    4. Measure the distance around the edge of one side of the pattern, at the 1/2-inch markings, from the markings for measurement C. Add 1 inch to this measurement (now called measurement D).
    5. Make a second paper pattern. It will be a long, narrow rectangle: Measurement D by measurement C with 1 inch added. This will be the zippered portion that wraps around the front of the book.
    6. Mark the larger pattern piece 1/2 inch into the spine area from one side. This will be the inside book cover flaps. If you prefer, make a separate pattern for the flaps.

    Cut the Fabric

    When cutting the fabric, rotary cutting tools are a great way to make sure you are cutting truly squared pieces. This will help your accuracy when sewing.

    You will need to cut:

    • One main pattern piece
    • One long narrow rectangle (zipper section)
    • Two of the inside book cover flaps
    • Optional: Cut two inside book flaps 1 inch narrower than the first ones for inside pockets.
    Continue to 4 of 9 below.
  • 04 of 09

    Zipper: Part 1

    Zipper Part 1
    The Spruce / Debbie Colgrove

    You will begin by sewing the zipper section using the piece of fabric that was cut into a long, narrow rectangle (measurement D by C). Ensure that the zipper you use is the same length as the fabric. If needed, shorten the zipper to match.

    1. Cut the narrow rectangle of fabric in half lengthwise.
    2. Sew the adjusted zipper face down to one long edge of the strip, aligning the edge of the zipper tape to the edge of the fabric. Stitch on the zipper tape guideline.
    3. Zigzag the edge as a seam finish.
    4. Press the seam allowance back under the fabric.
    Continue to 5 of 9 below.
  • 05 of 09

    Zipper: Part 2

    Top stitch near the folded edge of zipper
    The Spruce / Debbie Colgrove
    1. Top stitch near the folded edge.
    2. Repeat for the other side of the zipper, keeping the ends of the fabric strip even.
    3. Lay the finished zipper section on your pattern piece and be sure they are the same size. Evenly trim the fabric from both sides, if necessary.
    Continue to 6 of 9 below.
  • 06 of 09

    Piping and Handles

    Piping and Handle
    The Spruce / Debbie Colgrove

    In this step, you will add decorative piping around the book cover (if you like) and attach the webbing to create the handles.

    1. Sew optional piping at the 1/2-inch seam allowance if desired.
    2. Fold the main body piece in half (as it will wrap around the book) and gently press the halfway mark.
    3. Lay the webbing as shown in the photograph so a handle is formed on either end of the main body. Decide the length of the handles you want and make adjustments as needed.
    4. Cut the webbing and gently melt the raw ends to prevent fraying.
    5. Fold the webbing in half and mark the halfway point.
    6. Measure an even distance from each side edge. Lay one end of the webbing at the fold mark on the body of the fabric, lay the halfway mark of the webbing on the fold of the body piece an even distance from the other side of the body. Bring the other end of the webbing to meet the first end. Pin the webbing in place to the body piece, stopping 1 1/2 inches from the edges. Be sure you have not twisted the webbing before stitching it into place.
    7. Zigzag over the butted ends of the webbing. Topstitch the edges of the webbing, stopping and pivoting 1 1/2 inches from the handle edge of the fabric. Backstitch or repeat some stitching to secure this stitching and make it stronger.
    8. Pin the handles to the center area of the fabric so they are held out of the way during the rest of the cover's construction.
    Continue to 7 of 9 below.
  • 07 of 09

    Attach Zipper Section

    Attaching Zipper Section to the Body Piece
    The Spruce / Debbie Colgrove

    With your zipper sewn onto fabric and the handles attached, it's time to start assembling the book cover. To begin, you will sew the zipper section to the main body piece.

    1. With the right sides facing each other, match the center of one end of the zipper with the center of the body piece.
    2. Repeat for the other end of the zipper section.
    3. Clip the body piece 1/2 inch from the ends of the zipper section, to allow it to pivot around the zipper section.
    4. Align the edges of the body piece with the zipper piece, clipping the zipper section for it to pivot around the corners of the body piece.
    5. Open the zipper and repeat for the opposite edge. Stitch in place.
    Continue to 8 of 9 below.
  • 08 of 09

    Interior Flap and Optional Pocket: Part 1

    Interior Flap and Optional Pocket on a fabric book cover with a zipper and handle
    The Spruce / Debbie Colgrove

    Now, you will construct the interior flaps and add the pockets, if you decided to include those.

    1. Zigzag one edge—the height of the book—of each interior flap section and optional pocket section.
    2. Fold under 1/2 inch at the zigzagged edges and stitch in place.
    3. Align the raw edges of the interior flap and optional pocket, placing both sections right side up. Baste them together.
    4. Place interior flap on the body section, right sides together, aligning the raw edges. This flap section should only go to where the end of the zipper section pivots to meet the body. A bit smaller is fine but if it is too large, trim from the top raw edge to make it fit.
    5. Sew in place.

    Repeat these steps for both sides of the book cover.

    Continue to 9 of 9 below.
  • 09 of 09

    Interior Flap and Optional Pocket: Part 2

    Interior Flap and Optional Pocket on book cover
    The Spruce / Debbie Colgrove

    Just a little finishing work to tidy things up and your book cover will be complete:

    1. Trim the corners to remove bulk and zigzag the raw edges.
    2. Turn right side out, press, and insert the book.