Post #5 On book covers

This week’s musing is on the appeal of a nicely covered book. It was such a disappointment when, as a schoolgirl, we were given strict instructions that our classwork books were to be covered with brown paper. Moreover, we were told to write our names on the school regulation white labels with neat blue borders and stick them carefully in the top right hand corner of the book. No leeway was given for the smallest spark of brightness or individuality.

Perhaps I am still rebelling against this. It would explain why I enjoy making fabric covers for books. Here is my latest one. It is a customised cover for the larger format softcover Moleskin journal (250 x 190 mm).

The front of the journal cover

I like the idea that this cover is truly unique. The fabric is a factory “overprint” found in the rag bin of a local fabric store.  (The fabric is printed many times in the textile factory, in order to clean the rollers at the end of a printrun of a particular design.) The stitching was done by hand (of course!) to add to the pattern of the fabric. And I used newly purchased threads for the stitching.

During last week’s trip to the city I bought the set of the blank journals and a stash of commercial embroidery cottons and hand dyed threads. Chameleon Threads has an enticing range with lovely names like Tumble Weeds, Slate Roof, Forget me Not, Baobab – to name a few. The threads are individually hand-dyed in South Africa using cotton, rayon and pure silk, and come in six-stranded embroidery skeins and in 8 and 12 perle.

Better than a box of chocolates

Over the years I have made many fabric book covers to sell. For these I use standard issue hardcover notebooks in A4, A5 and A6 format. The covers are removable, so once the notebook is filled a fresh one can be inserted into the cover. It’s nice to think that these covers are out in the world, being used and enjoyed. Here’s a sample of my latest ones, made for my stall at the monthly Hogsback Village Market.


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