I bought a new beginner’s sewing machine last saturday and I’ve managed to just absolutely fall in love with machine sewing!! 🙂
I found this adorable counting book panel to make as practice with my new machine and here is an easy guide on how you can make a cute soft children’s book too!
What you need :
– storybook panel
– batting : three 10 inch by 20 inch pieces
– sewing machine (or not, if you choose to hand sew it :))
– thread (I used black thread, but dark brown or any color you’d like would do!)
– pin needles
How to sew together your soft book :
1. Pick out your panel and make sure that it is a COMPLETE panel with all of your pages. I bought a handful of panels at my local quilt shop and was actually given an extra third of a panel.. so again, make sure your panel is complete. All panels should have instructions on the side or on the bottom of the pages. READ THE INSTRUCTIONS BEFORE YOU CUT ANYTHING! 🙂
Cut out your pages as marked on your panel. My local quilt shop carries this “Mary Ellen’s Best Press” promoting it as “The Clear Starch and Sizing Alternative” but I use it as a light starch. Just spray it on your fabric and iron away ! 🙂 You don’t need to starch and iron your fabric but it does help quite significantly when you’re lining up your pages and sewing them on your machine. This light starch is easy to use and got every wrinkle out of my fabric 🙂
(P.S. You can find this Best Press starch on maryellenproducts.com , she offers a variety of light starches and plenty of ironing agents. Mine is a no-scent starch but she also offers peach scented, lavender-scented and many more, so go check out a great light starch at an affordable price.)
2. After starching and ironing all my pages, I prepare to cut my batting. This book calls for 3 pieces of 10″ by 20″ batting; I grab my ruler, then measure and mark the batting for my pages.
3. Before beginning, personalize any parts of the book that you’d like. The last page on this book has “This book was made with love for my little treasure hunter” , allowing you to write your child’s name, or to whomever you’re making it for, with a permanent fabric marker. If you’d like to embroider a name or add any touches to any of the pages in the book, that should also be done before beginning to put the book together.
4. This is where your soft book will require some attention to detail. You will have to stack the pages in pairs, following your book’s instructions; All books are not the same, please read your book’s instructions carefully. My first pair will be pages 12/1 facing up with pages 2/11 face down on top. After pairing these two pages, I then carefully line up the edges of the pages and pin [needle] them so that when I sew them, they are even and straight on the edges.
It helped me to hold up both pages by the light , align both of the pages layout lines and pin them together. Make sure that you pin with the tip of the pin needles away from the direction that you are going to be sewing in, otherwise you will be surprised by little pricks as you sew along.
A lesson I learned real quick! 😛
5. After aligning and pinning all of your pages, you will then place one pair of pages on top of one piece of batting. You will the have three layers ; batting on the bottom, followed by the pair of pages, one facing up and the other facing down on top.
6. And now you are ready to sew! Make sure that your batting is the same size as your pages. Also make sure that you keep these three layers aligned at all times throughout your sewing. I was so excited sewing this on my machine that one set of pages batting shifted a bit sideways causing one of my pages to have a bit less batting on one corner than the other; Lesson learned, pin your layers to keep them from shifting out of place!
If you’re machine sewing your book, you can use your foot as a guide to sew a 1/4″ seam. If you are hand sewing this, make sure your draw your 1/4″ seam line with a water-soluble marker, or friction pen; what method do you use to mark your seams? Fabric pencil? Seam tape? Let me know what you use, all I’ve tried is the water-soluble marker and the friction pen. 🙂
So on you go, sewing your 1/4″ seams all around a pair of pages on top of a piece of batting. You are going to sew all the way around, but allow about a 4 inch opening at the bottom or a corner for turning.
7. After your done sewing your pages, and have left a 4 inch opening for turning, trim off the corners and any excess batting and/or fabric. Then flip all of your pages inside out AKA “right side out”. Figure out the best way to turn your pages right side out with some patience, if you pull too much fabric through at a time you may tear or unsew the cloth next to the opening. Take your time flipping them right side out; I found that pulling the opposite end of the page first eases the pressure on the opening. Use your fingers to push all the corners out and even out your fabric all around.
I used the same black thread to hand sew my openings together using the “invisible stitch” or the “binding stitch”, as some quilters call it. 🙂
8. After making all of your page sets, you can now put your book together. Stack your pages in order, then hold the book together and flip through the pages to make sure the numbers/story are in proper order. Once your pages are in order, lay your book down and open in the middle of the book to bind all of the pages together. The middle of this book is page 5 and 6, so I align all of my pages in my book, with the book open to page 5/6 and sew the center all the way down.
I assume most people just sew a straight line down the center to bind their pages, but I decided to sew a rectangular like pattern along the center. Just to ensure it keeps for a while before it threatens to fall apart after your child has read it a hundred times 🙂
This completed book measures about 9-1/2″ squared. Not too small , not too big to carry in your purse for your child to read in the car.
I hope this tutorial guided you as to how to put a cloth book together, or even better, INSPIRED you to sew a cloth book of your own! 🙂
Thank you for reading, stay tuned for more fun tutorials and posts and don’t forget to follow my blog!
AND YES, you still have time to follow my blog (via email) AND receive a free book!! But hurry , books are limited! I am running out of the “Counting book with the pirates of treasure bay” and now offering a handful of different books, but you can’t claim yours unless you follow my blog!
Again, thanks for reading ! I hope you’ve enjoyed this tutorial! If you make any soft books, take pictures and post them so that I can see your projects! 🙂
Stay tuned, I will post more tutorials and giveaways soon!
Toodles for now,
Diana and Ray ❤