Saturday, April 9, 2022

Little Women - Book Bag Purse and Book Cover Tutorial

Hi friends! I’m so excited to share my latest project creating with this adorable new fabric line – Little Women by Jill Howarth for Riley Blake Designs! Jill's take on classic stories is always unique, sweet, and just plain cute! She sweetly illustrates the main characters and scenery to perfection, while adding her own creative spin. 

For this project, I wanted to create a something that complemented her story, so what better way than in books! This is my take on a book bag, making it into a Book Bag Purse. I created a book style purse using main character prints and complemented it with Jill’s beautiful floral, pattern, and notion prints. I added leather elements and metal hardware for the handle and it also has a detachable bag strap. 

I also made a pretty, useful book cover, which surprise, is a free tutorial down below! I love making book covers for special books I collect or it would even make a beautiful gift to give to one who loves collecting or reading books too. 

Book Bag Purse:

Book Bag Purse and Book Cover created with Little Women By Jill Howarth

Little Women Panel

I used the the lovely panel in this collection and fussy cut an image for the book bag cover. You can do so many things with a panel - create a quilt or cut it up to make more projects.


I used leather and metal hardware for the handle and bag strap. I added a zipper to the top of the bag to hold everything together.


It's hard to chose a favorite print in this collection, so I ended up making two bags to showcase the fabric!

Book Cover:

This is the lovely book cover I made using the portraits print from the collection. The book cover fits a 8.25" x 5.5" book. You can easily adjust the sizing to meet your book size needs. 


Book Cover Tutorial:

You will need the following materials and tools - 

  • One cotton fat quarter (for the inside and inside pockets), two cotton fat eights (for the front, back, and spine, in different prints), one  cotton 1/4" yard for the binding, one fat eighth of fusible interfacing, and one fat quarter of foam interfacing (I used Annie's foam interfacing for this project)
  • Button embellishment and a 6" piece of elastic

You will need to cut the following:
  • Cut two 5" x 9 1/2" cotton print (for the front and back cover)
  • Cut one 4 3/4" x 9 1/2" cotton print (for the spine)
  • Cut one 13.75" x 9 1/2" foam interfacing (for the body)
  • Cut one 13.75" x 9 1/2" cotton print (for the inside)
  • Cut two 6 1/2" x 9" cotton prints and two 6 1/2" x 9" fusible interfacings
  • Cut one 46" x 2 1/4" for the binding (cut from the 1/4" yard of fabric, if cutting from a fat quarter, you can just two pieces to make a 46" x 2 1/4" binding strip and trim accordingly)
*Note - seam allowance is 1/4" unless noted otherwise. Basting stitch uses 1/8" 
 seam allowance. Finished size of the book cover is 13" x 9" open laying flat


Step 1:
Attach the front and back cover pieces (5" x 9 1/2" cotton prints) to the spine piece
(4 3/4" x 9 1/2" cotton print). With right side facing out, lay the spine piece down. Next, with wrong side facing out, lay the back cover on top of the spine. Sew along the left side seam. Open and press the seam open. Repeat for the right side, with wrong side facing out, lay the front cover piece on top of the spine (right side of spine should be facing out), and sew along the right-side seam. Open and press the seam. 

Pieces sewn together

Step 2:
Attach the foam interfacing to the back of the cover piece. With right side facing out, attach the 13.75" x 9 1/2" inner cotton piece to the backside of the 13.75" x 9 1/2" foam interfacing. It should look like a sandwich with cover on top, interfacing in the middle and inner piece on the bottom. You can add pins to secure the edges and quilt as desired. Once you are done quilting the piece trim to 13" x 9", making sure the front and back covers are even in size. 

Sandwich the interfacing between the front cover
and inner piece
It should look like this once quilted

Step 3:
Take the 6" elastic piece and fold in half. Attach the raw edges of the elastic to the back of the cover (this should be the left side of the piece), centering on the left middle side. Baste in place.

Add elastic to the left middle side

Step 4:
To create the two inner pockets (these hold the book in place), starting with the left pocket, take a 6 1/2" x 9" cotton print and adhere to a 6 1/2" x 9" fusible interfacing to the backside of the cotton. Fold the piece in half lengthwise and sew a seam close to the folded right edge.  Repeat for the left side pocket (the folded seam should be on the right side of this pocket, see pictures below).

Left and right side pockets

Attach each side pocket piece the the inside of the cover. Starting with the left  side, align the raw edges of the pocket to the left side covers raw edge. Clip in place and baste. Repeat for the right side.  

Align the left and right sides onto the inside cover

At this point, I like to baste around all the edges. This just ensures a cleaner edge when attaching the binding. You can also add any extra embellishments to spine if desired.

Add optional embellishments to the spine

Step 5: 
To make and attach the binding, take the 46" x 2 1/4" binding and fold in half lengthwise. Press all the way to the length of the binding with an iron to create the folded edge. Now, attach the binding. Starting with the left side of the cover, open the binding, and fold the right edge of the binding inward by 1/4" and press. Attach this to the bottom middle edge of the front cover and secure with a few clips in place. Sew a seam 1" from the right of the bindings folded seam, creating an 1" opening (making sure to backstitch, this will be the space to insert the tail end of the binding into).

Fold in bindings right edge by 1/4" and press with an iron

Attach the binding to the left side (back ) of the cover

Once you get to the first corner, create a mitered corner. Stop 1/4" before the corner, lift your sewing foot up and turn the fabric to a 45 degree angle and sew to the edge (I also backstitch). Now, take the piece off of the sewing machine. Take the binding and fold it up and finger press along the 45 degree seam. Next, fold the binding downwards, matching the folded seams to to the top of the corner edge. Clip in place and continue to sew a seam along the raw edge down to the next corner, continuing this same method to miter each of the remaining corners (see pictures below)

45 degree seam

Press the binding up along the 45 degree seam

Turn the binding downward, matching the folded
seam to the top edge corner, clip in place and
continue to sew a seam along the raw edge

Fold the binding over and hand sew or machine sew the binding down. Once you get to the end of the binding, stop about 1" from the end (take any clips out you have in place). Trim down the binding to fit into the beginning 1" opening you left in the beginning and insert the tail into the opening and clip back into place. Continue sewing the rest of the binding in place.


Trim tail and insert into opening
Insert tail and continue to sew binding down

Step 6:
Attach the button to front of the cover (this should be the right side), centering the button on the middle right side edge making sure the elastic fits accordingly around the button.

Add the button to the right side of the cover

You are now done!

Finished Book Cover

I hope you enjoyed this tutorial. I would love to see your finished Book Covers. Please use the hashtag #creamcraftgoodsbook on Instagram.  Little Women by Jill Howarth is arriving in stores now, so check your favorite fabric/quilt shop to see if they carry it.