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I need to craft – I feel lost when I’m not making something. But the problem is that I’m running out of space to store decorative objects around the house. I could make room by tossing out a kid or two, but for some reason my husband doesn’t seem too keen on that idea. So, until the kids move out of their own volition (craft room! personal office!), I’m focused on practicality: making small projects that won’t take up much room. Since I read a lot, I’ve decided to play around with different ways to make bookmarks.
Fabric Bookmark Issues
Given my ever-growing quilting stash, I’ve decided to focus on making bookmarks with fabric. My major issue with fabric bookmarks, though, has been the bulk. When you sew fabric together, you end up with extra bulk at the seams. This isn’t really a big deal on a bookmark if you’re reading a hardcover – those have enough heft to shut completely on the fabric – but I mainly stick to paperbacks and a thick bookmark warps the paperback book. It can’t close all the way, and the bookmark is more likely to fall out.
My Recent Bookmark Attempts
My goal over the past week or two has been to make fabric bookmarks that hit the sweet spot of bookmark making: just thick and sturdy enough to feel substantial, but not so heavy or thick that they would be impractical to use in a paperback.
Attempt #1 – Quilting cotton fabric and double-sided fusible webbing.
To avoid bulk, I decided to try to make a bookmark using double-sided fusible webbing so I could avoid seams altogether. I used fusible webbing to adhere two pieces of scrap fabric back-to-back. I did some simple top stitching to secure the fabric. Then I used my pinking shears to trim the edges, which gave it a quaint look and will help prevent fraying.
Verdict: This bookmark is too soft. I love the way it looks, but when I hold the bookmark up it flops right over. Does that mean it won’t work as a bookmark? No. But I just wasn’t 100% happy with it. It seems too flimsy.
Attempt #2 – Quilting cotton fabric and double sided medium weight interfacing.
This time I knew I needed more stability. To continue my experiment avoiding seams, I turned to option two: fusible interfacing. This is a medium weight double-sided interfacing that’s touted as being perfect for fabric bowls and other crafts. I cut a piece about 3 x 9 inches and ironed fabric scraps onto it. I trimmed it down, but didn’t do any top stitching or pinking.
Verdict: This bookmark is too hard, and it’s way too thick to serve my purposes. While this double-sided interfacing would be perfect for the bottom of the new tote bag I’m making, it’s overkill for a bookmark.
Attempt #3 – Quilting cotton fabric, bottom weight cotton fabric, and double-sided fusible webbing.
It suddenly occurred to me: What if, instead of using heavier interfacing, I use heavier fabric? Years ago when I sewed a lunch bag for my daughter, I had used some heavy weight pink cotton fabric. Luckily, I still had the remnants in my sewing stash. I used that for one side of the bookmark and some basic quilting cotton fabric with a fun print for the other side. I ironed on the fusible webbing (once again cut down to about 3 x 9 inches) and then trimmed it down.
Verdict: This bookmark is just right. It has just enough heft to feel right in my hand, but it’s slender enough to slide right into my paperback book. I’ve pinked the top and bottom only. My plan is to use it for a while and see how the edges wear over time. I’ve been told top stitching is usually done with fusible webbing because the adhesive will wear away eventually, but my guess is that I should be fine, since I won’t be throwing my bookmark in the washing machine.
Next time I make bookmarks (which will be soon), I’m going to try using heavy weight cotton fabric on both sides of the bookmark. Of course I don’t have a lot of fun prints on heavy weight fabric, so I’ll need to go fabric shopping. Oh darn.
Have you made bookmarks before? Did you use paper, yarn, fabric, or something else? How did yours turn out and what crafty secrets did you discover?