Best-Fabric-For -Book-Covers-(How-To-Make,-Sew-or-No-Sewing)

Best Fabric For Book Covers (How To Make, Sew or No Sewing)

Next time you pick up a book you may think about more than just what lies between the covers. After reading this article you may think about how your book covers were made and what materials were used to create them. Books are fascinating objects that have secrets about them.

When you want to cover your books or your kids’ textbooks, you will have lots of fabrics to choose from. The experts say it is not the type of fabric that is the best criteria but the weight of the fabric. If you can get a medium weight material then you have the best.

To learn more about the best fabric for book covers just continue to read our article. It is filled with the interesting facts you need to know about if you decide to cover your books or your kids’ school books.

Bookbinding Fabric for a Book Cover

Some books when originally put together are made with what is called scrim. This is a gauze-like fabric that is usually made from cotton. Sometimes it is made from flax. This material has a wide array of uses and is not just for books.

Then, when you are making a book, you are not limited to scrim. You can use just about any fabric that is heavy enough to hold the book together and protect the pages inside.

One option is denim which also looks good but even denim and similar fabrics need the right kind of board underneath it to do its job properly. It is not just about the right fabric but the other materials that are needed to make a complete book.

One of the ways you can tell you are using the right fabric is to put some paste on the fabric and affix it to a small piece of board. Then put some paste on the board and place the fabric over it.

If the glue stays in place while you are affixing the fabric to the glue on the board, then you can use that fabric. If the glue seeps through then you can’t use that material.

Best Fabric for Book Covers


They say a medium weight fabric is ideal when creating your book cover. A lot of the decision-making process in choosing the right fabric will depend on the durability of the material, how the book will be and is used, and other factors.

Felt is a good choice as it is very durable and strong. It should not tear that easily or get holes in it very quickly. A fabric known as book cloth would also be one of the better options to use as would leather.

These materials are also tough and strong and may have a better feel to them when you grasp the book and carry it. They also look better than felt as well as being a bit more expensive.

Then you can try denim. It is another tough and strong material that can handle drops and scrapes like a pro. One of the keys to finding the right fabric is how it will adhere to the board you use. You can use stiff cardboard, thin plywood, or even chipboard but if the fabric doesn’t stick well to these materials you may have to choose another alternative.

Also, the key would be if you are sewing the fabric in place or using a non-sewing method and so on, that would be used to cover your current book’s original cover.

Fabric Book Covers DIY


One of the cheaper methods and materials you can use would be brown paper. Commonly called butcher’s paper or coming from a brown paper bag from your grocery store, you really do not need to spend a lot to use this material as a book cover.

Then you can use a plastic film type cover. This will help keep the dirt and spilled liquids off the pages of the book when accidents happen. 

Doing a book cover for yourself is not that difficult and only takes a little time and some skill. The key is to get a medium weight fabric that is not see-through. Then pick the fabric before measuring the book. After those are done cut the material to the right size.

Then sew the pieces together then make the sleeves for the original cover to fit into. You do this by folding the material over about 2 inches and sewing 3 of the sides. Once that is done, you can sew on a bookmark, an elastic band, or sequins to brighten the book up or make it more functional.

How to Make a Fabric Book Cover Without Sewing

The first step is to measure your book and get all the dimensions you need including room for the sleeves.

Step two, find the fabric you want to use and cut it to size.

Step three, fold the fabric lengthwise about 3/4 of an inch and press with an iron. Then get an iron-on adhesive strip and cut it to size and use your iron to glue one of the folded sides. This strip starts 4 inches in from the ends of both sides of the fabric, so it is 8 inches shorter.

Step four has you creating the sleeves and you fold the ends over 4 inches and use a 4-inch piece of that strip adhesive to hold the fold. This is done on all four corners and only along the 3/4 inch fold.

Step five put your book inside your new cover.

How to Sew Fabric Book Covers


The first few steps are the same here as they are in the no-sew option. Select the book, the fabric, measure and cut the fabric to size. The next steps are a little different as you will be using thread and your sewing machine.

