Crafting: December 2010 Archives
After numerous holidays of watching my mother put together yo-yos with her scrap fabrics, I decided that I too could make a yo-yo out of fabric. I jumped online and purchased a yo-yo maker and settled down to create my first yo-yo, which actually remind me of Angela's fleurettes from Season 3 of Project Runway. I was determined to make a string of yo-yos long enough to act as a garland for my Christmas tree.
Well, I was not successful starting with the smaller yo-yo maker template for a couple of reasons (according to my mother). First, I used cheap thread. When you have completed your yo-yo, you have to pull the thread through the fabric. My thread was not strong enough to make it through the pull. Secondly, I started with the smaller template. This prevented me from being able to fit my large fingers into the yo-yo to pull out the first thread.
I moved to the extra large template (2 3/8 inch
final product) after several failed attempts.
Armed with stronger thread and Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring playing on the TV in the background, I proceeded to follow the step-by-step instructions listed in the included instruction manual. The instructions were perfect. I used my mom's suggestion of putting my finger in the middle as I tightened the thread in the yo-yo to pull it all together.
Within a couple hours, I had produced several yo-yos.
(several weeks later... time passes...)
I put together about 250 yo-yos. I decided to string them together in a rainbow pattern for my Christmas tree. Since I cannot sew with a machine yet, I stitched them together by hand (after failed attempted with safety pins and ribbon).
I am still debating whether I could do that for an entire
Need some ornaments? If you're like me I can hardly bear the thought of actually BUYing ornaments. I'd rather make them, or receive them as gifts...or make them FOR gifts! Although making ornaments can be time consuming, I find that during the holidays, it doesn't feel like Christmas until I've made something. These stuffed bird ornaments are easy and fun and I know they will be gracing my Christmas décor for years and years to come.
Start by cutting the bird body template (<-- click here!) With right sides of the fabric together, pin your ribbon on the X of the back, place your ribbon loop inside the body. Stitch ¼'' seam allowance, including the ribbon (careful not stitch the rest of the ribbon inside as you sew around!). Leave the tail open. Clip the corners and curves. Cut the tail end with pinking shears, because this will remain open. Turn inside out, your ribbon loop should be out and functioning.
Now stuff it! Use craft stuffing* to fill the body to your liking. Use a thread to wrap around and gather, forming the tail. I tied the thread around 3 times, double knotted. I like using this metallic thread because even if the thread shows a little (and it will) it will still look festive and nice. Take 2 matching buttons for the eyes and hand stitch the buttons on THROUGH the head securing both at the same time and keeping the bird brains stuffing in place. Embroidered French knots for eyes would work too.
For the wings, with right sides together, stitch with ¼ seam
allowance and leave an opening between the dots to turn inside out. Depending
on your fabric choice, you could add interfacing for extra stiffness; I didn't
find it necessary for quilting cotton. Clip the corners and curves. Turn inside
out to show the right sides of fabric. Carefully turn under open seam and top
stitch along the whole wing. Place the wings where you want on the bird body.
Pin the wings and whip stitch around the bottom to secure.
Suggestions & other fun stuff:
- For extra embellishing, you could get some feathers* and position them IN the tail so they would plume out of the opening.
- Complimentary color thread or embroidery floss for attaching the wings would also be cool for an extra pop!
- Place the wings slightly off from each other so you can see a peak of the 2nd wing in profile view.
- Use these fabric markers to color and decorate your bird, great for kids too!
- Choose a blender fabric for the wing, and choose a busier print for the body, like retro-mod quilting cotton, or vice-versa. This helps your bird stand out!
- Get crazy and pick different fabrics for each of
the 6 pieces! Remember, it doesn't have to be Christmas fabric, these birds can hang all year long! Anything looks Christmas-y when you put it on the tree, right?
