10 Sewing Projects for Book Lovers

10 Sewing Projects for Book Lovers
Books and sewing are a natural fit. Not only do books hold so many of the resources that make us better sewists, but readers and sewists tend to have a lot of overlap in general. Both are relatively solitary activities that require a bit of creativity—and some creative time management to be able to enjoy properly. We’ve rounded up a few fun projects that celebrate the best of both books and sewing!

1. Bookshelf Quilt Blocks

An adorable option for a baby quilt, kids’ blanket, or even a wall hanging. Simple blocks use strip piecing to emulate the spines of books on a shelf. An ideal scrap buster, you can use all kinds of different colours and patterns for the books, with monochromatic sashing to form the shelves of the bookcase. For the quilting, consider using invisible thread so the stitch colour doesn’t detract from the books or look overly busy.

2. Hardcover Clutch

This one’s a classic— literally! Use the outer cover of an old hardback book—pages removed—as the basis for an adorable clutch purse. Stitch up a simple lining and glue in place. Add handles, if desired, and a clasp to keep in closed, and your bookish clutch will hold more than just adventures and imagination.

3. Baby’s First Book

Babies are never too young to enjoy a story, even when they’re too young to handle books on their own. Create a baby-safe version using felt so they can follow along! Cut rectangles of felt to form your pages and use fabric markers, fabric paint, or applique and embroidery to add bold, colourful, simple shapes to your pages. Make sure if you choose to applique your pages that everything is securely attached and nothing could be removed and become a choking hazard. When your pages are done, layer them together with a slightly larger rectangle as the cover. Run a line of stitching down the middle to “bind” the book, working slowly to avoid damaging your sewing machine with this bulky seam.

4. E-Reader Case

For readers on the go, e-readers like the Kindle are a popular alternative to paper. A handmade protective case makes a great gift! Opt for sturdy fabrics like canvas or twill for maximum protection from bumps and spills, but make sure to take careful measurements as these materials tend to have very little natural stretch.

5. Book Pocket Cushion

What a great project for kids who fall asleep reading, or the little ones who can’t go to bed without one more story. It’s such a simple project, they can even help make it! Cut two pieces of material to the desired size of the cushion, plus seam allowance. Cut a third piece that is identical in width, but only about ⅔ the height of the others. Hem the top edge, then layer the pieces as follows: full sized piece, right side up, smaller piece right side down, full sized piece, right side down. Stitch the sides, leaving a gap to turn and stuff your cushion. It now has a built-in pocket perfect for stashing those bedtime reads!

6. Embroidered Bookmarks

Another fun scrap-busting project, and a great way to practise building crazy quilt blocks without having to stitch an entire quilt. Even tiny scraps are perfect for these mini-blocks, which can be as colourful or simple as you like. Add embellishment—hand embroidery is traditional for crazy quilts—or keep it plain and focused on the piecing. Just be sure to avoid anything with too much dimension; you want your bookmark to be basically flat. A great gift for readers of all ages!

7. Stuffed Book Toys

It makes a difference to be surrounded by books from a young age, even if those books aren’t necessarily readable. You can give your young bookworm a collection designed just for their stuffed toy friends by whipping up some book-shaped stuffed toys of their own. Perfect for stacking and playing, without the risk of torn pages, book avalanches, or scuffed covers.

8. Hand-Bound Journals

Bookbinding may not be the kind of sewing you’re used to, but there are definite similarities, and not just in the tools. Making sure your materials are cut to the right size, that the tension of your stitches isn’t too tight, and that there’s enough room for movement apply to both disciplines. If you’ve ever thought about trying out bookbinding for yourself, check out this tutorial for a handmade journal project that’s a perfect introduction. Not quite ready to sew your own pages? You can start by adding custom covers to your existing journals!

9. Book Rest Cushion

Do you ever get a twinge of sympathetic pain when you see a book lying sprawled face down on a table to mark the page, spine creaking and pages spreadeagled? A book rest cushion can help. They’re simple triangular cushions designed to let you set the book, open, over the point so you can mark your page without breaking your book’s spine. They need to be weighted and very firmly stuffed to support even the heaviest tomes, so opt for sawdust or plastic pellets rather than the usual soft poly-fill.

10. Quotable Projects

It can be a lot of fun to put your favourite quotes and bookish slogans on everything from canvas tote bags to t-shirts, and there are plenty of ways to do it besides having them professionally printed (though that’s a good option, too!). For a more textured look, try applique or embroidery, either by machine or by hand. Keep in mind, however, that quotes from books are protected by copyright unless they’re now in the public domain. While you’re free to enjoy the quotes and decorate your own items as you see fit, avoid using quotes from anything contemporary on any items you might include in a craft fair product lineup. If you’re in doubt as to whether a particular quote falls under public domain in the UK (and the regulations here are different than the US), stick to the safe course and choose a different quote.

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