Sew the corners first, making then neat and tidy. The folded fabric doesn’t have to be more than 1/4 in size. Then once that is done, fold the edges over the same width and sew all around the fabric.

Now to form the sleeves, fold the fabric over about 2 inches and sew all three sides leaving the 4th side open for the book cover. The thread and stitch style is mostly up to you to choose.

Make sure to do both sides the same and you are done. If you want to add a piece of fabric for a bookmark then just cut it to the length you need and sew on end in the middle top of the book cover and it is done.

Finding a Pattern for Fabric Book Covers

This is not going to be that difficult. If your public library has a section on ‘how to’ then you can always make a trip there and find a book that holds patterns for book covers.

Then the internet has many places offering book cover patterns you can work from. The hardest part will be deciding which website to look through. This website has about 20 free ones you can see if they are what you like.

Also, there is this website that shows you how to make a reversible book cover. Then you can always check your favorite sewing supply stores to see if they have a cover pattern you can use.

How to Make a Fabric Book Cover With Zipper


Expect this option to take you a couple of hours from start to finish. The first thing to do is measure the book and you will need 3 measurements. The first one is from the book cover edge to the other book cover edge. Then add 1 1/2 inches for seam allowance and ease.

The second is for the height of the book and again add 1 1.2 inches for the same purpose as the first measurement. The third measurement is for the width of the book’s spine.

Now cut out your fabric making a mark in the center where the center of the spine will sit. Next, fold over the fabric about 1/2 all the way around the rectangle piece you just cut out. Sew that folded part all the way around and get ready to add the zipper.

Make sure to sew the 2 ends of the zipper together before you add it to the fabric. Use a zig-zag stitch. Then match up the centers of the zipper with the centers of the fabric and attach to the fabric.

After that sew one side of the zipper all the way around and then do the same thing for the other side. These are just the simplified instructions as there is a lot of detail that needs to be done which can’t fit into this small space. 

Fabric Book Covers With Handles

The instructions for the zippered book cover in the previous section will work for this style as well. Between sewing the folded edge of the fabric down and adding the zipper, you need to sew the handle son the inside of the book cover.

Use a zig-zag stitch to hold the ends of the handle together and make sure not to twist the material while you are topstitching it into place. Also, make sure to center the handles before you put the permanent top stitches in.

Stitch all the way to the ends of both sides of the book cover leaving enough material free for your hand to grab when you are done.

Fabric Book Cover With Pockets


This is not a hard task to do because you can use just about any book cover pattern you want. All you have to do is add the pocket or pockets after the cover is finished. It is possible to create a small pocket on the book cover sleeve.

You only need to cut a piece of fabric to the size you want, locate the place you want to put it, and then sew the three sides. For the font or the back of the cover, you can make the pocket a lot larger and do the same thing.

A good top stitch should hold the pockets in place but you are free to use the stitch you think will work best.

Fabric Tape for Book Binding

There is nothing wrong with using fabric tape for bookbinding except that it may not be strong enough to hold the contents where you want them. Usually, the experts recommend that you go with a special tape called bookbinding tape.

This tape is specially formulated to handle all hand bookbinding tasks. This tape should be stronger than fabric tape and make your book last a lot longer.

Cotton Fabric for Book Binding

This is a good option to use. Cotton feels soft and comfortable against your hand and there are many styles, designs, and colors to choose from. The key to using cotton fabric would be to make sure it is sturdy enough to avoid tears and holes.

Then you have to make sure it binds to the board type you are using to protect the contents of the book.

Some Final Words

Finding the right fabric for making book covers is not that hard. The main factor in which one you use is looking at the purpose. If the purpose is bookbinding then you will want a certain type of tough fabric.

If it is for a simple book covering then almost any type of fabric will do. There are lots of ways to make different book covers and they are creative as they are practical. Tough and strong fabric is key.

Leave a Comment: