I am in this month’s Pretty Patches magazine – an interview by the lovely Janet Ravenscroft. At one point it was thought that a ‘How To’ might be included, but that didn’t happen so as it was prepped, I thought it might as well appear on this neglected blog!
A Little Textile Book
Begin by looking through your scraps collection for a piece large enough to fold into several ‘pages’- A4 or larger. It is fun to choose fabric you don’t like or if you have been dyeing, something you think is a ‘fail’. It will transform under your hands! The piece I chose is about 32 x 36cms.
Alter the fabric in any way you please – print, stamp, stencil and collage it, but don’t build thick layers. This is the perfect opportunity to use up tiny scraps of fabric and the last fragments of foil. I had spring in mind, thinking of new growth, of daffodil and crocus, so chose accordingly. It is helpful to have a theme, or a limited palette to help govern your choices. I enjoy the freedom, texture and serendipity of frayed edges and hanging threads, tearing rather than cutting, and using up scraps of heat activated adhesive such as Bondaweb, to hold fabric in place, or stitching rather casually!
After completing the initial surface design, the pages can be formed by making simple cuts and folds. For your first try, fold into quarters, (if you enjoy the technique, try out different combinations of folds on paper before you cut into your fabric). Measure and mark the appropriate fold lines onto the back of the fabric. A Frixion pen is great for this as the marks iron away. You will then make cuts along some of the lines as shown in the diagram.Practice on paper, to make sure that it all folds as you desire. When I am trialling different cuts and folds, I mark one side of the paper on every page to make sure that I can always fold wrong sides together. You can make charming paper books by this method too. I chose to cut across the width, giving the pages portrait orientation. If I had wanted landscape pages, I could have made cuts lengthwise. Begin folding from one corner and accordion across and up to the next ‘line’ wrong sides together each time. You will end up with a neat(ish) stack of ‘pages’.
Press the stack well and then enjoy the best bit! At this stage you can look at each ‘page’ and decide whether to embellish each one further. I love beads and feel that they add to the tactile nature of a fabric book, which is a small, precious delight. Gather things that might work around you to pick from in a relaxed way.
Once all the pages are finished use heat activated glue to bond pairs of pages together, aligning the book neatly, as you go. To make a book cover, measure the closed size of your book, not forgetting to including the depth of the spine, and add a scant one cm to the dimensions. Cut a stiff base for the cover from pelmet vileness, or the perfect medium Fast2Fuse, which is heat-adhesive. Cut a decorative piece of fabric, (or joined pieces) 2.5 cms larger than your stiffening medium, place the two together with even margins all the way around, and bond using heat activated adhesive. Mitring the corners is easiest done by doing your best with the heat bonding, then finishing with tiny mattress stitches.
Apply heat activated adhesive to the top and bottom of your page stack and then iron your pages into their cover. Decorate the cover as desired! I simply added a title with Sharpie Marker and added a few more beads and stitches.
The variations are endless – try landscape and portrait orientation, add embroidery to the cover, a button and cord closure, or elasticated band.