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Want to make some cute scrap fabric bookmarks out of the trimmings from your other sewing proejcts?
If you are like me and you love using every last piece of your scrap fabric to transform it into something awesome, you probably hate, hate, hate feeling like you have to throw out those teeny tiny trimmings that are too small to sew with!
DON’T THROW THOSE TEENY TINY SCRAPS AWAY!
There are actually lots of things you can do with them. This post is about just one way – turn them into a Scrap Fabric Bookmark!
Note: If you are more of a visual learning there is a link to the video tutorial of this project at the end of the post.
MATERIALS – Scrap Fabric Bookmarks
- Trimmings and slivers of scrap fabric including thread & zipper trimmings if desired.
- Embroidery Stabiliser (see below for measurements)
- Offcuts of ribbon (optional but recommended)
- Sewing machine and thread
- Cutting Mat and Rotary Cutter
- Pinking Shears (optional)
Step 1: Sort Your Scraps
These are the scraps I started with:
Super teeny slivers of scrap fabric and leftover thread
It was basically one bag that I had filled with slivers, trimmings, and balls of thread from other sewing and craft projects.
The next step of my project actually encouraged me to organise these little teeny tiny scraps a bit better in future too!
Because the next thing I did was organise them into piles in vague colour families (this is totally optional but I think it is worth doing).
The photo makes the scraps look bigger – but that’s actually a tiny cutting mat too!
Step 2: Cut your Embroidery Stabiliser
After that, what you need to do is cut some embroidery stabiliser to roughly the size you want your bookmarks to be.
The ones I made this first time around were smaller but the one’s I made more recently (see video below) I cut to 3″ wide and the height was the width of the stabaliser. I then trimmed the bookmarks down at the end.
You should add about a 1/4 – 1/2″ all around as you are going to loose some of the size when you wash the stabiliser away later on.
My finished bookmarks (without the ribbons) were roughly 4 .5″ by 1″, and my stabiliser was cut to more like 5″ x 1.5″ – but I prefer the size of the newer ones I did so if you are ensure what size you want yours follow the measuring instructions in the video below!
You need one piece of stabiliser for the front of your bookmark and one for the back as you are gong to sew a little pocket or ‘envelope’ to put your scraps in.
So if you are making one bookmark you need 2 pieces, if you are making 4, you need 8 and so on.
I made several bookmarks in one go but you could stick with one to start off with.
Once I had my scraps in piles I figured I might as well!
Step 3: Fill your Scrap Fabric Bookmark
Next you get to fill your little bookmark envelope with all your lovely scraps.
Lay Out & Pin Method
I’ve tried a few different ways of filling my scrap fabric bookmarks. My current favourite is to lay the scraps down right side up, roughly overlapping each other in as few layers of fabric as possible – ideally one or two layers to keep the bookmark thin.
Ideally you don’t want to leave little gaps of stabiliser peeking through though so you do need to layer it enough so you don’t have big holes in your bookmark!
Then I put the second layer of stabiliser on top of the scraps.
Last I place a short length of ribbon scrap under the fabric but above the stabiliser and pin it in place.
The Sew & Stuff Method
The other method would be to sew an envelope out of your stabiliser and ‘stuff it – see below’.
This works too but it’s better if you are using all one type of fabric.
To use this method you want to sandwich your ribbon scrap – if you are using one – in between two layers of stabiliser and stitch together on 3 sides leaving on long side open.
I made my ribbon about half the length of the bookmark itself but you can also trim it later if you don’t like it so I suggest just eyeballing what you think looks nice.
Then you fill your envelope before stitching it closed.
With the envelope method I also experimented with filling some a little more and some a little less and one lying slightly larger tiny scraps in one single layer (so much thinner than the others).
In the end I liked the slightly thinner ones best so I suggest you try that.
You do want to make sure you have filled it enough so that there are no empty spaces inside your envelope though as the stabiliser is going to be washed away so any gaps will be gaps in your bookmark!
