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DIY Book Sleeve

February 11, 2018 by Nicole Collins

We're breaking out the sewing machine today, guys!

Quick story...I used to have this manager that every time someone said "so" or "so what", he'd say "sew buttons". This was 100% of the time. This was also the same manager that would come up with random words of the day like "meow" or "watermelon", and we were challenged to hide these words in conversations with customers. For example, "I love watermelon" would be a fail. He was looking for usage like "ok, we're gonna watermelon outside to the car to do the walk around." Sneak it in fast enough so the customer didn't realize we were talking nonsense.

It's funny some of the things our brains keep in memory. He certainly made sure we had fun at work. So, anytime I think about sewing, I can hear him say "sew buttons".

Today's project can be hand sewn, but it's 1000 times easier with a sewing machine.

I am no expert with a sewing machine, so please don't look at my pictures too closely today. You'll see my uneven lines and seams if you do! But, this DIY isn't a lesson in sewing today. It's addressing a very specific issue in the reading world.

According to the bestie, book sleeves are the new craze in the world of book lovers. But, they're kinda expensive! We're talking like $20 minimum for one of them.

So, she decided that we (me) should make them ourselves. She offered to hand sew while I did the rest, but I don't think either of us have that kind of patience in reality. But, I knew that I could figure it out and make her the cool kid on Goodreads with her new book sleeve.

And, that's exactly what I did. So, it's DIY Book Sleeves today!

Since I'd already been thinking about getting a sewing machine, I looked around and found this really basic one online. A lot of the reviews I read online talked about giving this machine as a gift for 9 and 10 year olds, so I knew this was the right machine for me!

I spent about 2 hours at the fabric store looking at allllll of the amazing prints, and I landed on the right fabrics to make 2 patterns (for now). But the best part is that when all is said and done, I can make these DIY Book Sleeves for less than $5 per sleeve!


I'm going to put the step by step photos in the instructions below to help the directions make sense. Don't mind my hand drawn pics. It's easier to demonstrate where your sew lines are without drawing all over my pretty fabric!

The possibilities are ENDLESS as far as the design of these. You can add buttons, or snaps, or velcro, or none of the above, or all of the above. You have creative freedom here. But, picking out the fabric is the most fun part, for sure.

And, if you're confident in your hand sewing abilities, please go for it. A sewing machine not required to make these pretty book sleeves.

P.S. Thank you to little Lumi for helping me pack when it was time to leave Florida. I couldn't have done it without you! Though if she didn't help me pack, maybe I'd still be there...

Anyways, let's get in to it, and let's craft!


DIY Book Sleeves


  • 1 pattern fabric cut to 12 in x 16 in (for outside of sleeve)

  • 1 pattern fabric cut to 12 in x 16 in (for inside lining of sleeve)

  • naked flex foam (¼ inch thick) cut to 10.5 in x 16 in

  • thread for sewing

  • sewing machine (optional)

  • pins (optional)

  • button, snap fastener, or velcro (optional)


  1. Arrange fabrics and foam in this order: Outside of sleeve, pattern side down; foam; inside lining, pattern side facing up. Make sure all three are aligned along the bottom.

  1. Pin the fabric, if desired, to help keep the fabrics in line together. Sew a straight stitch starting where the foam starts along side B, across side C, and along side A, stopping where the foam ends. There will be 1 ½ inch at the top that is not sewn. (Follow the black dotted line in the pic below.

  1. Find the center of your rectangle. Sew a vertical straight stitch starting at the stitch you made on side C and going up to where the foam ends at side D. (Follow the black dotted line in the pic below.)

  1. Fold the extra 1 ½ inch of fabric at the top (side D) over. I made a small double fold. Sew a horizontal straight stitch across the bottom of the fold across from side A to side B. (Follow the black dotted line in the pic below.

  1. Fold the rectangle in half at the line you sewed down the middle (still keeping the lining side out). Sew a straight stitch along the center line, across side C, and back up along side A (follow the pink dotted line in the pic below).

  1. Flip the sleeve inside out. The outside fabric will now be on the outside.

  2. Take your new book sleeve and your favorite book to go!

Project Notes:

* You can hand stitch or use a sewing machine for this project.

*This book sleeve fits your standard paperback book. To fit larger or hard cover books, you could add 2-3 inches to the width of your fabric.

*You can add a button and elastic, snap fasteners, or velcro to the book sleeve to have a way to close your book sleeve.

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