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Old 03-16-2010, 06:32 PM   #1
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Default How to: sew a quiet book

On a spur of the moment whim yesterday, I decided to make my ds a shapes & colors quiet book. I didn't have a pattern, and I've never made anything like this before, so I searched around online and then came up with my own directions. I didn't want to go to the store, so I just used materials that I had at the house. I like how it turned out, mostly, but near the end of the process I determined that this may just be a prototype as I came up with some ideas on how to make it better. I'll share those ideas at the end. I did learn a few other things that I'll share now.

1) first, my dh always says I'm not as funny as I think I am, so bear with me, lol
2) I really need a better spot for sewing. The dining room table (and chair) just doesn't cut it!
3) sewing curves is not my forte, especially late at night, near the end of the project (in other words, don't look at the oval too closely...) I really should have pulled out the stitches on the oval and done it over...but yeah, that wasn't going to happen last night, lol!!

On to the project!!

For the base material of the book, I had some unbleached muslin that I decided to use. I also recently found a stash of the cheap felt squares, you know, the ones that you can find on sale for 10-20 cents. I used those for the shapes.

For shape templates, I used the following sites:
most of the shapes
flower (they have lots of others too)
gingerbread man (note: still searching for the one I used...)

I just printed them out on my computer, and used them as templates to cut the shapes. I'm not good at freehanding stuff like that!!

The shapes all cut out:

I grabbed some small notepaper and folded it over to use as a guide for the placement of the shapes. I stacked the rectangles on top of each other, then folded them over in the middle. I decided to go this route for making the pages. This technique will give you pages in multiples of 4 (counting the front and back covers as pages). My book has a total of 12 pages. This worked fine for me.

I wanted my finished pages to be 7 inches square, so I needed to cut my "layers" 8x15 inches, using a 1/2 inch seam allowance. I actually cut my layers on the fold, so opened up, they would be a long rectangle, 8x30 inches. I cut three pieces of fabric for mine. I then ironed it (folded) and the folded it over again and ironed down the middle for a guide. Hopefully the picture will help it make sense.

Next, using my notepaper guides as reference, I pinned the shapes onto the fabric, then stitched them down. I machine stitched them, but you could hand stitch it with embroidery thread and make it all cute. If you were being really productive, you could add words to the pages. I didn't feel like it. I kind of liked the simplicity of it like this.

Then I folded the material over, right sides together, pinned and sewed around the edges (with a 1/2 inch seam allowance) leaving approximately 4 inches open on the short side for turning.

Clip the corners before turning (make sure not to cut through the seams!).

Turn. Press the edges, then topstitch all around (close to the edge), closing the opening in the process.

I then took it back to the iron, folded over and ironed down the middle again, just in case I didn't exactly sew it evenly. Which I didn't.

Stack the layers on top of each other, lining up the middles, then stitch down the center, sewing all the layers together.

And you're done!!

Additional thoughts: If I were to make another one (and I just may!), I think I'd go with a slightly thicker/heavier material than the muslin. Also, adding some interfacing (probably fusible) would make the pages less floppy. I don't really mind the floppy pages too much though.

The cheap felt is, well, cheap. It got the job done, and I had it on hand, but it's not the greatest. Another way to do it would be to use Heat'n Bond Lite (or something similar) to bond the shapes to the pages, and then stitch around the edges to hold them in place. You obviously wouldn't want to do this with the cheap felt. I was thinking with some cotton fabric (I could probably find enough in my fabric stash/scraps...except maybe the pink and purple, lol).

I also saw several books online that instead of the pages being sewn together, eyelets were placed on each page and then they were bound with rings or ribbon. This would be a nice idea if you wanted to add pages later, or if you had several kiddos that needed to share the book, so you could take it apart and divide the pages out.

I actually have lots of ideas for making more of these. It was fun, and if I hadn't had little hands helping me at the beginning, it would have gone a lot faster.

Here are a few links that I found when searching yesterday. I'm sure there are a ton more out there!

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Old 03-16-2010, 06:33 PM   #2
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Can anyone tell me if that first picture is huge? I tried resizing it, but don't know if maybe it's just taking a minute to show up smaller, or if it's just my computer. Thanks!!


Nevermind, I think I fixed it!!
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Old 03-16-2010, 08:43 PM   #3
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Looks great!!! I may have to try that out!
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Old 03-17-2010, 12:12 AM   #4
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awesome idea! you should submit this to the monthly craft challenge thread
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Old 03-17-2010, 08:00 AM   #5
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Wow. That looks great! Well except for that oval.....

I tease!

It kinda makes me sad that my kids are older. Although it might be funny to make a Harry Potter themed one for my kids. The both take after their mom in the 'grace' department, so I could call it a safety measure! (probably too much effort for a joke...)

My husband doesn't find me as funny as I do either. Must be a guy thing.

I am amazed that you thought to photograph your progress! Were you planning to make a tutorial the whole time.
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Old 03-17-2010, 02:34 PM   #6
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Thanks everyone! I went ahead and took pictures, just in case, lol. I didn't find a tutorial that made the pages quite like this, so I figured why not make one! It was really more for myself than anything, to document the process so I'd know what worked (and what didn't). I knew I wanted to take a pic of the finished book, and I really liked the way all the felt shapes looked just sitting there at the beginning. I mean, I take pics of the cooking process when I do a recipe for my blog, why not do the same with crafts? LOL.

And lol about the Harry Potter themed one...that would be funny!!
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Old 03-18-2010, 10:48 PM   #7
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It looks great!! If you blog it, I'd be more than happy to add it ot my tutorial list on !! DEF submit it to the monthly challenge!
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Old 03-21-2010, 10:59 AM   #8
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This is actually a really good idea. I love it! I would never have thought to make stuff like this. Been looking for things to make for my niece.
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