Sunday, December 9, 2012

Easy Bookmarks Tutorial

I said I would do up a tutorial for the pieced bookmarks and SewCalGal’s  Christmas Party seemed like the perfect time to get it out.  Be sure to visit and check out all the wonderful Christmas Party Links.

Quilter's Christmas Party at SewCalGal - low resolution

This is a Christmas posting for me since I’ve started a tradition for myself where each year I make bookmarks for friends and family.  (Three years in a row is enough to start a tradition, right?)  We’re all book lovers here, and while I appreciate the convenience of ebooks, a “real” book in the hand can’t be beat.  Real books need real bookmarks!

These bookmarks are easy to make and a great way to use up scraps.  I noted before that my mini-making adventures mean I have a lot of partially used charm packs.  I’ve been running those bits and pieces on the GO! 1 1/2" strip die.

So, first off, all my measurements are 5" wide because that is the width of the charms.  If you are cutting from scratch, you could easily shift all your widths to 4 1/2" and you’d be just fine.

The directions will make up two bookmarks.


  • one 5" by 7 1/2" foundation fabric (I use a light-weight white cotton)
  • one 5" by 7 1/2" craft weight fusible interfacing  (I use Pellon’s Décor Bond)
  • two 5 1/2" by 7 1/2" rectangles fusible web (I use Steam-a-Seam 2)
  • seven 1 1/2" by 5" fabric strips
  • one 5 1/2" by 7 1/2" fabric rectangle for the backing (I pieced left over charm squares to get mine)
  • optional: ribbon


1.  Iron the fusible interfacing onto the foundation fabric.

2.  Iron one of the fusible web rectangles onto the other side of the foundation fabric.  (I have a photo here – not that it tells you much.  It looks like a white rectangle, but trust me, there’s Décor Bond on one side and Steam-a-Seam on the other.)

3.  Stack up your seven fabric strips in an order that pleases you.  Then, take the bottom one and lay it, right side up, on the fusible web side of the foundation fabric (paper peeled off, of course). 

4.  Take the next strip and place it right side down on top of the bottom strip.  Sew with a quarter inch seam.

5.  Press the strip up – being very careful that your iron is only touching the fabric!  Do not iron onto that exposed fusible web.

6.  Continue adding the strips until the entire foundation is covered.

7.  If there is any raw foundation left uncovered, trim it off.

8.  Take the remaining rectangle of Steam-a-Seam and iron it onto the back of the foundation.  Place the backing fabric right side up.  If you would like to add a ribbon to your bookmark, then take one of the bare sheets of release paper that you peeled off the foundation earlier and lay it so that it covers about an inch in from the top of the bookmark.  It’s hard to see in the photo (white on white), but it’s there. 

After the backing is fused on, you’ll have an edge at the top that is still loose.

9.  (I switched bookmarks mid photo-taking so things look a wee bit different – oops).  Use a pinking rotary cutter to trim the edges of your foundation.  Cut one long side and the top and bottom.

10.  Lay your ruler with the two inch mark at the edge and cut a bookmark.  Then lay it two inches in again and cut the second.

11.  Optional ribbons: Cut the ribbons to the size you prefer.  Open up the back edge that is unfused and tuck the ribbon into place.

Iron closed.

12.  Stitch the book mark about a quarter inch in.  I overlap a few stitches when I’ve come full around and then backstitch a few stitches to lock in place.

13.  Admire your pretty bookmarks! 

I like that the interfacing and fusible web give the bookmarks stiffness without making them too thick.

Bookmarks Are Us

If you are interested, there are tutorials for Christmas’s past, as well.  There’s the lace and linen bookmarks from last year.  (Tutorial here).  The bookmarks in the top photo are a little more involved and the bottom single one the easier method that I did second and wound up preferring. 

17 four linen bookmarks_thumb

14 linen bookmark_thumb[1]

And then the linen with picture bookmarks.  I’ve done up a ton more of those this year (which is why there’s a bunch listed in my Etsy shop), but you can find the tutorial here.   I am now sewing the images onto the linen instead of cutting out the window as directed in the tutorial – faster, easier, just as nice.

I’m loving that bit of steampunk.  I’ve got another sheet of images ready to go.

Along with some more charms to attach for a bit of extra.  Fun stuff.

Meanwhile, if you go back a ways on my blog, you can find the snippet bookmarks I did a few years ago.  You can find that tutorial here.  In retrospect, I think the Fast2Fuse is too thick so I use Décor Bond when making snippet “stuff” these days.

0 snippet bookmarks

As far as traditions go, making bookmarks makes me happy.

* * * * *

And since this Christmas Party is a donation drive for Operation Homefront, SewCalGal asked if we had any military stories to share.  Well, during World War II, my dad was stationed in England and my father-in-law in the South Pacific.  Neither my husband or I ever heard either of our parents talk much about the war, but here’s one story.  Right before my father was going to ship out, my brother was born, my father’s first born child.  After my father got the news, his commanding officer told him he wasn’t going to notice if my father wasn’t around for roll call the next few days.  “Just don’t miss the boat!”  And he didn’t, of course.

A funny story, true.  But also, how brave and dedicated they were.  What was it like, I wonder, for my Mom,  a newborn in her arms, knowing my father would cross the seas to where war raged?  What was it like for my father, holding his son in his arms, wondering if he’d be back to hold him again? 

And, of course, what is it like for so many of our soldiers who make the same sacrifices today?  We always owe so much to those who give so much. 

It’s a good time, in this season of giving and thanksgiving, to remember our soldiers and their families.  Here’s hoping for a majorly successful donation drive.

And thanks to SewCalGal for putting this together.


  1. Our military men and women and their families sacrifice so much for our freedom. We should be thankful each and every day for every one of them!

    Your bookmarks are really nice! And yes, 3 years can be considered a tradition. A tradition has to start somewhere. :)

  2. Thanks, Terrie, for sharing the bookmark infor and especially for sharing your family story.

  3. Great little bookmarks - thanks for the inspiration and tutorial! Merry Christmas!

  4. really have out done yourself with the wonderful tutorials. Handmade book marks are the absolute best!

    Thank you for sharing all your tutorials and your story too!

    Have a wonderful Holiday Season!


  5. Thank you for the tutorial, I'm going to pin it!

  6. Thank you so much for the bookmark tutorial! I can see sewing a lot of these in my future!