The Making of a Bookshelf Quilt: Planning Stage

Reading is my number one hobby, but a close second would have to be sewing. Specifically quilting. I’ve been making quilts for close to 25 years now. I started (doing everything by hand – I was terrified of sewing machines) when I was a teenager (don’t you dare start doing the math on that!), and I spent nearly 15 years doing it as a job. My mom opened a quilt shop when my oldest child (now 20) was still crawling. I loved that shop. My husband’s job moved us across the country about 14 years ago, but I still quilted for her and professionally for others, published patterns and books, and spent most of my time if not working on quilts, thinking about them. Everything I owned was covered in little threads.

My mom closed her shop about 5 years ago, and my professional quilting life pretty much ended then as well. Then 4 years ago I found out I was pregnant with our little monkey and I haven’t sewn a stitch since then. Mostly it’s been a time issue, but I also think I got burnt out.

A quilt I made for my oldest child about 7 years ago. It’s one of the ones I’m most fond of.

Lately I’ve been itching to get back at my sewing machine (I’m no longer afraid of them). This time, though, I want to make a Bookshelf Quilt. Have you seen these? They’re spectacular. There are many different varieties, and I have debated about what sort to attempt.

The one above is gorgeous, no question. But I’m not sure the very well matching colors really represent my actual shelves. They don’t have to, I suppose, but I think I want something that’s more personal.

I have lots of thoughts about this one. It’s lovely, and I could see doing this one for Monkey’s room using bright prints that represent his favorite things (mostly dump trucks and cheese). But I think I want more of a shelf look.

This one is definitely tempting. I love Harry Potter more than is probably healthy. And I do think he needs to be represented on my shelves. But I want other stuff on there, too.

This is another that is seriously pretty. I love how she uses the selvage (the edge of the fabric that usually displays the fabric name and manufacturer along with color codes) as titles. But after looking at all of these, I think I’ve decided I want titles of my favorite books on my shelves. So, my plan is something similar to this shelf, BUT I am going to embroider the titles of my favorite books on the spines. I bought a graph paper notebook today, and I’ve gathered my colored pencils, and now that I’ve done the thinking / deciding stage stage, I’m ready to start the designing stage. This part is a fairly long (but fun) process. I’ll have to also gather fabrics (another fun part), and get all my supplies in order.

I plan to document all the stages here. If you’ve ever done anything like this and have suggestions or thoughts, I’d love to hear them!


10 thoughts on “The Making of a Bookshelf Quilt: Planning Stage

    1. I will try to update often. It’s going to take a while I know. I started listing all the books I would like to include and decided after I got to 86 I will have to weed some of those out. I plan to hand embroider titles, and I think I’d be crying by then. I’ve got it down to 55 now, but I’m not sure I can part with any of those. 😊

      Liked by 1 person

  1. My husbands aunt made a bookshelf quilt im curious myself, and my husband been itching me to make a tardis blanket for him!i cant seem to find a free simple patterns anywhere! Any ways to share if u dont mind to share the pattern with me.
    I love reading, i wasn’t afraid of machines even had my featherweight sewn to my finger once oops LOL but got a new machine yet safer.


    1. I didn’t actually use a pattern. I drew out what I wanted to do on graph paper. It’s been a long time so I don’t still have all my notes – after I drew it out I counted up how many squares of each color I’d have to cut and all that and how much yardage I’d need.

      I can tell you that except for the police public call box bar across the top, the white sign on the door, and the white windows (which I cut 2.5″ x 4.5″), everything is 2.5″ squares cut. I used 1/4″ seams so they finish to 2″ squares. The dark blue of the TARDIS was two alternating fabrics, and the light blue rectangle parts of the door were also 2 alternating fabrics. You could simplify it by not doing it in small squares. You’d just have to figure out the math on all the pieces.

      For the 2 signs, I used Printed Treasures printable fabric sheets. I think a pack comes with five 8.5×11 pages. You can print directly on the fabric (it has paper backing that peels off after it’s printed). I used 3 sheets for the black bar and one sheet for the white sign. You’d want to test on regular paper first because the packs (which you can get on Amazon among other places) run about $20.

      If you decide to go ahead with it and need help, you can email me (, and I can walk you through it. If you want to do it exactly like mine I can probably draw it up again and help with the measurements and stuff.



  2. Pingback: Bookcase Wall Quilt – Quest Quilts

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