How to Sew an Elastic Bookmark
When I’m not sewing, I love to read. And I’ve come to realize regular bookmarks don’t cut it with kids around. Kids open up books and move bookmarks around for fun. Or drop books and let them fall out. Or turn bookmarks into origami. My favorite bookmark is an elastic bookmark because the elastic keeps the book closed while marking my spot! Kids can still mess it up, but the accidental ones don’t happen as much.
So as part of the Sewing by Ti Birthday Blog Tour, I’m sharing a tutorial for how to make elastic bookmarks. Because these are one of my favorite small gifts to make. An elastic bookmark is quick, uses hardly any fabric (aka use your scraps!), and easy for even beginning sewist. These make great Christmas gifts or stocking stuffers, neighbor gifts, Mother’s Day gifts, Father’s Day gifts, and birthday gifts-especially for kids. I love to let my kids pick out fabric and help make these as gifts for teachers. Not only is an elastic bookmark really useful, but I think the gift means an little more to both my kids and their teachers when my kids have worked to sew them up.
*I’m giving you measurements for a suggested size, but you can really make these any size you want. So if you’ve got a fabric you absolutely love and it doesn’t quite fit these dimensions…don’t sweat it! Adjust for what you’ve got!*
*You can also skip on one or both sides of the bookmark for an even faster project. I personally like how the two layers of interfacing make the bookmark stiff. Without the interfacing you’ll have a much softer bookmark.*
To make an elastic bookmark, you need:
2 pieces of cute woven fabric (like quilting cotton) cut to 2.5″ by 6.5″
2 pieces of fusible interfacing cut to 2″ by 6″ (I’m using a very stiff variety from my stash)
14-16″ of elastic no wider than 2″ (decorative elastic and Fold Over Elastic are really cute, but optional. Stick to soft Elastics without prominent ridges)
Fuse Interfacing to Fabric
Lay 1 piece of fusible interfacing centered on 1 piece of fabric with the bumpy side of the interfacing touching the wrong side of the fabric. Iron the interfacing to the fabric. Repeat with the other piece of interfacing and fabric
Fold the elastic in half and bring the cut edges even with each other. Pin the edge of the elastic to the right side of one of the short sides of one of pieces of fabric. I like to let the elastic extend past the fabric slightly-maybe 1/8 to 1/4 inch. Baste the elastic to the fabric. Then lay the second piece of fabric on top with right sides together and the elastic sandwiched in between. Pin the sides to hold the fabric in place. I also like to pin the elastic in the middle to make sure it doesn’t shift and accidentally get sewn in the seams.
Alternately, you can skip basting the elastic to one of the fabric pieces and just pin the elastic sandwiched between the two fabrics, right sides together. This is how I usually do it.
Starting on one of the long edges, sew from the edge of the fabric to the interfacing, then put your needle down and pivot to sew along the interfacing around the bookmark. Pivot at the corners to make sharp turns. Stop a couple inches from where you started and pivot to sew off the fabric. Sewing on and off the fabric like that will help the fabric stay turned to the inside when you are closing up the hole. Cut the corners off at a diagonal without cutting through the stitching.
Turn Right Side Out
Remove the pin holding your elastic, reach into the little hole, pull out the elastic and keep pulling until the fabric starts to come out the hole. Continue flipping the bookmark right side out and gently poke out the corners with a chopstick or pencil. Confession: I usually use my little scissors to poke the corners out-which risks poking through the fabric but I keep doing it anyways…the scissors are just so convenient!
Iron the elastic bookmark so the edges are nice a flat with the fabric edges at the hole tucked inside the bookmark. Sew about 1/8″ from the edge all around the bookmark. I generally start sewing right before where the elastic attaches to the bookmark and end on the opposite side of the elastic after I have gone all the way around the bookmark. I backstitch all the way across the elastic to make sure that elastic is secure.
To use the elastic bookmark, put the fabric part inside the book marking the spot in the book. Close the book and flip the elastic around both sides of the book. The elastic is circling the book with the fabric part sticking down into the book. It keeps the book closed and marks the spot at the same time. Two birds. One Stone.
Wrap it up and give it away. Or put it in a book and gift it with a good book. That way the recipient sees how to use the bookmark and gets a book to use it in too!
Have you read this one? So. Good. I LOVED this book! My favorite Mr. Browne Precept from Wonder: “When given the choice between being right or being kind, choose kind.”–Dr. Wayne W. Dyer
Leave a comment and share your favorite precept/thought from Wonder or one you would write to Mr. Browne if you were in his class!
And don’t forget to check out all the other stops on the Gifts to Give blog tour! Hopefully you’ll be all set with gift ideas for Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, and end of year Teacher Gifts!
23rd: Stitched By Jennie, Tales from a Southern Mom, Aurora Design Fabrics
24th: Sewjourns, Big Fly Notions, Sewing Blue, JOT Designs USA
25th: Sewing By Ti, Auschick Sews, Hazelnut Handmade
26th: Sewing With D, EYMM, Middle River Studio, Aurora Design Fabrics
27th: Our Play Palace, My Sewing Roots, Make it Sew with the Bear and Pea, Seams Sew Lo