A Book Bag

I walk and use public transport to get around town when possible, including when I go between different work locations. Typically, I carry some kind of bag along with me in addition to my handbag. Often I want to bring a book along, either a reference book for work or something to read on the train. What I don’t like so much is the wear and tear that results. Perhaps I’m old school, but I feel that books are precious and need to be looked after.

The Quilting Bible placed on my new Book BagFor a long time I’ve been thinking of making some kind of book cover. I thought of making of those wrap around ones that you slide the front or back cover of the book into but I could not think of a workable ‘one size fits all’ approach with that design.

Last Friday after work I decided to grab some fabric and see where I ended up. I took a batik fat quarter left over from my starry night cot quilt project, one that was too stiff to use in a quilt, and matched it up with a plain blue remnant from my stash. I squared them up, grabbed some batting, made a quilt sandwich and ran a few lines of decorative machine stitching across it to hold everything together.

Next I stay stitched around the raw edges and folded it in half to make a bag. I picked yellow for the binding as a little reminder of our recent trip to Sweden, blue and yellow being the colours of the Swedish national flag. It’s double binding because that’s what I do on my quilts, not because it really needed it.

The decorative stitching is more visible against the plain inside unpatterned fabric.

The decorative stitching is more visible against the inside unpatterned fabric.

The binding is continuous and doesn’t have any overlap between the start and end points. Accomplishing that was a real test of my spacial reasoning and I’m not sure I passed that test. Let’s just say I sewed three times and unpicked twice. I used the excellent instructions in The Quilting Bible: The Complete Guide to Machine Quilting (3rd ed). It’s one of my favourite reference books and also has a few projects I’m keen to try.

batik book  bag closed, showing completed binding

So it’s all done, a kind of book sleeping bag, with just enough padding to protect books from damage in my bag. It doesn’t have buttons or any other closure as a fold will do the job and keep the size flexible. The finished dimensions are 11 inches long and 7 inches wide, so it will fit most of my medium and some of my bigger books or alternatively, my laptop.

Paperback novels might need a special bag of their own, but in these days of e-readers, they’re not something I tend to buy so often any more, so that project can wait.

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4 responses to “A Book Bag

  1. Very nice

  2. Clever! I agree…books should be protected!

  3. I agree, books are precious. Your binding is perfect!

  4. I love your concept of book “sleeping bag”! – v. attractive, practical, and what books deserve. Great idea.

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