Project reviews

3 Fabric Bookmarks

Reading is one of my favourite hobbies. In 2014 I received an ebook reader as a gift and as a result purchase fewer physical books. During the summer I visited a book seller that I hadn’t made use of since I’ve had my ebook reader. I’ve purchased about a dozen paperbacks from them, eight of which are a boxed set. Now that I’ve rediscovered the joy of paperbacks, I’ve thought of one thing that would make my reading experience better; a bookmark that didn’t fall out. In this post I’m reviewing 3 fabric bookmarks.

I found several online tutorials for DIY bookmarks. The ones that seemed least likely to fall out of my book are the ones that used elastic. I really couldn’t decide which style I preferred so in this post I’m reviewing three fabric bookmark tutorials.

Note these pattern are for personal use only.

All three tutorials start with photos and a discussion of the author’s motivation for creating the project. For this post I’ll discuss the materials and project steps, then compare the three bookmarks to each other.

Most of my new paperbacks are the same height and width (7.75” x 5.0” or 19.8 cm x12.7 cm) so I used one to adjust the size of each fabric bookmark.

Here are my thoughts on each project.

Make Your Own Bookmark In 5 Minutes by Crazy Little Projects

This project uses 2 fabric scraps ~ 3 x 12 inches in size and piece of 1/2” wide elastic that is ~ 8” long. It’s fairly easy to adjust the size of your fabric and/or the length of your elastic according to the sizes of the books you’re making the bookmark for. Choosing two different scraps makes the bookmark reversible.

Fabric & Elastic for a bookmark
Materials for “Make Your Own Bookmark In 5 Minutes by Crazy Little Projects”

This tutorial was the easiest of the three fabric bookmarks to sew. You sew your fabric pieces together along their long edges, turn them right-side out and press them, fold the short ends in then sew on the elastic.

I pinned my elastic in place and tested the fit before sewing it. The fabric wrapped so far around my book that 8” of my elastic didn’t stretch at all. I opted to use less elastic rather than cut my fabric.

Checking length of elastic

I thought my bookmark looked unfinished, so I top stitched a 1/4” seam allowance along each edge of the fabric rectangle. Here are two photos of my finished bookmark; one for each side.

Completed reversible bookmark on a book
Finished “Make Your Own Bookmark In 5 Minutes by Crazy Little Projects” in use
5 Minute Fabric Strap Bookmark by Hello Creative Family

This project requires the most fabric. Use a 4” wide scrap of fabric that is 16” to 20” long depending upon the size of the books you’re making the bookmark for, 1 hair elastic and 1 button.

Materials for a bookmark
Materials for “5 Minute Fabric Strap Bookmark by Hello Creative Family”

The steps in this tutorial are folding your strip of fabric in half lengthwise, sewing along the open long edge, turning and pressing the fabric strip, pressing both short ends over, and then sewing on the elastic and button. Button sewing made this tutorial was slightly more difficult. Depending upon your skill level, the button can either be sewn by hand or with a sewing machine.

After I sewed the elastic to one end of my fabric, I test fit this bookmark on a paperback. I prefer my fabric strip 16.5” long as opposed to the 16” suggested for small paperbacks or 18” suggested for larger paperbacks.

Checking the fit of a bookmark
Testing the fit of the bookmark.

Here is a photo of my finished bookmark.

Finished bookmark on a book
Finished “5 Minute Fabric Strap Bookmark by Hello Creative Family” in use
The Stayput Elastic Bookmark by Make It-Love It

This project uses the least amount of fabric and the most elastic. Following the tutorial as described requires 2, 2.5 x 7”scraps of fabric, 2 – 2 x 6.5” pieces of fusible interfacing, and ~ 16” of enough 1.5” wide elastic (or the length the fits around your books the best). Choosing two different scraps makes the bookmark reversible.

Materisl for a bookmark
Materials for “The Stayput Elastic Bookmark by Make It-Love It”

The steps in this tutorial are interfacing your fabric, sewing the rectangles together along one short and both long edges, clipping the corners, turning the fabric right-side out, folding the open edge inwards, sewing on the elastic, then top stitching the bookmark.

I didn’t have any 1.5” wide elastic so I decided to use another piece of the same 1/2” wide elastic that I used for the “Crazy Little Projects” bookmark. A single 16” long piece was enough to wrap around my paperback. I pinned the elastic in place to test whether I preferred to use one or two pieces of 1/2” wide elastic.

Open book with elastic for bookmark
Testing the fit of the elastic

Two does hold my book closed more securely so I went with that to better replicate the look of the bookmarks in the original tutorial. Keep in mind the “Crazy Little Projects” bookmark uses one piece of 1/2” wide elastic and it works just fine. If you’re using narrower elastic for the “Make It-Love It” bookmark, use 1 or 2 widths based on your personal aesthetics. Here’s a photo of my finished bookmark.

Bookmark in use
Finished “The Stayput Elastic Bookmark by Make It-Love It” in use.
Comparison

Here are some photos of my three fabric bookmarks. From left to right: “Make Your Own Bookmark In 5 Minutes” by Crazy Little Projects, “5 Minute Fabric Strap Bookmark” by Hello Creative Family, “The Stayput Elastic Bookmark” by Make It-Love It.

