SC Johnson Family Economics Blog
Friday, February 17, 2012

Stitching Pockets in a Book | Family Economics

By Cathe

I’ve been playing with old Reader’s Digest books a lot lately in various craft projects. I had my sewing machine out on the dining room table today and I thought it would be fun to try to sew inside a book and create pockets.

A book of pockets can be used for organizing collage items, stuffing secrets into or for something as practical as organizing monthly receipts for various purchases. Make several and you can have a library of books for keeping track of so many things. Surprise someone special with a pocket-sized book full of notes, photos and mementos.

start with a bookInstructions:


Gather together three pages and feed them under the sewing machine foot, stitching the top section of the pocket. You won’t be able to feed the pages all the way to the inside crease due to the bulk of the book, but go as far as you can and stop, remove book and clip threads. You can sew your pocket top edge straight, at an angle, low or high.


Trim away the area of the sewn pages just above the stitching.


Gather three more pages behind the pocket section and stitch beginning at the top of the pocket edge down to the bottom right corner, pivot and continue stitching as far into the center of the book as possible. Remove book and trim threads and your pocket is complete.


Using a craft knife, remove several pages behind the sewn pocket pages before repeating to create another pocket. This will keep your book from being too bulky when pockets are filled.


For a receipt book, label each pocket with the month of the year.

What would you keep in book page pockets?

receipt book

48 Comments so far

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On Sunday, February 14, 2016, Mom with growing up girls wrote

I've been thinking of a creative way to put together recipe books for my girls. Using this idea I'll label pockets as sections as in traditional recipe books/boxes and put the recipes on nice cards. Thank you for sharing!

On Wednesday, February 4, 2015, Maisy wrote

I love this idea, but am visually having a hard time as to how you sewed the pockets together.

On Sunday, June 15, 2014, Salena from California wrote

I am excited to do this for a month long road trip I will be doing this September! I plan to make a pocket for each day and fill it with different items from the state we visit on that day! :)

On Wednesday, May 14, 2014, Cody Doll wrote

That is just awesome. I am going to have to remember that when I see a box of them for sale.

On Wednesday, March 6, 2013, Megan from Tasmania wrote

Absolutely bloody brilliant.

On Saturday, February 9, 2013, Tina from Patina Paperie wrote

Thank you so much for sharing, I loved doing this. As for not being able to sew all the way to the inside crease, I just added a strip of colorful washi tape from the top of the page to the bottom to fully close the pocket and secure the threads. Practical and pretty.

On Tuesday, December 18, 2012, Mariannele from Sweden wrote

Love this. I have a dayly calender whith one card for evry day of the year i a box. Once th year has gone I begin from the beginning on the same card from the last year. This makes a never ending kalendar and I can read what I did last year. I think I will makea pocket book instead whith one book for every month.

On Monday, June 4, 2012, Suzie from Nashville wrote

This is amazing. My mind is blown and coming up with so many ways to expand on this theme. The Container Store has these great labels you can write on with a regular pen and fully erase later. I'm thinking I need to start looking for more cool old books to make some pockets, label, and get organized. Thank you for posting!

On Friday, June 1, 2012, Amanda from TN wrote

This is fabulous! Thank you for sharing it with us. I'm going to try it today :)

On Thursday, May 17, 2012, Virginia from wrote

This is a wonderful project. I think I might use your ideas with a twist for one of my projects! Love it. And, yes I agree that maybe the slant of the pocket pages should be higher on the outside to keep the contents from falling out when you open the book up... other than that it's a great idea!

On Monday, May 14, 2012, Kathy from Michigan wrote

Am I reading this correctly - the first three pages are the "front" (half page) of the pocket and the next three pages are the "back" (full page) of the pocket? Then remove several pages before moving on the next pocket? Lol, can you tell sewing is not one of my strengths?

On Wednesday, April 4, 2012, zuuzee wrote

A great way to collect birthday cards throughout the year and save them in monthly pockets! Love this idea!

