Category Archives: Sew / No-Sew

Handmade Stocking Stuffer Gift: Fabric Scrap Bookmarks

I’m trying to get an earlier start than usual on making a few little holiday gifts. One idea I had was to make some fun fabric scrap bookmarks for people who still read from real, paper page books.

DIY Fabric Scrap Bookmarks Tutorial

I gave it a try and it was just as easy as I’d hoped it would be!  This project can be done in under an hour if you have the supplies ready to use.

Supplies Needed:

  • Fabric Scraps – at least 2″ x 5″ in size
  • White card stock paper
  • Ribbon or Yarn – pieces at least 4″ long
  • Spray Adhesive
  • Fray Check – optional
  • Old newspaper or a drop cloth
  • Scissors – or a rotary cutter
  • Sewing machine optional

How To Make Fabric Scrap Bookmarks

Here’s the basic overview:  You’re going to use spray adhesive to adhere the fabric scraps to both sides of the card stock. Next you’ll cut it into bookmark strips – about 2″ x 5″, or larger.  Then you’re going to cut a little slit near the top of the bookmark.  Slip a piece of ribbon through the top slit.  If you sew, finish off with a decorative stitch around the entire bookmark, and also where the ribbon attaches. Voila!

1.  Figure out what scraps you’ll use.  I decided to use scraps that covered the entire 8 x 11 sheet of card stock, so my bookmarks would be 8″ long.  Some of my bookmarks have the same fabric both sides, others are different on each side.   DIY Fabric Bookmark Supplies

2.  You’re going to spray adhesive, so you need to cover the space.  Spray adhesive seems to get all over, so I always cover a much larger surface than the actual spot that I’m spraying.  Lay out your drop cloth or newspapers.DSC_0119_edited-1

3.  Set out your card stock pages and spray one side with adhesive.  Set your fabric scraps on them, and smooth out any wrinkles.  I usually start from the middle and smooth out to the edges.  It’s easy to reposition the fabric if you need to.

4.  Flip the card stock over and figure out what fabric you’re putting on the other side.  Spray the adhesive again, and smooth fabric over it again.DSC_0122_edited-1

You may want to trim the excess fabric off the card stock before continuing. DSC_0123_edited-1

5.  Cut your bookmarks out of the card stock.  I cut mine in 2 inch strips, so that they were 8″ long.DSC_0129_edited-1

6.  Cut a small slit near the top of the bookmark, then slip a 4″ ribbon or piece of yarn through the slit.

DSC_0131_edited-1 DSC_0133 7.  Use a zig zag stitch to sew the edges of the bookmark.  Fold the ribbon out of the way so you don’t sew over it, then start sewing at the top, where the ribbon will be. DSC_0137

8.  Use a zig zag stitch to sew over the ribbon and the slit .  This will hold the ribbon in place.  Then use a straight stitch to sew the ribbon to itself at the top of the bookmark.

DIY Fabric Scrap Bookmark-01

10.  Seal the edges of the ribbon with Fray Check or some clear glue.DSC_0141_edited-1


Some thoughts if you don’t sew:

If you don’t use a sewing machine, you could still do this project.  You may want to use extra strong spray adhesive, or mod podge, or you could get some mid weight double-sided fusible interfacing and use that between the two fabrics instead of the card stock. You just want to be sure that the fabric is well-adhered to the middle piece, whatever it may be.

For securing the ribbon at the top, a drop of glue or hot glue would work fine.

Happy scrap-busting!

PS: Here are some easy handmade gift ideas I shared in the past.

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Vintage Wool Suit Quilt | The Borrowed Abode

My First Quilting Experience: Vintage Suit Quilt

Vintage Wool Suit Quilt | The Borrowed Abode

One month before Ryan’s birthday I decided to make him a quilt out of vintage wool suit pieces; a rather ambitious goal considering that I’d never made a quilt before in my life (but have always wanted to).

It was most definitely a learning process. :)

Vintage Wool Suit Quilt | The Borrowed Abode

“How hard could it possibly be to join squares of fabric together,” I thought?

It turns out that joining the squares to make the quilt top isn’t difficult at all, unless. . . you use stretchy woven fabrics, such as old suits.

Some of the squares I cut stretched both ways, others stretched only one way, and still others didn’t stretch at all.  The patterned ones like the red & black tartan were the worst.  And when your quilt pieces stretch as you sew them, that makes for blocks that don’t line up correctly.

Designing the Quilt:

It helps to hang the quilt batting on a wall so you can put the squares on it to play around with pattern.  Or make a design wall like this.

Putting the Quilt Together:

Once, I had a finished quilt top, I underestimated how hard the finishing process would be.  I managed to knock it out in a few hours, but it wasn’t fun. At 5 feet, the square quilt was wider than my massive sewing table, so I had to assemble it on the floor.

First, I taped the quilt top to the floor, wrong-side-up, so it couldn’t shift.

