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Here’s a quick and easy embroidery tutorial for how to upcycle denim jeans to make a denim bookmark!
The beauty of this project is you don’t need any fancy software to create a design, and you can gift the denim bookmark to a friend once you’ve created it. I embroidered this denim bookmark as an end-of-year gift for my daughter’s preschool music teacher. I think it turned out so cute! Unfortunately, we didn’t get to finish out this year of school because of coronavirus, but I’m hopeful I’ll be able to gift it as part of this year’s Christmas gift!
Wanting to make your own denim bookmark? Here’s what I used to embroider mine.
- Old denim jeans or denim fabric
- Embroidery machine stabilizer
- Embroidery machine and compatible thread (I used 100% polyester embroidery thread.)
- Needle (I had good luck with a 75/11 embroidery needle and didn’t need to get the bigger size I thought I might need)
- Temporary spray adhesive (I used Odif 505)
- Thin ribbon and small pin
Picking a Design and Matching Stabilizer
I used digitizing software to create my bookmark, but thanks to the simple shapes, you can make your own with everything preloaded on your machine.
To create your own denim bookmark, combine a big rectangle shape with an eyelet stitch or small circle of single stitches at the top. Then, choose a preloaded design, or import your own design into your embroidery machine. (Check out my favorite places to download free embroidery designs if you need some inspiration!)
Now, depending on the density of the stitched design and the stretch factor of your denim, you may need to troubleshoot to find the best stabilizer type and weight. I made one bookmark with a tear-away stabilizer and one with PolyMesh. The PolyMesh cut-away did better. The dense stitching at the base of the treble clef distorted during the embroidery with tear-away. My jeans also had a bit of stretch to them, so overall, cut-away was a much better choice. If you’re new to picking stabilizers, grab my free printable embroidery stabilizer chart to help you learn the basics!
How to Embroider a Denim Bookmark
Now, let’s get started with the tutorial part! First, disassemble your jeans to make a flat layer. I cut right along the seams of one of the legs to flatten it out.
Then, hoop your stabilizer on bottom and denim jeans on top. I used Odif 505 spray adhesive and a layer of mediumweight PolyMesh stabilizer. You can use sticky, self-adhesive stabilizer if you prefer or even a fusible stabilizer. Just make sure they will be compatible with your design choice and denim material. If you have problems hooping, I have an embroidery hooping tutorial you can check out, too.
Then, once you’ve made sure your needle and threads are compatible, go ahead and stitch out your design. One thing I love about this project is there’s no need for perfect centering!
When you’re done, remove your project from within the hoop, and clip around the bookmark rectangle. I left around 1/4″ allowance. I also clipped the PolyMesh stabilizer on the back of the denim.
To get the ragged look on the denim, start slowly pulling the threads from the side of the bookmark. On the long sides, pull out the vertical threads. On the short sides, pull out the horizontal threads if you stitched in the direction I did on the denim.
There is something oddly fascinating and fun about this process! When I was done, I trimmed the edges of the bookmark with my scissors to make sure all the threads were the same size.
Then, I used an eyelet punch (random, I know) to poke a hole in the middle of the small circle at the top of the bookmark. I put a pin on a small piece of ribbon and then threaedd the ribbon through the hole. I tied the ribbon in a knot at the top for a finishing touch.
Conclusion – Denim Bookmark Done!
And that’s it! A fun, quick, and easy embroidery project. I hope you enjoy embroidering your own denim bookmark!