*available at local craft store
I love making wreaths but hate that they don't make it from year to year. Having seen all the great felt delights and crafty wreaths in blogland, I decided that a gorgeous wreath that lasts from year to year is in the cards after all. Deciding on Poinsettias was not hard as they are one of my favorite symbols of the season. Plus, I could easily incorporate buttons as flower centers and holly berries. The pattern is easy and the large flowers mean you only need to make 3-4 of them to cover your wreath. I covered an empty wreath with fleece to give the wreath a cozier look. You can also use sweater knits or minky. Measure around your wreath's circumference and girth and cut a rectangle using those measurements plus 10 in. to the length (this accommodates any tucks needed to make the fabric lay flat around the circle) out of sweatshirt knit. Secure with pins and mattress stitch the knit in place.
I cut out my patterns pieces (4 petals per flowers and 2-3 holly leaves per berry bunch) out of felt and selected my buttons. I used interesting ¾ to 1 in. buttons for the flower centers and 1/8 to 5/8 in. red buttons for the Holly Berries. Layout your completed poinsettias and holly leaves on your wreath and arrange as you see fit. Once you like the layout stitch each flower and leaf in place and then stitch on your holly berry buttons. If needed tack down the tips of your poinsettia leaves to keep them from flopping forward. Add a ribbon loop to the back and hang from your door. You can call it complete and set up shop by your front door to eavesdrop on all the compliments your neighbors will surely pay on your wreath. When the season is over, tuck it away to be trotted out again year after year!
The Felt Poinsettias and Holly leaves can easily be used to decorate other Christmas projects such as table runners, gift tags, Felt Advent calendar, garland, bunting, pins or headbands.
Looking for a quick, no sew project that makes a great ornament for the Christmas tree or a garnishment for one of your Christmas gifts? I've got the perfect project for you!
First, gather up your supplies. For this project you will need a 2-inch styrofoam ball, straight pins, ribbon, scissors and 40-45 2x2 inch squares of fabric. I used cotton prints, but if you want to go for a more elegant pine cone, special occasion fabrics are also an option. This is a great way to use up some of your scrap fabrics, too. For my project I used owl fabric I had purchased several months ago (owls are very "in" at the Fabric.com offices right now). I have made several ornaments now - I found that the lighter fabrics show up better on my Christmas tree versus the darker color fabrics. You'll have to be the judge for your own tree.
Take a 2-inch strip of fabric and cut it down into two inch
by two inch squares.
These squares will be used to cover the styrofoam. Take
one of the squares and pin-tack it into the styrofoam. Then, fold a new square
in half. Fold the half into a triangle. The first four that you put down should
have the fold facing out.
I used four pins with each piece of fabric to hold it in the styrofoam. Don't be chintzy with the pins, because I attempted to conserve for one of the ornaments and had the fabric come undone. There will be some overlap between pieces at first, but you will cover this up with your triangle pieces of fabric.
The second row should go directly over the four pieces from the first row, a little higher on the styrofoam ball. The fold should be facing down now for the rest of the ball. Once you have completed this row, all subsequent rows should stagger in-between each of the preceding rows. Keep repeating this process until you get to the top of the ball.
When you get to the top of the styrofoam ball, some of your pins will start to show - this is fine! I ended my ornament two separate ways. For the example shown, I cut out a small square and pin-tacked it in. For another one, I ended with multiple triangles intersecting - try different ways and see what you like best.
Finally, it's time to add your ribbon. I used two separate kinds - a thin ribbon and a larger ribbon out of my box of supplies. I will say that I prefer the thinner and sheer ribbon - it allows the ornament to speak for itself versus detracting from your hard work. It's entirely your choice though.
Creating my first ornament took me about an hour and a half, but that could have been due to an episode of Glee distracting me as I worked. It still takes me about an hour to do an ornament during TV time. My grandma showed me the pattern - shout out to Granny - but she used a much larger styrofoam ball and only Christmas fabrics. Good luck crafting and be sure and clean up any stray straight pins you may have dropped when you finished. Safety first!
1/2 yd quilting cotton (makes 2 hangers)
1/8 yd of muslin
2 small buttons
8 in. of 1/8- 1/4 in. ribbon
These fabric covered hangers with herb filled scented
satchels make great Christmas presents for your whole list. Mine are child
sized to make sure my little one's closet always smells sweet and her best
dresses are lightly scented with lavender. These are great in aboys' closets or
teens that often let unpleasant scents grow from lack of attention. You can
also fill the satchels with rice scented with essentials oils in a favorite
scent for special friends. These delicious delights take no time but are a
dreamy luxury to bring to any closet.
Click on the image to download.
Many patterns call for interfacing but most also don't expand on which interfacing to use for that pattern. There are many different interfacings to choose from. I'm going to break it down for you to make it easier to pick the right interfacing for your finished project. Interfacings can be divided into weights and fusible/sew-in. Which one to choose depends on your fabric and your project. Some patterns will tell you whether or not to use fusible or sew-in but generally not which weight to use. Interfacing is a fabric that is applied to the wrongside of fabric to add stability, stiffen, strengthen, add body, or to help a fabric keep shape. When making pillows out of quilting cotton, I always add an interfacing to the back to help the fabric hold up and to keep a better shape. I also add interfacing when using Home Décor fabric to make a bag. It helps the fabric keep a structured shape and to also help it hold up to daily wear.
Weight: This is where there is the greatest choice among interfacings. There are 101 different weights (or so it seems). My rule of thumb is choose an interfacing that is directly proportional to your fabric. If you are using a lightweight fabric like quilting cotton, linen, or shirting, choose a light weight interfacing. Home décor projects are a heavier weight fabric and need a heavier weight interfacing. Interfacing Home Décor fabric ensures that window seat cushions last longer and look pretty and pillows keep their shape not matter how many times fluffed. The ultimate heavy weight interfacing is called Peltex. It is used in some of Amy Butler's luggage patterns and can also be used to make fabric storage. Peltex is really stiff and can stand on its own. It is great for adding a lot of body and structure.
Sew-in vs. fusible: Whether you use sew-in or fusible depends on the project and what you want to finished product to look like. Fusible will affect the drape and flow of the fabric. If you are adding pleats, tucks and folds, fusible is appealing since it will add structure to these details. If you are adding gathers or draping, sew-in adds the body and durability but does not affect the drape of the fabric as much as fusible. You can still play with the fabric and add less structured details.
Knits: Knits are such a wild creature that they have their own interfacing category. Knit interfacings are NON-WOVEN and somewhat elastic to mimic knits stretch. This allows the interfacing to add body and strength without distorting knits natural stretch and drape. Knit interfacing are typically around the neckline facings and other places that need some support like buttons holes and zippers.
Psst: The top picture if of Amy Butler's Modern Diaper Bag which used lightweight interfacing and Peltex for the bottom. The bottom picture is Peltex fused on to the back of quilting cotton and made into fabric magnets. Project found here!
1/2 yd 72 in. wide Craft Felt for background
6 sheets of 9 x 12 in. Rainbow felt cuts in several colors
16 in. wooden dowel
2 yds of Ribbon
Everyone loves a good (I mean GOOD) Advent Calendar and especially when you have kids. There is the token chocolate filled one I receive every year but that is just one chocolate. I wanted something big and full of pockets for my daughter. I dreamed of treat and candy filled pockets ready for sticky fingers every morning, excited to see what each pocket held. The Felt Pocket Advent Calendar was created to be fast and easy, with no hemming, little seaming and plenty of color. The pockets are a big 2.5 in. and all are hand embroidered with a different stitch, color and number for each of the #1-25 that is needed in an Advent Calendar. I made #25 extra special by cutting one square into a frame and stacking it on top of another. You could easily frame it in Rick-rack, ribbon, or felt flowers. Without hemming, this Advent Calendar is hassle free and a great nap time project but a little bit of a blank slate. You and your kids can pick some trimmings to make it yours and add some Christmas spirit. Felt Roses, Poinsettias, or Holly leaves come to mind. Don't forget you can print free coloring pages to use as Christmas stencils for your felt trimmings. If you opt to snazz up your Advent Calendar with embroidery, Sublime Stitching has some awesome pie, cake, and other food patterns that are perfect for bringing the joy of Christmas goodies to your Calendar! I am bringing out my copy to add on to my Felt Pocket Advent Calendar this year.
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