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brown paper packages: {sewn books}

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

{sewn books}

Running errands, traveling, and going places with little ones is a part of my life, and many of you can relate to that. I'm always looking for anything that I can do to help things go more smoothly, and make it easier when patience starts to wain.

I've discovered that bringing special treats and activities is a huge contribution to any successful trip (and I use the term "successful" very loosely, lol). Having fun items that I can pull out of my purse or diaper bag is always a plus, and when I saw these books, I knew they would be the perfect thing, and decided to try my own version.

They're not just for younger children, though. Do you have a child that loves to write? How fun to make them something for their stories or poems.

These little sewn books are the perfect size for tucking into a diaper bag or purse. They can be made from paper or fabric--whatever you like! I made a set of each kind, and it literally took me less than 15 minutes to make them all. Using scraps of paper and fabric makes it a very inexpensive project, and if I can sew these, anyone can!

Other ideas?
  • teacher gifts...even a teacher scrapbook with a child decorating/signing a page
  • Easter baskets!
  • themed books for special vacations and long car rides
  • ABC books
  • quiet books--church, etc.
  • birthday/Christmas gift--personalized art kit!

Sewn Books

  • white copy paper
  • scrapbook paper--2 coordinating patterns (or ribbon for the binding)
  • coordinating thread
  • double stick tape
  • fabric scraps--2 coordinating patterns/solids
  • thread
  • heat 'n bond


1. I decided to make these books 1/4 page size, but you can cut them to whatever size you like! I cut 6 pages of 8.5 x 11 white copy paper directly in half, so that they were 5.5 x 8.5. I then folded them in half, making little book that was 4.25 x 5.5. I also cut the scrapbook paper I wanted for the cover down to 5.5 x 8.5, then folded it in half as well. I slid the white paper inside the cut scrapbook paper, making sure all the edges lined up. I did need to trim some of the white paper around the edges. You will also need to cut a strip of paper from your coordinating piece of cardstock--2 inches wide, and the height of your book plus 2 inches on either end to fold over. You could easily use ribbon for this part--at least 1.5 inch ribbon.

2. Fold that 2 inch strip directly in half length-wise, then unfold. (This will help you to center it directly in the middle of the book.) Place double stick tape down the strip of paper, then place directly in the middle of the book and smooth down, lining up both creases (the crease of the book, and the crease you made in the strip). Turn it over, and fold your strips over the top and bottom of the book, smoothing them down. Taping it down will keep it in place while you sew.

3. Now you're ready to sew! Slide the cut, folded white paper inside the cardstock cover, and once again, make sure everything is lined up and even. You're going to sew through the whole book at one time, lining up your stitches with the outside edge of your cardstock binding (the strip you folded over the edge). Trim your thread, then add any embellishments you choose!


1. Follow the same directions for the white paper as outlined above.

2. Cut out a piece of fabric just a little bigger than the white paper--before it's folded in half (5.5 x 8.25). I like the frayed look, so I didn't hem the edges, but you certainly could--you would just need to cut it bigger to allow for the hems. Sew around the edges, to give the book a border, and to prevent the fraying from going any farther.

3. Of course I had to add a ruffle--it's like a sickness, lol. Cut a strip of coordinating fabric about 1-1.5 inches wide, and sew the ruffle along the bottom of your fabric piece.

4. Place your folded paper inside your fabric cover, and position it the way you want it--with all the edges even. Pin it in place, and sew straight down the spine--just about 1/2 inch from the fold.

5. Add any embellishments you like! I used heat 'n bond to add my girls' initials--you know I love monograms! This is where you can really add the personalization to your book--whether for a book, or special theme.




Blogger Janna said...

Great idea. A great project my 4 yo can help with, too! Thanks.

February 23, 2011 at 7:59 AM  
Blogger Shore Girl said...

Love these! Great idea and beautiful examples -- thanks for sharing!

February 23, 2011 at 8:37 AM  
Blogger Yvonne said...

So cute. I will have to do these for my grandkids--thanks so much.

February 23, 2011 at 9:08 AM  
Blogger My Serendipity said...

great idea! can never have too many things to bring along :)

February 23, 2011 at 9:58 AM  
Blogger Craft Junkie Too said...

another fabulous idea Kierste! :)

February 23, 2011 at 10:24 AM  
Blogger Cristan said...

I ADORE this project!! Thanks so much for sharing it!! I shared your project and linked back to you at

February 23, 2011 at 10:47 AM  
Blogger youwannawhat said...

super cute...wonder if somehow you could also attach a pencil to always have a writing implement handy?...

February 23, 2011 at 11:09 AM  
Blogger reasonstoskipthehousework said...

LOVE this idea! I have a one year old, so these are a great idea! So glad I found you - although I don't know how I did it, I'm just hopping around this morning!


February 23, 2011 at 11:48 AM  
Blogger Dylana Suarez said...

So cute!


February 23, 2011 at 2:52 PM  
Blogger Stephanie said...

Those are adorable. I am totally making them for my boys!
I've never sewn paper before. Do you have any tips?

February 23, 2011 at 3:56 PM  
Blogger kierste @ brown paper packages said...


I used a heavy-duty needle in my machine--one used for thicker fabrics/denim. It worked well, and I was able to go through all the layers of paper and/or fabric without a problem!

February 23, 2011 at 10:36 PM  
Blogger K. Golden said...

Do you have a share button for this post? I'd love to share on my RayneLynne FB page! I'm a fan of frayed edges!

December 13, 2011 at 10:06 AM  

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