Friday, June 1, 2012

pirate quiet book - the process

Well, it only took about 8 months, but it's finally done!

I've been "working" on this quiet book for months now.  The plan was to have it done in time for Christmas... but clearly that didn't happen.  Instead it got tucked in a box with my many other projects in various stages of completion.  So now I'm finishing it in time for Jack's birthday this weekend!

It's entirely inspired by this adorable pirate fabric I found ages and ages ago.  I bought it having no idea what I would do with it, but knowing I absolutely needed it!

I then wrote the story for the book, with each of the pirates from the fabric as different characters, and with different activities that could go with each part of the story.   I've always wanted to write a children's book.  Does this count?

Then I did a rough (and fairly ugly...) sketch of what each page would look like to make sure I could fit everything, and to make sure I knew what pages actually went together when the book was assembled, pages back to back and folded down the middle.  I'm really good at messing up the math and getting the pages out of order... but this way I had it right in front me as a guide.

(See what I mean by ugly?  Drawing is definitely not one of the artistic skills I was blessed with.  But you get the idea.)

So since each of the little pirates is a different characters in the story, I cut out one of each that could be moved throughout the book.  To make them a bit more durable, I used a fairly stiff fusible interfacing and a piece of flannel that I stitched to the back of each.

Note on this part: it's easier to just cut a flannel square a little bigger than the size of the fabric, stitch it on, then cut it out.

And yes, I hand stitched them.  I hate hand stitching.  The sacrifices we make for our children... But I decided it would look a lot better, and more closely follow the shape of each pirate.

I cut out each of the pages from a solid light blue cotton - I figured the sky was a pretty good background - and pieces of quilting batting the same size.  Then began lots and lots of cutting out waves, ships, sails, palm trees, etc. from various solid color pieces of fabric, and then cutting out lots and lots of pieces of wonder under (fusible interfacing) to attach all of the pieces to the pages.  Wonder under became my best friend on this project.  It made it so much easier to attach all the little pieces, keep them from fraying, and get them to stay in the right place.  Especially since I have no patience for things like hand stitching.  Bless you if you do!

Once I got all the basic pieces attached to each page, including things like button holes, magnets, and such for the "activity" parts of the story, it was time to write the story.  I used fabric markers to write on each page, making sure not to get too close to the edges to leave room for the seams.  Then it was ready to assemble!

So referring to my handy paper copy, I made sure to pair up the right pages with each other, with a piece of batting, and stitch them together.  So that you don't have exposed edges and seams, the best way to do this is for each pair is to stitch the batting to the wrong side of one of the pages first.  Then put the pages right side together, and pin around the edges to keep it lined up.  Stitch around the edge, but leave an opening somewhere about 4 inches long to turn it right side out when you're done.  The bottom middle seemed to be the best place for these pages.

Turn it right side out, then just hand stitch (awful, I know!) the opening closed on each page.

Then it was ready for the center fold seam - just line up all the pages (in the right order!) and stitch straight down the middle - and it was done!

I'll go into more detail on the specifics of each page in my next post on the finished book, so stay tuned!


  1. Wow! I am amazed at your talent! It must feel great to finish such a big project... Congrats!!

  2. Megan!!! That's amazing!!! So awesome! I think you've inspired me!

  3. Thanks! I'm definitely glad to have finished it and happy with how it turned out! I always start a project, and then keep adding to it and making it more complicated and time consuming... but at least I finished this one (unlike more than a few others...) :)