A fabric book for baby is a great beginner sewing project.
In fact, if you’ve never seen fabric books for babies, they are exactly what they you’d assume.
Just take some pieces of fabric and sew them together to create a page-turning book.
A custom fabric book makes a unique gift for a baby shower and is also a thoughtful gift for a NICU graduate.
In fact, it would be easy to pull together a little donation gift basket that incorporates these black and white cloth books along with some of these NICU craft ideas and drop it off at a local pediatric unit.
I know any children’s hospital would love these handmade items to share with their patients.
How To Design A Fabric Book For Babies
Designing a fabric book for baby is an opportunity to let your imagination go wild.
It really is an “anything goes” project.
To help get you started, however, here are some things to keep in mind:
- Use high contrast (basic black and white is best) and simple shapes if you are making a cloth book for a newborn to a baby who is around 4 – 6 months old.
- If you are designing for an 6+ month, have fun using fabrics with fun patterns and images along with fabric textures and colors.
- Fabric books are also a great option for toddlers but they need something that will keep them a little bit busier. You can treat this more like a “busy book” and maybe do some peakaboo features or zippers or buttons.
This is yet another sewing project where your fabric scrap pile will have some fun treasures.
You can also find some perfect-sized options in the remnants bin at your favorite fabric store.
Let’s Make A Black And White Soft Book
I decided that my first official fabric book tutorial should be easy and straightforward.
So, we’re going to make a simple cloth book using cotton fabric and heat transfer vinyl intended for a newborn – 4 month old baby.
The materials and tools you’ll need for this project are likely things you already have and are listed below.
Disclosure: All of the links below are affilliate links. If you purchase a product using one of these links, I may receive a small commission.
- Quarter yard of white cotton fabric
- Quarter yard of black cotton fabric
- A 12.5″ W x 6.5″ H piece of black jean fabric (optional – you can also just use the black cotton)
- Quarter yard cotton batting
- Create To Donate’s fabric book cut files
- Sewing machine
- Silhouette Cameo or Cricut
- Rotary cutter and mat
- Ruler or 6.5″ acrylic quilting square
- Sewing clips
How To Construct A Fabric Book
1. Cut fabric to size.
Cut five 6.5″ W x 6.5″ H white squares and five 6.5″ W x 6.5″ H black squares.
Cut one 12.5″ W x 6.5″ rectangle from the black denim or black cotton. This will be the book cover. (Not pictured.)
PRO TIP: If you want you can also cut two pieces of fabric 5.6″ x 6.5″ for the cover and sew them together like the other panels. The seam helps with a visual divider.
2. Cutting batting to size.
Cut six 6″ W x 6.5″ H squares of cotton batting.
I like to cut these a little short so that the book folds easily and it lessens the bulk when sewing the pages all together.
3. Sew pairs of black and white squares together.
Using a 1/4″ seam allowance, sew pairs of black and white squares together to create the base book panel.
You should have a total of five blank book panels once you’ve finished putting them all together.
If you choose to sew two pieces together for the cover, you will have a total of six panels.
4. Prepare the panels for sewing.
Place the fabric wrong sides together where a black square overlaps a white square.
On top of the two fabric panels, place one piece of batting on each side.
Align the batting with the outside edge so that the inside edge is not completely covered.
Clip to prepare for sewing.
Repeat the above process for all of the fabric panel pairs.
5. Sew and top stitch the panel pairs together to create three complete book panels.
Use a 1/4″ seam allowance to sew all three pieces together.
Leave about a 2″ gap on a side edge so that you can turn the panel right sides out.
Clip the corners to remove bulk before turning.
Turn the panels right sides out, press out the corners, and top stitch to finish.
6. Use Create To Donate’s cut file to cut out HTV book images.
Download Create To Donate’s Black & White Fabric Book Cut File (click the “DOWNLOAD” button below).
This document includes nine high contrast images as well as a fun “hello world” cover title and “made with love by” option to use for the inside cover page.
The document is divided into the color grouping. So, once section is for cutting out the black images, and the other section is for white images.
Since the nside cover page is white you’ll want five of the images to be white HTV and four images cut out of black HTV.
PRO TIP: Place the weeded images onto a Teflon pressing sheet (instead of parchment or wax paper) to store them before use.
7. Apply the book images to the book panels.
One of the best things about HTV is the sticky transfer sheet which allows you to play around with placement before the final application.
So, take the images and see which sequence you like best before ironing them onto the fabric.
Once you feel you’ve found the best image order, press the images onto the contrasting fabric page.
8. Stitch the three book panels together to create the final book.
Stack the three completed black and white fabric book panels in the order that you want the final book.
Page through the book to double check that each image is right side up.
Use as many sewing clips as you feel you need to hold the pages together to prepare for sewing.
I like to keep the clips closer together near the center so that nothing shift when I’m sewing through the center.
If you’re using an industrial sewing machine, it should be able to handle the bulk.
If you’re working with a home sewing machine, you’ll want to find the sweet spot where the bulk doesn’t prevent the machine from doing its job.
For my machine, that was about 1/2″ from the top and bottom edges. So I didn’t sew all the way through the line.
Fabric Books Are A Fun Start!
A love of books can start at any age and a custom fabric book for baby is a great way to start.
And Create To Donate’s black and white book fabric book is perfect because, ” Bold black-and-white images stimulate the development of the optic nerves and encourage young babies cognitive development without over-stimulating them.” (Tinylove.com)
Stay tuned for some additional tutorials coming soon that incorporate textures, patterns, and text!