A short note on what to fill it with:
For either method you can use tiny slivers and trimmings of any kind of fabric you wish, but you can also use leftover thread that you would normally toss away (especially if it is a pretty colour).
You can even use those little bits of zipper that get cut off when you are trimming them to size for a pouch or bag project.
I used some little scraps of pink zipper in one of these ones.
Step 4: Sew like Crazy!
Next comes the start of the fun stuff! First you want to sew up the open seams to make sure all your scraps are safely inside your envelope.
If you did the sew & stuff method above then you just need to close that last seam.
If you did my current favourite method of laying out and pinning then you’ll need to sew all the way around your bookmark to seal it up and remove your pins.
I have two sewing methods to try too!
Wonky Sewing Method
The first one is just to sew like a mad thing any which way you like.
You basically just want to sew every inch of that bookmark all over to make sure the scraps stay together.
You can do crazy spirals, methodical geometric lines, whatever you like.
You’ll see from the photo that I used my standard sewing foot but depending on how thick you’ve stuffed your bookmark you might be better with a walking foot.
I tried a few different ways, they all worked in terms of holding the scraps together.
Fancy Stitch Method
My favourite way to stitch these at the moment is by using one of the fancy stitches on my machine that I don’t get to use every day. Specifically one that does a small wavy line.
For the red and blue floral bookmark and the tealy blue bookmark I used the wavy line stitch in a grid pattern – with lines running vertically and horizontally to catch every scrap and bind them together.
A Note on Thread Colour
With the first batch I did I made the mistake of using a dark coloured thread.
In my opinion the finished product didn’t look as good when I used dark blue thread on a batch of blue and white scraps.
The ones with white thread turned out much better. So I would suggest either going for white or invisible thread or closely matching the thread colour to the colour of your scraps if you’ve decide to colour group.
Step 5: Washing off the Stabiliser
Now the really fun part. Washing off the stabiliser!
I did it in a bowl of cold water, but you could also just run them under the tap.
You’ll want to rub a bit to make sure it’s all washed off.
Then leave them somewhere to dry and come back to them later.
Step 6: Trim & Tidy your Bookmarks
Once they are all dry. You’ll want to go back to your cutting mat with your rotary cutter or pinking shears and do a bit of trimming.
First trim of loose threads. Then straighten up the edges and trim the ribbons if you want.
The photo below with the test batch was cut with a rotary cutter and the next batch (that I am liking way more!) are cut with pinking shears.
First Test Batch Trimmed with a Rotary Cutter
Latest Batch trimmed with Pinking Shears
The things I like better about this second batch are:
- the size – longer looks better to me
- the thickness – these are thinner than the first batch
- the layout – more methodically laying out my scraps has resulted in a prettier bookmark I think
- the edges – I think the pinked edge looks neater than the rotary cut version as well.
Finished! Enjoy or Gift your Scrap Fabric Bookmarks!
As well as the blog instructions I recorded a detailed video tutorial that you can see over on YouTube – don’t forget to subsribe to the Upcycle My Stuff Channel while you are there!
If you want to come back to this post later don’t forget to Pin it!
- Scrap Fabric Trimmings
- Embroidery Stabiliser
- Ribbon Scraps
- Sewing Machine
- Cutting Mat
- Rotary Cutter or Pinking Shears
- Sort your scrap fabric trimmings by colour or theme
- Cut your embroidery stabiliser to size (roughly 3" by 10")
- Layer your scraps onto the embroidery stabiliser
- Place embroidery stabiliser on top of your layer of scraps - making a sandwich
- Tuck in a scrap of ribbon if desired
- Pin closed
- Sew around the edge of your scraps and remove your pins
- Sew all over the bookmark to secure your scraps together - you can do crazy sewing or use a fancy stitch on your machine and follow a grid pattern.
- Wash the stabiliser away in cold water.
- Leave to dry.
- Trim to finish!
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