Spring Bookshelf Mini-Quilt

Categories: Gifts, Decor, Quilts

What you need to make this project

Long, skinny fabric scraps or 1/4 yard cuts of a variety of fabrics, 100% Cotton Quilting Fabric
1/3 Yard Background Fabric. 100% Cotton Quilting Fabric
2/3 Yard Woodgrain Fabric, 100% Cotton Quilting Fabric
3/4 Yard Backing Fabric, 100% Cotton Quilting Fabric
1/8 yard Stabilize Interfacing
3/4 Yard Nature-Fil™ Wool Batting
Decorative Thread for Book Titles
Coodinating Thread for sewing fabric
Sewing Machine
Scissors or Rotary Cutter, Mat, and Ruler
Free Motion foot for your sewing machine

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Nature-Fil™ Wool Batting 90″ wide x 8 yard Roll


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Step One

We’re going to start by making our book blocks. You need start by cutting strips in a variety of widths from 5+ different fabrics.  My narrowest strips were 1 1/2 inches wide and my widest were 3″.  Since I was cutting from yardage rather than scraps, mine started out 9-10 inches tall.


Step Two

Cut similar width strips from your background fabric, 3-4 inches long.  You need the total length of your strips (book plus background) to be an extra inch or two longer than your finished block height.  I made my blocks 10 1/2 inches, so I wanted my strips to be 12-13 inches to give me some extra room to play with my books heights.


Step Three

Stitch the background strips to the tops of your book strips with 1/4 inch seam allowance with RIGHT sides together.  (In my case, the books strips didn’t have a particular top or bottom, but depending on your fabrics choices, you might want to be particular.)  Since my background fabric had a text-y print, I made sure that the text would be right side up after it was sewed.


Step Four

Iron your seams and arrange your strips so that they have varying height for interest.


Once you’re happy with the placement.  Sew together with a 1/4 inch seam.


Step Five

Iron your seams.  Trim your block to 10 1/2 inches tall.


Step Six

It can also be fun to add a leaning book or two to your bookshelves.  To do this, you’ll start by making a another block with a row of books, but make the block a bit narrower.  Then you’ll cut a large rectangle from your backing fabric a bit bigger than what you need to complete your block and about 1 inch taller since we’ll lose some of the height to seam allowances.  It is easiest if the leaning book is just a bit shorter.

012-Bookshelf-Mini-Quilt 014-Bookshelf-Mini-Quilt


Step Seven

Add some background fabric to both the TOP AND BOTTOM of your leaning book piece.  Lay it over your large background rectangle to get a sense of spacing.  Our goal is for the top corner of the tipped book to be 1/4 inch away from the edge when sewn.  And remember if it’s more than 1/4 inch from the edge we can always trim it.


Cut your background rectangle at an angle.  Take out the section of fabric that would have been behind the book and discard. Basically, you want to trim out enough of the middle section so that the left side edge of the piece is gone.

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Stitch with a 1/4 inch seam.  Press and trim so that the place where the tipping book touch the shelf and touch the next book are 1/4 inch from the edge.

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Stitch your tipping book to the rest of the book block with 1/4 inch seam allowance and press.



Step Eight

One of the great things about bookshelf blocks and quilts is that you can make the blocks a bit longer if you feel like it.  (I always love patterns that allow for impromptu designing and some wiggle room.)  You can see from the photo that the blocks with the tipping books  are a big longer than the other two.



Step Nine

Now it’s time to add the shelf fabric.  Usually I go for a more traditional brown wood grain fabric, but to keep this one bright and springy, I chose the Joel Dewberry Birch Farm Woodgrain in Teal that I found at my local quilt shop.  To cut your bookshelf fabric, you’ll need 7 – 3″ width of fabric strips.  This will give you enough for the shelves and the binding.  From 4 of the strips, cut a 10 1/2 inch piece to go on each of the shelf ends.

Book Mini-Quilt 024

Stitch your blocks together into whole shelves.  Press and trim to the same length.  Add the bookshelf pieces to the ends.


Next add the shelf pieces between your blocks as well as above and below them.



Step Ten

You could leave your quilt top like this if you want to go for a more abstract looks, but I wanted to add some of my favorite science and “great works” books to the spines.  I’d planned to stitch them by hand, but was running short on time, so after getting some advice from the owner of my local quilt shop, I decided to do some free-hand scribble stitching.

My main concern with doing the scribble stitching was that I didn’t want the fabric to pucker, so I needed some interfacing.  I also didn’t want to do anything that would make the fabric too stiff either, so I opted for adding one-sided Structure interfacing only behind where the books that I was adding titles too.


Step Eleven

Then I using a disappearing ink pen to write the titles, and then did my scribble stitches.

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If you’re not familiar with Scribble Stitching, you can see the video below.

(You can see this video from The Fabric Patch for how to Scribble Stitch.)

Step Twelve

And once all your titles are on, you’re ready to finish quilting and binding your quilt.  I wanted the quilting lines to show well, so I used Nature-Fil™ Wool Batting because it has a higher loft than cotton, but it still easy to work in my machine.



Bookshelf Mini-Quilt

I quilted around each of the books as well as the bookshelves with bright pink thread for a bit of added fun.

I also added some triangles flaps on the back for easy hanging.



Mini-Bookshelf Quilt Tutorial