My friend Colette called her mémé (granny). She was born in 1886 in the Massif Central (France). Her son, Colette’s father, born in 1909, had a dictionary which he used a lot and his mum, who was conscious of the importance of books, made a cover in red cloth to protect it.
She was a solid farmer of the Limousine region and worked hard all her life: she would milk her cows, make butter and cheese, cook and do the laundry with ashes, rinse the linen in the icy water of the river, draw water from a well and bring it home with a bucket. She also did a great deal of knitting and sewing; all this did not prevent her from being good-humoured: she loved laughing. She used to tell that in her youth, in the evenings, people would gather together in one farm or the other to tell funny stories and frightening tales. Then they would all dance in the large kitchens with somebody playing the violin or just singing songs.
Mémé’s book cover was made with two pieces of red cloth sewn together at the spine and secured to the inside of the book’s hard covers by a crossing thread that looks very feminine. See the embroidered label and the initials of her son’s name on the upper left side. On another occasion she used the remnants of a mattress cloth to make a book-covering with an almost “structural” headband: note the refined choice of thin stripes to enhance the spine. To see them click the images under this text.
I have made some protective covers in cloth, plastic and paper. They are practical and will last long. For two of them a sewing machine is needed. To see them click the images under this text.