September 20, 2012

Book cover tutorial with Portuguese soul

Olá! As asked by some of you, here you have a tutorial on how I make my book covers! Never forget that I only use Portuguese materials... So try your best to find some materials similar to these.

Making a book cover in burel or in cork skin (cork leather or cork fabric) is very simple ... Burel and cork skin, 100% Portuguese, are very beautiful and easy to work with because there is no need to finish edges since they won't unravel. This is very important, make sure you’ll use a fabric like these, so no sewing is needed!!!

You should start by defining the size of the cover. From my “reviews” I found that the best dimensions are 34cm (13 1/3”) wide if you measure the cover when open and 24cm (9 1/2”) height. I tried many books and almost all fit this size. But maybe in other countries publishers use different book dimensions…

I advise you not only to see the photos but also click the links, they will help you and show you different solutions...

Material needed to make a cork fabric book cover
Everything you need to make your book cover
What will you need:
- a piece of fabric that does not unravel of 50cm (20”) wide by 24cm (9 1/2”) height;
- two more pieces of fabric that does not unravel: one piece of 11cm (4 1/3”) squared and another of 11cm by 8cm (3 1/7”) (if you are working with inches, you may try to find a similar size easier to measure…)
- 50 cm (20”) of suede cord (or another type, as you prefer);
- a needle;
- wool thread or cotton floss, depending on the fabric you’ll be using;
- tracing paper and a pattern;
- a pair of scissors with sharp points.

And that’s all!! Let’s begin…

1. Fold over the two outer edges of burel or cork skin to the required size and baste (two or three stitches will be enough) the four corners of the book cover, making two side pockets.

Fold over two outer edges to the required size
2. Use blanket stitch to hold the outer edges and to finish the whole cover. Instead of blanket stitch sometimes I use whipped running stitch and I believe that running stitch would be great, too.

Use blanket stitch to finish the whole cover and hold the outer edges.
3. Use the square piece of fabric to embroider a motif that will decorate your book cover. With this kind of fabrics transferring the motif it’s never the easiest part… I use tracing paper with the pattern and I hold paper and fabric together embroidering through both. Believe me it works better than you would think! At least, if you keep your patterns simple. I’ve already shown some photos in a previous post

After embroidering the motif you must centre it on the front of the cover and use an appropriate stitch, like blanket stitch, running stitch or back stitch, to attach it to the cover. You can use the fabric without embroidering it, too. If you left the top open, you’ll have a pocket in your cover!!

Embroidered cork fabric book cover
An embroidered cork fabric book cover.
4. Your book cover could be ready to go, but I love to add a book marker to it. Use the small piece of fabric left and choose a shape to your bookmark. You can embroider it or keep it simple… In order to finish the book marker, you must perforate the top of the book marker with a sharp-pointed scissors. Or, even more simple, punch holes at the top and bottom with a hole punch.  Then pass the two ends of the suede through the hole and, if necessary, pull them with the tip of the needle. Tie a knot with the two ends together to hold the cord to the piece of fabric. On the other side you will attach the suede cord to the book cover. Fold the cover in half and choose a point at the top to make a small hole with the scissors.
Perforating the cork fabric in order to attach the bookmarker
Perforating the book cover to attach the book marker.
Tie a knot so that the marker is secured to the cover as in the photo.

Very easy to make - cork fabric bookmarker
Attaching the book marker.
Your book cover is finished! These is a very simple way of doing it but the possibilities are almost infinite... They will depend on the fabrics, the threads, the colors... And, above all, it will depend on your imagination...

I love this book cover made of burel...
"Burel" and cork, beautiful together...
I believe that when you are working with great materials, like burel and cork, they should be the stars and keeping it simple is always the best choice to make… Look here  and here to look at an even simpler way of doing it - a "four stitches" book cover... More simple is not possible!

You already know these words in Portuguese, but I don't mind repeating them... "Cortiça" for cork and "burel" - no translation available :)

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