Christmas Ornament Bunting Tutorial

I've wanted to make an advent calendar for many years and have seen some amazing inspiration out there. Here's one on Purl Bee that I love and Homemade by Jill. But alas, it is December 1 (in a matter of hours) and it hasn't happened.

So instead, I came up with this ornament bunting, that has a similar feel, but much less work. What can I say, I'm lazy....

Here's what you need if you want to make your own:
  • felt in various colors for ornaments
  • felt scraps for decorations
  • ribbon (to hang individual ornaments)
  • ribbon or bias tape (to hang bunting)
  • glue (I used a hot glue gun, but any fabric glue will work)
You can find my ornament template HERE, I hope (first time using googledocs)
Cut out ornaments, double layered. I made 10 ornaments with 3 different colors.

Cut a ribbon strip for each ornament about 12 inches long. Sandwich one end of the ribbon in between the felt layers, pin and sew around. Make sure the end is down far enough to be secured by your stitching.

Here are the ornaments with the ribbon attached.....

And with decorations glued on! This is the fun part where you get to be creative. I thought about colors and shapes that I like and about things I think about this time of year.....trees, mittens, mistletoe.....

Next, lay out your ornaments as you'd like them to hang....

.....and tape them to the floor. Yup, I said TAPE them to the floor. I found this the easiest way to get the height and spacing I wanted.

Next lay the ribbon (you could also use bias tape) you want the ornaments to hang from and pin them in place.

Carefully lift the tape off the floor (I had some little helping hands for this part), and sew along the top and bottom of the ribbon catching the ornament ribbon end on both sides.

All you have left to do is trim off the ribbon ends and hang up your bunting!

Maybe I'll do a an advent calendar next year.....or maybe another one of these!

Enjoy! Send me a pic if you do one, I'd love to see it!


Pattern Weights Tutorial

In all the years I've been sewing, I'd never heard of pattern weights until I saw them on Project Runway.....and I just started watching Project Runway this year! So, I decided I needed some and thought, I can make those! Little did I know that they would be a great addition to my sewing room for more reasons than one....

.......the kids love to play with them too!

Here's how to sew some up for yourself.....or your kids.

All you need are some fabric scraps and some kind of bean for filling (and a sewing machine, of course....does that go without saying?). A ruler and rotary cutter are helpful but not necessary.

Cut 6 fabric squares that are 2.5 x 2.5 inches. You can make them bigger or smaller if you want, but I found this size most doable and useful.

With 1/4" seam allowance, sew 4 squares together in a line.

Attach 2 squares on either side of the square in the second position to make sort of a lower case "t".

Now we're going to start making it into a cube. Ultimately you'll put together the sides as shown with the arrows, and end up with sort of a jack in the box.

Here's how it looks after sewing up 2 sides.

Sew the next 2 sides as indicated by the arrows. You'll end up with a box with a top. Now you just need to attach the top.

Sew up the last 2 sides and halfway on the third side, leaving enough of an opening to turn the cube right side out.

Here's the cube turned right side out.

Fill it up with some kind of bean. I usually like to use some kind of small lentil. I don't actually know what these beans are. My husband bought these because they were cheap and I was commissioned to make 25 pumpkin bean bags for a Halloween party....

Using a needle and thread, blind-stitch the opening closed.

And, you're done! Makes a nice set....and a nice gift for a friend who sews, or a child, or a juggler... Seriously, these are great for juggling.

No more pinning patterns.....

........if you can keep your kids hands off of them!


Polka Dot Boy

This boy is looking remarkable happy considering he just got home from the doctor after being diagnosed with his first ear infection!

Must be the super cute boy version of Rae's Snowblossom Hat. She posted a great tutorial for this hat which she did for her little girl, embellished with some beautiful flowers.

Here's my boy version of her hat. Don't you love this picture....it looks like he's doing an ad campaign for his yogurt.

I sewed this hat in literally 15 minutes, which is a testament to Rae's great tutorial. I did make a few little changes....I can't help myself.

I didn't want to have a seam in front (and it's one less seam to sew) so instead of the width of each of the 4 fabric (2 for inside, 2 for outside) pieces being:
(Head Circumference + 1")/2

I had 1 piece of fabric (1 for each side that is, inside and outside) with a width of:
Head Circumference + 1/2"

This way I had one long piece of fabric that I sewed into a tube and put the seam in the back of the hat. The rest of the instructions I followed, but didn't cut the top into petals, just did a regular fringe.

I also used a cream colored interlock for my inside instead of fleece. The goal was to make it less bulky, which it is, but the downside is that the interlock slips away from the fleece, so it peeks out more than a fleece lining would. I could have done an edge-stitch all the way around, but I was worried it would stretch it and make it rippled looking.

I do love this fleece. Unfortunately, one of the few boy prints I could find. We need a Celebrate the Boy fabric shop. Any takers?

Anyway, another great tutorial from Made-by-Rae....and very easy too! Thanks Rae!


Fabric Flower Tutorial

I'm getting ready for a craft fair this weekend and wanted to make something that would make a simple cute gift. I've looked at a number of fabric flower tutorials and came up with my own version that borrows a little bit from each. It's VERY easy. Here's what you need:

Some kind of synthetic fabric....I used a polyester/nylon blend
embroidery floss
thread and needle
fabric stiffener (optional)

I first made a pattern since I was going to be doing this many many times. But really, all you need are 4 (or a few more or less) circles that are different sizes.

Next, hold the edge of the fabric above the flame, really in the heat rather than the flame. If you get too close, the fabric will burn, or maybe even catch on fire! Please, be very careful!!

You can see how the edges just curl up. There are a few burned spots, which I think gives it a little texture.

When all your pieces are "ruffled" lay them on top of each other and secure with a simple stitch in the middle.

Next, fold the flower in half and very carefully make 2 small cuts on either side of securing knot, on the bottom of the flower. The cuts need to go through all layers.

Now, we're going to use the embroidery floss to make the stamen, or center of the flower. It's fun to experiment with color here, so be creative.

Cut a piece of embroidery floss about 18 inches long and another that's about 3 inches long. Hold the longer piece between your thumb and forefinger and wrap it around your finger about 15 times (or until you use up all your thread).

Take the shorter piece and thread it through the center of the loops you've just made on your finger.

Tie the shorter piece in a knot to secure the loops, leaving about equal length of thread on either side.
Now, with the loops in the center of the flower, feed each of the ends of the shorter piece of floss through the 2 holes you made in your flower, and tie them in a knot on the bottom to secure the stamen.

This is what the top should look like. Now, you can either leave it like this, which is kind of a neat look, or you can cut the loops.

If you cut the loops, make sure you are cutting in the center. Now you can trim them up or leave them long, whatever you prefer. I found that spraying some fabric stiffener on the center especially gave the flower a more flowery finished look. If you spray the center, and then kind of rub the threads with your fingers, the threads loosen up and have a more natural look.

There you have it! So fun and so easy! And again, this is not an original idea. There are many other flower tutorials out there. I put a few ideas from others together for my own spin on it.

I made my flowers into headbands, barrettes and pins. But you could do a lot of different things with these. Maybe even a smaller version made into a ring. Have fun and send me a picture or leave me a comment if you make some.