3 fabric bookmarks on a table
“Crazy Little Projects”, “Hello Creative Family” and “Make It-Love It” bookmarks on a table
3 bookmarks in use
Front view of “Crazy Little Projects”, “Hello Creative Family” and “Make It-Love It” bookmarks in use
Top view of in use bookmarks
Top view of “Crazy Little Projects”, “Hello Creative Family” and “Make It-Love It” bookmarks in use
Make Your Own Bookmark In 5 Minutes by Crazy Little Projects

While the Crazy Little Projects bookmark was the easiest to sew, it’s also the hardest to use. You have to hold stretch the elastic around the pages of the open book. It’s hard to stretch my short piece of elastic around my books. If you’re planning to make this style of bookmark I recommend using a longer piece of elastic… even if it means using a shorter piece of fabric. This bookmark is reversible and most of the fabric is on the outside of the book where it can be enjoyed even when you’re not reading. The thickest part of this bookmark is where the elastic is sewn to the fabric. The four layers of fabric and 1 layer of elastic do add a slight bulge to whichever book it’s used with.

5 Minute Fabric Strap Bookmark by Hello Creative Family

The Hello Creative Family bookmark used the most fabric and had the least layers of material (2 layers of cotton, no elastic) between the pages of my book. The button gives this bookmark a higher profile that the other two and that may be an issue if you don’t have a lot of room on your bookshelf. Fancy buttons and colorful hair elastics make it easy to dress up this bookmark. This bookmark can be used with one hand by sandwiching the fabric between the pages of your book, flipping the ends around either the front or back cover and stretching the hair elastic over the button. With roughly half the fabric inside the book and half outside the book, this bookmark can be enjoyed both when the book is on display and when you’re reading it.

The Stayput Elastic Bookmark by Make It-Love It

The Make It-Love It bookmark used the least fabric and the most elastic. This fabric bookmark is like a traditional bookmark in that the prettiest part is inside the book. It’s reversible. I used medium weight interfacing and the stiffness it imparted made this bookmark feel similiar to light cardstock. It’s thickest where the elastic is sewn to the fabric; 4 layers of fabric and 2 layers of elastic.  There it’s nearly as thick as the button I used for the Hello Creative Family bookmark. With the elastic around the front, bottom and back of the book, the extra thickness/bulge is less noticeable on my bookshelf. While you do need two hands to use this bookmark, it’s easier to use than the Crazy Little Projects bookmark because the elastic is stretched around the outside of the closed book.

Additional Notes
Elastic

Different types of elastics stretch differently. I recommend pinning or basting your elastic in place and testing your bookmark on some books before cutting and sewing the elastic. Similarly, if you are making the Hello Creative Family bookmark, check the fit of your bookmark after you’ve sewn on the hair elastic and before you fold over the button end.

Smaller & Larger Books

The most common book size on my shelf is 7.75” x 5.0”. I tested all three bookmarks on a smaller trade paperback and a larger paperback. The smaller trade paperback was 4.24” wide and 6.75” tall and the larger paperback was 7.75” wide and 10.15” tall. The Crazy Little Projects and Hello Creative Family bookmarks were too loose to stay on the smaller paperback. The Crazy Little Projects bookmark was a tight fit on the larger book and the Hello Creative Family bookmark was too short to go around it. The Make It-Love It bookmark fit around both of these other books easily. I may just be lucky with my choice of elastic.

testing 3 bookmakrs on a smaller book
Testing “Crazy Little Projects”, “Hello Creative Family” and “Make It-Love It” bookmarks on a smaller book
Testing 3 bookmarks on a larger book
Testing “Crazy Little Projects”, “Hello Creative Family” and “Make It-Love It” bookmarks on a larger book
Changing the Look of The Bookmarks

Changing the look of these bookmarks is a easy as changing the fabric, elastic/hair elastic and button. The Crazy Little Projects and Make It-Love It bookmarks are both reversible by design. The Hello Creative Family bookmark could be made reversable by using two strips of fabric, adding a cylindrical button or  cord lock to the hair elastic and replacing the button with a button hole or grommet. The Crazy Little Projects and Hello Creative Family bookmarks allow you too see the bookmark’s fabric on the outside of the book. I’ve noticed that my bookmark’s fabrics pop differently depending on the book cover. Colored or patterned elastic would help give the Make It-Love It bookmark that same pop potential. All three of these bookmarks could be pieced together with smaller pieces of fabric. Embroidery and applique could also be used to embellish these bookmarks.

Conclusion

I enjoy making practical things and these fabric bookmarks are no exception. All three came together quickly and would make great gifts for booklovers who read paperbacks or hardcovers.

Do you use bookmarks? Have you tried making fabric bookmarks? Comment below and/or Pin me for later!

Tanya

Sewn By Tanya Project Review: 3 Fabric Bookmarks | Pinterest image
Sewn By Tanya Project Review: 3 Fabric Bookmarks | Pinterest image

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