Steam-a-Seam (or other fusible webbing product like Wonder Under, just make sure it's double-sided)
Solid fabric for "paper" of book - 6 pieces 12" x 6"
Batting - 3 pieces 12" x 6"
Embroidery floss (if you plan to embroider any of the book)
Various scraps of fabric
How To Make Your Own Soft Book
1. Get out your notebook paper and start sketching. Plan out what concepts you want to have in your soft book. Here's some basic ideas: shapes, colors, foods, animals, cars, etc. If you want to see what I did for a one-year-old, click here. The one I'll be showing you here is a soft book I'm made for my near three old who was green over the last soft book I made. The one I'm made for him is a rhyming book, to reinforce phonological concepts.
Once you've chosen your concepts, cut out six pieces of paper to represent your six pieces of fabric and fold each in half. Place them together like a book and then sketch what you plan for each page in order. This will help immensely when it comes to putting together your actual book. Figure out what's going on for each page - will you be embroidering on any of the pages? Try not to plan two embroidered pages back to back, it will just make your life easier.
2. Find your applique shapes! I often scour the Internet or freehand draw what I plan to applique. I visit Google Images a lot to find applique designs if I don't want to draw them myself. Go ahead and make your appliques, but don't place them on the book fabric just yet. If you haven't appliqued before, here's a great tute.
3. Cut out your fabric for your book's "paper" and your batting. Use up batting scraps, if you can, and don't worry if you're slightly short.
4. Once you've made all of your applique pieces templates, get your paper book as well as your fabric for your book's pages. Fold each piece of fabric in half and finger press - this will help you in placing your appliques. Then, peel off the back of your double-sided webbing paper and place your appliques as you would like them on the first side of the fabric "page." Iron down. Do the same on the other side and iron on.
Next, grab your batting. For three of your pages, you will want to back your fabric in batting and then machine-stitch around your applique shapes for added security. For the other three pages, you will skip the batting and just machine-stitch around your applique designs. Make sure to think about this step. For instance, if you add batting to the front/back page, don't add batting to the page that will go on the back of that page.
5. To make the sun face I made in my soft book, simply get some yellow ribbon in various sizes. I used 6 pieces, I believe. Make a simple circle with a yellow fabric and your fusible webbing, and then before ironing your sun on, fold your ribbons in half and place on your fabric in a circle pattern. Baste in place, then iron your sun on top. Immediately stitch your sun down (your ribbons may try to make the sun not adhere very well). Ta-da! You have a sun with some rays!
6. Once you have added all of your applique, now is a good time for embroidery. I embroidered my the intended's name on the front, but you could definitely do much more (or less!), if you'd like.
7. After all of your pages are embroidered and appliqued, it's time for assembly. Match up your pages, right sides together, and stitch 1/4" seam all the way around, leaving a 4" wide gap at the bottom for turning your pages.
Flip each page right side out, and make sure to point your corners well. A turning tool like the one shown below is handy here. Press well.
Use pins to close up your 4" gap, then topstitch around the entire page. Repeat for all pages.
8. Lay your pages on top of one another and put a walking foot on your sewing machine (if you have one - it will make this step immensely easier). Make sure that the pages are in the order you want them to be in! Close your book and flip through it before you sew it together. Take your topmost inside page and get out a ruler. Find the exact center and mark with either a disappearing ink pen or a light pencil. This will be the line you will sew on.
9. When you're absolutely sure you've got the pages the way you want them, feed your pages through your machine together to "bind" the book together. I used a reinforced straight stitch, but you could also use a small zigzag to be more decorative. Just make sure to backstitch at the beginning and end to reinforce your stitches. Voila! A soft book!
If there's anything that's unclear, don't hesitate to comment here or send me a quick note. This is my first tutorial, so any feedback you have would be super helpful. And make sure to show me some pictures you follow this tutorial and make your own soft book!!