DIY Journaling Bookmarks (and pencil pocket) free sewing tutorial


Let’s sew some DIY Bookmarks! Last weekend I wanted to make a super-quick gift to make for some young women in our church and this is what I came up with. This easy sewing project is jelly roll friendly because it uses 2 1/2’’ strips. You can also personalize the pieces with machine embroidery before sewing them together.

This blog post has been converted to an optional PDF that’s optimized for printing. Find it here. The blog post below contains everything you will need to make the DIY Bookmarks with a pencil pocket and it is totally free to read, print, and sew! Just hit CTRL +P on your computer to print. The PDF download for $3 is totally optional.

These were so much fun to make, I can’t even tell you. And. So. Fast. I used fold over elastic (FOE) because I love how soft and pretty it is, but you can really use any kind of elastic that you have on hand.

If you don’t plan to embroider these bookmarks, then you can totally make them with 2 1/2” jelly roll strips, how cool is that? Plus you can make 2 cute divided pencil pockets. Sometimes I am a genius. 🙂

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Journaling Bookmark and Pencil Pocket sewing tutorial

You will need:

  • 2 fabric strips 2 1/2” x 8” for the bookmark itself

  • 1 fabric strip 2 1/2” x 10” for the pocket

  • 1 piece of elastic 1” wide by 14” long

Notes: This bookmark fits notebooks (or journals) that are 11” tall. You may need to adjust the length of the elastic if your notebook is a different size. I used 1” wide FOE (fold over elastic), but just about any kind of elastic will work.

If you plan to personalize your bookmarks with embroidery, do that first on the lower half of the pocket fabric and then trim it down to size. See the next step before embroidering so you see that the design should be below the middle of the pocket strip.


1. Fold the 2 1/2” x 10” pocket piece in half and press.

2. Topstitch along the folded edge.

Bottom piece and pocket.

Bottom piece and pocket.

Bottom piece, pocket, and elastic.

Bottom piece, pocket, and elastic.

Bottom piece, pocket, elastic, and top piece - pinned.

Bottom piece, pocket, elastic, and top piece – pinned.

3. Now we’ll stack all the pieces together and pin:

  • Start with one 2 1/2” x 8” piece on the bottom, right side up.

  • Put the pocket piece on top, aligning the short raw edges on the left side with the topstitching toward the middle. If your pocket piece has a right and wrong side (such as if you embroidered it), it should be right side up.

  • Place the elastic on top next, aligning the raw edges on the right side. If the elastic has a right and wrong side, place it right side down.

  • Place the remaining 2 1/2” x 8” piece on top, right side down. Pin through all layers to secure.

4. Sew around the bookmark, leaving the bottom open where the elastic is sticking out. As you can see, I sewed for about 1/4” on either side of the elastic so that some of the bottom edge is sewn. Make sure you backstitch at the start and end so your sewing won’t come out when you turn the bookmark right side out.

Clip the corners.

5. Gently turn the bookmark right side out using a turning tool (or chopstick) to help you push out the corners. Press it flat.

6. Press the edges at the opening to the inside.

7. Place the free end of elastic inside the opening by about 1/4” – 1/2” and pin it in place if you need to. Make sure the elastic won’t be twisted as it goes around the notebook.

8. Topstitch across the bottom of the bookmark to secure the elastic. Then pivot and topstitch the rest of the way around the bookmark.

Sew a line down the middle of the pocket to make two pen or pencil spots, if desired.

Now have fun making lots more because they are so fast and easy!

Make sure you pin this tutorial so you can find it later. 🙂

Are you sewing gifts? Here are 14 more fast and easy gifts to sew!

Happy sewing,

Disclosure: some of my posts contain affiliate links. If you purchase something through one of those links I may receive a small commission, so thank you for supporting SewCanShe when you shop! All of the opinions are my own and I only suggest products that I actually use. 🙂