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Rag Books

These are ideal for young children for they will stand being chewed, dribbled on and scrunched up. A quick swill in the washing machine and rub with the iron soon restores them to their first freshness. Made in unbleached calico they can be very strong, and with suitable pictures that reflect the child's interests they can also be used with some older children with learning difficulties. For anyone handy with a sewing machine they are also fun to make.

You Need

  • Unbleached calico for the pages.
  • A selection of fabric pictures. Nursery curtaining and children's duvet covers etc. often have pictures of animals, toys, nursery rhymes, space ships, and TV characters. Look in the remnant baskets and watch out for the sales.
  • A selection of coloured cottons as required, or outline all the pictures in black.


  1. Cut just outside the edges of the pictures. This margin will be covered by stitching when you apply them to the page.
  2. Arrange the pictures as you want them to look in the finished book. You now have an ides of the size and number of the pages.
  3. Cut out the pages in calico. Allow for seams and make each one twice the width of the finished page. Fold each one in half. The fold will make the leading edge of the page.
  4. Tack pictures each side of the fold. Allow about 3 cms at each side edge - for stitching the finished pages together.
  5. Outline each picture with a very short machine running stitch and then go round again with a narrow and close zigzag stitch. The pictures should now be firmly attached to the page and should not fray or tear away at the edges.
  6. Take one double page, and with right sides together, stitch across the top and bottom.
  7. Turn right side out (poke out the corners) and press with an iron.
  8. Repeat the process with all the other pages.
  9. Make a front and back cover the same way.
  10. Tack all the pages together down the spine. If the book has several pages and it is difficult to stitch through them all, machine stitch them together in pairs and then oversew them all together.
  11. The spine now probably looks a strong but untidy mess! Cover it with a strip of broad ribbon or contrasting fabric.
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Rag Books