Today I’ll show you how to make a fabric bookmark.
This is a great project for sewing beginners. It combines a little hand embroidery with some easy machine stitching. Stitch this with your child or grandchild for a quick project that they’ll love to make.
I’ve made these with my little kids sewing class, and they wanted to make multiples of these easy DIY bookmarks. You’re in for a fun project that won’t take a lot of time or resources.
This is a great project for using up scrap fabrics. They also make great simple handmade gifts for teachers or party favors or for your favorite book lover.
So grab some embroidery floss and let’s make some fabric bookmarks.
Supplies for how to make a fabric bookmark
- Cotton fabric
- Fusible fleece or flannel
- Glue stick (optional if using flannel)
- embroidery floss any color
- hand embroidery needle
- Yarn (I like variegated cotton yarn, but anything works here)
- Premade tassels (optional if you’d rather not make your own tassels)
- 70/10 universal sewing machine needle
- Pinking shears (optional)
What kinds of fabric should you use for a diy fabric bookmark?
Linen, cotton, flannel. Most woven fabrics will work as long as they are stable and not too thin. Anything about the weight of cotton muslin will work beautifully here.
How to make a fabric bookmark step by step
Cut the bookmark pieces
From your cotton print, cut
- Two pieces 2”x7”
From fusible fleece or flannel cut
- One piece 1.5”x 6.5”
Prepare the inner layer
If you’re using fusible fleece set the glue side on top of the back of one of the outer pieces. Use an iron and steam to fuse the fleece in place.
If, instead, you’re using flannel, center the flannel on the backside of one of the outer pieces. From here, apply a little bit of glue stick between the two layers. This will hold down the flannel while you’re stitching without gumming up your needle. If you’re using glue stick, set aside your glued piece for about 15 minutes to dry.
Add running stitches
Cut a piece of embroidery thread about 3 feet long. Split the threads so that you’re working with 2-3 strands of the floss.
Thread a needle, bringing the ends together to make a knot. This way you’ll have 4 or 6 strands of floss making your stitches and your needle will NOT come unthreaded. I always do this when I’m working with little hands because it helps kids avoid the frustrations of needles coming unthreaded.
Make long running stitches up and down the bookmark, working your needle up and down through both layers.
You have lots of different ways you can work your stitches. Consider:
- Rows: make vertical or horizontal rows.
- Zigzag/rows of V’s: make stitches that form narrow or wide zigzag across the bookmark.
- Curves: make gentle curves or even spirals or circles.
- Random: start stitching in one direction, then go off in a random direction when you hit an edge.
All of these are good to practice, and I love this step for helping kids make some creative decisions. That it works their hand-eye coordination is all the better!
Make a tassel
To make a tassel, cut a piece of yarn about 2 feet long. Cut a second piece about 4” long.
Fold the yarn in half, bringing the ends together. Make a quick knot with the ends. No need for a fancy knot here: this end will get sewn into the bookmark.
From here, fold the looped end several times against itself to make smaller loops about 2-3” long.
Wrap the short length of yarn around and near the end of these smaller loops several times. After this, tie a tight square knot to form the end of the tassel.
Use scissors to cut the ends of the loops. Even up the ends with your scissors. You can also separate the ends of the yarn to make more fringed ends.
If you’d rather not make your own tassels, you can always buy some premade tassels. I was in a library craft room recently that had these, and I was impressed with the quality. Definitely go this way if you’re working with a large group of kids. My class has about 10 kids, so I chose to make tassels ahead of this lesson.
Sew the bookmark pieces together
You have a couple different options here for stitching together your DIY fabric bookmark.
Take the second piece of fabric and lay the wrong side on top of the flannel. The edges of the bookmark should be even.
Make sure that the inner flannel/fleece cannot be seen.
Slip the end of the tassel in between the layers on one short side of the bookmark by about 1”. The tassel end should be visible.
Set your machine to a zigzag with a 5.0 mm width and a 0.8mm length. Starting at the side with the tassel, stitch all around the bookmark close to the edge.
When you get to a corner, leave the needle down in the fabric, lift the presser foot, then pivot the bookmark. Put the presser foot down and continue stitching until you get to the next corner.
Straight stitch and pinking shears:
Alternatively, use a straight stitch to stitch about 1/2” away from the edges of your bookmark.
Use pinking shears to trim away the extra fabric past your stitching line. Pinking shears will make a zigzag cut edge at the edge of fabric that won’t fray.
And that is how to make a fabric bookmark. This was one of my class’ favorite projects all year. Inevitably, one of my students finished one only to grab another one. These are excellent projects for getting kids excited about sewing, and they make quick and easy handmade gifts or party favors. Make a bunch!
Check out more fun things to make with kids:
- How to sew a bow for instant smiles
- How to sew a scrunchie 3 ways
- Sew an easy DIY drawstring backpack
Elizabeth Farr is the writer behind the Elizabeth Made This blog where she shares helpful sewing tips, step by step sewing tutorials and videos to help you explore your creativity through sewing. She has written sewing Eguides and patterns, been a featured teacher at Rebecca Page’s Sewing Summit and Jennifer Maker’s Holiday Maker Fest and her work has appeared in Seamwork and Altered Couture magazines. She also created a line of refashioned garments for SEWN Denver. When her sewing machine isn’t humming, she’s playing and teaching violin, and hanging around a good strategic board game with her husband and 4 kids.