How-To: Sew a Simple Fabric Book Cover

Craft & Design

Books take a lot of abuse. And when they’re school books, they are most often owned by many people over the years. To keep a nice book nice, and to disguise one that’s been defaced, you can sew a simple fabric book cover. Plus, textbook cover designs are usually utilitarian at best, and ugly at worst. With this fabric cover, your books will stay protected from the constant ins and outs of lockers and backpacks.
Make this book cover with any durable fabric you like. Choose one that shows your personality, or that matches your backpack and other school supplies. Be smart in class with DIY style and function!



Book, hardcover or paperback
1/2 yard fabric
Rotary cutter and mat, or scissors

Materials Note: I used a fabric called Heaven, from


Step 1: Measure the book. Determine the width of the cover, then double it, and add the width of the spine. Measure the length. Those dimensions are the size of the book, and to that, add a 1/2″ seam allowance.
Next, measure for the inner panels that form the pockets that hold the cover on the book. To calculate the width of one inner panel, subtract 1″ from the width of the cover. The length of the panel is the same length as the book. Also add a 1/2″ seam allowance to the dimensions.
Step 2: Cut out the pattern pieces using the dimensions you just calculated. Cut 2 of the large pieces, and 2 of the smaller pieces.
Step 3: Place the 2 large pieces right sides together, and pin them. Using a straight stitch, sew them together along the edges. Leave a 2″ gap along the bottom edge, and use it to turn the cover right side out. Then sew the gap closed.
Step 4: Pin the panels onto the cover. Place the cover so that the front side is facing you. Pin the panels to the sides, their right side facing the front side of the cover. Sew them along their 3 outer edges.
Step 5: Turn the whole thing right side out and slip the book in. You’re done!

26 thoughts on “How-To: Sew a Simple Fabric Book Cover

  1. Missy Ann says:

    Not exactly the way my mother did it, but close enough. I went through school with my mom making my covers. (graduated in ’92) I loved my fabric covered books, never once did they read to replaced and you don’t need durable fabric, cheap cotton works just as well. I remember picking for the $1 per yard bolts at Woolworth’s.

  2. ≈ léa (qui est cette fille?) ≈ says:

    This will be really helpful really soon. Thanks!

  3. creativezazz says:

    Thanks. I decided to make my own fabric book covers after seeing they charged $5 for one at Staples that was not even cute. Now we can make custom book covers that are less expensive and better looking. Great for back to school.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Finally, a tutorial with great quality pics and well explained instructions! thank you!

  5. Ann says:

    thanks for sharing this project. I have been looking how to make a fabric book cover for awhile and your tutorial is just great.

  6. runa says:

    Thanks so much for the well detailed tutorial…I tried making them earlier but could never get them to fit so snug to the book…now I’m sure I can!

  7. carowill says:

    I just made some of these to cover composition notebooks for my kids’ teachers. I thought there were too many steps, so I layered the panels between the front and back layers of the cover and it worked a charm – less sewing and looked great. I also had one that turned out just a little bit too big, so I top stitched around the edges and it looked great and fit just right. Thank you so much!

  8. Cate says:

    Thank you so much for this pattern. It was very clear and easy to follow. I just got into sewing so I need easy projects so I can gain skill. Now I have something practical and pretty to look at! YAY! :)

  9. Cate says:

    Just to add to my comment I made the other day. Because of this project I was able to sew up and apron. Now I realize a book cover and an apron have nothing in common. I needed a project to boost my confidence to create new things. Since I did the book cover so well because of your easy to follow totorial I started a project that was really hard for me. I made an apron that looks great!!! So Just wanted to thank you for really helping me out make a great book cover but really inspired me to do more too!

  10. Angie says:

    I am covering a school book for my neice and this is a great tutorial. I quilt but for some reason could not figure the book covering out. Thank you!!!

  11. Nanny Mitzi says:

    Thank you. I have looked for something nice and not expensive, that would be easily constructed. I believe this is it. I will reply and let you know how it went. Again thank you for your time and sharing with us.

  12. Hannah says:

    LOVE IT! I am SOOOOO making some!!

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  15. Emma ScoTTie says:

    Where did yo get that awesome fabric? Love it!

  16. Melissa says:

    You don’t hem the panels or even iron them under? I love how you sew the panels on to the outside rather than sandwiching between the panels. It is an extra step but it rolls the cover over the books binding rather nicely. Great touch!

  17. Aimee Stewart says:

    Perfect! Not only did this project work out cheap (used all scraps I had layong around) it also looks excellent and very unique! Thanks heaps :)

  18. Lee Annette J says:

    I made one of these book covers tonight. I love the simple instructions. I had to redo mine because the book I was making this for had a really thick cover and I didn’t account for that in my measurements- but that’s ok – I can use the practice. Thank you for a simple and beautiful project. :) I will be making many more.

  19. Clarice Desiderio, Ontario, Oh 44903 says:

    Clarice Desiderio on April 5, 2013 , @ 9:00pm said:
    Today I made this book cover for my first cookbook(53 yrs.old) a Better Homes & Gardens book. For years I wanted to re-cover it since it was extremely worn. Using some of my scrappy pieces was a reward in itself…Thks again for the directions and your user friendly site. P.S. I used an iron on pellon to give cloth stability, it worked superbly.

  20. Debbie K says:

    This looks like it could be sturdier than the stretch books covers my kids have used. The corners always “popped” open on those. I would look for a denim or cotton duck fabric to protect a heavy book.

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  23. Mab, Queen of the Unseelie says:

    Great tutorial–thanks!

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