Episodes - 606

Nicki LaFoille

Novel Idea by Nicki LaFoille

Transform a hardcover book into an accessory to satisfy your inner bookworm.


Hardcover book

1/4 yard of cotton fabric (amount varies depending on book size)

Coordinating cotton fabric scraps

Purse handles

Shank button (at least 1/2"-diameter)

Contrasting or coordinating all-purpose thread

Craft knife

6" length of 1/4"-wide ribbon

Hot glue gun

Pattern paper

Removable fabric marker

Hand sewing needle

Prepare It

Tip: Choose a smaller hardcover book to reduce the purse weight.

From the fabric scraps, cut one 2"x8" strip.

Using the craft knife, cut the pages from the book close to the spine. Begin with a new blade and replace if necessary to avoid frustration. Don't cut out the entire spine, as the glue that secures the pages is necessary to provide the spine structure.

Open the book and place it wrong side down on pattern paper; trace the perimeter. Add a 1/2" seam allowance to the perimeter.

Set the book upright on the pattern paper. Open the book the distance you desire it to open when finished, and then trace the inner edges. Position a ruler across the upper edge, and then trace (1). Add 1/2" seam allowances to the upper and side edges. Trace the side panel. Cut out the pattern pieces.


Mark the lining widthwise center. Mark the side panel short-edge center. Tape the side panel to the lining, aligning the marks at the seamlines (2).


Cut two linings from the fabric.

Determine the desired pocket dimensions, and then draw the pocket on pattern paper. Designate one long edge as the upper edge. Add a 1/2" seam allowance to the lower and side edges.

From the fabric scraps, cut one pocket placing the upper edge on the fold.

Sew It

With right sides together, stitch the pocket sides and lower edge, leaving a 2" centered opening along the long edge for turning. Clip the corners, and then turn the pocket right side out through the opening. Fold the opening seam allowance 1/2" toward the wrong side; press.

Align the pocket as desired on one lining-piece right side; pin. Using a 1/8" seam allowance, topstitch the pocket sides and lower edge to the lining, backstitching at the beginning and end; designate as the inner lining. If desired, stitch along the pocket vertical center to create two compartments.

Tip: Move each pocket upper corner 1/8" toward the center to allow for more room in the pocket.

Align the inner lining and side-panel edges with right sides together; pin (3). Stitch, beginning at the corner and ending at the upper edge. Clip the seam allowances into the corners; press open the seams. Repeat to stitch the remaining lining; designate as the outer lining.


With right sides together, insert the inner lining into the outer lining, aligning the seams and upper edges. Stitch the upper edge using a 5/8" seam allowance. At each corner, end with the needle down in the seam, lift the presser foot and re-align the raw edges to continue. Leave a 6" opening along one edge for turning.

Press open the seams, and then turn the linings right side out. Insert the inner lining into the outer lining. Fold the opening seam allowance 5/8" toward the wrong side. Press, and then topstitch the upper edge using a 1/8" seam allowance. Fold the side panels toward the inner lining; press (4).


Fold the strip in half lengthwise with right sides together. Stitch the strip long edge, and then turn the tube right side out; press. Cut the tube into four 2"-long lengths.

Insert each tube through one handle ring, centering the rings on the tubes. Hand stitch just below the rings to secure. Glue the tubes to the cover wrong side 1" from the long edges, aligning the handle rings with the book upper edge (5). Or use 1"-wide ribbon instead of tubes to attach the handles if desired.


Cut the ribbon length in half. Fold one ribbon length in half. Stitch across the ribbon to create a button loop large enough to accommodate the chosen button. Center the ribbon tails along one book short edge, aligning the stitching with the book edge; hot glue in place. Insert the remaining ribbon length through the button shank, centering the button on the ribbon. Tie a knot just below the shank. Center the ribbon ends along the opposite short edge, aligning the knot just above the book edge; glue in place (6).


Glue each lining upper edge to the inside cover just below the book upper edge, and then glue the lining/side panel seams just inside the book short edges. Glue the lining lower edge to the spine.

Nicki LaFoille

Novelty Novel

Design a purse just for you by incorporating custom details.

  • Instead of a button and loop, stitch small tubes and attach hook-and-loop tape to the ends for the closure (image of Harry Potter book closure).
  • Use different fabrics for the inner and outer lining for a contrasting or coordinating look.
  • Instead of using premade handles, stitch tubes according to the desired handle length and width (image of Harry Potter book handles).
  • Create a monochromatic effect by using fabrics in the same color family.


JoAnn Fabrics carries the featured fabric, purse handles and ribbon: (888) 739-4120, joann.com.

Products used in this episode:

Havel's provided the dressmaker shears

Oliso provided the blue iTouch iron

Pfaff provided the Pfaff Creative Performance embroidery & sewing machine

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