Victorian Book Covers
How to Make Your Very Own

Book covers were all the rage during the Victorian era. Partly because books were expensive and were considered an investment. Keeping them covered, away from dirt and grime was essential. Another reason they were so popular was that it gave women another way to show off their needlework ability.

The following information was found in Dainty Work for Pleasure and Profit, published by Thompson & Thomas, 1901. It has been edited for use on this site.


Victorian Book Cover #1

Fig. No. 1. - Click on picture to see more detail

For many centuries, ladies of rank and wealth have delighted to work with rare and dainty device covers for missals, prayer books and choice volumes. Many of these covers have been preserved as treasures of decorative art.

In the Eighteenth century the art of decorating covers fell into disuse; but was revived again during the Victorian era, not indeed on so elaborate a scale as formerly, as the covers embroidered by Victorian ladies were intended for practical use rather than as specimens of elaborate workmanship, many of them being used to cover paper-covered novels and account books, and also books whose handsome and expensive bindings needed protection.

Figures 1, above, and 2, below, show two designs which are at once simple and pretty. Figure 1 is a Dresden design worked out with pink and white floss on white duck or canvas, while figure 2 shows a conventional design treated with brown rope linens on white canvas in outline stitch and French knots.

Victorian Book Cover #2

Fig. No. 2. - Click on picture to see more detail

There are many other designs that can be adapted for this purpose, floral or otherwise, but the two here given will serve as an indication of what may be accomplished in this direction.

These covers make cheap and always acceptable wedding or Christmas gifts.

Wouldn’t one of your favorite books look lovely wrapped in a hand embroidered cover? Or how special would it be to delight a friend with a book they loved enclosed in a beautiful book protector created by you? One of these covers would make a nice gift into a very special gift indeed!

You can find other designs on this site that would work perfectly for this project. Whether simple or very intricate, worked in silk or floss, or any other type thread or yarn, a beautiful book cover really never goes out of style.

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