ABC..XYZ Cloth Panel Book Tips

I enjoy making and gifting cloth books to babies and toddlers.  One of my favorites is the cut-and-sew cloth book panel designed Stacy lest Hsu for Moda Fabric.

This soft interactive fabric book is illustrations of animal drawing for each letter of the alphabet along with some interactive flaps.

ABC-XYZ Cloth Book - Tips to Sew - fb

I must admit the first time I unfolded the panel I was confused.  It has so many pieces.  But after carefully reading the directions a couple of times, I understood how to make the cloth book.  

Today, I would like to share some tips and things I learned while sewing this cloth panel book by Stacy lest Hsu.  

To sew the ABC - xyz fabric baby book, you'll need some basic sewing supplies and materials such as scissors, thread, pins, sewing machine, interfacing and fusible fleece. Of course, also the cloth book panel.

Do you want to make this cloth book?  At the end of the articles are some links to online stores that sell the panel.

Learn more about the cloth book by watching our YouTube video Or keep reading this post.

COMPLETE VIDEO TUTORIAL AVAILABLE! The video below is a preview with no audio, to watch the whole video tutorial, click the link ABC..XYZ Cloth Panel Book Tips to watch in Youtube.

Disclaimer: This post may contain affiliate links. We make a small commission on sales through the affiliate links, at no extra cost to you. Thank you in advance for your purchase and your support! Please see our full Affiliate Statement for more information.

Here are simple tips on how to sew the fabric baby book

ABC XYZ Cloth Book Finished book

WHAT YOU NEED for the fabric book:

ABC-XYZ Cloth fabric Book Supplies

tips for making the baby cloth fabric book:

tip #1: gather supplies

Before beginning the cloth book, make sure you have all the supplies and sewing tools ready.

tip #2: the ABC...XYZ fabric panel

Let's take a look at the book panel.  After unfolding you will see there all lots of small blocks with a number in the circle next to them, i.e. Cat is for, Cat,  T is for, Turtle, etc.

ABC XYZ Cloth Panel BookThe pages in most cloth books are numbered right on the page.  Not this book.  On the panel, the pages are numbered in a circle next to the page.  In the photo above, note next to the Walrus and Narwhal page is the number 5 in a circle.

When making this cloth book, I recommend not cutting anything apart beforehand.  Read the directions and cut out one page at a time along with the special blocks that accompany the page.  After finishing a page proceed to the next page always following the step-by-step directions.

tip: #3  Instructions for ABC...XYZ panel book

The first thing to do is cut the step-by-step instructions from the panel with a scissor or rotary cutter.

ABC XYZ Cloth Book InstructionsSet the instructions aside in a convenient location for reading while making the cloth book.

tip #4: Cut out Cloth Book Cover and Handles

The instructions begin by cutting out the cover which is number 1.  With a rotary cutter and ruler or a scissor cut out the cover using the dotted lines as a guide.  

Cut out a piece of fusible fleece the same size as the cover.  Put the fleece, fusible side up, on the ironing board.   Place the cover fabric, right side up, on top of the fleece and press with an iron to adhere.

ABC XYZ Cloth Baby Book Cover HandleAlso, cut out the two handles along with two pieces of one-sided fusible interfacing the same size as the handles.  Adhere the interfacing to the wrong side of the handles.

Tip #5: Creating the  Handles for the baby book

I don't like the method the instructions use to sew the handles.  The instructions say to turn each of the long edges under 1/4", fold the handle in half and stitch it.

I prefer sewing the handles as follows.  Fold the handle in half lengthwise with the right sides together. Sew along the long raw edge with a 1/4" seam allowance forming a tube.  Next, turn the tube right side out.  

My favorite method for turning tubes is the Dritz Quick Turn because it makes the process easy.  It's quick; it's easy.  To see how quick and easy, check out our Dritz Quick Turn YouTube Video.

ABC XYZ Cloth Book Handles Sewn

After turning the handles right side out proceed with the panel instructions and edgestitch the handles. If you are not sure how to edgestitch, watch our Edge Stitch Tutorial. 

Next, attach the handles to the cover page. 

ABC XYZ Cloth Book Handles in PlaceThe handles and the cover page have little triangle marks indicating where to position the handles.  Match the triangles and pin.  When attaching the handles make sure they are not twisted.  Baste the handles to the cover.

