Scrap Fabric Bookmarks From Tiny Trimmings
This instructable is all about how to make bookmarks out of those teeny tiny scraps and trimmings of fabric that are left over when you:
- snip a corner before turning the lining of a bag inside out;
- trim your seams
- shorten a zipper
- cut out a corner for a bag gusset.
- you get the idea! Don't throw those tiny trimmings away!
Organise Your Scrap Fabric Trimmings
I started this project with 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 of my piles makes the scraps look bigger – but that’s actually a tiny cutting mat too!
Cut Your Stabiliser
After that, you need to do is cut some embroidery stabiliser to roughly the size you want your bookmarks to be.
You should add about a 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″.
Feel free to make yours larger!
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!
Make Bookmark 'Envelopes'
Next you need to make your little bookmark ‘envelopes’.
I decided to try adding a bit of ribbon to the end of a few of mine and not to others just to see which way I liked better (spoiler alert: it’s much better with the ribbon!).
Take your ribbon and fold it in half and then pin it centred on the bottom edge of your bookmark, inside the two pieces of embroidery stabiliser.
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.
I used some little ribbon scraps that I save in yet another container!
Fill Your Scrap Fabric Bookmark
Next you get to fill your little bookmark envelope with all your lovely scraps.
I grouped them by colour as I said and 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: Obviously 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) and even 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.
Sew Like Crazy!
Next comes the start of the fun stuff! First you want to sew up the open seam just to make sure all your scraps are safely inside your envelope.
Then if needed jiggle them around a bit inside to make sure they are evenly distributed. Now you get to properly have fun.
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.
Either way I would definitely recommend using a heavy or denim needle just to be on the safe side!
I tried a few different ways, they all worked in terms of holding the scraps together, what didn’t work as well was 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.
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.
Trim to Tidy Them Up
Once they are all dry. You’ll want to go back to your cutting mat with your rotary cutter and do a bit of trimming.
First trim of loose threads. Then straighten up the edges and trim the ribbons if you want.
It was it this stage that I decided it was the ones with the ribbons that I really preferred as bookmarks.
So the other two I think I might save and cut into different shapes and use as appliques on a different project…
Enjoy or Gift Your Scrap Fabric Bookmarks!
The red and white one in the photos is the single layer larger scraps and the blue and white stripy one is also slightly thinner but with very small scraps. I think they were the two most successful ones from this batch!
You can find lots more fun scrap fabric project ideas on my blog at Scrap Fabric Love.