Soft books make great baby gifts

soft book, fabric book, fabric panel book, Mickey Mouse, baby gift, easy sewing project

I have managed to complete one sewing project since I’ve had Angela, a soft book for my nephew’s first birthday.

He is absolutely in love with Mickey Mouse, so when I saw a soft book panel featuring the Mickey characters, I knew I had to make him one for his birthday.

At one-year-old he wants to put everything in his mouth. That means board books get wet and regular paper pages are in danger of being ripped. But with a fabric soft book, he can put it in his mouth as much as he wants without ruining it and my sister can always put it in the wash if it gets too nasty.

soft book, fabric book, fabric panel book, Mickey Mouse, baby gift, easy sewing project

For those of you who have never made soft books before, you purchase them on a panel and the instructions for putting each one together comes printed along with the fabric pages. The instructions are all usually pretty much the same, you place the facing pages right sides together with a layer of thin batting on the wrong side of one fabric, stitch around the edges leaving an opening for turning and then close the opening with a whip stitch by hand. Once all the pages are done, you arrange them in order and sew a line down the center for the book binding.

It’s a pretty easy project, which is why it is the one thing I’ve managed to tackle since I’ve had the baby. I have found a few tricks though in the construction process that makes it go even smoother:

  • Use Thermore batting by Hobbs – It is incredibly thin, which makes it great for soft books.
  • Book pages are rarely square – The panel is printed on fabric and rarely turns out square. Just cut around the edges of the design and then square it up when you pin everything together. Do that by pining the corners and the exact center of each page. Ease in any excess as you sew and press the heck out of it with a little spray starch to make it lie flat.
  • Trim corners – Before you turn and press, make sure you trim your corners to get flat points on your pages.
  • Back stitch and use a walking foot – When you sew all the pages together a walking foot is helpful to move all the layers through at the same speed. Back stitching at the beginning and end of the book binding stitch also keeps your threads secure so the book won’t fall apart in the wash or with use.

I may have gone on a shopping spree on Fabric.com and purchased a slew of soft book panels for Angela a couple weeks before she was born. So don’t be too surprised if you see more of these popping up in future blog posts. After all, I’ve got an entire cube in her bookshelf reserved for soft books.

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