Sunday, 26 August 2012

Christmas Tutorials Start Here - Chris's Patchwork Decorations

OK, can you believe four months today Christmas Day will be over?  We started a Christmas countdown at this time last year, so throughout the year I have been collecting ideas (and discarding them, too!) ready for the fray.  In fact I have even prepared my very own Christmas list... more of which later, however Christmas is also about presents and to that end, I have two bow makers which I am going to give away to two lucky winners who post on this post by Friday 29 August 2012.
So no more shilly shallying, let's get cracking, you will need:
Paper, pencil, protractor (go on you know you can borrow it from your children's new school set... just to see if it works), a ruler and paper scissors
Christmas fabric scraps
Pins, needle, thread, dressmaking scissors, small sharp scissors
Fish knife
Ribbon or hairy string
Iron and ironing board
Wizard little bowmaker (I will be giving away two, Merry Christmas!)
Stuffing - kapok, polyester filling
Buttons for decoration (optional)
We are going to start with the star, this is a classic six point star used in quilting, yep, you are learning another technique by stealth...  If you want to make the big star which will be 7" wide then start by drawing a line 3" long, for the smaller star which is 5" wide draw a line 2" long.  Now we are going to use our protractor for good (not evil maths), line it up the line at the bottom of your protractor goes along the line you have drawn, at the left hand side mark it at 70' and the right hand side mark it at 110'.  Draw a line up to this point measuring 3" for the big star and 2" for the little star.  Draw a line along the top which will also measure 3" or 2" creating a rhombus, you have just created your pattern template.  You can either use just this one or cut out half a dozen.
Choose six scraps of fabric which sit well together and on which you will be able to cut out two of your templates, iron the fabric.  You need to lay the template so that the longest line through the centre of the template lies along the warp of the fabric (parallel to the selvedge). Pin the template to the material and cut out two diamonds in each fabric. Spend a couple of minutes working out how you want to arrange your star.
Take three of the diamonds, using a 1/4" seam allowance (if your machine does not have markings then use a permanent marker and draw a line a quarter of an inch from where the needle goes down and use this as your guideline).  
Start sewing from the outer edge into the centre but stop 1/4" from the end ... this is really important, otherwise you will not get a sharp pointy star.  I usually use my old and trusty hand Singer so that I have to work at a slower pace and allegedly I will make few mistakes - who is laughing at the back?
Now pin the other side to the middle diamond and sew it as above.  Press the seams open, yes I know this goes against your quilting and patch work principles but you have to have faith in me... just this once.
Do exactly the same for the other side.  When you look at it from the right side, you will see the centre point of the middle diamond 1/4" from the edge ... how clever are you?  Pin the two sides together, ensuring that the points meet in the middle, I do this by putting a pin through the point on one side and then through the point on the other side to make sure that they meet exactly.  If when you sew it together they do not sit correctly, undo it an start again, otherwise it will annoy you forever and it will only take a couple of minutes to correct it.  Iron open the seams down the centre.
Next we are going to create the back using the same technique, however don't lay it out with both sides laying face up as the arrangement will not work ... believe me, I did it ... twice!  What you need to do is lay the completed star right side down and place the matching diamonds on top, with right sides uppermost.

Repeat the steps we took to create the first star.
Take your ribbon, I visited my ribbon stash and found some festive red ribbon from Jane Means, fold it so that the loop of the ribbon reaches the mid-point of the star and make it about 8" for the large star and 6" for the small star (you may want to adjust this to suit your decorating scheme).
Take one side of the star, lay it face up, choose which point is going to be uppermost and fold the ribbon in two with the two ends lying over the point of the star, pin them in place.  Take the other star and place it on top, pin it in place but leave a gap on one of the sides as we will turn the star inside out through this aperture.  Sew the star together.

Trim the excess fabric from over each point and turn the star inside out, use the fishknife to poke up into the points to make them really sharp.  Start to fill the star with stuffing,  do this by using small amounts, I know it is tempting to ram it all in to save time but this will give you an uneven lumpy filling, so small and often is the way.
 
Pin the open sides together and slip stitch (this is a small diagonal stitch) them together with a matching thread.
To make your bows, put two dowels in the holes for the size of bow that you want.  Run the ribbon round the back of the dowels and take the left hand ribbon towards the right dowel.
Next take the right hand ribbon over the top of the left ribbon and round under the back ribbon and bring it back over the top to the front.  
Make a loop by bringing the the left hand ribbon over to the left hand side.  
Thread the right hand through the loop, pull both ends until you are happy.  Slip it off the dowels and gussy it up... now you have perfect bows every time.

