Scrap Fabric Soft Shapes Book Tutorial

29 Sep

I’ve been working on this project over a period of a few days.  Normally, I only like to work on something if I can finish it all in one sitting.  With four kids (one of them being a tornado), it’s no fun to start, stop, move your stuff, lose stuff, look for missing stuff, get back to the project, repeat.  I was disciplined on this one and I actually finished it in a reasonable amount of time.  There was a lot of looking for missing stuff in the process, but I finished, and I’m happy to say that the little tornado loves it.  As do all the other members of the Fantastic Four.  The littlest one is also very territorial about it.  I’m so glad that she loves it.  I would be so bummed if I spent all this time on it and she didn’t care.  I know your little one will love it as well!  I think having all the fabric pieces around that they weren’t allowed to touch for a few days helps in the excitement department too 🙂

Here’s the tutorial for your Scrap Fabric Soft Shapes Book


14 – 8″ x 8″ Fabric Squares (Choose a color that will allow the fabrics to stand out)

7 – 8 1/2″ x 8 1/2″ Quilt batting squares

Fusible Web (I prefer Heat n Bond).  They come in different sizes or rolls, so just have enough to cover all your pieces.

About 1/4 yard worth of Scrap Fabric…or just a whole lot of scraps!

1 – 3″ x 8″ piece of solid color fabric for the title “shapes”

1 – 3″ x 8 1/2″ piece of fabric for the binding

Thread colors to match your scraps

Needle and Matching thread to hand stitch the “spine” of the finished book.

Print out your pdf file of choice at the bottom of this post.


First, get out all your pretty scraps.Fuse your scraps to your fusible web of choice.  Since I was working with scraps, I decided that this would be the method that would limit the amount of wasted stuff.  I just laid out my scraps in this “puzzle” over my large piece of Heat N Bond.  Then I simply took the iron to it.  This may not be the best method for you, as you may prefer to do a piece at a time.

If you’re not comfortable with applique, here’s a great tutorial.Next, flip your fused pieces over and start marking your shapes.Cut out all your shapes.  Look at them and check to see if you have a good variety of colors for each page.  (You could call this a colors AND shapes book!)

Organize your pieces and peel off the paper backing.

For the cover, be sure that if you use your own font that you use a “mirrored” pattern piece for your words.If you haven’t already done so, cut out fourteen 8″ squares.  Lay out your pieces on the square.  Keep your pieces about an inch from the edges of the page to allow for seams and binding.Press your pieces down according to the instructions on your method of fusing your fabric.

Next, go ahead and stitch all your pieces down.  Stitch your pieces according to thread color so that you don’t waste time changing thread constantly.  This is the setting I used for my applique.After all your pieces are stitched down, organize your book in the order you’d like it to be in.Now, figure out which pages will be back-to-back and place them right sides together.  Line up the corners on the side of the pages that will not be bound.  It doesn’t matter if the bound side is a bit off because that can be trimmed and it will be covered with the binding.  Place one of your batting squares over the top of the pages it.  It’s okay if the batting is a bit larger.Pin all three sides that will be sewn, leaving the book bound side open.Use a 1/4″ seam allowance.  The edge of your fabric will be the guide for the seam allowance and NOT the batting.  Notice in this pic that the guide is up against the fabric regardless of how large the batting is.

Stop 1/4″ before you hit the end of a side and pivot 90 degrees to the next side.  Here is a really awful picture of three sides sewn shut and one end open which will be the side we bind.Trim your batting down to the fabric edges and clip the corners to reduce bulk.  Be sure not to cut off your stitches!Turn your page right side out and then sew a top stitch around the same three sides using a 1/4″ seam allowance.  Again, stop 1/4″ before the end of a run and pivot 90 degrees to the next side.  Go ahead and repeat for all your pages.  I did one full page at a time instead of assembly line style because I was paranoid about matching up the wrong pages.  Now, Prepare your book spine / binding piece.  Use your 8 1/2″ x 3″ piece of fabric.
Fold up the short edges (wrong sides together) 1/4″.  Press it down.Then, fold your piece in half length-wise and press.

Press your long outside edges in towards the center line and press.  It should look like this.  Just leave this piece on the side until we’re ready for it.Initially, I was going to hand stitch the binding on, but I think this was a much better idea.

