I bought my first (and only) sewing machine on a whim. It was a Black Friday deal on Amazon in 2015. I’d always wanted to be able to sew, and my mom had helped me make a few things in the past, but really, it was wishful thinking. I had no immediate plans to sew anything.
Eventually, inspiration struck, and with the help of YouTube, I taught myself how to make a quilt for my baby niece. Then I didn’t do much with it until it was time to make quilts for my new nephew and my own baby. Then I made some shopping bags, which were fun. I still had some scraps of fabric left over, so I made bookmarks to give away at my book signing yesterday. I chose fabric that worked with the colors and content of my books, and even made a few themed bookmarks for my fellow authors at the event.
It’s a simple project and easy to do, so I thought I’d share it. I used these basic instructions, but I found they lacked details that a novice like me needed, and I had to improvise a little. (Full disclosure: I just noticed there was a video I never watched because I thought it was an ad, so maybe that’s where the details were.) I also don’t have a cricut maker, so I went the rotary cutter and mat route.
Materials: fabric (I used scraps and fabric quarters), rotary cutter and mat, interfacing (fusible on both sides), leftover quilt batting, seam ripper (for inevitable mistakes, scissors, dull pencil, pins,
If you don’t have quilt batting lying around, try to find a really thick interfacing, or you could use something like stiff felt.
Step 1: Cut out fabric rectangles that are 2.5” X 7.5”. I like to cut a bunch out at once.
Step 2: Cut out interfacing and quilt batting into rectangles 1.75” X 6.75”. I used two interfacing rectangles and one quilt batting per bookmark. Again, I do all the cutting at once.
If you get a thicker interfacing, you might not need any batting. I didn’t know what kind of interfacing to get, and my first bookmark was too thin and floppy. My second attempt used one piece of interfacing and one piece of batting, and it was much better, but still a little floppy.
Step 3: Put the fabric wrong sides together and pin it if needed. Sew down both long sides and one short side. I used an 1/8” seam, backstitching where possible.
If your fabric has a pattern where orientation matters, I recommend sewing closed the short side that will be at the top of the pattern at this step. Later when we sew the book mark closed, there will be a visible stitch, and I’d rather it not be on the part of the bookmark that sticks out of the book.
Step 4: Turn the shell inside out so the right sides of the fabric are facing out. Using a dull pencil, poke the corners out
*Optional: Iron the bookmark shell before stuffing it.
Step 5: Sandwich a piece of batting between two pieces of interfacing and insert into bookmark shell.
I used (clean) kitchen tongs to help me insert the stuffing when it got stuck.
Step 6: Fold over the bottom of the bookmark and sew the bottom edge closed – 1/8” or 1/4” seam here – just make sure you sew down what you folded over.
For me, it was too thick to go through the machine normally, and I didn’t feel like switching to an even-feed foot because I’m lazy. Instead, I started in the middle and sewed it closed in one direction, then flipped, started in the middle, and sewed it in the other direction.
Step 7: Iron it on both sides so the interfacing fuses to the batting and fabric. Marvel at your beautiful custom bookmark.
I realize I may have forgotten things, so if you’re having trouble following this, reach out and I’ll help as best I can. I’m really a novice when it comes to sewing, but tutorials online have really helped me try new things.