A "Sewer's Christmas Tree"
December 12, 2008
When I was approached by Victoria and the Fabric Maverick to do a "12 days of Christmas" blog, for once I was reluctant because I had no idea what to do. Usually the holidays are a huge time for inspiration for me but I'm still getting used to having a six month old, and most of the time my brain is dominated by thoughts of doctor's checkups, teething and finding clothes to fit him (really long and slender... especially hard to fit since good boys clothes are hard to find anyway, but I digress). That same day, Laurie Eady (marketing manager and my boss) were discussing fun things we see in sewing magazines, and she mentioned finding a small blurb on Christmas lights that look like spools of thread. At that moment the metaphorical light bulb went off and I knew what to do - a "Sewer's Christmas Tree"!
First things first, we ordered 8 strands of the adorable lights from our vendor (while we don't carry them, you can easily find them by doing a quick google search for "mini spool lights"). Next, I went to work thinking of various ways I could use notions as ornaments. The goal was to make each ornament as specific to sewing as possible. Here are the few that made it past the drawing board and to the tree:
The Yo-Yo Christmas Tree
Our new graphic artist, Valerie, told me of a great ornament she had seen a while back where you alternate various sized yo-yos (small to large) with stacks of buttons to make little Christmas trees. Now, I know yo-yos aren't really notions, but they are making a HUGE comeback right now and are being used on everything from pillows to dresses and purses. You can even find yo-yo makers. So I used some Christmas fabric we had laying around here and some of buttons and came up with these ornaments. They don't take too long to make, and would be easy for older children to make. One quick tip for making them: use thin jewelry wire instead of thread to assemble them. It's much easier, faster and structurally secure that way (Thanks to Moniqa figuring that one out!).
Embroidery Hoop Ornaments
These were super easy to make. Simply get a small (5") embroidery hoop, cut out a small motif from fabric, and put it in the hoop like you would if you were going to embroider it (I secured it with a little glue). Next, I added some ribbon accents around the hoop, a bow at the top and a bow to hang it from. If you have a little extra time and creative ambition, you could actually start some embroidered accents and maybe leave a needle (a blunt one) and thread in the fabric, like you stopped mid-project.
Tomato Pin-Cushion Ornaments
Pin cushion + ribbon loop + hot glue = the easiest and most obvious ornament.
Victoria's "Fat-Quarter" Ornament
As I was coming to the conclusion that not many notions lend themselves to ornaments and this project wasn't as easy as I thought, Victoria swooped down like an angel (in many ways, but more about that later) and blessed me with her "Moda Fat Quarter Ornament." She wrapped a foam cube in stripped material (the stripes look like stacks of fabric), then tied the whole thing up in a Moda ribbon just like a fat quarter. Adorable and easy as pie!
Measuring Tape Bows
I gathered a few of the heavy duty, 10" measuring tapes for an attempt at a tree topper (more on that later) and ended not using them. Instead, I decided to make little bows to put all around the tree. I formed the bows (held by hot glue), and ran a chenille wire tie through the back and then just twisted them onto branches. Once again, this was quick and simple.
Measuring Tape Bows
"Stash Buster" Ornaments
Having acquired a bunch of little scraps of Christmas fabric to use for the embroidery hoop ornaments, I noticed that a lot of them had some adorable motifs but were too big for the hoops and too small to use for anything else. Doesn't every seamstress have that problem? I took a few of the cutest ones (some Scottie dogs, birds and cookies), cut them out and fused them to just some scrap fabric with Peltex II Two Sided Fusible Ultra Firm Stabilizer. I looped some ribbon through a small hole I made at the top to hang, and I "iced" the cookies by going over the frosting design with puffy paint (any child of the 90's knows ALL about the glory of puffy paint). These ornaments don't necessarily fit the notions-as-ornaments criteria, but I felt the philosophy was in-line.
Tree-Topper Trials and Tribulations
Originally, I wanted to make a large, grand bow out of the aforementioned measuring tapes. To my despair, the tape was just too thick, floppy and shapeless. After toying with a couple other ideas that would involve yarn, foam balls, toying with the laws of physics and a Christmas miracle, Victoria swooped in like an angel with... well, an angel.
Years ago she was playing with some scraps she had and came up with what she dubbed "the bag lady angel." She hadn't done anything with it, and told me to go ahead and have fun with it. With a lot of help from Moniqa (what can't that woman do!), we were able to retro-fit her with a beaded halo and a smaller bow made of measuring tape that we allowed to just kind of drape down the tree. On one hand it looks like a bow, but on the other it almost looks like she's got quite an armful that isn't all together - kind of reminiscent of how I looked trying to make my tree topper (although I wouldn't exactly consider myself angelic...).
In closing, I would like to thank Victoria, Valerie and Moniqa for all their help in making ornaments and getting the tree up, and Nancy for her adorable gum-drop pillows that make it look less empty (every tree needs gifts).
I had some other ornament ideas that never quite made it through production, but I also found myself running out of creativity. What kind of ornaments would you make for your "Sewer's Christmas Tree"?
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