Sewing Back-to-School Basics: Book Covers and More

The back-to-school rush begins in August, and continues through Labor Day. This year, sew some of those basics that your youngster will need. These items might include custom-designed book covers, book bags, bookmarks, eyeglass cases, and even quilts/sleeping bags for sleepovers. All of these can be personalized if you like.

Unlike book covers that are made from paper, cloth covers are washable, which certainly adds to their desirability.

Choose durable fabrics that will take a lot of wear for these back-to- school items. For young kids, fabrics with cartoon or movie characters or related motifs are especially suitable. Most fabric stores will have complete lines of juvenile, color-coordinated prints from which you can choose. Another option is to mix-and-match remnants for a pieced book cover.

Basically, a book cover consists of fabric rectangles that are sewn together along the edges. There are openings for inserting the front and back covers of the book into the book cover.

These book covers can be as simple or as fancy as you like. For example, you could do a patchwork for the front.

Books come in all different shapes and sizes. For that reason, it is often helpful to start with a pattern or pattern book, such as “Scraps and Books and Covers,” published by Four Corners Designs. An especially useful title, this color-illustrated book features patterns for nine different book covers as well as five other versions for scrap books. It has easy to follow, illustrated, step-by-step instructions from start to finish along with full size appliqués.

Book bags are another basic item for back-to-school. This title has patterns for two styles of book bags as well as accessories. Among these are five bookmarks and an eyeglass case.

For those sleepovers, equip your youngster with a backpack quilt. This practical item can be used for all sorts of events throughout the school year from ball games and school picnics to sleepovers and school trips.

The concept of a backpack quilt is pretty simple. It is a quilt that can be folded and stored in its own attached backpack. Patterns are available in fabric stores and online.

Four Corners Designs has published a book of patterns called “Backpack Quilts” that has seven versions. Among these projects are two quick and easy quilts that are just perfect for novices. This book carefully explains step-by-step how to construct the quilt and its attached bag. One version lets you start with a pre-printed juvenile panel and add borders to create a quilt for your youngster.

Kids will love the friendship backpack quilt. This quilt pattern has lots of blocks where friends can sign their names with permanent markers.

For each of these quilts, this book has a list of everything you’ll need along with complete, foolproof directions. Whether you choose the easy fleece one or the rail fence version, you can’t go wrong.

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