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Topic: Adjustable Paperback Manga Cover  (Read 2091 times)
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That's what she said.
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« on: October 08, 2014 08:26:08 PM »

I was fortunate enough to have an opportunity to visit Japan this summer, which, being the shameless anime nerd that I am, is something I have dreamed about for many years. I got to see and do lots of things I'd always wanted to do, like get my picture taken in those photobooths where you get to draw on your pictures, eat some top-notch, honest-to-goodness ramen, and get my hands on some of those wonderful Japanese knitting/sewing books. One thing I noticed while I was there, travelling around a lot on the train, is that many people read books on their commute (makes sense), and a lot of people use book covers - whether to protect the volumes from damage, hide what they are reading, or just have that extra level of personalization. While there I developed a little bit of an obsession with procuring the perfect book cover for some of the manga that I own. I didn't really need one, but the book/journal/stationary nerd in me just HAD to have something cute like that (I'm sure many of you understand)! I looked high and low for the perfect one that fit my style and wasn't too expensive, but I had a lot of trouble. I ended up buying one that I thought was juuuust right, just to get it back to my hotel room and see that it was just a little bit too small; it was meant for a paperback novel, not a manga volume, and I had misjudged the size since they are very similar. In the end I never found the perfect cover! It was disappointing, but not a total loss since I do own one book the cover would fit.

Fast forward to now, I've been trying to come up with ideas for things I can make relatively easily that would also be appealing and useful that I can sell at my local anime convention next year. Finally, the perfect thing hit me: manga covers! Standard English-language manga editions are 5x7.5 inches which is different from most other common sizes for paperbacks in North America, and while book covers aren't really a big thing over here (that I've noticed), if I know anything about my audience (people like me), it's that they love cute pretty things even if they're only sort-of useful. It's one of those things that you don't think/know you need until you see that it exists. At least that's the angle I'm going for, lol.

This took me quite a few tries to get right, as I was determined to figure it out for myself and not use a tutorial (didn't even look to see if they exist, which I'm sure they do somewhere, but I wanted to make the pattern on my own since I'll be selling these eventually). Originally I was going to just get one long piece and hem all the edges before folding the two sides over to make pockets for the front and back cover, but the hemming part proved very finicky and despite two attempts and what I thought were the correct measurements, I kept messing up and it never fit. I scrapped my original plan and ended up going for an adjustable version so it would fit a variety of thicknesses, and made it lined so I wouldn't have to mess around with those pesky hems. After making a quick prototype to see if the concept worked any better (it did!), I made some final measurement adjustments and decided to go all in on the final version, which is what you see here! Let me tell you, after all that I went through (definitely had a bit of a meltdown after the first attempt bombed so badly), slipping this one on and having it fit perfectly was the best feeling. The pattern I developed is also awesome because 18" is the perfect length, which means I can get the most out of all those fat quarters I love to hoard...;P

This was probably my first major hurdle as still somewhat of a sewing newb, despite having a fair number or projects under my belt. I've made lots of lined zippered pouches and several costumes but this felt like...the first of many final exams, where I really got to prove myself and what I've learned. I'm very proud of myself, and I look forward to making lots more of these and expanding on the design techniques!

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You are beautiful!

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« Reply #1 on: October 09, 2014 04:34:05 AM »

Well made!  Grin Japanese patch work is amazing! I bought this book and love it!  
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« Reply #2 on: October 09, 2014 05:44:28 AM »

Excellent!  I love your idea of how to adjust the cover - really brilliant!

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« Reply #3 on: October 11, 2014 10:37:25 AM »

Fabulous job!
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