TIP #6: preparing the inner cover page

The inner cover page is number 2.  Cut it out along with square pieces 9 and 10; 11 and 12 which will be flaps on the page. ABC XYZ Cloth Book Page Sections Cut Out After cutting out the piece attach some one-sided interfacing only to the 9 and 11 square pieces.  And, do not attach any interfacing or fleece to the inner page piece.

TIP #7: make Perfect Square Corners

Let's sew a set of small pieces to make a flap on the book page.  

When sewing the pieces together, place them right sides together.  Again these pieces have little triangles; so match the triangles together and pin at the triangles.  

If the pieces are a little off-center or askew, simply pull the fabric so all the sides align and pin in a few places along the sides.

The pattern tells you to stitch all the way around the pieces leaving an opening between the triangles, clip the corners, trim some of the fabric away.  I use a different method when sewing pieces together.

For lots of projects, I use this method to sew perfectly square corners.

Begin where the turning opening is and stitch forward all the way off the fabric.  Remember to back stitch at the beginning.

ABC XYZ Cloth Book Sew to Edge

Remove the piece from the sewing machine and right on the stitching line fold it down.  

ABC XYZ Cloth Book Flip Seam

With the fabric folded, stitch starting at the end of the fabric all the way along the side to the other end.  Again remove the piece from the sewing machine, fold, and stitch.

The following picture shows how the first corner looks after stitching the two sides.

ABC XYZ Cloth Book Flipped Seam Sewn

Repeat the process around the entire piece.  After stitching it should look like this: ABC XYZ Cloth Book Flap Sewn

Finally, turn right side out, poke out the corners, press the fabric flat and fold the raw edge opening inward so it is flush with the seam.

There is no need to machine or hand sew the opening closed at this point.  

ABC XYZ Cloth Book Flaps Turned

TIP #8: How to sew the flaps to the page

On the page is a small dotted line showing where to place the flap. Sew it to the page by edgestitch a 1/8" from the top edge.

ABC XYZ Cloth Book Inside Outside Pages Put Together

Tip #9: sewing pages together

Place the inner page on a flat work surface,  put the cover page on top (with right sides together) and pin all the way around to prevent the pages from shifting.

Sew around the pages using the same technique as used on the flaps to make perfectly square corners.  Turn right side out.  Edgestitch all the way around.

ABC XYZ Cloth Book Cover Together

A few helpful hints on sewing the pages together.

  • Leave an opening for turning along the bottom 
  • Leave about a 4" opening
  • Pin flaps out of the way when edgestitch around the perimeter of the page

Continue sewing the other pages and flaps together.

ABC XYZ Cloth Book Showing Pages

Tip #10: Assembling the Cloth Book by Stacy lest Hsu

This baby cloth book is assembled differently than most cloth books.

Because of the way most books are sewn, I was again confused. The instructions stated to use diagram seven. I kept looking at the diagram and just couldn't quite understand how to do it.

Finally, it dawned on me when I looked at the pages and how the alphabet was arranged on the pages.  To make it easier if you decide to sew this cloth book, here is how it is assembled.

First, the pages are assembled to the cover individually. 

Two dotted lines are in the middle of the cover page and the inner cover page. 

The page with D, E, F, G, H, I, J, K, L and M is sewn to the left dotted line on the cover/inner page.  And, the other page is attached to the other dotted line (the right one).

ABC XYZ Cloth Book Pages Sewn Into Book

A few hints on sewing the pages to the cover.

  • Take the first page and using a pin, stick it through the dotted line of the page and insert it through the dotted line of the cover/inner page. Pin securely. 
  • Pin the bottom of the page and cover/inner page in the same manner.
  • Sew this page first.
  • Next, sew the other page in the same way but on the second dotted line.

ABC XYZ Cloth Book Finished with Finger Puppets

The finished book is adorable with handles for carrying and interactive flaps.

The panel also has a bonus feature of two finger puppets.


Have you enjoyed this post on tips for making the cloth book? You may also like these ideas for a baby or toddler.

Happy Sewing!


If you have any questions about this project, contact us through the YouTube Video comments or our Contact Us page. We respond to questions in e-mails and YouTube comments regularly.

Supporting Products and links: Some of the links below may be affiliate links. We make a small commission on sales through the affiliate links, at no extra cost to you. Thank you in advance for your purchase and your support! Please see our full Affiliate Statement for more information.

ABC XYZ Book Panel with Bonus Finger Puppets

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From designer Stacy Iest Hsu comes a playful and cute interactive alphabet cloth book panel. Affiliate Link to Etsy

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ABC...XYZ Alphabet Book Panel

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