Russian Book Bag WIP

Before I even saw Playing With Books, I’d come up with the idea of turning some of my excess foreign edition books into bags. In particular, these Russian editions, which have wonderfully cheesy covers:


(BTW, there are no chain-mail-bikini wearing women or Nordic-looking warriors in my books.)

I found a few tutorials on the net. All, as well as the instructions in Playing With Books, have you use a hardcover book cover as the body of the bag. This means the width of the book defines the size of the bag and how much you can fit into it. I had other ideas:


I pictured the cover becoming the back and flap of the bag. This meant that the the bag could be wider than the spine at the base, and I’d gain a bit more space inside. It also meant the bag would be a bit more secure. I’ve always referred to bags that are open at the top as ‘pick-pocket’s delights’.

I found some fabric for the lining and exterior – both which I’d conveniently already made some book cloth out of. And card to stiffen the bag and elastic for the sides:


Cutting the pages out was easy:


I cut two cardboard panels the size of the book and a base that looked ‘about right’:


Then I cut out fabric and lining, adding some pockets:


A bit of glueing and sewing later, and I’d got to this point:


When I had to stop, because I needed to buy a closure and a handle before I could continue. These I now have:


I’m just waiting until I have the time to put everything together. Then I have the perfect event to wear it to, this coming September.

3 thoughts on “Russian Book Bag WIP

  1. That’s such a cute idea! And what a great event to carry it to. I’m sure you will get asked about the bag there. Maybe you’ll even get to take orders to make a few.

  2. Hi, this is such a wonderful blog. I have enjoyed reading all your different bookbinding projects. Love the pear and apple books. I am just getting back into bookbinding and am searching for a tutorial on how to attach elastic to the book to act as a closure. Would you know of any?

    • Thank you! It’s lovely to know people are reading and enjoying it.

      I haven’t encountered a tutorial on attaching elastic. I guess it depends on where you want the elastic. The first way that comes to mind is one that goes around the middle of the book horizontally. Then I’d probably make a hole in the back cover or flap, thread the elastic through and knot the ends on the inside, then cover the ends with some sort of lining. The other way would be vertically at the outer edge – like moleskins – which would be stretched less but the ends would have to be secured well. Then I’d either sew them to the top and bottom of the inside of the cover, or sew them to a piece of cloth tape and glue that on, then cover with lining.

      I hope you find the answer, and it works well. Enjoy the bookbinding!

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