How to Make a Book Sleeve

How to Make a Book Sleeve

Sometimes, it can be the simplest things to get kids interested in reading for the summer. Earlier in the month, we shared how to keep track and encourage your young readers with a blog on summer reading program ideas. Today, I’m going to show you one way to protect those precious books by making a book sleeve!

This project is so easy, that you can get your kiddos involved in making their own! WIN WIN!

Book Sleeve Supplies

Book Sleeve Supplies

Note: finished measurement is approximately 8.5″x11″; the quilting cotton fabric and batting listed below will make 2 book sleeves. Just double the other supplies for the second one.

  • 1 fat quarter of quilting cotton for the outside (best if it’s non-directional)
  • 25″ or 3/4 yard of quilting cotton for the lining
  • 21″ scrap of batting or fusible fleece
  • Hair tie or 3″ piece of Fold Over Elastic or other narrow width elastic
  • 1 button

Cut and Prep

Outer fabric: Start by cutting your fat quarter of outer fabric into 2 pieces measuring 9″x21″ (Fat quarters measure 18″x21″ so you can cut it in half…but be sure you’re cutting it the proper direction!!). You will only need one of the pieces, so put the other piece on the side to make another book sleeve for a friend!

Batting: cut the same as your outer fabric – 9″x21″.

Lining: cut your lining fabric 9″x25″

Elastic/Hair tie: Cut to 3″

Time to Sew

Seam allowance is 1/4″ unless otherwise stated.

Outer layer and batting

First, lay the batting on your cutting mat. Next, place the outer fabric on top of it, right side facing up. Fold one short edge to meet the other short edge, so the outer fabric print is folded right sides touching. Sew the side edges (do not sew along the short top edge or you will sew the sleeve shut!).


Next, lay the lining fabric on the cutting mat. Now, fold one short edge over to meet the other short edge (as done in the previous step). However, before sewing, cut the bottom folded edge along the fold.

Sew the side seams and the bottom seam, but leave a 2″-3″ opening along the middle of the bottom.

Elastic Loop Placement

Turn the lining right side out and slide it into the main part (the outer fabric and batting combo). Match the side seams and pin. Lay the sleeve flat and find the center on one side (so basically 4″ from the side) and mark it with a straight pin. Form a loop with the elastic and sandwich it at that marked spot between the outer fabric and the lining fabric. The raw edges of the elastic should line up with the raw edges of the fabric with the loop towards the body of the sleeve. Pin this in place.

Joining the Lining and Outer Fabrics

Bring the sleeve to the sewing machine and sew around the entire top, backstitching over the elastic.

Reach into the sleeve and turn the sleeve right side out through the opening created in the bottom of the lining. Press the lining away from the body of the bag.

To close the opening in the lining, use 1/4″ Steam A Seam or you can simply use a straight stitch on your machine to close it (it will not be seen since it’s tucked inside the bag). Alternately, you can use a whip stitch or latter stitch to hand sew the opening shut. (I forgot to get a picture of this step).

Push the lining inside the bag taking time to get everything nice and lined up along the sides and bottom. The lining fabric will peek out about 1/2″ at the top of the sleeve.

Completed book sleeve

Button Placement

The elastic loop will be on the back of the sleeve. Fold it over the top to find the precise placement for the button. Sew the single button on the front of the sleeve either by machine or by hand.

Now grab your favorite book from your summer reading list and let the fun begin!!!

Oh and here’s a heads up…these make GREAT teacher gifts!

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