I have two of these little gadgets to give away to two posters who leave feedback and I will announce the winners on Friday 29 August.
For some reason the smaller stars look better with a couple of buttons sewn through the middle, use two buttons so that the star will look good from each side when you see it on the tree.

You will have noticed that I also made a heart, yep we are doing a bogoff on techniques this week, we are going to do some crazy patchwork.  I bet that you have in your fabric stash, bits of fabric that are too small to do anything with yet, you cannot bear to throw away and that is what we are going to use.  After cutting out the diamonds we are left with odd shaped bits and we can make use of those.

Remember how we made a heart template earlier this year from a biscuit cutter, either use that or cut out a new template.
Find a small square of fabric and sew another piece to one of the side, repeat this with square shapes and triangles until you have sewn together enough to cover your heart template... once this is done you are officially the Dolly Parton's mum of patchwork with your very own fabric of many colours, just like her mother made!
Pin the heart template to your patchwork and cut out the heart. 
Repeat for the other side.
Now you can leave it like this but I remembered a fantastic crazy patchwork tea cosy that my mum had which was made of velvet and silk scraps which had herringbone embroidery joining them together, so I used the herringbone stitch on my machine using a contrasting thread to sew over all the seams.
Insert the ribbon loop in the same way that we did with the star, pin the heart together with right sides facing and leave a gap on one of the sides so that you can turn the heart inside out.  Once you have sewn it together, ease the curves by cutting little notches into the curves so that the fabric will not bunch and pucker.  
Turn the heart right side out, using the fish knife to get that lovely point at the base.  Stuff the heart with small amounts of stuffing until it is filled to your satisfaction and slip stitch the opening shut.  Add a bow to the bottom of the loop and now you have another Christmas decoration for your tree.
Don't forget to pop by on Friday to see if you are one of the winners.

And now is the time to go and look at Handmade Monday... and just think with it being a Bank Holiday weekend you will have plenty of time to kick back and enjoy it all

For those of you who are wondering why these are Chris's Christmas decorations, well they are for my brother who as a little boy always referred to decorations as decormorations... although I still feel his greatest skill was walking down our stairs head first on his hands, do you think 50+ is possibly too old to try this?

46 comments:

Wendy said...

These are just gorgeous Ros - I especially love the star. I also love your vintage Singer and think I might have to get one, just for photography purposes! Have you seen your mention on my blog and in Craftseller mag? (in the shops Tuesday, if you don't subscribe). Impressive though it is, head first on the stairs is not to be recommended at any age, really. That should come with a "don't try this at home" warning! Oh, and the bowmaker? Yes, put my name in the hat, please. How exciting! x

Carol@Rose Hedge Studio said...

Love your ornament's. Thank's for sharing.
Carol

pastimehobbyist said...

These a beautiful, I really like the hearts as these could be done in various fabrics for the different seasons. They could even filled with pot pourri and hung in the car or any room in the house.

I love the ribbon making gadget, I've never seen one before, so please include my name in the draw.

Sue x

CatkinJane said...

I do love the star, and despite it being August bank holiday I feel cold enough to be cheered by the thought of Christmas!

CHRISTMAS PIE CRAFTS said...

They are so gorgeous, I really love the stars. Vibrant Christmas colours - lovely. A great tutorial - many thanks. Hope you have a good week.

Ginx Craft said...

I also instantly thought nice sewing machine. Lovely stars, and the bow maker looks really handy.

knitnrun4sanity said...

I love these. Christamassy without being very (If that makes any sense at all!) Thanks for sharing - I love the bowmaker, a really great idea! Happy Christmas making :)

Handbags by Helen said...

Lovely tutorial. Especially pleased to read about your bow maker. Very useful!

Mythillogical said...

Your bow maker is a pretty nifty little gadget! I always have to tie a bow about 5 times before I'm happy it's even enough!
Lovely decorations too...and starting writing a Christmas list- I may just take a leaf out of your book!

Deborah Fox said...

Your tutorial is awesome but I have to confess I am ever so slightly in love with your sewing machine! xx

Sarah - Dragonfly-Jersey said...

They are beautiful Ros....I am scared stiff of sewing machines...they go too fast!! Maybe an old Singer would be more my style....
xx

Highland Monkey's said...

That bow maker is a nifty bit of kit. You stitching is sooo neat, I usually go of on a tandgent somewhere and then bodge it!

Yarns From Down Under said...

I think you need to lock up your sewing machine, there is a lot of envy here, including from me.
I'm going to take the plunge and have a go at your star, thanks for the great tutorial!

Lyn said...

Really easy to follow tutorial, thanks Ros, and the ribbon you used is just perfect. Making decorations is the best part of the lead-up to Christmas!

