Scrap-busting, free motion(!) bookmark

Last week saw one of my favourite members of staff at my local children’s centre leave for retirement. She was amazing. She was the one who told me about the sewing tutor job, and she was the one who made me a volunteer and let me support staff to run courses – as well as run my own sewing group. I will definitely miss her!

So of course I had to sew her a little something. I was sure that she was going to be bombarded with gifts so I just wanted to make something little that she would actually use.

And I came up with – a bookmark. I know she likes reading, and after all she is retiring so will have plenty of time on her hands to sit out in the sun and read. And she deserves it!

Anyway without further ado, here it is:

Applique, free motion sewing bookmark

This was my first attempt at free motion sewing. It’s a bit odd that I’m giving my first attempt away as a gift; you’d think I’d practice a bit first… but I’m pretty happy with it!

I totally copied the idea from the picture below that I saw on Pinterest. Isn’t the bird adorable?!

[Source: Pinterest… Here’s the link]

My sister gave me a universal free motion foot for my birthday back in February. The only problem was that it came with no instructions. It took me 3 HOURS on a school night (I went to bed at about 1am…) to figure out how to use it. I finally came across this post by Susie D Designs which explains that you put the screw between the two prongs…. ohhhhhh.

free motion foot

Very obvious now I know. I feel pretty dumb actually. Then I struggled with the tension and the foot was so tight against the fabric that I couldn’t move it without tugging! I realised I could lessen the pressure foot tension on my machine, which helped a bit. So I finally got it on the right settings at midnight. I left it exactly as it was and got cracking with the bookmark at a more sociable hour the next day. In fact, it was the same day, but that’s confusing…

I already bondawebbed [if that’s a word] some scraps of fabric to make the bird on to a rectangle of backing fabric the day before. I LOVE bondaweb.

Handmade bookmark

When I say scraps, I mean really do mean scraps… It felt good to use them but it hardly made a dent in my ever-growing scrap bag!


I ironed some heavy interfacing on to the back of the backing fabric, and dove in. I stitched round a few times to create a nice scribbly effect. It’s messy but that’s actually what I like about it.

Handmade bookmark - free motion sewing

The legs were tricky because they were meant to be straight! But I think he looks cute with his wobbly legs!

I also stitched the recipient’s name, ‘Anne’ on the back for that personal touch. I could do with improving my lettering, but at least you can read it!

Handmade bookmark - applique, free motion sewing

I totally guessed the measurements of the bookmark, based on how much of that pink fabric I had in my scrap bag! But I was having a lucky day because it turned out perfect!

Applique, free motion bookmark

I added a bit of ‘Home Sweet Home’ ribbon in between the layers, which I think finishes it off nicely. (The lovely ‘Sewchet’ gave the ribbon to me in my Sewing Santa bundle! Thank you!)

So, right sides together, turn, press, ladder stitch the gap up, and….

Handmade bookmark

Done 🙂

Oh, and, luckily, she seemed to like it!

I actually made another one on Monday for my stepmum – I’ll share it in Sunday Sevens this week – it’s pretty much the same but in different colours! I had fun doing the free motion sewing, once I got to grips with the settings. I should make one for myself as I’m currently using a scrap of blue paper as a bookmark…

Beth x

24 thoughts on “Scrap-busting, free motion(!) bookmark

  1. Pingback: Sunday Sevens [Week 30] | After Dark Sewing

  2. What a thoughtful, personal little gift…..and a huge learning curve by the sound of it! I think it looks great and the lovely scribble effect is all part of the charm of free motion embroidery for me.

    Liked by 1 person

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