The only collection in my house that challenges (maybe even exceeds) my fabric stash is my library of books. Cabinets and shelves; table and desk tops; even the space under my bureau—any vacant real estate is fair game for storage. I typically read about three books a week.
One stash of books waiting to be read; as you can see from the bottom shelf, stacked two deep.
Then, of course, there are my books about quilting, sewing, art, and creativity. I am an unrepentant bibliophile.
A sampling from my quilting/sewing/creativity bookshelf. Do you see any titles you recognize?
I call this collection, stacked under the bureau next to my bed, my "reading runway." They're the books most likely to be read next.
Of course, with all this reading, I’m constantly reaching for something to hold my place. I recently discovered–doh!–I could make my own bookmarks. The format fits perfectly with my on-going, “30-minutes-minimum-of-creative-activity-a-day” experiment, the elongated landscape gives me a new geometry to explore, and the technique I use to make them hides all the stitching on the back for a nice, clean finish.
These little treasures are so easy to make, require little in the way of materials, and–best of all–can be customized to reflect your personal tastes and interests. They also make wonderful gifts.
Inspiration can come from anywhere. The abstract design on the far right was inspired by a pillow I saw in a mail-order catalog!
To make your custom bookmark, you’ll need fabric, double-sided fusible interfacing (I used Fast2Fuse, a nifty product from C&T Publishing), scraps of fusible web (such as Lite Steam-A-Seam 2), and a variety of threads. Potential embellishment includes ribbon and/or other flat trims, fabric stamps and ink, photo transfers, charms and/or decorative buttons and beads.
You’ll also need your rotary equipment, scissors, iron and pressing surface, and a pressing cloth such as June Tailor’s Non-Stick Pressing Sheet.
1. Cut a piece of double-sided fusible interfacing to the desired finished size of your bookmark.
2. Double the finished width of your bookmark, and add 1″. Add 1″ to the finished length. Cut a piece of fabric to these measurements. (For example, for a 2 1/2″ x 8″ finished bookmark, cut the fabric 6″ x 9″). This fabric will cover both the front and back of your bookmark.
3. Turn a 1/2″ hem to the wrong side on the top edge of the fabric; press. With the fabric wrong-side up, tuck the interfacing into the hemmed edge, approximately 1/2″ from the left raw edge of the fabric.
4. Use the tip of your iron to carefully press the hem to the interfacing, avoiding the exposed interfacing. Fold over the bottom fabric edge; press to fuse. Repeat for the left edge of the fabric.
5. Turn the unit over, place it on a non-stick pressing sheet, and follow the manufacturer’s directions to fuse the fabric to the interfacing. The fused area will be the front of the bookmark.
6. Use fabric scraps and/or other flat embellishments to decorate as desired.
I cut shapes freehand from fabric scraps and topstitched the edges with rayon thread to create my California poppy.
7. Fold the unfused fabric flap to the exposed side of the interfacing, aligning the top and bottom edges. If you’d like, insert a tail (or tails) of ribbon or trim to create a “dangler.” If desired, add a charm, beads, or decorative button.
For this bookmark, I doubled a length of decorative eyelash trim and ran in through the center of the bookmark "sandwich."
8. Turn under the remaining raw edge 1/2″ and fuse the fabric to the interfacing. Topstitch close to the edges all around the perimeter of the bookmark with matching or contrasting thread.
I knotted the "tails" at the bottom edge of the bookmark to secure them.
The creative options for this easy little project are virtually unlimited. Here are a few more examples to (hopefully) inspire you.
Wouldn't that apple bookmark make a great little remembrance for your child's teacher?
Finally, I couldn’t resist adding this last one, my most recent. My dear, dear British friend (and co-author) Chris Porter, knowing what I’ve been up to, sent me a special ribbon and button in honor of Queen Elizabeth II’s Diamond Jubilee, which our friends across the pond are celebrating this year.
This one is perfect for all those set-in-England historical novels, histories, and biographies I love to read!
Are you ready to jump in? Well, three generous companies are making it even easier for you to get started. In a super triple giveaway, June Tailor has donated a Non-Stick Pressing Sheet, C&T Publishing has contributed a craft pack of standard weight Fast2Fuse (enough for a couple of bookmarks), and The Warm Company has added a five-sheet pack of Lite Steam-A-Seam 2! Just leave a comment by midnight (PDT), May 2, sharing the name of one of your favorite books (novel or nonfiction, including quilting, sewing, or crafting titles) and you’ll be entered in a random drawing to win all three prizes! I’ll announce the winner in my May 4 post.
‘Til then, happy sewing…