Embroidery on Paper : Making a Bookmark

I first tried embroidering on paper in January when I made a thank you card seen here. I had done that one without much planning and just winged it by going freehand. I really enjoyed the technique and have since been interested in experimenting some more with it. So after I received the necklace I had won from a blog giveaway, I wanted to send a little something to thank her.

I’ve always loved the look of cross-stitch, particularly the beautiful pieces stitched by my Aunt Joan. But I’ve never done it myself, and really wanted to have a go at it, so decided to cross-stitch some paper and make it into a bookmark.

I found this neat site, Cross Stitch Writing Tool, that translates anything you type into a cross-stitch pattern, so I selected the Dublin Font and typed out Mary’s name and some decorations on either side. My idea was to stitch the paper that had the pattern on it, right onto the card-stock I was using to make the book-marker. This would give the finished piece a little more sturdiness and weight, with the extra layer of paper in there. This meant I had to reverse the pattern so I could stitch right through it and the letters would be right on the front. I used Photoshop to flip the image and then printed it up.

Note that stitching on paper is very unforgiving because any holes you make by mistake will show, unlike fabric where a mistake will just disappear after the stitch is removed. So, in order to know where to stitch, I first marked the pattern by poking my needle through the paper.

To do the cross-stitches you use 2 (of the 6) threads that make up a length of embroidery floss, threaded into a sharp needle. The stitching is pretty straight-forward but if you’d like some instructions there’s a video here.

Basically, the finished piece is made up of three layers, the pattern paper sandwiched between two pieces of thicker paper. I seem to have forgotten to taken a picture of the back of the finished piece, but I first stitched the pattern onto the front piece of stock. Then I attached the back piece by stitching a border around it, sewing through all three thicknesses. This back piece then hid all the stitching mess on the underside of the work.

After all this was done, I lightly penciled in the lines to follow, cutting the book-mark out. I did this at the end so I had a larger surface to work with, allowing me to clamp it into a make-shift cardboard frame.

Then, to finish it off, I made a ‘tail’ for the book-marker, by braiding embroidery floss. Using a larger needle I threaded 3 x 10 inch lengths of floss (the full thickness of 6 threads) onto the end of the book-mark, lined them up so the six ends were even, and tied them with a knot. Then I divided them into 3 groups of 2 and made a braid, tying it off at the end with another knot and trimming the ends.

I hope these instructions are clear but if you have any questions about how to complete this project, please ask away!