On Sunday, March 25, 2012, Cathe Holden wrote

Excellent suggestion Annie! That makes perfect sense. Sallie, cut out pages behind the sewn pocket, just a few between that and the next pocket you will sew, eliminating bulk in the final stuffed pocket book.

On Sunday, March 11, 2012, CF From Missouri wrote

You could also use this in place of the envelope method of budgeting your money. Just label the different pockets "food," "car payment," etc. and then you could put your cash in there. Plus in the off chance of an attempted burglary, they would never find your cash in a book on a shelf.

On Saturday, March 3, 2012, Annie wrote

Really clever idea and it makes me wish I was better at sewing. One question though: wouldn't you want the slant to go the other way so the taller edge is on the outside? Looking at the photo above it looks too easy for contents to slide out with the short edge away from the spine. Have you found this to be an issue?

On Tuesday, February 28, 2012, sally wrote

So u cut all the way through the 3 pages u sew ? There's no back on the pocketed page? Trying to get it cuz this is a neat idea.

On Tuesday, February 28, 2012, Kate B wrote

super cool ..will link up some pics and a post once I get my mojo going and see if I can actually complete some projects today.

On Friday, February 24, 2012, dustysusan wrote

more pics would help me out. :)

On Friday, February 24, 2012, Mel wrote

Wonderful! Love the angled pockets.

On Friday, February 24, 2012, Peggy wrote

OH thank you so very much this wonderful idea! I've seen this before but it was in days before blogs and I had completely forgotten about it! Would it be alright if I share this on my blog once I've made some. I will link back to this page in order to show where I got my inspiration from. Thank you!

On Friday, February 24, 2012, Sheila from Missouri wrote

@ S....I believe she is saying when you are finished with one pocket and you go to grab the next three pages to make another pocket...try just completely cutting out a few pages before you begin the next one. Once you have completely cut out a few pages...pick up the three pages and begin your next pocket. I hope this helps you.

On Friday, February 24, 2012, Terry-Anne from wrote

Like everyone else, I agree... awesome idea! Wondering if you have a suggested for a sewing machine? I'm itching to get sew happy on various projects from paper to fabric. Thanks again for this great DIY!

On Thursday, February 23, 2012, Jamie wrote

Great idea.. Not so great when you try the project out.. Had me swearing in vein at myself! Maybe you just have to be a crafting Jedi to complete this one :D

On Wednesday, February 22, 2012, Cathe Holden wrote

Regarding step 4 (clarification requested)... Once you make pockets and begin filling them, the book will bulk up fast and not close well. If you begin by sewing one pocket at the front of the book, remove several pages behind that. Then make a second pocket and again remove more pages behind that one. And so on. By removing several pages between pockets you allow more room for items stuffed into those pockets and a better chance the book will fit nicely back into the bookshelf. Hope that helps! -Cathe PS. Thanks for the great response to this project everyone!!

On Wednesday, February 22, 2012, made in malaysia wrote

Happiness is when clever ideas are so freely shared. such a simple yet great leap of imagination is Admirable. and Inspiring . this has made my day- thank you! i will never look at discarded hardbacks the same way again.

On Tuesday, February 21, 2012, Robin wrote

what a great idea......I can hardly wait to see what else you do with them

On Tuesday, February 21, 2012, S wrote

Can you clarify step 4?

On Tuesday, February 21, 2012, Laura from Texas wrote

What an awesome idea!! You are amazingly creative!

On Tuesday, February 21, 2012, Mary from marysworkshop wrote

What a wonderful way to use something you have on hand and repurpose it into something so practical and unique! You always amaze me with your abundant creativity, Cathe. :)

On Tuesday, February 21, 2012, Tina S from MO wrote

Fabulous!!! Love this idea and can't wait to try it for myself. I think this would make a really cool scrapbook.

