Tuesday Tutorial: Tag Shaped Fabric Books

When I think back over the past year and what my most favorite creations were, this book instantly comes to mind.  I absolutely love the way it turned out.  It was seriously one of those projects that I impressed myself with.  Even 6 months later I still look at it that think, “Wow! I made that!”  (My original blog post about this project can be found HERE and HERE.)

tammytutterow fabric tag book

When I made the book, I had thought about making the project a downloadable class for sale in my online classroom. (By the way, I am working on two new classes that will be posted there soon!)  I am not sure why, but I never ended up posting it and eventually forgot that I had the step out photos for it.  This week I was cleaning up some files on my computer and discovered that I not only had the photos, but also the text to go with them.  I decided as a way to celebrate a really great creative year that rather than selling this as a class, I would share it as a Tuesday Tutorial.

tammytutterow fabric tag book

Place a piece of fabric on your work surface (I used cream colored cotton muslin).  Draw a tag on the fabric using a pencil.  You can make your tag any size you would like.  Place the bottom straight edge of your tag shape on the fold of the fabric.  Use a ruler to add a 1/2 inch seam allowance to each side (except for the edge on the fold).  Cut the fabric along the outer lines.  Cut two tags from fabric, two from fusible craft interfacing, and one from thin cotton batting.

If you prefer a pattern, you can use mine.  It is a .pdf and scaled for an 8.5″x11″ piece of paper.  Don’t worry if your measurements don’t come out exactly like mine (which can happen when printing .pdfs due to different printer settings), you are after the shape, the measurements can be flexible.  (Please keep in mind my Terms of Use, this is my own hand drawn pattern and I am sharing it only for personal use.  Please don’t reproduce or sell it.)

Download tammytutterow_fabrictagbook_personaluseonly.pdf (274.5K)

tammytutterow fabric tag book

Heat set a piece of fusible interfacing to each of the fabric pieces.

tammytutterow fabric tag book

To create a tea dyed or aged affect, the fabric can be misted with a spray colorant like Glimmer Mist.  Vanilla Breeze and Walnut Gold are great colors for a vintage fabric look.  Color both assembled fabric pieces (fabric + interfacing) as desired.  Use a heat tool to dry the mist.  Set one fabric piece aside.  Use the other as the cover to be decorated.

I made my original book by creating my pattern directly on my fabric.  I left the pencil lines on it so that I could use them as a guide for placement of stamps and stencils.  If you use the printed pattern, you may find it helpful to lightly draw the seam allowance line onto your cover fabric to help you with design placement.

tammytutterow fabric tag book

Next, I added stamping and stenciling to my cover.  I used the text and butterflies from the Tim Holtz Papillon stamp set with Coffee Archival Ink for my background.  I stenciled a tree branch with the 6×6 Birds of a Feather stencil by The Crafter’s Workshop.  I masked off the items on the stencil that I didn’t want on my cover as well as areas on my cover that I didn’t want overspray one.  I used Lettuce and Meadow Adirondack Color Wash from Ranger to mist.  If you plan to use a stencil, you will definitely want to do it before assembling your book.  Having your fabric flat to work with will help get a nice crisp design.  Also, in the off chance that you are not happy with your stenciled design, it is much easier to cut a new piece of fabric and start again at this step rather than later after you have sewed your book together.

tammytutterow fabric tag book

Once you have decorated the cover as desired layer the pieces in the following order (from bottom to top) batting, plain fabric interfacing side down, decorated front cover decorated side down.  Secure the pieces with sewing pins or fabric safe glue stick like Therm O Web’s SuperStik.

tammytutterow fabric tag book

Stitch the pieces together using a 1/2” seam allowance.  Leave a 2 1/2” to 3” opening along the bottom straight edge for turning.

tammytutterow fabric tag book

Trim the the fabric at the tips and corners being careful not to snip through the seams.  Turn the piece right side out.  You should have a fabric back and the decorated fabric front showing on the outside with the batting sandwiched inside between the two.

tammytutterow fabric tag book

Press the book flat with an iron.  Top stitch around the edge of the assembled cover 1/4” from the edge, sewing the opening for turning closed.

tammytutterow fabric tag book

Cut smooth cardstock pages to fit the inside dimensions of the cover.  The pages in my book were 12″ wide by 3 1/4″ tall.  Fold the pages in half.  Stack the pages together and lay them on the inside of the cover, lining up the center of the pages with the center of the book.  Sew the pages in place by hand or by machine through the fabric cover.

tammytutterow fabric tag book

If you would like to step it up a bit, pages can be misted and inked as desired.  It is not shown here, but I also wraped Tim Holtz Idea-ology Tissue tape around the center folds of my book.  I did it for decoration but found that it added an extra reinforcement for the sewing.  If you plan to stamp or stencil on pages you might also decide to do that before sewing the pages onto the cover so that you can work with your pages flat and also to prevent unwanted over spray.

tammytutterow fabric tag book

I finished the outside of my book by adhering embellishments and adding a few extra mists of color.  Helmar 450 Quick Dry is my choice of wet adhesive for adhering metal to fabric.  It dries super quick and has a great bond.

tammytutterow fabric tag book

I added fabric grommets to the tips of the tag points on the front and back covers to complete the tag effect.


