Saturday, 20 October 2012

Little Snowman

Today's Christmas decoration is a little snowman.  I've had the "Crafting Christmas Gifts" book by Tilda for a long time, and have never made anything from it.  It's very simple to do, and I'm now tempted to do the larger ones as shown on the cover of the book.

Mine's just a little baby.  I made mine in white felt, and it works. As it is tiny, the thick felt was a bit tricky to turn.  Still quick to do, though in retrospect it would have been easier to use an ordinary cotton or linen.  No idea what I shall do with this one.  If I add a hanger for the tree it will look like he's been lynched.  Perhaps do another two and stick them in those tiny ceramic pots to go on a shelf?

I can't share the pattern for this little make, as it's not my own.  Even if you're not a Tilda fan (like what I am), if you love all things Christmas, you will adore this book.  It's quite an old book now, but if you haven't come across it, all the makes are quite lovely, reasonably simple, with good instructions, all full of the usual Tilda charm.  Currently £6.74 with free delivery from Amazon UK which I think is a fair buy, and less than the RRP on the back of my 6 year old copy.

Friday, 19 October 2012

Gingham Tree Decoration

Another day, another decoration.  

This time a cheery gingham tree.... complete with felt heart, ric-rac hanger and star button topper.


I like the way this has turned out, but it took a lot longer than yesterday's Shabby Heart decoration.  In fact, and bearing in mind it's the same size - it took as long to make one of these as all of the others.

Do I want to make another 5 of them?  erm..... don't know!  It may be a one off.  

Despite being fiddly, it was still an easy make.   Fancy making one of your own?  Here's what to do....

You'll need a small scrap of check fabric.  I've used (yet again) a piece cut from a sleeve of one of hubby's old shirts.  It's a brushed cotton, and extremely well washed.

I drew a vague looking Christmas tree on a piece of card, and used it as my template.  Folding my fabric with right sides together, I drew around the template to give me my sewing line.  I then machined all the way around using a small stitch length, taking care to over sew the join.  Don't leave a gap!

Next step was to cut around the tree close to the seam, nipping in slightly on an inside corner, and trimming edges on the outside corners.

Next I snipped a vertical cut down the middle of the front of the tree.  Only about an inch,  just enough to enable me to turn it to the right side.  This took me quite a while, due to the odd angles to manoeuvre about. 

Once all turned through, I wondered why I'd bothered.  As trees go, this one looked mightily pathetic.  At this point I very nearly chucked it in the scrap basket.  Seeing as the stuffing was staring right at me I decided to persevere.  You need something with a blunt edge to poke the stuffing into the "branches", and you need to pack quite a lot in or it just droops.  Once happy with the shape, it's time to do a bit of open tree surgery and sew up the cut.  Don't worry about it looking pretty, a few zig zags to tie it together is fine, as it won't be seen.

Finally I cut out a felt heart to cover the seam, and blanket stitched in place.  I used a metallic thread, and big "rustic" blanket stitching.  With the thread that was left on the needle I did a few random cross stitches, carrying the needle along inside the tree.  There was just enough thread left to attach the ric-rac hanger and a wooden wonky star button at the top.


In real life, I think it looks better than the picture.  It looks very "country primitive" and the metallic silver thread glints nicely.  Darn it, may have to make some more to keep it company.  My aim is to make 6 of whatever decoration I do.  Bear with me, it could be a while until I get to the next one :) .

Thursday, 18 October 2012

Shabby Heart Tree Decorations

I'm determined to make some Christmas decorations this year.  Now..... I'm the least Christmassy person I know, but this year we are likely to be in a new home, in a new part of the Country (note to self) so I AM GOING TO MAKE AN EFFORT!

I'm thinking a shabby country theme, with a hint of red and blue.  I've started off by making some tinkly little tree hearts.  I'm rather pleased with how they've turned out.

So simple to make - only takes scraps - and you can run one up in 5 minutes.  Promise.  I timed myself, and though it took me over a minute and a half to thread the ribbon through the tinkerbell, the rest is a whizz.

Now.....  I know that nearly everyone who reads this will see instantly how to make them.  But.... just in case you are new to sewing.... this is what I did.....

Start off by drawing a heart on a piece of card to make a template.   You will need 4 squares of fabric for each heart, so simply lay heart on top and cut a rough square.  Draw around the heart shape lightly with a hard pencil.  This will be your sewing line.  (or use an air-erasable marker if you prefer).

Cut a snippet of ribbon and lay diagonally across the top two layers of fabric, and quickly machine down.   Thread a tinkerbell through a length of ribbon, (good luck with this.... mine were an absolute bitch to thread).

Now put all the layers together.  I've chosen to have a check back to my hearts, courtesy of one of my hubby's shirts.  Starting near to the bottom right of the heart, stitch around on top of your pencil line, making sure you do a few reverse stitches to strengthen the seam.


Whizz all the way around, remembering to hold your ribbon down on top, and leaving an opening of about an inch to allow for stuffing.  Again, remember to reverse a few stitches to secure.

Nearly done now.  

I did say it was quick!

Now cut around your heart shape, leaving a border of around a quarter of an inch.  No need to be too picky.  Lightly stuff with filling of your choice...... toy filling, old pillows, odd socks snipped up, tiny scraps from your scrap basket, cotton wool...... and machine opening shut.  


You may need to squige the stuffing sideways to give your machine foot room to sit on fabric.  It soon squiges back again.  (note... my spell-check is telling me that squige is not a word.  It is, as far as I'm concerned - and I'm darn sure you know what I mean by it.  As I hope you know full well what my other little made up words are.... only 6 in this post!).

To finish, trim the ribbon close to the stitching line, and then go around the heart making little snips.  

Do take care not to cut into your stitching! 

Plus, if you have any sense you won't use a pair of dressmaking shears, like what I am using here!  It looks as though I'm cutting the heart in half!  And quite honestly, knowing how clumsy I am, tis a miracle I didn't :)
Note to self.... please stop dropping pictures on your thumb, it does your nail no good at all
The final flourish is to scrubble the edges to make it look all full of shabbiness and charm.
I normally dampen things and throw them in the tumble dryer for raggy edges, but even I can see that these little mites would be a waste of electric.  I found a vigorous rub with a nail brush to be very effective.  
Then all that's left to do is to slide the tinkerbell (I know they're not called this, but I think it describes them perfectly) down the ribbon, and ta-da (or ting-a-ling) you're done.

I've done 4 of these so far, and think I will do another 2 before starting on another decoration.  

So quick to make, I'm thinking they would be great tied to presents, adding a length of string instead of ribbon.  Another time I would have placed a few cloves inside each for a festive smell too.  Or embroidering an initial on each to spell out Merry Christmas for bunting.  Oh dear.... now I've thought of that I may have to make one.

Back soon!

I've been away too long :)