Nothing feels better than picking up an old book and realizing it still has clean and crisp pages. One way to preserve it is by placing it in a book sleeve when carrying it.
I’ll show you how to make different book sleeve styles using different fabrics. These DIY projects also make a perfect gift for any pluviophile you know.
What Is a Book Sleeve?
Book sleeves are adorable pouches or dust jackets designed to fit the size of your book and protect it. This item is helpful for readers who take their books out of the shelf frequently to read them.
If you’re the type to take their books to work, vacations, and more, you definitely need a book sleeve. This covering will prevent the book from creasing and ripping when you place it in your bag. It also prevents your book from marking if you’re carrying it with your hand.
Book sleeves are either padded or not padded. Some stay open on one side, while others include zippers and buttons. You can use felt, denim, cotton, and other durable fabrics when making them.
Other people use paper to make book sleeves, then add a layer of plastic film to avoid dirt and spilled liquid. But the padded fabric is more common because of its durability and affordability.
Best Fabrics for Book Sleeves
You can use any type of fabric to create a book sleeve. But an ideal one is a medium-weight cloth that doesn’t break or rip quickly. Ensure it’s not too bulky so that it still fits your bag or suitcase.
Felt fabric is a common material for different DIY projects made of condensed fibers pressed together. Most felt fabrics use acrylic and other synthetic threads. But the original version comes from animal fur.
You’ll find felt fabric in the arts and crafts section of a store because children and parents love using it. It’s reasonably priced and available in several colors. Felt is also a good choice for your book sleeve because of its strength.
If you’re planning to take your book everywhere you go, this fabric is durable enough to avoid holes. However, its texture is less comfortable on the skin than genuine felt.
Book cloth is another excellent choice for your book sleeves. Also known as a bookbinding material, this textile is plain-woven cotton or similar material with paper or plastic backing. This plastic layer protects the fabric from any dirt or debris that might stick to it.
When bookbinding, a book cloth typically requires glue to help you stick it on the surface. Its strength allows the material to stay intact despite the glue spreading. You can even paint on a book cloth using fabric paint if you’re up for a craft.
You don’t need to glue the book cloth to your book for book sleeves. But you will need some adhesives or a needle and thread to create the pouch. The result is a beautiful book cover that looks and feels like a traditional textbook.
If you want a more robust material that can handle liquid spills, tears, and drops, denim is the way to go. It’s a stiff cotton warp-faced fabric you’ll commonly find in jeans and jackets.
While denim is associated with the color blue, you can use different colors and styles for your book sleeves. On apparel, denim absorbs sweat well. On book sleeves, this breathability means your book doesn’t trap heat or moisture.
The only downside to denim is its lack of elasticity. You might find it challenging to fit your book inside if you don’t place enough allowance. It’s also too thick and bulky to carry or put inside a bag.
Cotton is the best book sleeve fabric you can try because it is soft and comfortable. There are also several styles, designs, and colors to select. Make sure to choose a type of cotton that is sturdy enough to prevent tears.
How to Make Different Types of Book Sleeves
Once you’ve decided what fabric to use, it’s time to get artsy! Here are different ways to make book sleeves.
To make a zipper closure book sleeve, you will need the following:
- Fabric for the internal and external lining.
- Fusible foam stabilizer.
- Polyester zipper (at least a foot long).
- Thread of the same color.
- Wonder tape.
- Denim needles.
First, fuse the wrong side of the external fabric to your fusible foam stabilizer using an iron. Then, place the outside panel with the right side outside and the zipper inside. Make sure your zipper is faced down with a lining fabric wrong side up.
The zipper should stay intact using the wonder tape. Place the edge of the tape on the upper part of the outside panel. Then, use another strip of tape to secure.
Sew the top edges with a quarter-inch seam so that the wonder tape stays invisible. Backstitch everything from beginning to end.
Flip them and pull the lining to one side. Sew close to the outer edge to secure the seam. Repeat the same process to the rest of the fabric and sew the rest of the sides together.
The button book sleeve is perfect for beginners who find the zippered sleeve complicated. Here’s what you need:
- 4 pieces of fabric.
- Lightweight fusible interfacing.
- Elastic cord.
- Cotton batting.
Put the fabric pieces together using fusible interfacing. Try to make the interfacing at least ½ inch wider on all sides. Paste the bumpy side to the outer fabric’s wrong side. Then, cut bigger cotton batting of half an inch and sew.
You may use a quilting pattern with a line on every inch. Doing so will keep the barring from sliding away from your cloth.
Sew the inner and outer cloths together and an elastic band on the upper part. On the other side should be your button so you can cover the book sleeve conveniently.
Tab top book sleeves usually have pointed tabs that look like envelopes with velcro closures. Prepare the following materials:
- Two fabric pieces
- Fusible foam stabilizer
- Triangular fabric piece (tab)
- Needle and thread
Do the same procedure with the fabric pieces and fusible foam stabilizers, centering them against each other. The triangular fabric piece should also have a fusible ironed on it. Then, sew the main pieces together, along with the lining.
Sew the tab pieces with the right sides facing. Consider a seam allowance that is very close to the stitches. Then, turn the item out and sew your velcro.
Sew it on the main book sleeve, and you’re done.
Padded book sleeves are ideal if you use a very thin fabric like polyester or low-quality cotton. The key is to iron a fusible fleece on your fabric as you did with the zipper closure, button, and tab top.
After ironing, sew the inner cloth to conceal the fusible. Proceed to stitch the pieces together.
Unpadded book sleeves also follow the same procedure, except they should be made of heavy-duty fabrics like leather or denim. I recommend running it on the sewing machine for more secure stitches. You can leave the top part open or add a button, tab, or zipper.
I hope this article has helped you create the book sleeve of your dreams. A book sleeve is a must-have for every reader who wants to preserve the crisp pages of their books. Use it to keep your book from tearing or crumpling when carrying it or placing it in your bag.
Make a book sleeve using a durable, medium-weight fabric like book cloth, cotton, or denim. Feel free to add padding, zippers, or a button to keep it secure.