Last year my friend gave us all homemade paper bookmarks as a Christmas present. Homemade bookmarks are always a fun gift to give for those who, like me, often read many book series at once, for those who don't have a proper bookmark, or just to promote reading in general. :D
In this instructable, I'm going to share my steps, tips, and advice for making an embroidered bookmark with a tassel attached.
Step 1: Materials
- Sewing needle
- Embroidering hoop (although I used a Maison Jar and it worked just as well)
- An iron
- Measuring square
- Thread cutter
- Either a larger sewing needle or a flashlight/lightboard
- Chosen fabric
- A print-out of your design
Step 2: Preparing Your Fabric
I chose to use white linen fabric. My fabric happened to have a folded trim at the edge which was the same width as I wanted for my bookmark. I used the square to measure out the size of my bookmark (not counting the extra fabric that came with the trim). After cutting it out, I used the thread cutter to undo the trim on the fabric and then cut the extra fabric from the trim. The extra fabric I ended up using to practice my embroidering skills. I highly recommend doing this. My skills were very rusty and my final piece turned out much better after the practice. Finally, be sure to iron your fabric. I found that the material was easier to use when I ironed it regularly.
Step 3: Getting the Design Onto the Fabric
There are two ways of going about this.
The first way was how I started out putting the design on. I placed my print-out of my design onto where I wanted it to be the fabric. Next, I took the larger needle and poked holes through the paper and into the fabric. I then used a sharpened pencil and marked the fabric through the holes in the paper. This was more of a slow and tedious process, and it also can be hard to see what the design is (at least it was for mine) when you're only looking at dots.
This problem brought me to the second and more efficient way. I taped the design in place on the back of the fabric, with the design facing down. I flipped the fabric back over to the right side, placed my phone camera under the fabric, and traced the design. I recommend being in a moderately or dimly lit room when doing this. It was very difficult to see the design through the fabric when I was in a brightly lit room or outside.
Step 4: Embroidering and Sewing the Sides Together
When embroidering the design, I used the split stitch for the curve. Normally, I would use an embroidering hoop, but I didn't have one of those at the time. Instead, I used a Maison jar and the metal screw ring. It worked very well. At one point, I came to a corner and the design was too close to the edge for me to tuck it over the edge of the jar. So I could keep the fabric taut, I put a fabric band-aid on the corner and attached the rest to the jar. This worked surprisingly well.
After the very long embroidering process, I needed to attach the sides together. I folded the fabric in half, design inside. I used a running stitch to sew the top and side of the bookmark, leaving the bottom open. I then used the open end to flip the bookmark right-side-out.
Step 5: Making the Tassel
I used the same color to make the tassel. I cut off a length of thread (about the length of my elbow to my fingertips) and wrapped it around three fingers. Leaving a bit of room on each end, I put the loop of thread between two pens to keep it in place. This allowed me to use both hands to tie the tassel. I then wrapped the two ends around the center of the loop and tied a knot to keep it in place. Lesson learned: if you don't tie the know right up against the loop and make the knot tight, then the tassel threads will fall out :(. I then cut the loops and folded the tassel ends down in one direction. It helps to take a needle and thread and run the thread through and around the tassel head to ensure it is tight.
Step 6: Attaching the Tassel
Use the opening at the bottom of the bookmark to run your threaded needle up and out the top of the bookmark. This allows your knot at the end of your thread to be on the inside of the bookmark, giving the bookmark a cleaner look. Then, run the needle through the top of the tassel and back down to the bookmark. I looped my thread around the stem of the tassel so the threads would stay together. When I finished with the stem, I tied the thread off at the bottom of the head and cut the thread the same length of the tassel to disguise it. Finally, I used white thread to sew up the bottom of the bookmark.