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Reading Quilt Tutorial

If I had the power to transfer even a portion of my love of reading to Bug I’d do it. Unfortunately, and probably surprisingly, I am not imbued with those powers but I do have a sewing machine! We change so much through our reading lives and I wanted to have something to document Bug’s. Something that could grow with him physically and exhibit the ever evolving choices in literature that we all go through. I wish I had a reading quilt like this. I would love to easily look back and see what I read when I was ten or two while snuggling up to read my newest find.

I’ve been knocking this idea around for about a year. I Googled, I Pinterested, I spoke to the sewing queens in my life, and I finally figured out what I wanted to do exactly. In the end, I chose a ragged-edge quilt because if I have to pull seams apart to put new blocks on, I won’t do it. This way I can just stitch-in-the-ditch, as my mother says, and be done. So, whether you’re making this for yourself or a loved one, the best of luck to you. I’m super excited for you to make one too. Now, let’s get down to business!

 Reading Quilt Tutorial:

You’ll have to decide how much material you’ll need based on how big you want your quilt to be. I always error on the side of too much over too little. I’m not sure how big Bug’s quilt will be in the end but I purchased a good sized amount and think I should be set until he’s 18 or so. I secretly hope not. If I run out of fabric before then Bug will have so many favorite books that I won’t have any fabric left. Or I suppose my sewing skills will have declined dramatically and I’ll have destroyed all my fabric. Let’s hope for the first scenario. Back to my point, you’ll need to plan how big your book covers will be and how many books you’ll be adding so your material requirements will be adherent to those factors.


  • Backing material – Flannel or cotton that will fray nicely
  • Framing material- Flannel or cotton that will fray nicely
  • Photo Fabric(like that found in the link but you can use the rolls or the sheets)
  • Coordinating thread
  • An INKJET printer (a laser printer will not work with the photo fabric)
  • Batting (if desired) I purchased 1/4″ batting or 2 oz weight.

Step 1:

  • You’ll want to scan in your covers and print them out on the photo fabric. I spent a crazy amount of time and photo fabric, which is not cheap, messing around with oversized covers. Learn from my mistakes and print a trial run on regular paper before you print out on the photo fabric.

Step 2:

  • You’ll want to measure each block and calculate how long you’ll need to cut for each border. To do this, add an additional 4″ on to the length and 2″ on to the width of the actual cover fabric. This is to accommodate for the seams. Each strip should be 3″ wide.

Step 3:

  • You’ll want to pin the width frame fabric on to the cover fabric, right sides facing each other (as pictured below). Sew with at least a 1/2″ seam. Complete both top and bottom then iron the seam back.
  • Next, pin the length frame fabric to the cover fabric, right sides facing each other, (as pictured below). Sew with at least a 1/2″seam. Complete both sides before ironing the seam back.

1st Step on the left. 2nd step on the right.

Step 4:

  • Cut the back fabric, using measurements from your completed cover blocks.
  • If you are using batting then cut it now and place in between your cover and back layers.
  • Pin the back fabric to corresponding cover block, with wrong sides facing each other.
  • Sew in the seams used to complete the frames, so as to secure the back fabric to the cover fabric without marring the cover.
  • Trim around the completed blocks

Step 5:

  • Lay out the quilt the way you want it and pin the blocks together with the BACK fabric facing BACK fabric. This way there is an exposed seam. Sew a 1/2″ seam and then attach the other blocks in a similar fashion.
  • Sew a 1/2′” seam all the way around.

Step 6:

  • Snip the exposed edge every 1/2″ or so. Do NOT snip too close to the seam or you will cut through your thread and have a weak block.
  • When you’re finished snipping toss the quilt in the washer/dryer with a few towels. My colors faded after this first wash but then I threw it in again and they didn’t fade anymore.

To add new blocks on:

  • Complete and attach new blocks together so you have a complete row first. Then attach by sewing on the seam already on the quilt. The snipping will be tedious, sorry.

TA DA! A great reading quilt. I can’t wait to hear how others turn out and what books are used. I think I’ll make this a yearly thing. At the beginning of each new year Bug can choose his favorite books and I’ll add them to the quilt. I hope my biggest problem will be helping him narrow down which to add.












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2 Responsesso far.

  1. Carol Lance says:

    It turned out so well! I love it! And of course he is going to love it too! You did such a great job! Wish I could see it in person! Have a wonderful Christmas! Miss you tons! Love you!

  2. Erin says:

    What a wonderful idea! Love this! So appreciate the tutorial. Inspiring

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