So…for the covers of my frankenbooks I’m using a strong cotton upholstery fabric from Ikea with a bright, fun design. I’m going to applique the initial of the little one that it’s for on the front (for my two books it’s going to be K and I), and decorate the letter with buttons. Before I put the whole book together, I’m also going to prepare a little toy on a ribbon that will be used to play hide and seek in all the pockets in the book, and that will live in a pocket on the back of the book.
Materials I used
Upholstery weight fabric (to be strong and durable), approx 11″ x 24″.
Two scraps of fleece/felt in different colours.
Various random buttons.
Pocket from a pair of baby/toddler-sized jeans.
Small toy suitable for a baby that will fit in all of the pockets in your book. In one book I’m using a little cuddly rabbit, and in the other I’m using a wooden duck that was part of a rattley baby toy that I pulled apart.
Length of velvetty ribbon 50cm long approx.
What I did
Starting with the covers – the fabric that I’m using is 11″ high (same as the pages), and wide enough to fit 2 x 11″ pages plus a 2″ spine allowance (you’ll need to have a generous spine to fit all the chunky pockets etc. inside the book when it’s closed). First I measured and marked where the spine would be on the wrong side of the fabric using fabric chalk.
Now I’m going to prepare the bits that will be sewn on to the covers -the initial letter and the denim pocket.
I first drew out a design for the letters. I tried to copy this font, which is nice and rounded and chunky for children’s things: http://www.fontstock.net/7674/ragey.html
I cut the letter out of blue fleece and then pinned them onto a contrasting colour felt (I’m using yellow and red).
I roughly cut around the letter in the second fabric, and then zig-zag stitched the blue letter to the fabric underneath. I took out the pins and then cut the second fabric carefully, about 5-10mm from the edge of the blue letter to frame it.
I chose the buttons I wanted to use, and arranged them on the letter to check that they would fit, before hand sewing them securely to the letter using a double thickness of thread, which I knotted at both ends.
Now take your cover fabric, and fold it on the first chalk line you drew to mark where the spine is. This is so that you can see just the front part of the covers to position the letter more accurately.
Pin the letter to the cover, and then straight stitch around the second fabric, about 2-3mm from the edge. I sewed back over my line of stitching at beginning and end to make sure that it wouldn’t come undone. As the fabrics won’t fray, you don’t need to do anything more to finish the edges.
I then chose a denim jeans pocket that would comfortably fit the back cover of my book, and was big enough for the toy to fit into. I cut around the pocket, leaving about 1cm extra fabric all around. I then simply pinned and top-stiched the pocket into place around the sides and bottom. I used two rows of straight stitch to reflect the double rows of stitching that were on the original jeans. I found that I needed to carefully hand-crank my machine for this as the denim was very thick in places and started breaking needles if I tried to go too fast.
Here are the finished covers so far (the back cover is on the left when the book is laid out flat):
Now for the toy…I’m going to show what I did for both toys as they were quite different.
Both toys will be attached to a velvetty textured ribbon and sewn into the spine of the books. I first cut the ribbons to length (mine are about 50cm long each) and sealed the ends by running a lighter flame along the edge (as described on page 6 – in the pic the left one is sealed):
I then folded the ribbons in half, and sewed along the edge so that they ended up 1/2 the width and velvetty on both sides (a bit more like soft, velvetty cord than ribbon). I left them unsewn for an inch or two at each end to help with attaching to the toys.
For the soft bunny, I folded the end of the ribbon over and pinned this to the bunny’s back.
I then securely hand-sewed this to the bunny in a crossed-square pattern:
For the wooden duck, which already had a hole drilled through it, I used a darning needle to thread the ribbon through the hole like this:
I then knotted the end of the ribbon, and trimmed + re-sealed the end so that just a little bit of ribbon stuck out of the knot to look a little bit like a duck’s foot:
Done! And the toy can go in it’s little pocket home on the back cover…
Woop! Now you’re finally ready to put all of your lovely patchy pages together! ….
Go to Putting it All Together