Saturday, February 23, 2013

Zippered Book Cover Tutorial

For Christmas I received a lovely ESV Study Bible.
I love it!
My children love to carry it from the van to Church.
But, once in a while (actually only once yet) it gets dropped in the snow.
And, I really do NOT like a wrinkly, messy looking Bible.
I love the crisp, new feel and do not want to lose that to anything other than everyday use.
So, a somewhat water proof Bible cover was in order. Or at least one that could be shut so the pages would not all be sprinkled with snow and it had to be faux-leather so that the snow wouldn't make the fabric wet and then seep onto the cover of the Bible anyway.
Here is what I did. It is not perfect but I'm happy how it works and have gotten compliments already. (I've been told that the person who makes it always sees the errors where-as it really doesn't look all that bad.)
I did have some difficulties with the zipper but with some patience and many weeks of it lying forlorn on my sewing desk--just waiting to be finished, I plodded through and got it done.
Without further ado:
The Zippered Book Cover
a tutorial
 First, take your measurements.
For the Bible, these were my measurements and I added 2" to the 15 3/4" that I measured from the front, around the spine, all the way to the back cover. I also added 1 1/4" to the 9 3/4" which was the length of my Bible, as you can hopefully see in the picture below. The 23" measurement I took, I had to add about 5" to that for the zipper length. (That would be approximately 2x the thickness of the book--2 3/8".)  

So, after taking your measurements, cut these pieces:
Outer Fabric:
1- 17 3/4" x 11"
1- 2 1/4" x 1 1/2"
2- 1 1/2" x length of zipper (28")
Inner Fabric:
1- 17 3/4" x 11"
1- 6 1/2" x 11"
2- 5 1/2" x 11"
2- 1 1/2" x length of zipper (28") 
Make 1/2" double fold bias tape that is approximately 64" long for these measurements.
Tutorial for bias tape here.
Take the 6 1/2" x 11" piece of inner fabric, and fold the long sides in by 1/4". Press.
Position on the center of the outer fabric and edgestitch on. This will be the spine.

Take the two (inner and outer) pieces of 17 3/4" x 11" and baste together wrong sides together.

See that little piece of ribbon? One of my sons thought it'd be a good idea to cut Mommy's fabric...
Take the two 5 1/2" x 11" pieces of inner fabric and fold one side on each in by 1/4". Press.
Position these on the inner 17 3/4" x 11" piece to make the pockets where the cover of your book will slip into. Baste into place.

This is what the pocket should look like when finished. (Don't mind the out of order picture--this is the finished cover!)
Take a cup or other round edge and round all the corners.

Like this:

Take the 2 1/4" x 1 1/2" piece of outer fabric and sew onto the zipper, on the bottom side (where it would separate if you were using a separating zipper to prevent it from separating when you open it.)

Take 1 outer and 1 inner 1 1/2" x  zipper length piece and make a sandwich with your zipper in the middle. Sew with a zipper foot, leaving some on each end to be able to flip under.

This is what the zipper should look like when you open up the sandwich.

Press and topstitch, folding in the short sides to finish those edges.

Repeat for the other side.
You will end up with a zipper like this:
Open the zipper, and baste onto the cover, having the inner fabrics facing eachother.
This is a tricky, tricky part and I'd recommend that you use a hand sewing needle to baste as you go and to be able to adjust more easily.
At the non-separating end of the zipper, over-lap the edges like this:

Yes, that is a different zipper than I started out with--the other one was not long enough so the book cover would not lay flat, to be able to read. (I told you I had a rough time with that zipper!)
Attach the bias tape around the outer edge of the cover, using a bit of a longer stitch length if using faux-leather or the like to prevent any weakening of the fabric.
You may have to hand-stitch this part of the bias tape on as the zipper thing is super difficult to manuevre under the machine!

And, you are done! Slip that book or Bible into your cover and enjoy.

I know, I didn't add handles, even though that was a  request from my son. I may add some later, I'm not sure but that is an option, for sure.
Let me know if you use this tutorial to make yourself a book cover! And, if you have any ideas for improvement, let me know--this is not an un-improvable project!


  1. What a wonderful way to keep such a precious book safe. And oh so stylish too :-)

  2. Great tutorial. I remember making a bible cover back in high school. Great job!

  3. This was a great tutorial. Love the pink and brown print. Stopping by from Plum and June.

  4. Thank you Fenna for sharing this idea! I think it's really inspiring (repinned!).
    I've found you through Pinterest (you repinned an apron free pattern I pinned) and I like you blog, so I'm your newest follower!

    MammaNene from

  5. Seeking a way to support my ministry I decided to make Bible covers with a zipper and it's taken me two days of surfing the 'Net to find this.

    Thank you for sharing this as I am not one for imagination and for the life of me I could not envision HOW to do this.

    Here's hoping Jehovah will bless my efforts. I'm certainly excited to at least try.



  6. Wow! Thanks for the inspiration. I am wanting to make one for my son. I am glad I found your instructions. It seemed a bit difficult to do on my own, but you made it easy with instructions and photos. thanks!!!

  7. Thank you for your tutorial. You did a great job. Just one question I am not sure about how to insert the zip.

  8. I really like this bible cover pattern. I look forward to being able to attempting it. thank you so much for sharing :)

  9. Thanks for sharing. My wife makes Bible covers. This will be a great help as I'm thinking of making Bible covers myself. Thanks again.

  10. I know this is a late comment, but I am trying to make a Bible cover for my husband's Bible. I have such issues with the zipper! I can't get it in right where it doesn't stick up above where it goes. Help!!!

  11. How would you add a handle? I am going to make one for my ESV study bible since I can't find a cover, but I would like a handle. :)

    1. To add a handle, I would sew it onto the spine area of the cover, using some interfacing on the inside to keep the faux leather/fabric from tearing.

  12. Hey very nce blog!


Thanks for stopping by! I'd love to hear your thoughts and ideas!