How To Sew: Rustic Christmas Star Hanging Decoration

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We may be creeping ever closer to Christmas, but it’s never too late to add a little more festive cheer to your home. As much as we love our trees, lights and tinsel though, sometimes you want to sew something you can appreciate all year round. So we’ve put ourselves a cute, simple, neutral home decoration together that looks great no matter when you hang it up. These rustic scrap-busting stars are a great addition to your decorating, and are very versatile to boot! While we love the homey naturals in this tutorial, you can make yours as fabulous and festive as you like.

Getting ready

Supplies

  • Fabrics – we’re using a plain and a patterned, and a fat quarter of each is enough for our star. Up the quantity if you want bigger and switch out neutrals for colour if you want brighter
  • Diamond card template
  • String, twine or ribbon for hanging
  • Stuffing – poly stuffing or wool stuffing work perfectly
  • Medium stiffness iron-on interfacing
  • Any additional decorations
Firstly, you’ll want to make yourself a diamond template. If you’re a quilter you might already have a star-hexie template ready to go. If you don’t, you need to make sure that the top and bottom points of your diamond are at a 60 degree angle, otherwise your pieces won’t all meet along the edges – and you won’t be able to sew your star together!  As long as the angle is correct, you can make the diamond as large or small as you like. We’re using diamonds that are four inches from the top point to bottom point.
Once you have your template ready to go, you need to cut all your pieces – if you’re working to our two fabric colour scheme, you will want six diamonds from each fabric, (remembering to include your 1/4″ seam allowance when cutting around your template) and 12 from your interfacing. Iron your interfacing diamonds onto the wrong sides of your fabric pieces.

 

Once your fabrics have had the interfacing added, you can begin piecing your star together. It’s easiest to do this by creating half of a star at a time, and then sewing them together through the middle. Group your diamond pieces into threes to create each half – one half of each side will go patternplainpattern, and the other will go plainpatternplain.

Place one of the outer diamonds on top of the middle diamond, right sides facing. Sew with a short straight stitch from corner to corner of one of the edges. Fold the top diamond out, place the second outer diamond in the same way, and sew in the same manner along the other lower edge. Fold out the second out diamond, and you should have one long flat edge at the bottom edge and three star points along the top.

Repeat this process until you have all four half-star pieces sewn together. Open up the seams on the back of the half-star, and press them flat. Trim the excess fabric in the middle, where the three diamond points meet, so that it doesn’t extend over the long bottom edge. Tie off your stitch ends and trim the threads.

Sewing up the Star

Once you have your half-stars prepared, match them up together: one plainpatternplain half with one patternplainpattern half. Place the two halves together right sides facing, and pin along the long straight edge at the bottom. Sew along this edge with a short straight stitch, then unfold your completed star to open and press the seam.

Finish your second star in the same way, then place your two complete stars together, right sides facing. Make sure your patterned and plain sections are correctly aligned before you start sewing! Once you’re certain the plains and patterns are in the right place, pin around the edges. Starting from the tip of one of the points, sew all the way around the outside for 11 edges – leave the final edge open so you can turn your piece right sides out and stuff it.

Pull the star inside out through the opening you’ve left – you may need a blunt implement like a chopstick or pencil to help get the fabric through the opening, and poke out the points of the star. Once your right sides are on the outside and your points have been poked out, you may want to press the star flat for a neater decoration. We’ve left the creases and crumples in here, for a slightly homier look.

Stuffing and finishing

Once the shell of your star is complete, take your stuffing of choice and begin to fill it up. Add your stuffing a small section at a time, pushing it through the hole you left in the seam and then poking it into place with your chopstick or pencil. Make sure to squash your stuffing in tightly for a nice plump star – massage the stuffing around from the outside to even it out in lumpy areas. Once your star is full to the brim of stuffing, hand sew the hole you left in the edge with a basic slip stitch. Once the opening is sewn shut, you can add decorations to your taste – we added a crocheted lace trim around the middle of the star, with a wooden button in the center and a scrap-fabric trim.

To hang, make a loop of twine, ribbon or string and hand stitch a section of it to the the top point of your star. Now you just have to find somewhere to hang it! We’d love to see your finished projects on our Facebook page or Twitter account. Try hanging a whole variety of sizes for a stunning statement display, or make a host of tiny versions for the tree.

How To Sew: Halloween Treat Pouches

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The air is turning cold, the nights are getting longer, and the leaves are piling up along the streets. It’s definitely getting close to Halloween! We’ve got a great spooky sewing sweet treat for you perfect for the big Halloween night itself, we promise there’re no tricks! With the Trick-or-treaters and Halloween parties just around the corner, these little grab bag pouches are quick to sew and perfect for stuffing full of goodies. Ours are perfect for tiny hands and small portions, but you can scale them up to whatever size you like. Try making a barrel full of bats, a plethora of pumpkins, or any other ghost and ghoul you can think of!

Getting ready

Supplies

  • Fabrics – we’re using a thin black jersey for the bat and a slightly thin fleece for the pumpkin
  • Fabric paint or other decoration for the faces
  • Black craft foam, cut into bat wings
  • Ribbon, string or other equivalent for the drawstring

To make your template, draw around a circular object, and then cut off the top of the curve so you have a flat section for the open end. Use your template to cut four pieces of your fabric (two outer pieces and two inner). You want to cut two of the pieces slightly larger than the template, so the lining will fit snugly  inside the outer. Decorate one of the larger pieces with your spooky face before you begin assembling the pouches, as it’s much easier to paint on them now. If you’re using any bulky decorations such as beads or our bat wings however, save those until the end!

