Fabric Book Cover With Handles and Zipper

  • 01 of 09


    fabric book cover
    Debbie Colgrove

    This book cover zips closed and has pockets and handles, making it a perfect bible cover and great for so many special books. It makes a great hand sewn gift that will be treasured for years to come.


    • Fabric -- amount will depend on the size of your pattern. A lightweight quilted fabric works beautifully for this project.
    • A zipper
    • Thread
    • 1" nylon webbing for straps
    • Paper or pattern making material
    • Optional: Heavy craft interfacing if your fabric lacks body
    Continue to 2 of 9 below.
  • 02 of 09

    Measure the Book

    how to measure a book
    Debbie Colgrove
    • 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" to this measurement (1" for seam allowances and 1/2" for ease).
    • Measurement B -- Measure the height of the book and add 1 1/2" to this measurement (1" for seam allowances and 1/2" for ease).
    • Measurement C -- Make note of the width of the book back or 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
    Debbie Colgrove
    • Make a paper pattern, usually a rectangle Measurement A by Measurement B
    • Find the center of Measurement A by folding the paper in half. Divide Measurement C to have equal parts of Measurement C on each side of the center mark.
    • Mark 1/2" in around the edge of the entire paper pattern.
    • Measure the distance around the edge of one side of the pattern, at the 1/2" markings, from the markings for Measurement C. Add 1" to this measurement (now called Measurement D)
    • Make a second paper pattern,...MORE a rectangle, Measurement D by Measurement C with 1" added.
    • Mark the larger pattern piece 1/2" into the spine area from one side. This will be the inside book cover flaps.


    • Cut one of the main pattern piece
    • Cut one of the long narrow rectangle
    • Cut two of the inside book cover flaps
    • Optional: Cut two inside book flaps 1" narrower than the first ones for inside pockets

    Note: Rotary cutting tools are a great way to make sure you are making and cutting truly squared pieces.

    Continue to 4 of 9 below.
  • 04 of 09

    Zipper - Part 1

    Zipper Part 1
    Debbie Colgrove
    1. Cut the long strip 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
    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 Handle

    Piping and Handle
    Debbie Colgrove
    1. Sew optional piping at the 1/2" 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 webbing as shown in the photograph and decide the length of the handles you want.
    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...MORE 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 to the body piece stopping 1 1/2" from the edges. Be sure you have not twisted the webbing before stitching in place.
    7. Zigzag over the butted ends of the webbing. Top stitch the edges of the webbing, stopping and pivoting 1 1/2" from the handle edge of the fabric. Backstitch or repeat some stitching to secure the stitching.
    8. Pin the handles to the center area of the fabric so they are held out of the way during construction.
    Continue to 7 of 9 below.
  • 07 of 09

    Attaching Zipper Section to the Body Piece

    Attaching Zipper Section to the Body Piece
    Debbie Colgrove
    • With right sides together, match the center of one end of the zipper with the center of the body piece.
    • Repeat for the other end of the zipper section.
    • Clip the body piece 1/2" from the ends of the zipper section, to allow it to pivot around the zipper section.
    • 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.
    • 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
    Debbie Colgrove
    • Zigzag one edge of each interior flap section and optional pocket section. (An edge that is the height of the book.)
    • Fold under 1/2" at the zigzagged edges and stitch in place.
    • Align the raw edges of the interior flap and optional pocket, placing both sections right side up. Baste them together.
    • Place interior flap section 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...MORE smaller is fine but if it is too large, trim from the top raw edge to make it fit.
    Continue to 9 of 9 below.
  • 09 of 09

    Interior Flap and Optional Pocket - Part 2

    Interior Flap and Optional Pocket on book cover
    Debbie Colgrove
    • Sew in place. Repeat for both sides of the book cover.
    • Trim the corners to remove bulk and zigzag the raw edges.
    • Turn right side out, press, and insert book.