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how to make a "12" cloth book...


I'm starting to feel Christmas-y! As I've been preparing the photos for this tutorial, I put on my Sufjan Holiday Pandora station...Love that! I also love that this makes another gift that is ready for giving. If you have someone (even yourself!) that needs a cloth book this Christmas, get ready to make one!

There are different ways you can assemble this book, and I'll mention a few options along the way. There are also other ways you can use the fabric, and we'll discuss those later on.

The fabric that I designed can be purchased at Spoonflower. You could also make your own book using this technique. In addition to fabric, you'll need:

Embroidery floss in a few coordinating colors
Sewing Machine (optional, but highly recommended!)

Pages Cut

Start out by cutting your pages apart. The way the pages are designed, you DON'T need to cut all of them apart. Instead keep two together, which will fold as you see above. Also, there will be a strip of white along the edge of the fabric. Hang onto that, because we'll use it later on!

Made with Love

Next, add your name to the inside front cover. It will tell the recipient of your book that this is special. I stitched mine, but you could use fabric markers or paint. This is also a good time to add any embellishment to the pages that you like. You might stitch around the images, or numbers. You could also add some little details like buttons or sequins to the scallops. It's up to you to be creative. Just keep in mind that if you are giving this to a little person, small items aren't safe for them.

Folded and Pressed

Fold each of the pages in half, and press. I left my raw edges exposed (this fabric doesn't fray TOO much), so I pressed them wrong sides together.

Stitched Together

Stitch around all sides of the pages. The running stitch is both functional and decorative. You could also do this on a sewing machine. If you don't like raw edges, sew the three non-binding edges of the pages, wrong sides together, then turn them.

Sewing Half of the Pages

Here's where the sewing machine helps A LOT! You should have 8 pieces, each with two layers of fabric. Get them all in order, and line up the edges really well. Take the first 4 pages, and sew them along the non-folded edge. Then take the last 4 pages, and do the same. Doing them this way helps compact the fabric.

All of the Pages Sewn Together

Line up your two sets of pages, and then sew them all together, following the same seam. You could try and do this by hand, but it would be reeeeaaaalllly difficult. Trust me.

You're almost there! Now you just need to make the binding pretty!

Pressed Binding

Now, you could used bias tape for this, but you don't need to. Remember that strip of white that you cut off and saved? Grab it. The width of this strip varies, depending on the side of the fabric you're cutting from. Mine was about 1.25" wide, but it could be 2".

Fold and press the strip in half. Then fold and press the edges into the center so that it ends up the size you want for your binding strip. My edges folded in a little less than .25", making the final size around .5" wide when on the book.

Stitching the Binding

Stitch the binding strip to the book. If I were to do this again, I would consider doing this on the machine, but it is cute hand stitched. You don't need to go through all the layers, just through the folded binding and the first page of the book. Repeat at the back of the book.

12 Cover

Secure your ends, and you're all finished! If you have any questions, leave them in the comments and I'll get reply in the comments. And you can see all of the pages over at Flickr. You can also add photos of your finished book to the Wild Olive group.

12 Inside

Now, some other ideas for using this fabric:

Cut the pages apart and make them into patches
Make them into ornaments
Frame them as little pieces of fabric artwork
Make a Countdown to Christmas and use the pages as pockets
Sew tiny pillows
Use them as mini quilt squares
Add to the list!


  1. I am really excited about this project for my little niece & nephew - they are just the right age for a fabric Christmas book. Do you have a WildOlive flickr group we should add our pics to?

  2. Thank you for asking! Yes, you can add pictures to the Wild Olive group.

  3. Mollie-

    First of all...TOO CUTE. Second of all, I love what you are doing for Worldvision. I love to see God using the art skills of His children to do good in this world. I wanted to let you know that I love your blog, love your stuff, and that I mentioned you on my blog!

    Have a great day!


  4. This is too cute! I like your binding technique. I personally hate binding, so I've figured a way to make my pages all from one fat quarter. But your method allows for more spreads and larger pages. I'll have to try it soon.

  5. Oh this is beyond adorable!! -love it!!
    No wonder Whip Up decided to feature it :)

  6. ooh I totally love the pocket idea. It would be great for kids looking through magazines and cutting out images of the things as they find them or to do a scavenger hunt around the house with little images.

  7. I love this! I linked to it from my blog here: http://www.lisaashby.com/2009/11/tutesday-fun-handmade-holiday-gifts/

  8. Anonymous11:08 AM

    how much fabric do i need to make this book? a fat quarter or a yard? please tell meeeeee

  9. Ryder: Yes, 1 fat quarter will make the book. Thanks!

  10. inspiring project, isn't it...two thumbs :)

  11. Anonymous6:44 AM

    how did you print the text and pictures onto the fabric?

  12. Peggy Minus11:43 AM

    Do you ever add "crackle" paper to your books? Do you know what is used and where to get it?

  13. Peggy, I've never tried crackle paper. I wonder if you could just use the mylar/cellophane type of tissue paper, crumple it up, then sew it between the pages?

  14. Hello, saw this on spoonflower, are you creating any other type of books other than Christmas ones?
    I was searching spoonflower to fabric book template to buy spotted this, thought it was cute!

  15. I've thought about it, but haven't worked on anything yet. Maybe come fall. Thanks for the encouragement!


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