Before going to meet Dorling Kindersly book people, I noticed that the spine of my portfolio/book had a small tear in it. I didn’t have time to go get a new portfolio and thought it could be rather tasty to make my own cover. My only worry was that it would need to be beautifully finished, tasteful, simple and look professional or I’d be better off with my torn spine.
I decided on linen as being simple, beautiful and utilitarian and the method I decided to use would work on any size of book. I often cover books with fabric or paper for friends and decorate the covers for each individual suited to their personal taste.
1. I first opened out my portfolio and measured roughly around it and cut out a big chunk of linen making sure to leave a large margin all around the edge with extra long bits on the left and right – a bit like covering text books at school.
2. Then I ironed on some iron-on interfacing which you can get from any haberdashery department. You don’t have to do this stage but it stabilizes the linen and makes it much easier to work with to get a neat finished look and makes it a bit more robust as a cover.
3. Next I got a ruler and drew nice straight lines and made sure I had nice right angles using my book still laid out on top (I could have measured my book and added on equal amounts to top and bottom and equal bigger amounts to left and right but where would the fun be in that? I just did it by eye with the book on top but I did make sure the front and back flap would be the same size.
4. I did a zig zag stitch all around the edge even though the linen isn’t likely to fray with the interfacing on, I just thought that as this hem would be visible on the inside of the top and the bottom of the book it would look neater.
5. I did think it looked a little plain all bare and brown so I found a piece of very simple cotton ribbon which I machine sewed onto the front cover. I then played with typing my name onto some ribbon and wondered about various ways of putting my name on the front cover but none of them looked quite right and I did feel this shouldn’t look too ‘hand made’ or ‘cutesy’. If this is for a personal project this is the bit where you can go bonkers with your covers decorating them, embroidering, sewing, sticking things on, typing onto, drawing or printing on or whatever takes your fancy.
6. Next I folded over the top edge and the bottom and pressed flat with lots of steam making sure that the finished height it is just slightly longer than the height of my book.
7. Then I turned in both ends about a centimetre, pressed them down with an iron for a nice crisp finish and machine sewed them down
8. I then folded in the front and back flaps making sure the book was shut when I measured for this bit as the fabric has to reach around a bit further with the book shut. And again pressed flat and then hand sewed them. This means this cover is not removable as it’s on a rigid cover book. On a soft cover, you’d be able to slot your book in and out.
9. Ta da! All finished.
Am dreading when my girls get to the day where they reject all things cute. What will I do? I’ll have no way of disguising that it is actually me who has the Hello Kitty fetish.
I’m fully appreciating their love of all things cute though while it lasts so when I found this book by Aranzi Aronzo, I was a bit excited. They’ve done a few books and all full of more cuteness than you can throw a pussy cat at. The one I have is called simply Cute Stuff. I rarely actually buy craft books because I prefer to just make stuff up as I go along but the layout of this book is very inspiring in design terms so that was what got me parting with my dosh.
I really should be doing other things but justified this project as it’s so quick. I shall be making more such as squirrels, sprites and other assorted creatures to be friends with the bunny. The book suggests these are hair bands but I sewed this one onto a safety pin so it can be attached to clothing or bags or whatever else may need a little bunny to keep it company…
Well I looked at problem of kamikaze soft toys trying to meet their maker off the top bunk and decided bag to contain them would need to be of gigantic proportions so instead busied myself with smaller bags. Smallest daughter has taken a shine to hers so much that she puts her favourite rabbit inside it and then cuddles the package in bed. Bag, rabbit and all.
Eldest daughter already likes to be v involved in all decision making processes along the way and has a good eye for colour and what works together. That squirrel fabric she’s got her little mitts on in the picture is some given to me by my Mum from which she made things for me as a baby. I love the history of crafting and making which often goes through the female generations of families.
One of my favourite ways of labelling things is to use an old fashioned typewriter. The hit and miss way the ink takes to the paper/fabric is one of those happy accidents. Sometimes I type the words out a few times and choose my favourite. It’s great for making gifts for people to personalize stuff if they don’t mind walking around with things with their name emblazoned on the front. Eldest daughter already requested hers just had her first name and not the entire thing out there. For these bags I basted the fabric on and then sewed ribbon around the edges to frame it. Extra beads were then added for sparkle and prettiness. What I would have done if I’d had boys I don’t know. All those lost opportunities for prettifying things.
Then it was a case of sewing it all and ta da – two bags all fully lined and stuff. Oh I added a running stitch in embroidery thread onto both too. In design, I’m all for the less is more. Sewing I tend towards a ‘more is more’ approach. Still tempted to add beads (I have red heart shaped beads) to end of straps.
