Monday, 29 October 2012

Stripped Bare for Christmas Action - More Quilted Tree Decs

Back in July we made a cushion to celebrate the Fourth of July, so using the same technique we are going to create some more great quilted decorations to fill your tree.  Yet again we are going to raid the pastry cutter tin to find great shapes to use on the tree, you can use hearts, stockings, hearts, mittens, hearts, parcels and did I mention hearts?  This is another great way of using up scrap strips to create effective tree decs, so let's hit your Christmas stash of fabrics and get started.
You will need:
A selection of Christmas fabric or fabrics in Christmas colours of red and green
Cutting mat, ruler and rotary cutter
Scissors, pins and thread, pinking shears are optional but really useful
Pastry cutters or artistic ability (which I am sadly lacking), pencil, greaseproof paper
Ribbon or hairy twine (if you are going rustic)
A walking foot
Iron and Ironing Board ... yes, they are back

Choose shapes and designs which are clean and not too complex, hence the heart, mittens, Christmas trees and stockings... but you could use snowmen and gingerbread men (but we are going to be using these shapes to create a garland in a couple of weeks).  If you feel confident in your sketching skills, the draw them directly onto the greaseproof or dressmaker's tissue, otherwise trace around the pastry or cookie cutter shapes.  Set them aside until we have constructed the strips.
You need to cut your strips to the same length but vary the width, don't go thinner than an inch as we are going to use the quilter's classic 1/4" seam allowance... frankly less than 1/2" showing will look like a line of dental floss or what was referred to by my old friend Clint as a greyhound skirt.  If you are using fat quarters use the longest side, usually the 22" side.
Sew the strips together using the 1/4" seam allowance, then iron your work from the back, do not iron the seams open, iron them closed all in the same direction.  Then turn your work so that the front is showing and press again, stretch the work slightly to draw out any excess fabric that may have become trapped.
Place the sewn strips on top of the batting, and pin into place using the longest pins you can find, but leave a good allowance of batting up to an inch around the sewn strips.

Fit your walking foot to your machine... don't worry if you do not have a walking foot, you can still do this but the walking foot will give you a better finish as it ensures that the different textures and thicknesses of fabric will feed through at the same pace. 

Sew in the ditch... don't know where it is?  Remember how we ironed the seams in one direction, you are going to be sewing about an 1/8" away from the seam line through just one layer of fabric and batting, not the three, that is your quilting ditch.  Use a contrasting thread to emphasise your stitching, sew along the ditch of every strip.  When you have completed this, trim away the excess batting.
Pin your pattern pieces onto the quilted fabric, it looks great if the strips match up (yep, sometimes I can get a bit anal about lining up, although you don't have to do this) so remember to reverse it when you cut our the second piece. Or if you want to be economical, use a plain piece of fabric instead of your quilting as it will not be seen.
Place the right sides together and sew around leaving an opening... for the mittens and stockings, leave the top part open.  For the tree, fold over a loop of ribbon, as ever I have raided the ribbon stash for some gorgeous Jane Means ribbons, pin it to the point of your tree on the right side on one piece of your tree, make sure that both ends of the ribbon stick out beyond this point, then lay on the other side of the tree and pin it in to place. For the heart, pop the ribbon loop in the centre of the curves at the top of the heart and use the same method, leaving a gap along the side.
Trim any excess seams and ease the curves by either nipping little triangles around the curves or using pinking shears to achieve this.  Turn the shapes right side out. Use a cool iron to press them into shape - do not use a hot or cotton temperature iron as this will melt/bond the batting.  
With your stockings and mittens, turn under the raw edges and press them into place... for the mittens, join a pair together with one piece of ribbon, tucked into the open seam and pin it together so they look just like the mittens tied into your coat that you could never lose, no matter how hard you tried, they will sit happily over a branch.  For the stockings a loop, pinned at the outside edge of your stockings.  Now sew around your decoration, 1/8" from the edge.
You could make little present shaped decs in squares or rectangle, even I can draw a square or a rectangle (well nearly) by running sewing ribbon in a cross over the square and popping a ribbon in the centre.
And now, a little later than usual, we are actually hopping over to Handmade Monday on a Monday... go look at what is happening in the Craft World :)


Anonymous said...

Fab-U-lous!! And thank you for the explanation of the ditch - now I know what that is!!

Jam Dalory said...

Gorgeous decorations! I love handmade Christmas stuff! x

Kate said...

Those are sweet. I love seeing Christmas handmades appearing.

Ali said...

What a great way of using up leftover fabric. The decorations look lovely.
Ali x

Wendy said...

Just gorgeous. I like how you could use up quite small scraps of fabric with these - and you could make them Christmassy without a Christmassy scrap of fabric in sight.

Free Spirit Designs said...

i love these decorations! what a great idea! x

Lyn said...

The decorations are lovely Ros.....but the star of this tutorial is your wooden floor. It's fabulous! I'd love one like that.

Christmas Pie Crafts said...

Lovely and the multi-patterned fabric makes hem very unique. Couldn't find any mention about hearts ;0) - perhaps next time. Hope you have a good week.

Helen said...

They look great Ros x

Fiddly Fingers said...

Love these little decorations, I bet they will look wonderful hanging on the tree :)

Anonymous said...

You are so clever. It is a really great way to use up scraps of material.

Handbags by Helen said...

those decorations are really lovely

Ginx Craft said...

Lovely tree decs. They are really cute.