How to stitch through 18 layers of fabric (binding counts for four layers) PLUS seven layers of batting:

Take off the entire shank.  So, don’t just pop off the foot, you need to unscrew the attached shank.  It should look something like this (if you live in Hawai’i, there will be a little rust 🙂

Next, stack your pages in the order you want them to appear.  It’s important that you line up the sides of the pages that are not bound.  Uneven-ness on the bound side is okay because we can always trim those, plus it will be covered by the spine/binding.Hold your stack nice and tight so that the pages don’t move around.  Make sure your “presser foot” is raised up.  Drop your feed dogs.  If your machine doesn’t give you that option, it still works fine.  It just makes more sense to drop them if you can.  Place your book’s center of the open side under the needle where you want to start your stitching.  I used the 1/2″ as a guide, but it will vary depending on how much trimming you had to do.  Just make sure that you’re not coming too far in that you are cutting off shapes.  And don’t go too far out that it doesn’t bind well.  Check to make sure that your placement will penetrate through all the pages (if you have a short page in there, make sure the needle goes through it).

Start from the middle so that the pages don’t move around like they would if you start from the top.  I learned that the hard way.

Drop your “presser foot.”  Stitch a lock stitch.  Then, lift your presser foot up.  Manually move your book in the direction it would move if the feed dogs were naturally moving it through the machine.  Go about 1/8″.  Drop the presser foot.  Press your pedal and do two stitches.  Lift the presser foot.  Move forward again about an 1/8″.  Stitch two stitches in place.  Lift up, move forward, lower, stitch, lift up, move forward, lower, stitch, lift up and so on until you reach the end of the book.

When you are finished, it should look like this.Now, turn your book around and flip it so that you’re on the front now.  You have to turn AND flip so that you can see your guides on the metal plate.  Start again in the center and repeat the process above.

When you are finished, it should look like this with the whole side bound.  You just stitched through a whole lot of fabric and stuff.  Wait…there’s more.

Now for the “spine.”  Grab your strip that we prepped in the beginning.  Place it around your book end to make sure the length and width is good.  If  you want to make adjustments to either, now is the time to do it.Check to make sure that you have enough slack to cover the stitches we just made.If everything looks good, go ahead and pin down your binding.  Like my new shapes pins?  How appropriate!

Flip it over and do the same thing to the other side.  This time, make sure that the tips of the pins are sticking out so that you can pull them out as you are sewing along.Following the same process we used to bind the pages, we’re going to attach the binding.  Since the book is already stitched together, we don’t have to worry about pages moving around, so we can start at the top this time.  Plus, it would look funny if we started in the middle.Continue the process of moving the book manually about 1/8″ per double stitches.When you get to the end, go ahead and stop with either a back stitch or a lock stitch at the end of the pages.  Don’t stitch all the way to the end of the binding.Now  you’ve really sewed through a huge stack of stuff!To close those endings.  Think of wrapping the end of a present.  Flip the middle section down.Then, lay each side down, one on top of the other.Finally, use a matching thread (or neutral if you don’t have a match) and do a whip stitch to close that up.Here are the inside pages.

And here’s the back.I’m happy to say that my little ones LOVE it.  She takes it with her everywhere and loves to show it off.  Now that I’m finished, I need to clean up the mess she made while I was off sewing this.Below are the downloads for pattern shapes pieces.  I have them divided up on to individual pages by shape.  Or, if you’d like to print them all together, use the second link.  Now go make a little one happy!

Fabric Scraps Shapes Soft Book Pattern Tutorial

Fabric Scraps Shapes Soft Book Pattern Pieces Together Tutorial


10 Responses to “Scrap Fabric Soft Shapes Book Tutorial”

  1. corieocookies September 30, 2011 at 12:52 PM #

    I like it, looks more doable than I thought it would be and I really appreciate 3 pictures for folding in the end of the binding, I really was wondering how to do it. : )

  2. beth September 30, 2011 at 6:11 PM #

    funny, i was just gonna say the opposite– that i really don’t like it!
    jk, i was gonna say that it looks like TOO MUCH WORK for me.
    i think it’s cute though, so i’d be willing to accept one some day 😉

    • September 30, 2011 at 7:46 PM #

      did you notice where some of that green fabric came from?

      • beth September 30, 2011 at 7:52 PM #

        nope, i didn’t notice… but they are very good scraps!

  3. kail-lan September 30, 2011 at 11:36 PM #

    My favorite part is the last picture. Send her upstairs and get started on one for my tornado!!

  4. Traci October 3, 2011 at 10:32 PM #

    I LOVE it!! Great pictures and instructions!

  5. April 22, 2013 at 7:46 PM #

    Hi would you mind letting me know which webhost you are using?
    I’ve loaded your blog site in 2 completely different browsers and I will have to say this website loads a lot faster then others. Can you suggest a good internet hosting company at a reasonable price? Thank you, I appreciate it! Please also excuse if my english is not good enough.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: