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At Sew4Home, we save all the beautiful ribbon scraps from our projects, which gives us a great stash to pull from for projects like these beautiful bookmarks. Most of our samples were made using the gorgeous jacquard ribbon from our friends at Renaissance Ribbons. Because of their intricate designs and rich colors, jacquard ribbons are ideal for making bookmarks. Many kinds of ribbon, however, would be suitable; you may have just what you need in your stash. Velveteen ribbons with vintage rhinestone embellishments make beautiful bookmarks and require no sewing. Grosgrain ribbons in school or team colors are a fun way to personalize, plus you can embellish with custom mascot charms and beads. Fast Fridays are all about whipping out something wonderful in no time at all. These ribbon bookmarks are very quick and easy to make. Do a bunch at once so you’ll have plenty for gift giving.

This bookmark is made with ribbon from Renaissance RibbonsIt’s double-sided and finished with an old pendant and a broken earring.

Another ribbon from Renaissance Ribbons – this one is a single layer finished with a dragonfly charm and a component from a vintage earring.

Sewing Tools You Need

Other Supplies

The photo above shows a variety of bits and pieces of old jewelry, charms, and beads. Most of us have a little stash of broken jewelry or single earrings that are too pretty to toss. While you can buy these components through jewelry making shops, this project is a great way to use up your one-of-a-kind loose ends. Moms and grandmothers are often a good source for old pieces of jewelry, as are vintage/resale shops.

Necessary

  • Ribbon remnants about 12″ long (bookmarks can be slightly longer or shorter based on your personal preference).
  • Ribbon clamps – these are readily available on Etsy and are every inexpensive. We bought an assortment of sizes in brass, copper, and silver finishes (a pack of about twenty clamps in assorted sizes was just $3.50). Ribbon clamps are also available through many jewelry supply and craft stores.
  • Chain nose pliers, which are pliers with flat smooth jaws, to close the ribbon clamps (similar to these). We used nylon-jaw chain nose pliers just because we have them; the nylon jaw is nice but not mandatory.
  • Scissors
  • Straight pins (only needed if you are sewing double-sided bookmarks)
  • Thread to match your ribbon or monofilament thread if you want your stitching to look almost invisible.

Optional

  • Basic jewelry supplies such as jump rings and linked chain. If you don’t have these items, they are available online at Etsy as well as in many craft stores and all jewelry supply stores. They are inexpensive as long as you avoid sterling or gold plated components.
  • Junk jewelry, such as broken or single earrings, brooches, charms, and beads (junk jewelry is also a good source for reusable jump rings and chain).

Getting Started

Are your ribbons finished on one or both sides?
  • Ribbon A looks good on both sides and requires no sewing. Cut one 12″ length per bookmark.
  • Ribbons B and C have a back that is not meant to be exposed. For a bookmark that is seen on both sides, you will need to back this ribbon with another ribbon. Cut TWO 12″ lengths for each bookmark. They don’t have to be the same ribbon, just the same width. Printed ribbons may also have an undesirable backside.

Preparing double-sided ribbon

  1. Align your two ribbons, wrong sides together, and pin. If you don’t have a Walking or Even Feed foot; or a built-in fabric feeding system, such as the Janome AcuFeed Flex™ system, you may want to hand baste your two ribbons together along both edges to prevent slippage as you sew.
  2. Thread the machine with thread to best match the ribbons on both sides in the top and bobbin. Slightly lengthen the stitch. If possible, attach a Walking or Even Feed foot or engage your built-in fabric feeding system. SLOWLY edgestitch along both long sides of your ribbon. Leave the raw edges on the ends unfinished; they will be hidden by the ribbon clamps.

Applying ribbon clamps

  1. Find two ribbon clamps that match the width of your ribbon
  2. Insert one end of the ribbon (which may be a double layer) as far as it will go into one clamp.
  3. If you are using metal-jawed pliers, cover the clamp with a piece of cloth to avoid scratching. Then, slowly and gently squeeze the clamp closed. The clamp’s little prongs will grab the ribbon so the clamp will stay put. Don’t “over-squeeze” or you will crush the clamp, giving it an indented look.
  4. Repeat the process on the opposite end.

Adding Embellishments

Most ribbon clamps have a little loop in the center for attaching embellishments such as beads or charms. You can choose to embellish both ends or just one. If you embellish both ends, look for a charm that is flat so it can be closed inside a book without damaging the pages.

Basic jewelry tips

Jump Rings are the round metal rings that are most often used on all types of jewelry to join components together. They come in a variety of sizes and are measured in millimeters. For our project, you would use a jump ring in the loop on the ribbon clamp to attach embellishments. Jump rings can be purchased as “open” or “closed” options. An open jump ring can be opened for attaching a charm and then closed. A closed jump ring comes soldered closed and cannot be opened. Be careful to get the right type; they look very similar. You want an open jump ring for this project.

To open a jump ring, rather than pulling the ends apart and stretching it out of shape, gently pull the two ends away from each other in a sideways motion. It’s helpful to have two pairs of pliers for griping, opening, and closing jump rings.

This beauty is a scrap of simple brown twill tape embellished with a decorative stitch in black thread. It’s capped off with a pendant and charm from broken pieces of jewelry. The Swarovski Crystal was added to the bottom of the pendant with a jump ring.

The bookmark shown above and below features several pieces of handmade jewelry we’d made then stashed away in our “not perfect” box. However, they certainly look good enough for the bookmark! The front and back ribbons are both from Renaissance Ribbons.

Finally, in this photo you can see how even a narrow piece of ribbon can make a sweet little bookmark – perfect for light reading. 

Contributors

Project Design: Alicia Thommas
Sample Creation and Instructional Outline: Alicia Thommas

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