Maud Humphrey

Maud Humphrey

Friday, April 27, 2012

Racketty-Packetty House--A Book Cover

I have been busily cleaning and organizing my sewing room over the past couple of days.  I have been ruthless!  Things are being tossed left and right.  It feels so good to get control over the chaos again.  There is still more left to do before I'm totally satisfied with my space (like organizing all my laces and other trims), but I decided to take a small break this morning and tackle a little project I've had on my mind.

I recently purchased this old children's book by one of my favorite authors, Frances Hodgson Burnett.  It is "Racketty Packetty House".  I have wanted to add this book to my collection for quite a while, but it can be quite expensive in good condition.  Luckily, this one came up on Ebay a short while ago, and because it had been well-loved, it only cost $14.99.  The pages are all intact, but the spine cover had completely ripped off (I glued it back on).  Other than that, it is in fairly decent shape.  It's a sweet little children's book, about the inhabitants of a dollhouse, and has a 1906 copyright.  There are delightful, colorful illustrations throughout, along with the one on the front cover.  Because I want to be able to read this book without doing it further damage, I decided to make it a book cover.

Remember those brown paper grocery bag covers we made for our school books back in the day?  Do kids still do that?  Anyway, that is NOT what I wanted for this little book.  I definitely didn't want to hide the illustration on the front cover.  So I got the idea to COPY it.  I used my Epson Scanner/Printer to copy the front cover onto a fabric sheet made for ink jet printers.  The picture above shows the color copy, bordered with 2" strips of fabric.

Next, I added another piece of fabric to the left hand side to make the back cover, and then I basted a lining piece using the same fabric across the entire piece.  I don't have exact measurements for you, since I just kind of made it up as I went along.  But the front cover of this little book measures 5"x 6 1/2", and I just cut everything a little bigger so that I would end up with a 1/2" seam allowance.

The photo above shows how I made the interior flaps.  I wanted their finished width to be about 3" wide, so I cut them 7" wide, folded them in half lengthwise, and then attached them right sides together with the front cover, stitching along the raw edges.

Next, I sewed along the top and bottom edges of the flaps, and then I zig-zagged the raw edges all the way around.  I also cut across the corners diagonally so that they would have nice points when turned right-side out.  (I shoved the white piece of paper into the left flap, so it would be easier (hopefully!) to see.)

The last step was to hand stitch a small hem at the top and bottom of the inside cover, the part that is in between the flaps.  My needle kind of blends into the fabric, but hopefully, you get the idea.

Here is the book, neatly inserted into the cover...

...and here is the completed project!  I am so pleased with how this turned out.  Now I can handle this book without being afraid of doing more damage to the spine and cover, yet the illustration is still visible on the front.  The fabric, by the way, is a 1900's reproduction fabric by Blue Hills Fabric called "Samantha".  I thought this was appropriate, since the book was printed in 1906.

Hope you enjoyed this little project.  I really just wanted to show how one can go about protecting an old book (or even a new one, for that matter) and not lose any of the visual charm.  Now, go read a book!

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