Apologies for pics as they were taken on my iphone so not the greatest quality. May retake and replace soon but just wanted to share. Oh and pattern (minus name labels and embellishments) was from Sew Hip Magazine – a mag with suprisingly cool, cute and quirky things to make but with a (sorry Sew Hip) hideous masthead – not so much hideous but I don’t think it suits the brand so well. Hopefully they will do brilliantly through word of mouth as it’s also hard to find on the shelves and isn’t even in the big WHSmiths at Victoria Station. I think I drunk ordered a few back issues and a subscription the other night at 3am – I can’t remember and it’s not showing on my bank statement yet but I’m hoping I did. I have a vague memory of doing so. Perri Lewis showed me my first copy or I’d never have picked it up off the shelf so thanks to Perri.
Another week has gone by and not a huge amount of making has been occuring. I was sick as a sickything last week plus eldest and youngest daughters both had a turn at the head in bucket style statement. Then that unfamiliar yellow disc appeared in the sky and called me out into the garden to mow, weed, prune, dig, edge, fertilize, mulch, pull, shape. I’ve battled with thorns, bushes and soil and filled two wheely bins full of lovely green waste. I even filled a vase with flowers from some pretty flowering bushes that had just got a bit over enthusiastic and were flowering all over daughters’ slide.
So today after the yellow disc had disappeared and the two terrors were tucked up in bed, I got on my computer and saw this post from Warwick Johnson Cadwell who was the other most regular illustrator for The Comic and thought I’d share. He has an magical knack for making people/animals/inanimate objects/aliens/plants/whatever you can think of have real character plus I’m sure he has some time machine up his sleeve as I’ve been known to send off the e-mail to commission him and these amazing roughs come pinging in my inbox 10 minutes later.
Once I noticed the rough had come in on his mobile. I mentioned in my reply that I hoped he was having a nice day out and about and it turned out he was with his friend in A&E. I immediately had visions of said friend bleeding to death or similar whilst Warwick’s like, ‘Hang in there mate, just got to get this drawing off. Won’t be a minute.’ and continuing to scribble away in his sketchbook. Not to mention all those scary signs saying to turn mobiles off or risk interfering with life support systems. I like to think that no-one was hurt or killed during the making of The Comic but it was good to know Warwick would always make the deadline.
Can I now also send official apologies to the rest of his family for when I didn’t know they were all on holiday in rural France and so sent off my usual Monday request and Warwick never mentioned the holiday until I’d approved roughs and he said that final artwork may be a little later than usual as he needed to drive miles to the nearest town in order to get an internet connection abandoning his family to do so. So please can I say sorry to all Johnson Cadwell clan for possibly ruining lovely family holiday. But also thank you thank you thank you for everything. The snails, the bees, the fake sick etc. It was fun.
I promise to post up some makes and ‘how to’s’ soon. Eldest daughter has been battling an ever increasing brood of stuffed toys on her bed. They’re worse than rabbits in their rate of breeding. Also am assuming they share some dna with lemmings in their enthusiasm for jumping off top bunk into chasm of bedroom floor below. So I want something nice and attractive to go in her room and keep the little darlings off her bed so she gets some sleep. Plus to keep teddies off the floor and to help save them from themselves in their desire to hurl themselves from great heights. Watch this space for my solution. Currently thinking along lines of big bag on wall with card backing to stiffen…
Well it’s Monday which would normally mean getting on with the next Saturday’s issue of The Comic and I’m here instead contacting old art director chums scouting for some freelance design. Have rather scary meeting scheduled on Wednesday with Simon Esterson, he of designing Guardian, Sight&Sound, Blueprint, Domus, New Statesman, NZZ etc etc fame but even he says things are quiet right now so not crossing too many things in case I cut off the circulation and end up losing an arm or something too.
As my mind is on all things Comic today I thought I’d share my leaving card which was so good I did actually blub a little on opening it. The illustration is by Jonathan Edwards and words are by Sarah Habershon, John-Henry Barac and Andrew Stocks (all art directors extraordinaire).
The maze is by John-Henry. It was a regular Monday morning occurance for me to text both Perri and Sarah with a progress report on my train journey which invariably was sabotaged by malfunctioning train doors, snow, floods, mad people, etc. On one occasion the bus driver of the replacement bus transport managed to lose his way.
Particularly impressed by Jonathan managing to get the correct number of iPhone handsets which I’ve managed to help on their journey back to their maker. Kicker line of ‘iPhone Catcher – make your toilet smartphone proof!’ is totally inspired.
So without anymore waffle from me – here is the lovely card…
P.S. Youngest daughter managed to correctly identify all parts of image. She thinks of the penguins as Caitlin’s now as she helped me make them and they’re on her shelf in her room. So she was a little perturbed as to what the penguins were doing and how Jonathan knew about them to draw them. I think she thinks he has magical powers which of course he does.
Oh and the five tiny things to do today? 1. Buy chocolate on way to work 2. Eat chocolate for mid-morning snack 3. Have lunch 4. Buy chocolate from canteen 5. Eat chocolate for mid-afternoon snack. Easy peasy.
Thank you everyone.