 

Piecing together the pouches

Take the smaller two of your cut blank pieces, and with the right sides together sew them together using a straight stitch. This is your inner lining. Do the same with your larger blank piece and the face piece, but stop sewing about an inch and a half before you reach the top at the other side from where you started sewing. This will leave a gap for you to turn the finished piece the right way around, and to thread the drawstring through once you’re finished sewing.

 

Take your lining and your outer sections – have your outer section with the face on the outside, and the lining with the blank sides on the inside. Push your outer section into the lining section, so the face of the outer section is touching the blank side of the lining. Sew right along the top with a straight stitch, so the two sections are secured together. On the inside, locate the gap in the side you left open, and slowly pull the fabric through the hole until the entire thing has turned inside you. You will have the two sections connected at the top, with the stitching hidden inside. Tuck the lining down into the outer section.

With your bag ready and the lining tucked in place, we now want to make a secure place for the drawstring. Top-stitch all the way around the top of the bag, an inch and a half from the top (so you start your sewing at the bottom on the opening you left, which will now be on the outside of your bag). This top-stitching will help make sure your lining stays in place, and that your drawstring stays flush with the top of the pouch.

With the bag ready for the drawstring, all that’s left is to threat one through! Cut a piece twice the width of your bag and then a little extra, pop a safety pin through one end (this will help you feel where the end is) and slowly push the drawstring through the tunnel you’ve made for it. Once it emerges from the other end, knot the two ends together . Now you’re ready to fill them up and hand them out!

 

If you put a pouch together, we’d love to hear about it (or all of them, these are a great bulk project!). Why not take some photos and post them to our Facebook page or tweet them at our Twitter account. We’d love to see what spooks and scares you can come up with to decorate them – a black cat, an eyeball, a whole host of monsters? The possibilities are limitless!

How To Sew: Autumn Leaf Tablet Sleeve

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Autumn is breezing its way into our lives, but as I’ve been told this is no excuse to start hibernating, I’ve barely had a moment to stop and admire the colours of the season! The brief glances I’ve snatched between returning my attention to my new limb (read, permanently attached mobile device) have sparked some simple inspiration though – and with an adorable new tablet cover I can take the falling leaves along with me everywhere I go.

This falling leaves device sleeve is super-duper easy as well as both cute and practical! It’s a quick project to slip in during your downtime and use up scraps, and once it’s finished you can admire it everywhere you go.

Getting ready

Supplies

Felts (your base colour, and then two or three extras for your leaves)

Thick iron-on interfacing

Buttons

Ribbon

Leaf templates (optional, you can freehand draw your leaves, or use a template you’ve bought/printed out/made from actual leaves… whatever works for you!)

Sewing your sleeve

Your first step is to measure your device – if it’s a bit of an awkward size round UP to the nearest half inch, rather than down. My device measured roughly 5.5”x8.5” but yours might be slightly different. Cut two pieces of interfacing the size of your device. For your first felt rectangle, add an extra ½” to the width and length (allowing for ¼” seams). For your second felt rectangle add an extra 1/2” to the width, and an extra 4” to the length (to allow you to make the flap at the top). Iron your interfacing onto each of the felt squares – placed ¼” up from the bottom and ¼” in from each side.

Now it’s time for the sewing machine! First take your longer felt square to make the closing flap. I’ve added a hidden branch to the underside of my flap, so you see it when you open the sleeve up to get your device. If you’re adding a hidden branch like I have, cut a branch shape just slightly narrower than the width of the sleeve, and under 2 inches high. Once it’s cut, sew it into place right at the top on your rectangle, upside down, on the side with no interfacing.

Once your hidden branch is in place fold the top section over on itself. You want to fold away from the interfaced side and onto the plain side, so the branch is hidden away. Sew down the two short edges to secure your flap and leave the long edge open – this is because we’ll be turning the flap inside out later to hide the stitching and reveal the branch.

Take your shorter rectangle, and pop a pin about 2″ from the top so you know how far down the flap will come. Cut out enough leaf shapes to fill the space below the pin to your satisfaction (I used 6). Fold each of your leaves in half, and gently press them with an iron. This will give them a subtle 3d effect once they’re sewn in place. Arrange them in your blank space, pin in place, and sew each one with two or three lines of straight stitch straight down the middle.

Now take your front and back felt pieces, and pin them together with the interfacing facing outwards. Sew with a straight stitch around the two long edges and the bottom edge, 1/4″ in. Your straight stitch should just miss the interfacing, ensuring your seams aren’t too stiff for you to turn the sleeve out! Remember to strengthen the start and ends of your sewing by reverse sewing back a couple of stitches.

Now you can turn your sleeve inside out, and turn the flap inside out as well. Lightly press the sleeve into shape around the edges. To close the open side of the top flap, I ironed a little piece of iron-on hemming tape between the layers, but you could just as easily use a pretty decorative top stitch.

Finishing up

To finish your tablet sleeve, choose two largish buttons and a piece of ribbon. Sew one button in the middle of the flap, and one just below it on the main body of the sleeve. Tie a short length of ribbon around the base of the lower button, and pop a hand-stitch on it to secure. Finally, pinch your leaves back up a little if the sewing has flattened them out, and you’re finished! To close the sleeve, wind the ribbon a few times around the buttons in a figure of eight, then tuck the rest away underneath. Congratulations, you’re ready to grab your coffee, throw on your scarf and head out the door!

If you make a falling leaves sleeve yourself, we’d love to hear about it. Why not take some photos and post them to our Facebook page or tweet them at our Twitter account. We’d love to see what colours you choose, and how you get creative with your shapes!