Thursday, January 7, 2010

ABC Book (part two) -- TUTORIAL

Each of your backgrounds will be a two-page spread, with the exception of "m" and "n."  This means you will end up cutting out 12 rectangles and 2 squares rather than 26 squares, and it will make your construction much easier.

You will cut your background rectangles (and your cover!) 12" x 6" and your squares 6" x 6 1/2".  Layer your two squares right sides together and sew with a 1/4" seam allowance to create a 12" x 6" rectangle.  You will also cut your (LIGHTWEIGHT!!) batting into seven 12" x 6" rectangles.  Or if you are using felt, cut 14 rectangles.

STEP ONE:  You may want to "audition" your background fabrics with your letters to determine which ones work best.  In my example book, I chose three backgrounds that would go well with any of my letter fabrics.  I simply laid out my letter groups on top of my background fabrics and chose the best background for each group as a whole.  I then listed my letters with each background color so I wouldn't get mixed up during my cutting and pressing (see photo).

Here's a quick list that might be helpful:

BACKGROUND ONE:  a z,  w d,  g t,  q j,  m

BACKGROUND TWO:  y b,  e v,  s h,  k p,  n

BACKGROUND THREE:  c x,  u f,  i r,  o l

STEP TWO:  Fold each page wrong sides together and press with your iron to create a crease.  This will help when you are centering and pressing each letter in place.

STEP THREE:  Carefully remove the paper backing from your letters and center them within the squares.  You will want to shift them just slightly towards the center to accomodate for the 1/4" seam allowance that will be taken on the outer edges.  Press them in place with an up-down patting of your iron.  Don't drag your iron side to side or you may risk distorting or shifting your letters.

You will then take your finished pages and layer them together exactly as they will be in your finished book.  This will ensure you get all the pages in the right places in the next step.

STEP FOUR: Take one of your batting/felt rectangles and layer one of your pages letter-side up on top.  Sew around the edges of each letter about 1/8" in from the edge using your clear monofilament thread.  You are quilting and securing your letters at the same time.  (If you are using batting, sew the letters on the opposite side of the page without batting.)

STEP FIVE:  Layer the two sides of your page right sides together.  Double-check to be sure you've got everything in the right place.

STEP SIX:  Starting about two inches from the center bottom of the page, sew all the way around, stopping about two inches from the other side of the center bottom.

STEP SEVEN:  Trim the corners as shown.  This will help give you nice pointy corners when you turn your page right side out.

STEP EIGHT: Turn your page right side out through the opening.  Use a chopstick or other blunt-yet-pointy object to poke the corners out.  Don't stab too hard or you might rip a hole in the corner.

STEP NINE:  Press the edges of your page to give them a nice clean, straight edge.

Remember to also press your opening, turning the raw edges inside as shown.

STEP TEN:  Choose a thread color for all the edges of your pages.  Topstitch around all the edges of your pages about 1/8" from the edge, starting at the center bottom of the page.  (Your stops and starts will hide here nicely once the pages are all sewn together.)  Backstitch at the beginning and end of your stitching.

To turn the corners, simply stop on the corner with your needle down, lift your presser foot and turn the page, then lower the presser foot again and continue sewing.

You now have a nice stack of pages ready to be sewn together!

STEP ELEVEN:  Sew your pages together in two groups -- one group of three and one group of four.  Lengthen your stitch to about 3 1/2 to help your machine get the pages through.  Then you will sew the two groups together to create one book!

You may want to hand crank it at first to see how your machine will react to all that bulk.  Amazingly, on my last book my machine did it just fine!  It helped to do the two groups first so everything was smashed down a little, and to avoid shifting all those layers.  With this particular book my batting was TOO THICK -- and I ended up sewing my two groups together by hand.  Yeowch!  I definitely recommend a very lightweight batting or felt!

If you make a book using my tutorial, I would LOVE to see it.  Please send me a photo or a link!


Anne said...

When my daughter was born, one of my relatives gave her a soft fabric book. It was one of her favorite toys!

I featured your tutorial on Craft Gossip Sewing:


Connie said...

Great tutorial! Thanks again. Also, could you tell me the name of the font you used?

Care said...

Hi Connie,

Took me a couple searches, but I found it! I used a font called "Futura XBlk BT" in Word, font size 350. I modified a couple of the letters (in the lowercase version, anyway) to make them look... well... more like the right letters! I added a little curl to the bottom of "q" and shortened the main body of "j."

Hope that helps!
Care. said...

What a gorgeous gift and totally something to be passed down to future generations. Thanks so much, I'll be linking.

Courtney said...

you are amazing!! my sewing hero really!! you need to make a button! i am so impressed i am constantly telling people about your blog and attempting your projects!

Mari said...

I am Soooo excited to try this out. Thank you for sharing and taking the time to put the tutorial together. Will definitely post you a photo once I get the time to put one together.

ARTwendy ... said...

Hey there Care...
Just back from our summer stint 'up the river'(Yesterday was 45 degrees C)... how exciting to find your alphabet fabric book!
I'd been thinking about making one of these & now you have so kindly made it a whole lot easier for me!
I've worked out my layout for my I-Spy picnic quilt ... a simple angled rainbow ... will post about it soon ... xxx

michelleml said...

This is very cute i will have to give it a try thanks

Ginger said...

So cute love how you made your tutorial awesome!

Alice Barton said...

this is awsome!!
Thank you so much for the time and effort you have put in preparingthis tutorial!!!!!
Kisses from Spain.

Suzanne said...

Thanks for the tutorial! I made this for my future niece. I posted pictures here:

tai lee photography said...

So cute. What a fun little project!

BAD Quilter said...

When you sew with monofiliment thread, what do you put in the bobbin? Thanks :)

Unknown said...

What sewing machine is your fav with the fabric books? Thanks. I love love love all your things! Cyndy

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