Assembling A Vintage Wool Suit Quilt | The Borrowed Abode

The batting went down next.  I used Fusi-Boo batting, hoping it would help the assembly process because it’s supposed to adhere to the quilt when you iron the assembled layers.

Assembling A Vintage Wool Suit Quilt | The Borrowed Abode

Finally, the quilt back went down, right-side-up.  Since the quilting cotton I chose wasn’t wide enough, I joined two pieces using a quilted strip made from suit scraps.  I love the back.

Assembling A Vintage Wool Suit Quilt | The Borrowed Abode

Since the quilt was assembled on the tile floor, I set about ironing it to get the batting to adhere to the fabrics.  I ironed from the middle, moving in an outward direction carefully, so that there wouldn’t be any wrinkles in any layers.

The fusible batting didn’t fuse to either side.  I tried again, this time using more steam.  Still no luck.  So eventually I gave up and just pinned all the layers together.

The Quilting Process:

The actual “quilting” process, sewing all the layers together, was the trickiest part.  I started from the middle, sewing one straight seam out towards a side while following the seams of the blocks.  To fit it in the machine I had to carefully roll up half the quilt.DIY Quilting At Home | The Borrowed Abode

I repeated the process, starting from somewhere in the middle and sewing out to an edge multiple times until each quarter of the quilt had equal amounts of “quilting”.  The backing wrinkled a little in the process.

Binding the Edges:

Not wanting to belabor the process any more, I used store-bought black blanket binding to bind all the edges of the quilt.  It was tedious, but simple.  Pin binding on, then sew with machine.  Some people hand-sew the binding so that no seams are visible, but I do not have the patience for that.

Finally, it was done!

First Time Quilt | The Borrowed Abode

The quilt wasn’t finished until two months after his birthday, partly because it was taking longer than planned but also because I procrastinated when I felt discouraged.  Also, it takes a heck of a lot of space to make a quilt, especially if you care about things like laying out the squares and playing around with the pattern they are set in.

Keeping the Quilt a Surprise:

I had not yet moved my sewing studio into the old guest room, so my work space was on my sewing table in the large basement TV room.  There’s no way to keep a secret in a large shared space like that, so I had to warn Ryan not to come downstairs whenever I was “working on his present.”

However, I thought that would make it obvious that I was sewing a gift, so to throw him off the scent I would occasionally go into the work room and turn on the compound miter saw and saw through a small scrap of wood, then hammer it a little.  This way I knew he wouldn’t guess it was just a quilt.

Insane?  Maybe a little.  But later, when he asked why I kept using power tools in the work room when I was making the quilt, I gleefully explained my supreme powers of deception. :)

Wool Quilt Leather Sofa | The Borrowed Abode

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Stitch It: Easy T-shirt Shopping Bag Tutorial

Psst: Don’t forget we have an awesome giveaway going on!  Enter to win some fabulous eco-friendly, homemade bath & cleaning supplies from Old Town Suds right here.

Today’s sewing tutorial is so easy and foolproof that all of you can do it, even if you’ve never sewn before.  I was so excited when I came up with it that I refused to look on Pinterest or anywhere else to see if others figured it out before me, because I want to keep thinking that I’m the uberfabulous creative person who thought of it for the first. time. ever.

T-Shirt Shopping Tote Tutorial | The Borrowed Abode

So ladies (and any sewing men), grab a tshirt that you love, but don’t love to wear, and let’s turn it into a fab little shopping tote!

I chose this shirt because I love the phrase on it, but never found myself wanting to wear it.

Tshirt Bag Tutorial8

“Only when the last tree is cut and the last river is poisoned and the last fish has been caught will we realize that we can’t eat money.”

1.  Cut the sleeves off, and cut the round neckband out, like you’re making a trashy 80’s rocker shirt.  When you’re done, it should look like this:

Tshirt Bag Tutorial7

2.  Line up the hems for the bottom of the shirt, and pin them shut.  Do you see where I’m going with this?  You’re basically closing off the bottom of the tee.  Sew that sucker shut.Tshirt Bag Tutorial6

3.  When you’re done sewing the bottom of the “bag” closed, turn it inside-out.  Take the corners of the bottom seam, spread them out,  and pin across the triangular corner edge about 1 inch in.

This is the only part where you may be a little confused.  Just play around with the inside-out bottom of your bag until it looks like this below.   The goal?  You want to sew each of the two corners to create a boxy bottom to the bag.

Tshirt Bag Tutorial5

4.  Sew along the pins in the direction you see below.  Repeat on the other corner.

Tshirt Bag Tutorial4


Tshirt Bag Tutorial3

5.  When you’re done sewing off the two corners, turn your bag right-side out.  When turned right side out, those little triangular corners that you sewed should make the bottom of the bag look boxy, like this:

Tshirt Bag Tutorial2


Pat yourself on the back.  You’re a sewing rock star.  I knew you could do it!!

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