Applique on felted fabric cover

Felted wool batting with the scrim on the back, makes a great fabric for book covers, especially if the fabric has been hand-dyed beforehand with Landscape Dyes and the microwave.  The scrim does not take up the dye, being a synthetic, but the wool side can be very textured with the way the dye takes.

felted batting - back & front

After a good pressing with a hot steam iron, measure and cut to the required size to wrap around the book and create back and front flaps.  Add a quarter to half an inch all round to ensure a good fit after stitching. 

Felted fabric

Press under a scant quarter inch hem to the back on all four edges, and using your favourite fancy stitch on your sewing machine, stitch the hem on the top side.  I use the daisy flower stitch with a variegated colour thread, to contrast with the fabric – a shiny thread always looks good – rayon, polysheen, or similar, whatever you prefer to use.

Flower stitch edge

Now lay the new cover around the book and finger press where the actual front will be.  Place and pin your applique where you want it to be.  If you have used vleisofix, misty fuse or other adhesive web, press carefully with baking paper or teflon sheet to protect the iron, and wait for it to cool before sewing.

Centre the appliqued fabric in an embroidery hoop and stitch around the applique.  Use a contrasting thread, maybe the same as used on the edges.  The particular stitch used doesn’t matter, it can be satin stitch, straight stitch once or twice around, open zigzag, or a tight stipple or moss stitch, depending on whether you want to focus on the stitching or want it to be almost invisible.  Remove from the hoop and give another steam press, but this time on the back side and with a cloth to prevent the iron sticking to the scrim.

Applique stitched

Applique stitched 2

Wrap around the book again and pin the edges where the flaps will be – make it fairly tight.  Stitch along the edges of the flaps from the outer side.  I use a plain straight stitch, slightly longer than the machine’s automatic setting, and stitch through the centre of the flower stitch I have used along the edge.  Doing it this way gives the cover a tidy edge.  I have been known to use a small narrow zigzag with invisible nylon thread on some covers, but I still like the straight stitch through the flower centres. Besides being decorative, the flower stitch punches a row of holes along the edge, which I  use for straight stitching the flaps.  So no apparent over-stitching on the finished edges.

Finished neat edge

Inside cover

Trim any loose threads and insert the book into its new cover. 

Finished cover

Use and enjoy.  Next post will be the embellished and stitched covers.


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