I’d like to show you all my latest big project: a quiet book for my daughter!
I’ve definitely had a love/hate relationship with this one. Anyone who has discussed crafts with me will tell you that I just despise sewing. I hate it. It is not my game. I would say that I’m pretty much a jack-of-all-arts. While crochet and photography are my focus, I dabble in several other artsy craftsy mediums and sewing is not one of them! I don’t mind weaving in ends on my crochet projects, or sewing pieces of amigurimi together, but sewing with a needle and thread? No thanks!
My quiet book/busy book obsession started when I was pregnant with my now 20-month old little girl. While scouring the depths of Pinterest one night, I saw it… a cute little DIY quiet book. If you’ve ever spent any time on Pinterest, of course you know that just lead me to more, and more, and more! I was hooked (pun-intended!). I even created a board solely dedicated to ideas for a quiet book that I wanted to create. If you want to take a look at my board for inspiration, you can find it here.
Keeping my strong aversion for sewing in mind, and my love for my hot glue gun, I decided to make a no-sew quiet book with felt. I spent weeks cutting and gluing away, making my unborn child the perfect quiet book! – That is, perfect for a child who would never touch or play with it! I put the felt quiet book away in a drawer, waiting patiently for our sweet Adaleigh to arrive. When she was finally old enough to need a distraction while we were out (church, restaurants, etc.), I brought out the felt quiet book that I was so proud of. She loved it, and the quiet book did it’s job. HOWEVER, after each day that I would bring the quiet book along with us on our outings, Adaleigh would pull something off of it. Every. Single. Time. My hot glue gun was no match for those chubby little fingers! I had to find another way!
I put it off for a while, thinking that the only way I could go about making not only a cute quiet book, but a durable one, would be to sew it. That was not happening. I love my daughter more than anything in the world, but the thought of sewing all of those pages and little pieces made me nauseous. In the midst of my avoidance of crafting the perfect quiet book for my girl, I had begun yet another project, a car seat cape! By the way, you may see a tutorial for that some time in the future! 😉 Then it hit me! Instead of sewing the car seat cape, I had used my favorite sew-avoidance technique… I used my fantastic rotary skip blade to create a crochet edging. Not only is this edging prettier than sewing (in my opinion), but with my novice sewing skills, it was so much faster!
So, I made a plan! I sketched out each page that I wanted to make and decided that I would crochet two pieces of fabric together, rather than sewing them. I used yarn frequently throughout the book, and only used my hot glue gun once! Overall, I am really pleased with how it turned out, and sweetpea loves it, which is really what matters. Take a look!
I’d also like to mention, this is not meant to be a step by step tutorial as there was nothing orderly and pattern-like about my process. The intent of this post is to share some of the techniques and steps that I used in creating this quiet book, in the hopes that it might spark some ideas for you to create your own.
General Process (Beginning):
To make the pages, I bought various pieces of fabric quarters, and I cut them into 4 equal pieces. For each page, I took 2 pieces of the fabric quarters and ironed on a piece of interfacing to the wrong side of each piece. If there was any sewing to be done on the page, I did all of that prior to connecting my 2 fabric pieces to form the page, so that the back of each page would be clean and free of any thread or yarn.
For the first page, I created a little pocket for Sweetpea to put whatever small items she’d like to take along with us. I later purchased some cute little finger puppets to go in there. To form the pocket, I simply cut out a square a fabric for the pocket and a rectangular flap for the cover. I crocheted around the edge of the flap that would not be sewn down using the technique listed in the general process (ending). Then I simply hand sewed the pocket and flap with embroidery floss. You can really get creative here with adding embellishments and/or buttons. I then found these great little alphabet letters and spelled out her name.
Removable Flower Page:
This page was one of my favorites because it incorporated the most crochet. I started by embroidering stems of the flowers with yarn. After I had all the stems I wanted, I loosely sewed white buttons to the top of each stem. I then crocheted a flower for each stem. If you would like to use the same flower that I did, here is the pattern I created:
5.0mm (H) hook
Ch 6. Sl st to the beginning ch to form a loop.
