Saturday, 17 September 2011

Longfellow's Facelift

A while ago I bought a rather abused copy of Longfellow’s Complete Poetical Works.
Despite the damage to the cover, the pages are all intact and beautifully printed. The book itself bears an inscription dated 1900!
But reading this book without getting covered in debris from the cracked spine is impossible, and the cover is slowly getting more and more destroyed...

Terrible, huh?

The back cover is half ripped off--the previous owner obviously didn’t think much of Longfellow’s poetry!

I wanted to protect this poor neglected book and decided the best method of doing this would be to make a book cover!

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Then I remembered the fabric samples I have, which I posted about a while ago:

First off, I measured the book and added ten centimetres to the width, for the fold-over.
Selecting the most usable pieces of fabric, I laid them out (upside down) how I wanted the cover to look and pinned them together to make a piece larger than the measurements of the book:

Then I wrapped the pinned fabric around the book to check it was a good fit.

There wasn’t enough of an overlap inside the front and back cover, so I added strips of off-cut fabric left over when I sewed the pieces together:

I used some cotton left over from a past project to make a lining. The fabric wasn’t very wide, so I sewed together two strips of it!
Once I sewed the outer and lining together, I turned the cover the right way and closed the open end. After that I wrapped the cover around the book again to check for fit, pinned the fold-over in place, and (after removing from the book!) I sewed everything into place:

Now my once-sad book is wrapped all snug in its book cover!
I messed up a little on the back; it seems velvety fabrics aren’t the best choice for this kind of project!

For a first attempt, I think this turned out fairly well!

I think the fabrics really fit the feel of the book and Longfellow’s poetry!

To round this post off, I’ll share one of my favourite of Longfellow’s poems (not that I’ve read them all yet--am only part of the way through the book!)

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807-1882)

Take them, O Death! And bear away,
Whatever thou canst call thine own!
Thine image, stamped upon this clay,
Doth give thee that, but that alone!

Take them, O Grave! And let them lie
Folded upon thy narrow shelves,
As garments by the soul laid by,
And precious only to ourselves!

Take them, O great Eternity!
Our little life is but a gust
That bends the branches of thy tree
And trails its blossoms in the dust!

Linking up at the fabulous link parties in my sidebar!


  1. So pretty and useful. Imagine an entire shelf of those pretty books!

  2. This is gorgeous! I love saving books, and I think you did a great job. You are right, the fabric matches the tone of the poetry. Thanks for sharing!

  3. I love the fabrics you chose, so beautiful all together. I just started a new linky party over at, opens later tonight. It would be wonderful if you stopped by to share your great tutorial!

  4. My Mom use to make me fabric book covers for my textbooks in elementary school ... Great idea for your book!! Super cute too!!

  5. Hi Kie, your book cover is so posh! I love the vintagy quilted look and gorgeous fabrics. Perfect for that book. I'd love to have one for my Bible. I also love all the jewelry you create. Man you are creative.

    Thanks for coming over to Cotton Pickin Cute and leaving such a sweet comment on my cupcake holder. I'm your newest follower. I hope you visit me again.

    Hugs...Tracy :)

    P.S. I'm having a giveaway for a cute cupcake kit here: I'd love you to stop by and enter.

  6. What lucious fabrics to protect a Treasure, very Boho! Thanks for stopping by and I'm so glad you were inspired... I was too... and isn't it fun to have that Rush of Inspiration and then go and act upon it!!!??? Visual overload can't help but get the creative juices flowing and it's the best Natural high ever!

    Blessings from the Arizona Desert... Dawn... The Bohemian

  7. Cute idea! Thanks for sharing! liz @ designing domesticity

  8. I think that looks great! It's really cute and useful!

    Thanks so much for linking up to Make Yourself Monday!

    For Love of Cupcakes

  9. That book cover is beautiful! Thank you for sharing the poem also, I've been trying to remember who wrote it for ages XD


Reading all your sweet comments makes me happy! :) I appreciate each and every one and try to reply to all that I can!

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