The following details are copied directly from the original post.  I thought some of you might enjoy a few more details about how I finished by book cover:

tammytutterow fabric tag book

I decorated the cover with several different elements.  I stamped a background using Tim Holtz’s Papillon and Slight Alterations stamps with Vintage Photo Distress Ink, Jet Black and Cofee Archival Inks.  I added a tree branch with the Birds of a Feather stencil by The Crafter’s Workshop.  I used Lettuce and Meadow Color Wash for the the green on the branch.  I added a spritz of Yellow Daisy and Blue Skies Glimmer Mist to add a bit of background color.

tammytutterow fabric tag book

To embellish the branch, I colorized pieces of Tim Holtz Idea-ology Foliage with multiple colors of Distress Embossing Powders along with a touch of Ranger Bridal Embossing Powder.  I added glitter stars, velvet leaves, and crystal dangles by Prima to the clusters of flowers.  I also added a Tim Holtz Idea-ology Philosophy Tag with a Memo Pin.  I dabbed the metal tag with an Adirondack Snow Cap Paint Dabber and then melted Bridal Embossing Powder onto it.

tammytutterow fabric tag book

I took one of the black and white moth stickers from the Crowded Attic Salvage Sticker book and adhered it to a smooth piece of white cardstock.  I trimmed the moth out, cutting away the extra border space on the sticker.  Because the antenae really couldn’t be cut out, I cut them off and replaced them with a thin piece of floral wire.  I also gave the moth color by using my Letraset Promarkers, which are excellent for coloring on slick surfaces like stickers.

tammytutterow fabric tag book

I have a mad and serious love for these letter stamps by Hero Arts.  They are single letter wood mount stamps.  I love that they are a classic typewriter style font.  I love to stamp and make the letters akew a bit.  They seem perfectly imperfect that way.

tammytutterow fabric tag book

In addition to adding the distess embossing powder to the metal leaves and flowers, I also added Distress Embossing Powder to the metal grommet that I added to the book cover.

tammytutterow fabric tag book

I finished off the cover with a Tim Holtz Idea-ology Swivel Clasp embellished with a Chain Tassel, pearl Baubles, and a Pink Paislee Butterfly Garden butterfly clip and some crinkley dyed Trimmings ribbon.



  1. Cim Allen says

    What a beautiful idea .. I’ve been wanting to try some sewing and this looks easy enough for a beginner ( total newbie at sewing :) Thanks for sharing .. can’t wait to see your new on-line classes. Have a great day Tammy !

  2. Elaine Allen says

    Tammy -
    You are such a generous soul! Thank you so much for sharing your tutorial with us. It is so easy to follow. I loved your tag book when you first showed it and I love it even more now!
    Elaine Allen

  3. says

    Oh, Tammy!! This is so terrific! It combines my two favorites: sewing and mini album making! It’s a beautiful project! Thanks so much for sharing it!

  4. says

    Tammy this is an absolutely fabulous project and one to be VERY proud of! Sooooo sweet of you to share this with us. I just love your tutorials. They’re always so detailed (right down to how you altered the grommit…which was one of the first “how did she do that” questions I had!) and always include great pics. I look forward to seeing all your newest creations & so glad I am a follower. Thank you very much for taking the time to post your wonderful art work!

  5. says

    Tammy – this idea is absolutely stunning. I’m not into scrapbooking, though you’ve given me ideas on how to dress up all the adornments I use on my art dolls. Thank you so much for this, I joined today! Looking forward to more valuable info.

  6. Cindy says

    Thank you for showing how you put the book together. I love making little books. I remember when I first saw it and wanted to make it myself. Now I will!

  7. cindy says

    Wow Tammy, this is beautiful. I KNOW I can’t make this tonight, but it’s on my list of things to do before summer.

  8. Marilyn R-S, Dream Valley says

    WOW! This is a beautiful mini. My favorite elements, flowers and butterflies. You have such a good knack for sewing. Thank you.

  9. says

    I thought I had commented on this but it can’t have gone through. This book is fantastic and I have now nearly finished mine! Your instructions are so clear Tammy, I feel I have been taken through it step by step. I am actually making this for my friend for Christmas but I don’t think I shall want to part with it! So …. I’ll probably have to do another one!
    Thank you so much for sharing this tutorial.