Creating the cover for A Year of Zero Waste Sewing

One of the really fun parts of independent publishing is making the book’s cover. The cover for A Year of Zero Waste Sewing was finished this past week.

The cover was created by Stu Nankivell, who has done the covers for my previous two books, and styled by me.

Several weeks ago, Stu and his wife, who also does graphic design, came to visit. We had a look through my cover design inspo file together. This is a file I’ve been keeping over the past two years, consisting of other book covers, photos and images that “spoke to me” (not all sewing – food photography, knitting, cookbooks, posters, art, graphics and craft). We had plenty of discussion and hilarity.

Then I showed them some concept art, which I’d whipped up in Canva:

The idea was to have a giant zero on the cover, wrapping around the front/back, formed by a collage of sewing tools (representing zero waste, circular economy of which eliminating waste is one of the principles, and a year around the sun). I considered a mandala-style circle, but didn’t think there was enough space. The cover is only 6″ x 9″ (ie a fraction bigger than A5) so there’s not a lot of real estate. So instead it’s a vertical arrangement of sewing tools; the transparent ruler in the centre will be on the spine of the book.

Stu thought we could make a bigger circular collage and photograph it further away.

The three of us spent the rest of the afternoon making a collage. I put a sheet of plywood on a lowered ironing board, and covered it with the (freshly ironed) background fabric. A larger circular template of paper was needed to arrange the collage in.

Photo: Stu Nankivell

Of course, now we needed more “stuff” to fill the template. I went through the sewing cupboard and dug out buttons, spare tools, anything. We looked at the cover of The Dressmaker’s Companion to see what we used there, and I found some of the same things. More discussion and a lot of laughs.

Photo: Stu Nankivell

It was a bit of a rush at the end, as the afternoon melted away and we all have school children to collect/meet. Stu took photos, they left, I had a lie down, then a big tidy up. The place looked like a sewing bomb had gone off!

Last week, I went to their house to transform the photo into a book cover. Stu put the photo into a cover template provided by the printer, and added a title, blurb, ISBN/barcode etc.

(Our local librarian had given me book advice: he said to avoid blue spines, as they tend to “disappear” on bookshelves. He also told me to try and get my book on the banned list, if I wanted to boost sales! Apparently as soon as a book gets banned, everyone starts asking for it. I don’t see that happening.)

I wondered if I should save the cover image to do a “big reveal” on publishing day but I’m too excited! Publishing day is 11th March. Here’s the finished cover:

I’ve yet to see this as an actual finished book – a single print copy should be arriving this week.


Read about making the cover of The Dressmaker’s Companion – this cover won an award.


  1. Helen Sherriff on February 26, 2024 at 9:47 pm

    Well done!

    • lizhaywood on February 27, 2024 at 10:48 am

      Thank you Helen!

  2. Liseli on February 26, 2024 at 10:35 pm

    Thanks for these insights on book publishing, it’s very interesting! And the cover looks great 🙂

    • lizhaywood on February 27, 2024 at 10:47 am

      Many thanks Liseli – I find it interesting too!

  3. Ineke from Naaiatlier Krul (sewing studio Curly) on February 26, 2024 at 10:48 pm

    Thank you for taking us for the ride! This is so much fun and educational. I’m happy this format of zines has been working out for you. And regular new information and patterns for us.
    I wish you good health for the coming year, so you can enjoy the rest of the ride of publishing.
    Kind regards, groetjes,
    Ineke from The Netherlands

    • lizhaywood on February 27, 2024 at 10:49 am

      Big thanks for coming along for the ride with me!

  4. Kathy Bryker on February 26, 2024 at 11:33 pm

    That is such a wonderful cover. It has great meaning and conveys exactly what you are trying to do. Wellnot trying…succeeding in doing. Well done.

    • lizhaywood on February 27, 2024 at 10:52 am

      Thank you Kathy, I’m very happy with it and it was very fun to do.

  5. Mary Warner on February 27, 2024 at 10:15 am

    Congratulations on your new book and cover, Liz! The cover looks marvelous and I love the concept for it.

    Isn’t it curious how everyone flocks to banned books? Readers don’t want to be told they can’t read something. Got any risqué sewing-related drawings you can add to up your chances? Lol! 😉

    • lizhaywood on February 27, 2024 at 10:46 am

      Thanks Mary. Yes, it’s strange about banned books – I think he told me that when a few of the Dr Seuss titles got withdrawn from publication. Think I’m too middle-of-the-road conservative to attempt a book ban!

  6. Laurinda on February 27, 2024 at 11:58 am

    That looks amazing! I love the layers of meaning in it, & it just looks cool

    • lizhaywood on February 27, 2024 at 12:07 pm

      Thank you Laurinda!

  7. Anthea Martin on February 27, 2024 at 1:47 pm

    Wow! Wow! Wow!
    Love Anthea

    • lizhaywood on February 27, 2024 at 2:28 pm

      Cheers Anthea! Glad you like it too!

Leave a Comment