Friday, 11 May 2012

Covering An Ugly Book With A Beautiful Cover Tutorial

Is that title explicit enough?

A few weeks ago I discussed how it was already May and I needed to get my backside into gear and cover my 2012 diary.

I did a search on the internet, but I couldn’t find the tutorial that suited me.  I knew exactly what I wanted to do but I couldn’t find it.  I’m sure it’s out there, and I didn’t look too hard, but I figured Oh why not add a tutorial to the masses that are already out there?  I’m nothing if not innovative.

So here is MY version of the tutorial.  At the very least, it’ll save me hours of searching NEXT May when it’s time to cover 2013’s diary.

Step One: 

Collect your supplies.  You’ll need general sewing requirements, plus wadding, backing and a piece of fabric (or a quilted item) that will cover your book.

I have made a piece of quilted fabric from hexagons left over from another project, and quilted it already.  I didn’t put a backing on it, it will be covered with lining so it doesn’t matter if the wadding is showing for now.  I’ve embellished, I’ve used old quilt blocks, I’ve pieced all sorts for my various diary covers.  Go nuts.


Step Two: 

Measure your book.  You will need to record the measurement from side to side and top to bottom.


In my case, my book measures 12.25” from side to side by 8.50” from top to bottom.

Step Three: 

Add some width and depth to your measurements – if you’re making a small cover, add about five inches to the side to side measurements.  If you’re making a medium or large book, add about eight inches to these measurements.  We are allowing for the ‘foldover’ part of your diary cover.

You also need to add 1” to the top and bottom measurement.

So using my cover as a guide – I’ll add about 6 inches to the side to side measurement, plus 1” to the top to bottom measurement.  So my new measurements will be 16.25” x 9.50”.

Step Four:

Cut your quilted fabric to measure the same as the numbers above – e.g. my measurements were 16.25” x 9.25” so I need to cut to the same size.

Step Five:

Hem each short length of your diary cover by folding .25” to wrong side and top stitching down.



Measure this now.  Mine measures 15” x 9.5” after this step.

Step Six:

Mark the centre of your cover with a pin or light pencil mark.  Lay book cover flat right sides up.



Fold the flaps over to the right side.  Do this by laying the book over the right side of the cover, matching pin with centre spine of book.  Fold one flap over, making sure your book doesn’t move from its position.  Pin flap in place.  Repeat with other side.



I can already see here how my flaps are far too small, so make sure that you err to the side of generous when you calculate how much to fold over.  Too small and you run the risk of your book not slipping into its cover but constantly falling out.   You can always cut them smaller if you need to.

Quickly check that your book will fit inside the cover by laying the book over the cover, matching the centre spine of the book with the pin in the centre of the cover.  Make sure you remove the pin!  Slip the book inside the cover – the cover should be slightly bigger than the book.  We can adjust this – if you think your book is too small and the cover will be floppy, make the flaps a little larger.  If the reverse is true, and the book won’t fit inside the cover, you need to make the flaps a little smaller.

Step Seven

Measure your book cover and record this measurement.  Mine now measures 9.5” x 12.25”.  Cut a piece of lining this size.


Lay this lining piece right sides together over your book cover so that the flaps are covered and secure top and bottom with pins.



Stitch along the top and bottom of the cover using a 1/4” seam. 


Step Eight:

Turn through.  This is a two part step.

Firstly, turn the cover so that the right side is showing.  Slip your hand into the cover, grasping the opposite side.


Pull through to right side.  I like to press it flat now so that the lining is neatly under the right side of the book cover.



Now you need to fold the flaps back to the wrong side.



Give your diary a good press and slip the diary in.


Hopefully, all fits nicely and snuggly and you’re happy with your diary cover!  Obviously my cover flaps are far too small, so be sure to include more for yours.

This will work for any book, though I only ever really use it for those books with harder covers. 



  1. Thanks for the tut! It was easy to understand. I'll put it on my list to do! Very cute!

  2. Thanks so much, Karen!

    I'd probably like to remake it so that it fits better but not going to bother.

    Thanks again