This is a little random, in the middle of a million embroidery and knitting posts, and since I barely ever post about sewing, but I wanted to share a little 10-minute-use-up-scraps project that I love. These little fabric bookmarks can be made in any size, to suit any book, and are a perfect use for scraps of those really precious fabrics that you can’t bear to throw away. This blue floral print by Tanya Whelan is one of favorite fabrics ever, I just can’t stand the thought of ever running out of it. So I saved even these tiny strips to make something I can use and admire every day.
Here’s what you need (my apologies that some of these photos are a little icky, the weather’s been all over the place and I figured these show what you need to see well enough):
– 2 fabric scraps about bookmark size. Any size you like, and of course it depends on the book you want it to go with. As a guide, the red one shown here is 2″ x 8″, the blue floral above is 1.25″ x 7.5″, the gray Echino bookmarks are 1.75″ x 5.5″ and 2″ x 7″. I’ve even made a tiny one from charm pack scraps (shown way below) that’s less than 1″ x 5″. None of these were measured out to be that size, they were all made from scraps I already had. Basically, the exact size is totally up to you and your scraps.
– 2 pieces of interfacing (I save those interfacing scraps for this too) to match the size of your bookmark. I don’t suppose it matters too much what kind of interfacing, it will just determine how floppy or stiff your bookmark turns out – both will hold your page just fine.
– Coordinating thread
– Ruler, rotary cutter, etc.
– Embroidery floss (optional)
This project is so simple, I’m sure you barely need me to explain it, but here goes anyhow.
First, apply your interfacing to your fabric backs, then trim both to be perfect rectangles in whatever size you’ve decided on. I usually just square (um, rectangle) it up and that’s the size it’ll be. Of course you can also trim first, then iron, that’s totally up to you.
If you’d like to embroider a little something on one side, this is the time. Do it after you’ve applied the interfacing to keep it all smooth, and keep in mind not to use too heavy a thread or else your book won’t shut all nice and flat. I’ve done a wee heart with 2 strands of ordinary DMC floss.
You probably don’t want to tie a knot on either end of your embroidery, also to keep it as flat as possible. I’ll assume you don’t need instructions on knotless embroidering for now, but of course just shout if you’d like some!
Ok, embroidery or not, next you’ll thread your machine and also set it for a slightly longer stitch, like topstitching. Mine is at a-little-over-3; I have no good reason for this length, it just works well for me.
Then sew! All around, about 1/8″ inch from the edge. Or whatever you like, just try to keep it consistent. I usually line it up with a mark on my foot and that’s about 1/8″-ish from the edge. (By the way, I pinned this one just to see if it made a difference, but it really didn’t for me.) And don’t forget to turn corners with the needle down for nice sharp angles!
If your fabric edges get a little misaligned like so:
don’t worry, you can just trim those right off. Line up the stitching with a mark on your ruler and trim that little tiny edge off like it never happened.
And, huzzah! Fabric bookmarks galore! Oh, and I know you’re thinking that these will fray and get messy with any real use. Well, yes, they kind of do, but not nearly as much as you’d imagine. The interfacing keeps them from getting too frayed, and they actually look equally cute once they’ve softened up and the edges get a little loose (like the two on the right above, which have been in use for several years now). Please stop by and show off if you ever make some for yourself!