Kathy said...

Wonderful tutorial!! Just the thing to start my Christmas gift craft making!!

Please include my name in your bow making giveaway. Thanks!!

Sue said...

Great tutorial as ever! I'm not good with a sewing machine but you make it look easy. Maybe I'll have to try this one!

karen said...

Love these. So excited to see Christmas crafts. Can't wait to start!

2bornot2b said...

How did you know! This is exactly what I have been looking for. I'm going to try enlarging the star for a tree topper. Thank you so much! Crossing my fingers and heart for the bow maker!

Susan in Connecticut

Susie said...

As always, saving this page for later! Love that bow maker too, how clever. :) Seems we both had hearts in our heads. But I love that start. It's time to start Christmas in earnest now. Thank you for sharing, I HAD to tweet this.

KC'sCourt! said...

They look wonderful - I give those ago!
Julie xxxxxxx

Martha said...

Roz, your tute is fab! i love the star and you have just made me wanna dig out my sewing machine (dunno where I'm gonna put it as ive glass painting at the mo) and sew some of this patchwork.
im adding this tute to my list of favourite links. thanks for sharing!

Chris Powell said...

what lovely decorations roll on christmas.

Tigs said...

I've just found your blog and love your star decorations. I could make these :)

Rebekah said...

That bow-maker is inspired! Thank you for sharing the technique :)

Rachael said...

Those are great - I have a load of scraps and spare pieces of fabric so i'm certainly going to get making some of those for Christmas!

Thanks for sharing!

Adaliza said...

It's certainly marching towards the magic of Christmas, at a rate of knots. No sooner do I set foot back in the classroom, than I seem to be writing out cards for the big day! You're very organised and I love your Christmas patchwork decorations - beautiful.

Nancy said...

Your Ornaments are absolutely Lovely! I'll be following along on your Countdown too!!

Thanks for the chance to Win!!
Nancy

Kate said...

I'm thrilled to see Christmas projects appearing. Thanks for sharing!

leanne said...

love the stars, thanks for the tutorial! i am new to quilting but would love to try these as i try to make xmas items long before xmas comes.
tahnks

ruby murray said...

Love these, glad I'm not the only only one furiously making tree decs already. Thanks so much for the tute.

P.s I'm from Southsea/Portsmouth but moved to Canada in 07, enjoyed looking at your Olympic statue pics around Leigh, what a small small world

January said...

These handmade ornaments may need to become gifts this year.
Thanks for sharing and the giveaway.

Corinna said...

Lovely decorations, lovely machine :o). Thanks for sharing and the lovely pics.

Carmen Nuland said...

Thank you for the tutorial - I'm going to try this. Hopefully I haven't missed the giveaway since you said Friday - but Aug 29. If not, thanks for the chance to win :)

Debbie from MK said...

I love sewing an iv just found ur blog in Craftseller. I'm defently going to give these decs a go! Thank you :)

Ali said...

Lovely ornaments. I was green with envy when I saw your singer. I keep thinking I should invest in one, but I already have two machines. The bowmakers great, an extra hand but made from wood.

Ali x

Singtatter said...

Sweet patchwork! Lovely bows, I must try that! Thanks for showing and the giveaway.

Gremela said...

These are beautiful & you explain it so well! Many thanks for sharing with us your ideas & talents.

Goodnight Boutique said...

Your sewing machine is gorgeous! I'm so jealous! The decorations look wonderful - I'm glad I'm not the only one already making things for Christmas :)

Stephen @ Soy of the North said...

These look really lovely. Christmas comes around all too soon each year. Love the choice of festive fabrics.

Planet Penny said...

These are lovely, it's scary how quickly Christmas comes around isn't it? I love your sewing machine, I have my grandmother's machine tucked away somewhere, like Wendy I think it would be great for a photographic background, I just don't know where I'd put it!

Anonymous said...

thanks for posting.

Jonny Easton said...

WOW these look really nice, I have been thinking about doing my own Christmas Decorations. I am thinking of doing a vintage christmmas decoration to go with my vintage decor of my living room.

Ju said...

Lindo! Parabéns!

Junebug said...

Nice Stars! And I like the heart, too! I'm definitely going to have to try these!

nahlin19 said...

Thank you for sharing this tutorial. I was looking for something to make for friends at Christmas and I have not made stars yet. Have made doves, hearts, wreaths and Christmas trees, so this is something new. Wonderful, I can use all the off cuts of Christmas fabrics I have. Thank you !!!

Prasad Kumar said...

That was pretty amazing! I am always into handmade or DIY Christmas decorations coz i really like the thought of putting your personal touch to it. Thanks for the tutorial!, It;s fun!