There’s something about this time right before the holidays that I really get the itch to clear out the clutter. It’s a serious everything-must-go mentality that won’t let up. It’s probably because I like a clean slate for when the Christmas decorations come out and/or I am subconsciously making room for all the new lovely gifts that start to trickle in. In either case, old make-up is tossed, cupboards are cleaned and my overflowing craft storage pillaged.
This year, my main target is my fabric stash that is
somehow not surprisingly spilling out onto the floor and actually busting the sides of my shelf. When it comes to pretty textiles, I have a difficult time letting things go, even those measly little off-snips. After years of holding on, it’s getting out of control. I began going through and making a textile-only recycling bag of the really not useful bits (melted interfacing, creased-beyond-all-help lining, frayed who-knows-what-that-was, ect.) but I kept coming across decent chunks that could surely go on to be better things.
Instead of hoarding them any longer though, if I am gonna keep ’em, I gotta use em. With some faded carols in the background and a cup of hot cocoa in hand, it felt like it was time for some holiday crafting.
This craft is super easy and awesome to show off some of those brilliant novelty prints in your stash, or would work with other printed textiles (like linens, or tea towels) that need a new lease on life.
- Pick a portion of the pattern motif to become your ornament. Cut around the main design leaving a 0.5-1cm seam allowance.
- Flip it face-down and trace the shape onto another scrap of the fabric to create a mirrored back piece.
- Find some matching yarn or embroidery floss and snip a 12 cm length for the hanging loop.
- Tie the ends in a knot, creating the loop, and place inverted on the right side of your fabric
- Place the design right-sides together and hand stitch around the perimeter, leaving a 2cm opening near the bottom
- Turn your ornament right side out and fill with stuffing. Slip-stitch the bottom closed.
Here is a good resource for hand-sewing methods from By Hand London. I experimented with using my machine, but for the small shapes and curves it was difficult to manage and you end up losing the defining shapes of your design. Bonus points if you can spot the misshapen fail-cupcake* on the tree.
Patience is key, especially if you are new to hand sewing. You’ll want to be sure you aren’t stitching too closely to the edges, or else the ends will fray and burst open.
Poly-fill is a good choice for the stuffing, or what I did was shred some of the unwanted off-cuts and put them to use there instead.
You can also add a touch of pizzazz with some sequins, beads or embroidery stitching onto more abstracted prints with simpler shapes. The options for where your creativity can take you become endless at this point.
Even if the aesthetic isn’t quite your jam for the tree, skip the hanging loop, toss in some catnip, and boom! Instant cat toy for your feline friends.
Each ornament takes about 1 hour to make, depending on your hand-sewing skills. That makes it easy to make one for each of your friends in a print they’ll love most. That, or you can take all the pieces of your favourite print or collection and cover your whole tree!
I hope you enjoy using your fabric in a fun way, and please be sure to share pics if you make these!
Now, if you’ll excuse me I need to get back to sewing those last few gifts. It always seems to sneak up on you, eh? Next year I’ll start my Christmas projects in June.
* Rory and I decided that we are going troll our future-selves and put the fail-cupcake on the tree year after year. Hopefully in about 10 years as we decorate we’ll be like “What is this thing even, and why do we keep putting it on the tree?!”. Unless I keep re-reading through old blog posts and just ruined it for myself here again. Bah.