On Tuesday, February 21, 2012, Jen from Sheepy Hollow wrote

I love the 'pockets' idea! Using the Reader's Digest's books are wonderful, since they're already beautifully decorated too. I like to use them for recipes, somewhere to stash magazine 'inspiration' clippings... endless ideas! I have my 4H kids use them for presenting their 'projects' for Fair too.

On Tuesday, February 21, 2012, deanna glancy wrote

this is such a wonderful idea! thank you. i am going to make one for a scrapbook.

On Monday, February 20, 2012, Mary wrote

What a fantastic idea! Organizing receipts is an on-going ordeal, and this is a way to use an old book, file the receipts, and put the book in its place on a shelf, where it will be ready and waiting for the next round of receipts.

On Monday, February 20, 2012, wrote

This is a wonderful idea! Thank you so much for sharing such great directions.

On Monday, February 20, 2012, Saucy Chick Sherry wrote

Thank you so much for sharing your technique. As I read the title I was unable to imagine how to sew pockets in a book. Now I know I can do this. Your ideas and creativity are endless Miss Cathe. Blissful...

On Monday, February 20, 2012, Kimberly wrote

What a fabulous idea! I have a collection of Reader's Digest books too, and I'm always looking for ways to use them! Some of mine have the prettiest marbled end papers. I like to remove the covers and use for binding my own journals.

On Monday, February 20, 2012, Cheryl from wrote

Well, depending on how much time you had :: Persoanlly, I’m going to take an old book and transform it into happiness :: I’m going to make 1000 paper cranes out of an old paperback that I’ll use to decorate our library. I’m going to try to do this in 100 days! ;-)

On Monday, February 20, 2012, Ediegal from Texas wrote

Now that I use an ebook, I have books I can use. Looks simple enough. Going to give it a try.

On Monday, February 20, 2012, Karen from Bama wrote

Absolutely Awesome!!! No if I can just find some of those books!!!

On Monday, February 20, 2012, Nancy in So Cal wrote

So love this idea. Will give it a try today, but will use a love novel that I have finished reading. That way each time I add something to the pockets, it will bring back memories of the book. Thanks,

On Monday, February 20, 2012, Sharon from Choctaw wrote

So cool! I think I would use it for birthday cards. I could also store paper ephemera, with the correct label; in order to corral the mess.

On Monday, February 20, 2012, Cath from Today Along The Journey wrote

What a great idea. I have quite a few books with interesting covers that would be perfect for this. A few gifts to have on had for sure. Thank you for sharing.

On Monday, February 20, 2012, Vanessa RhinestoneContessa dot com wrote

I would like to make this a keepsake book to put Ephemera in from my trip to Paris! I have to many ticket stubs and little drawings, it would be perfect! Thanks! This is going to be perfect!!

On Monday, February 20, 2012, Eileen Hull wrote

Love this Cathe! I have a stack of those books too because the covers are so cool. You are amazing. Hope your house has aired out!

On Monday, February 20, 2012, ♥ zegalee ♥ wrote

This is awesome, Cathe! I am an Altered Book Artist and have used pockets for pictures and all kinds of fun stuff, but it has never crossed my mind to make a whole book of pockets and use them for a practical purpose. I'm having one of those, "why didn't I think of that?" moments! :) Thanks for the great idea. It's brilliant!

On Monday, February 20, 2012, Kristin - The Goat wrote

I have a stack of books ready for crafting, sitting right next to me on the couch. I've taken the covers off some, I've decoupaged the pages to things and sewed miles of cut out hearts and circles into garland. but never thought of anything close to this! Oh goodness, I'm headed to the sewing machine right now!

On Monday, February 20, 2012, Peggy wrote

Wow, I love this idea! I have several old books I could use in this way. I think I'd store photos in the pockets or maybe mementos from outings and trips. Great idea!! I'll add a link to this to my Book Crafts article at Squidoo. Thanks!

On Monday, February 20, 2012, Anna @ wrote

What a fun project! I cannot wait to go hunting for some readers digests to use.


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