As part of my challenge set by Nova to create a tutorial utilising scraps of Liberty fabric this month, I'm sharing a pattern for how to make these fabric bookmarks. I don't think I've ever really invested in special bookmarks before as I've always been guilty of turning the corner of a page over to mark my place in a book, but now with a stash of these by my side I've enjoyed reading in a less destructive way! And, in my newly acquired mindset of minimising book damage as I read, I'm also happy to share with you that they've been designed to be thin enough to slot in between pages without damaging the spine. I've called this the Sun Shadows Bookmark, because the contrasting slants of light and dark fabric remind me of the shadows that are cast upon the wall as sunlight streams through the window on a summer's evening.
I've chosen to make my book marks using just two fabrics, but there's no reason why you couldn't create one holding an entire rainbow of fabric colours. The tiny prints of Liberty fabrics lend themselves well to this project, where only a small snippet of the fabric is shown. These beautiful grey books are neglected twentieth century classics re-published by Persephone and inspired me to make a bookmark in their honour. I think giving a bookmark along with a book would make a lovely gift. I've found it surprising quite how much my children have fallen in love with these bookmarks, so on the basis of their reaction I think they'd also make super presents for children too.
This bookmark is incredibly easy to make as long as you cut mindfully and place your fabrics together exactly as shown. I've created all the templates you'll need to make it and you can download them here - to be printed out on one single sheet of paper. The slanted shafts of sunlight have been created to fit together perfectly, with no "dog's ears" to deal with to make things easier for you.
To make this book mark, you will need the following ingredients:
Liberty fabric scraps
Small piece of lightweight iron-on interfacing
Chalk/disappearing ink fabric marker
A4 sheet of card
Needle and thread
1. The first step with these bookmarks is rather critical to the success of the whole project, but it's simple to remember. The Sun Shadow template must be orientated in the same way to cut all 15 pieces of fabric, otherwise the pieces won't join up in the right way. For ease, let's agree that the template will be placed the right way up on the wrong side of the fabric as shown above.
If you're sticking to two colours, as I have done with my own book markers, cut 7 pieces from one fabric and 8 from the other.
2. You should end up with two neat little piles like the one above. Once the fabrics are facing the right way you up you can see that the point in the opposite direction to the template: this is all good!
3. Bookmark makers: this is a precision moment! Place a piece of each fabric right-sides together and lay them so they look identical to those shown in the photo above. It doesn't feel instinctive to place them together in this way, I know, but it will all turn out well. Once together, sew along the top edge with a 1/4" seam allowance.
4. Once sewn it may look like this, however, if you have a little triangular tab of fabric showing, as pictured left, simply fold the seam allowance in the other direction and it will marry up with the edge of the fabric perfectly, as shown below:
5. Now take another piece of fabric (that contrasts with the piece it is to be sewn to) and place it, right sides together, with the top piece. Again, orient it exactly as the one in the photograph. Sew with a 1/4" seam.
It should now look like the photograph above.
6. Repeat the process as shown above until all 15 pieces are joined together and resemble the final photograph.
7. From the reverse the pieces you've sewn together should look like these above. The seam allowances should all be pressed in the same direction with an iron to give a neat edge to your work.
8. Now place the Bookmark Backing Template on top of your fabric, trace around it and cut it out.
You should now be left with a piece like the one above.
9. Use the same template to cut out a back for your fabric from co-ordinating fabric.
10. It's now time to create the small tab at the top of the bookmark. Use the Tab Top Template to cut one piece of fabric and one piece of lightweight iron-on interfacing. Iron the interfacing to the reverse of the fabric.
11. Where I've marked my fabric with 'X's, bring them together and sew along the top raw edge with a 1/4" seam allowance, as below.
Turn the right way out and press with an iron to give the piece below.
12. Now fold the tab in half and place it centrally on the bookmark (you can see from my photo there's 1" to either side of the tab when placed centrally). Align the raw edges of the tab top with the raw edge of the main bookmark and sew in place a fraction away from the edge.
13. Now place the backing fabric and the piece with the sun shadows that you've created with right sides together, with the tab top safely nestled inside. Sew around the perimeter with a 1/2 seam allowance, leaving the bottom edge open.
14. Now trim the bookmark's seam allowance to 1/4" and clip the corners off, being sure not to clip through your stitches.
16. Press with an iron, before turning the right way out. Poke the corners out gently with a long pointy implement and press once again.
17. Cut two pieces of card using the Bookmark Insert Template. Place the pieces of card together and insert them into the bookmark. I find it helps to gently squeeze the card into a half-tube so that the edges curve upwards as it's inserted.
18. The reason for using two pieces of card, rather than one, is that as well as giving greater rigidity, it also allows each end to be neatly turned in over its own side of card. So gently part the two cards and fold the remaining loose fabric neatly inside. Press with a warm iron.
19. Finally, sew the ends together with a needle and thread using a ladder stitch or a whip stitch.
You are now ready to read in a way that means that interruptions are to be welcomed for the delight of placing your new book marker in between the pages as you abandon your book. Hurrah! Well sewn.
If you make any bookmarks then I'd love to see if you have the chance to take a photograph. You can drop them into the Liberty Scrap Challenge Flickr pool here and my own Flickr pool here.
Once again, if you'd like to buy some scraps of Liberty, you can find Jo's lovely Etsy shop, The Organic Stitch Company, here. She's the very lovely sponsor and fabric provider for Nova's wonderful Liberty Scrap Challenge. Thank you so much to both Nova and Jo for inviting me to take part.
As with all my tutorials, you are welcome to use this free-of-charge for your own personal use. If you wish to sell the things that you make from using my tutorials, however, then I request that you pay a small fee (£3) for the right to do this.