Thursday September 28, 2006


What to do with scraps of lovely fabric left over from a sewing project.  It always bugs me, having just little bits and pieces.  It seems so wasteful.  About a month ago I thought about trying my hand at making a fabric bookmark.  We are a family of readers and bookmarks are always needed.  Fabric bookmarks are sturdy and should last quite a long time.  They can be personalized so there’s no more hearing, “Hey!  That’s my bookmark!”.  Not that we ever hear that here.

After a few not-so-great results, I’ve settled on this technique for making a fabric bookmark.  It’s relatively easy and quick, and can be embellished in many ways.  I’m happy with this one!

This will make a 2” x 7” finished bookmark, not including the ribbon that extends from the top of the book.


Piece of fabric at least 8” x 7 ½” square
Lightweight fusible interfacing
Matching and/or contrasting thread
¾ “ grosgrain ribbon in a matching or contrasting color from fabric
Your iron and sewing machine

Cut your piece of fabric into a nice 8 inch by 7 ½ inch square.  Be sure that  it’s  square!  Apply the fusible interfacing to the wrong side of fabric, following manufacturers instructions.  Be sure to apply the interfacing so that it is centered, leaving about ¼ inch of fabric showing all the way around.

Lay the fabric so that the 8 inch sides run side to side on your ironing board, and the 7 ½ inch sides run up and down.  Press the ¼ inch of raw edges at the top and bottom of your bookmark up (toward the interfacing).

Fold the fabric in half from side to side and press lightly to make a crease, and then open back up.

Bring the left raw edge to the center fold line and press.  Bring the right raw edge to the center and press.  Fold in half and press.  You should now have a 2 inch by 7 inch piece with no raw edges  showing.





Cut a piece of matching or contrasting grosgrain ribbon about 13 inches long.

Determine which side of your bookmark you want to be the front.  I usually look at the pattern of the fabric and decide which is more pleasing, or which has more of the color of the ribbon I’ve chosen.

Place ribbon along the center of the front of your bookmark, leaving about a 1/2 inch tail of ribbon at the bottom and the rest of the tail at the top.  Measure for placement and pin in place.  Be sure to open up your bookmark for this step, so that the stitches that hold your ribbon in place will not show through to the back side.  At your sewing machine, stitch ribbon in place by stitching lengthwise right along the edge of the ribbon.  I usually use thread that matches my ribbon for this step, but a contrasting color could be nice, too.

If you want to do any machine embroidery onto your ribbon, now is the time to do that.  This is one of the bookmarks I made for my Corin (before I clipped the extra threads!).  Be sure to center your embroidery on the ribbon and to keep the bookmark opened so that the stitches don’t show through to the back.

Fold bookmark closed again.  Tuck the ribbon tail at the bottom up and enclose all of the  tail inside the bottom of the folded bookmark.  Loop the top ribbon and tuck approximately ½ inch of the tail inside of the folded bookmark.  Pin the three open edges all the way around.

Stitch with ¼ inch seams around all four sides of your bookmark.

Press the entire bookmark with a hot iron and lots of steam (or the hottest iron that your fabric can tolerate) to nicely flatten the bookmark!  (*I left this step out initially, but it’s really important to having a nicely finished, flat bookmark!)

You’re done!!

I can think of all sorts of possibilities for embellishing these bookmarks.  For example, you could layer a couple different widths of ribbon on the front of the bookmark.  You could use a patterned ribbon instead of plain and then not embellish at all.  You could use fabric paints to decorate the bookmark, or the ribbon.  Hand embroidery could be worked on the ribbon, too.  Buttons or beads could be nice on the looped part of the ribbon that will extend from the top of the book (otherwise it would harm your book).  Your fabric square could be made from many different pieces of fabric for a patchwork or striped look.  Use your imagination.  The only caution would be to not do anything that would add much to the thickness of the bookmark so as not to sprain the spines of your books.

(These instructions and pictures are posted for the sole, private use of the readers of the Copper’s Wife blog. You may not publish these instructions or pictures anywhere else. While I hope that lots and lots of bookmarks will be made for private use and/or personal gift giving, these instructions are not to be used in making fabric bookmarks for resale. Thanks!)

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