Rnd 1: Ch 1. Work 10 SC in loop. Join with a sl st to your beginning SC. (10 sts)
Rnd 2: Ch 1. In first st, *work 1 SC, 1 HDC, 1 DC, 1 HDC, 1 SC. Sl st into next. Repeat from * an additional 4 times. Join with a sl st to your beginning SC. (30 sts)
Animal Pocket Page:
Another pocket page?! Okay, so this one didn’t require a lot of craft skill, but this is one of Sweetpea’s favorites. She loves playing pretend with the wooden animals! I created this pocket just like I did the first pocket page, without the flap. I also used felt for this pocket. Again, you can get super creative with these pages.
Clouds & Stars Page:
Even though this page required more sewing than the rest, I was really happy with the finished page. I cut out a few cloud shapes out of felt, and I found these great D-rings. I sewed 4 of the clouds around the page, putting D-rings on the edges and sewing around to secure them. I then created my star string with a piece of yarn and some colorful star beads. At the top left corner of the page, I sewed the cloud down, with the end of the star string inside, and left an opening at the top to create a tiny pocket. The object of this page is to loop the stars through each D-ring. You could definitely take this concept and create a totally different picture, such as a worm crawling through apples, a snake slithering through the grass, or even a rocket ship flying through space. The possibilities are endless.
This next page was pretty simple. I first created a clothesline with just a piece of embroidery floss, and I hung some tiny clothespins on it. I created the laundry basket with a piece of felt and sewed around the edges, leaving the top open. For the clothing, I just cut out various pieces of felt in the shape of clothing, nothing fancy. I’ve seen a few different ideas for this concept, including creating a washing machine.
Tic Tac Toe Page:
Okay so this page I refer to as my cheat page. At Easter time, I was shopping at Walmart for little basket stuffers and I picked up this felt tic tac toe game for $1. The only thing I did to this page was sew on the tic tac toe board. It was quick and easy, and I was desperate to finish this book. If you wanted to put more effort into it than I did, you could easily create a similar game out of felt.
This page was really simple and one of the only times I used my hot glue gun. For this page, I simply glued down the gems and hand-wrote the corresponding numbers with a sharpie. If you had the skill and patience, I would totally recommend embroidering the numbers. But seriously, at this point I had more than enough sewing for my tastes!
General Process (Ending):
After all of the sewing and details were completed on my pages, I lined up my 2 fabric pieces, with the right sides out (just as they will appear in the finished book), and ran my rotary skip blade about 1/4 inch in along the edge. Then, using my crochet thread and a 2.75mm hook, I worked around the edge of the page in a single crochet, ch 2, single crochet, ch 2, etc. pattern. I waited to do this until each page was complete so that I could hide the messy ends from sewing.
I really wanted the cover to be one piece. I wanted it to look neat and more book like. I actually didn’t make the cover until the very end because I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do. For the cover only, rather than cutting the fabric quarters into 4 pieces, I cut them in half, and used blue for the front cover and the owl print for the inside. I ironed on the interfacing just as described above. I then sewed on a button on the front and a piece of ribbon on the back to create a wrap-around closure. The owls were a last minute addition and are actually just felt stickers that I glued down.
Assembly and Binding:
This was definitely not an exact science for me. When I had all of the pages finished, I lined them all up inside the cover. I decided where the holes should be for the binding and used my grommet tool to create nice clean holes. If you don’t have a grommet tool, you can purchase an inexpensive handheld one. Of course you can always just cut holes without the grommet tool, but the grommets definitely give a more clean, professional look, and make the holes more durable. After all of the grommet holes were made, I laced ribbon through the cover and each page, and tied a nice little bow on the outside of the cover. You can find several different ways to bind a fabric book, but I wanted something that wasn’t permanent so that I could add and remove pages whenever I want.
Have you made a quiet book for your little ones? Did you use any of the techniques that I’ve shared? Send me a photo on my Facebook page!