*Many of you have asked about the wood thread winders – they are awesome! And you can find them at French General.
These garlands are an experiment in color, working with fabric scraps in green, lots of berry shades and a little bit of very hot pink. I love the combination of the cooler organic shades with this one super bright (almost neon) shade. This is a project I brought to a workshop this past spring, you know, one million years ago. The idea was to provide an invitation to play and some constraints – in this case time (it was the end of the workshop) and color.
Buttons and wood beads add interest and a little weight so it hangs nicely and you’ll nee a little stuffing for an extra special touch – more on that in a minute.
You could use ribbon, string, twill tape etc. for the base or make a fabric strip yourself. There are directions for that below but let’s make the scrap flowers first.
You will need
- fabric scraps
- embroidery thread
- wood or glass beads
- basic sewing kit
- sewing machine – for making the strip
making the flowers
1. Start by cutting a bunch of shapes from your scraps. Don’t think too much or edit yourself at this point, just give yourself a bunch of shapes to play with – a variety of circles and leaves. Part of the value in this exercise for me is that I end up putting things together that I might not have if I made a plan first. Note – the shapes do not need to be perfect.
2. Layer the leaf and flower shapes and stitch them together with embroidery thread. I cut some circles into pinwheel shapes. Some are just layered and stitched, some edges are frayed. Try stuff. Make more flowers than you need, choices are good.
The puffy flowers in the necklace at the top of the post were added by one of the awesome workshops students – Michele Muska. They are a fantastic addition. She also added some charms and little fabric tails. I love the necklace.
3. The puffy flowers are super easy to make. Stitch around the edge of a circle – this one is about 3 inches across. Leave the needle and thread attached.
4. Gather until it’s almost closed. Add a little stuffing.
5. Pull tight and knot.
6. Bring the needle up through the center.
7. Loop around the edge and insert the needle in the bottom center. Bring the needle through the top center and pull tight.
8. Repeat this stitch around, evenly spaced, as many times as you like and then knot on the bottom. Add a button to the center if you like.
These flowers also make a sweet mini pin cushion. I liked it so much I interrupted my flower making to make a little needle book to add it to.
9. For another flower stitch around the edge of a circle and gather tight without stuffing. You may recognize this as a Yoyo (I think you call it something else in the UK?).
10. Add a smaller circle to the center. You could do all sorts of layered variations with any of these ideas. Experiment.
making the band
1. The strap length needs to be about 5 feet. You can piece scraps together to make it long enough. Begin by cutting 2 and ½ inch strips of light weight cotton. I’m using a couple colors. Place the strips as shown with the right sides of the fabric together (the right side being the side you want on the outside when you’re done). Pin and sew from corner to corner.
2.Trim the access, leaving a ¼ inch seam allowance.
3. Press that open.
4. Fold the strip in half, pin and sew – right sides together – with a ¼ inch seam allowance – the entire length. Leave both ends open.
5. Attach a large safety pin to one layer close to one end.
6. Begin inserting it into the strip.
7. Scrunch the fabric over the pin.
8. And pull from the end covering the pin.
9. Keep scrunching fabric over the pin, advancing it through the tube.
10. When the pin emerges form the other end keep pulling it slowly through while unbunching the fabric in the other direction
11. A long strip will take a while to unbunch – keep working it down the strip.
12. Press your turned strip.
assemble the garland
Before we start assembling, if you plan to wear the garland as a necklace (I do) tie the bow and try it on. You’ll get an idea of where your flowers etc. should be placed.
1. Starting about 16 inches from one end (to allow for my bow) I’m adding some knots and beads to make the strap interesting and give it some weight.
2. Insert a glass or wood bead and push it down to a knot (I used a 1/2 inch wood bead).
3. Make another knot and slide it down against the bead as you tighten it.
We’ll add the flowers using embroidery thread – I divide the thread and just use a couple strands. You’ll also need some pins to place the flowers and buttons for the back.
4. Pin your flowers and leaves in place.
5. Stitch through the layers to attach the flower and/or leaves.
6. Add a button for a little weight. It also looks finished and pretty on the back.
7. Trim the tails at and angle, fold in the edges and stitch closed. I used a visible stitch with embroidery thread.
So sweet! wear it or hang it – I have a couple hanging from a door knob. If you make one I’d love to see – use #annwoodpattern on instagram or email photos to info at ann wood handmade dot com.