A cut and sew accordion book tutorial

A cut and sew accordion book tutorial

A year ago I started drawing little pictures for my daughter featuring her favourite stuffed animal – a white bunny called Babo with big floppy ears. The pictures showed her bunny doing everyday things around the house – working in the kitchen, picking flowers outside, going for a walk in the rain. Slowly a story started to evolve and I drew a few more pictures to fill in the blanks, until I had all the illustrations for a story about Babo getting ready for a party and a visit from his two cousins.

Once I had the storyline and the illustrations, I looked at different ways of putting the book together. Although I had written a text to go with the pictures, I decided in the end to go for a picture book – perfect for toddlers – and chose a folding accordion style format. The book is finally for sale in my shop – you can choose from any type of fabric to make it, but do be aware that it fits onto a fat quarter that is 27 inches wide – so don’t choose one of the narrower fabrics! I made mine out of faux suede, which is nice and soft. 

The book is easy to sew up. Don’t be daunted by all the steps below! I tried to break it up into minuscule steps, but really all you do is cut it out, fold it in half, and sew it together, after adding a little tab with velcro to keep it in place when its folded up. Have fun sewing!

You can make up your own story to go with the pictures (I took the name off the cover in the version for sale – talk to me if you’d like a personalised book, if your son or daughter has a stuffed rabbit, I could put their name on the cover for you). The gist of the story we tell is as follows (just the bare bones – go to my shop to see the layout of the book and all the pictures to follow along): Babo goes out one rainy morning to buy some food for his cousins who are coming to visit. When he comes home he puts the food away in the kitchen. Then the doorbell rings, and his two cousins (who he hasn’t seen for over a year) come in. They’re a bit shy at first, so they sit in the living room for a while, telling stories. Then they all go out to the garden to play in Babo’s play house. After playing outside they’re all muddy, so they have a bath. After supper Babo’s mother plays them some songs on the piano and they all go to bed. The next morning they get ready for their party, working together in the kitchen. Babo’s mother cuts some flowers outside and they set the table and have a wonderful party outside in the garden.

Step 1: Gather your materials. You will need: The book fabric (I had it printed on faux suede fabric, but choose any fabric you’d like! However, do be aware that this book is sized for a fat quarter that is 27 inches wide, and not all fat quarters in my shop are the same width), white thread, scissors or a rotary cutter, pins, a length of batting to go inside the book (this should be the size of half of the book – you can cut it exactly to size in step 11), a small piece of velcro for the tab.

Step 2: Cut out the book, leaving a 1/4 inch seam allowance all around.

Step 3: From some of the extra white fabric, cut out a piece 3.5 x 1.5 inches for the tab.

Step 4: This photo shows the placement of the tab and the two pieces of velcro. One piece will be sewn onto the tab in step 6 and the other piece should now be sewn onto the left side of page 12 (look carefully on the picture and you can see where it should be placed).
Step 5: Fold the tab fabric in half and sew down the two sides, leaving one side open for turning. Trim the fabric close to the seam.
Step 6: Turn the tab and attach the velcro. Then attach it as shown with a few stitches.
Step 7: Fold the book in half along the long middle line. Line up the edges carefully, checking in a few places. You want the black lines to line up exactly.
Step 8: Pin carefully, checking to make sure the black lines line up all around.
Step 9: Then sew around the book, leaving the small end open. Start your seam a few stitches in on the small end and sew around the corner. Then cut the corners so that when you turn them inside out the corners will be sharp.
Step 10: Turn the book inside out and poke out the corners.
Step 11: Cut a piece of batting to exactly fit inside the book.
Step 12: Ease the batting into the opening. (Note: if you use a thicker fabric, you may want to leave the batting out – experiment with what works best for you).

Step 13: Pin the opening closed, you may need to press the seam allowance in first so that it stays in place while you sew.
Step 14: Sew the end seam closed.
Step 15: Now sew along all the lines between each page. This will keep the batting in place and make it easier for the book to fold. Before you sew, make sure front and back are lined up (stick a pin through the black line and make sure it comes out on the black line on the back).
Step 16: Fold the book into an accordion shape and give it a good press. You’re done!
Step 17: Here’s a close up of one of the pages…
Step 18: …and a close up of the book from the top!  It folds up into a nice chunky book, perfect for little hands to hold. The tab holds everything in place but is still easy to open and close.


I'm a fabric designer fascinated with the intricacies of seamless repeats. I enjoy creating vector designs as well as working with linoprint and watercolour. I've lived in 5 countries and love to use special places and memories in my designs.

This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. This is adorable! It looks good in the faux suede. You are so talented! I hope it does well in your shop.

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