Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Fabric Bookmark Tutorial

It's my son's last week of Pre-School!  It's a bittersweet moment for me.  I'm so proud of him and I love watching him grow into an intelligent, curious, healthy, happy little man.  But it seems like only yesterday I was holding a little baby Landen in my arms.  He's needing me less and less as the time passes.

With his graduation approaching, I wanted to make something special for his classmates (luckily there are only ten total in his class).  I thought bookmarks would be perfect for these little scholars.  I've cross-stitched a very special bookmark for Landen before, but it was very time-consuming and there was no way I could spit 10 of them out in a week.  So I decided to create fabric ones.  I'm sure there are a ton of tutorials on sewn bookmarks, but here's how I did it.


  • main fabric
  • one or two coordinating fabrics (for the backing and the could use two different fabrics like I did or one coordinating/contrasting fabric)
  • coordinating ribbon
  • heat n bond or similar product
  • iron
  • sewing machine, scissors, thread, etc. 

I started with my main fabric.  I bought a few fat quarters for this project.  If you are making one bookmark it doesn't take much fabric at all.  Cut your main fabric and your backing fabric to desired size, remembering to add for seam allowance.  I cut my fabric to 2.5x6".

Then I drew the first letter of each child's name on a piece of Heat n Bond.  I draw on the bumpy side so I don't have to worry about drawing the letter backwards.  I free-handed my letters, but you can certainly use a stencil or print the letter in a font you like to use as a template.  Cut the letter out, making sure you cut inside your pen/pencil marks.  If you use light fabric the pen could show through.

Follow the Heat n Bonds instructions to iron the letter onto the back of one of your coordinating fabrics.  Leaving the backing on, carefully cut the fabric around the letter and iron it onto the middle of your main fabric.  I used a straight stitch to further secure the letter onto my main fabric.

Cut a piece of Heat n Bond out just a hair smaller than your front and back pieces.  I cut mine about 1/8th smaller.  Again, follow manufacturers instructions to iron the Heat n Bond to the main fabric.  

I remove the backing before I stitch the main fabric and the backing fabric together.

With the right sides of your main fabric and your backing fabric facing, stitch around the edge using a 1/4" seam allowance.  Make sure the exposed Heat n Bond side is face down!  If it's face up, the rubber-like texture will get stuck on the presser foot and the fabric won't move.  If it's facing the feed dogs, the teeth of the dogs will grab the 'rubber' and move the fabric.  

 Make sure you leave a gap at the top for turning this inside out.  

For the purple bookmark I used white thread, but you can see the gap better on the boys bookmark where I used black thread.

Clip the corners so that when you turn the bookmark right side out, you will have sharper corners. 

Turn the bookmark with a turning tool.  I don't have a turning tool but I use a tube from a spool of elastic thread that has been used up and a Jelly Roll pen ( with the top on).  Works just fine for me.

This is what you will have.  You want to define those corners before you iron.

I drop a screw driver through the hole at the top and use it to poke the corners out.

Iron the bookmark, following the Heat n Bonds directions.  Do not iron the opening yet.

Fold the top edge inside and finish ironing

It's time to attach the ribbon.  I used a chocolate ribbon to go with the elegant purple bookmark.  fold the ribbon into a V.

Stick the folded edge into the opening at the top of your bookmark.

Top-stitch around the entire bookmark, starting at the opening and making sure you catch the fold of the ribbon.  I stitched about 1/8th" in from the edge. 

Set your stitches.  Be careful with the ribbon as some materials, like my grosgrain will melt under the heat.

For this bookmark, I clipped the ends at an angle.  For some of the others I tied a knot at the end.  Finish it however you want.

Make sure you heat-seal the ribbon ends!

That's it, you're done.  Here are the bookmarks I made for the class.

Please let me know if you make this bookmark and be sure to send me pictures :)

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