Monday, 13 October 2008

A Christmas Wreath Tutorial

It's coming...the Goose is getting fat, it's already the middle of October. Let's talk about Christmas, shall we?
Every year I buy a wreath, it's beautiful for a while, then the foliage goes all brown and dies, and I have to throw it away. This year I thought I'd make one, using up Christmassy scraps and that way, once the tree comes down and the decorations are put away I won't need to chuck it in the bin, I can save it for the following year. It's kinder to the planet, and my purse.
I have seen loads of beautiful fabric covered wreaths in blogland and flickr, so I am not suggesting I have had some kind of brain wave or original idea, but if you want to make one like mine the instructions are following.

Ok. Let's go..... (if you click on the pictures you'll get a better view, ok?)

Assemble your bits and bobs - I used a polystyrene (styrofoam) full wreath form - one that is rounded all the way, not flat at the back. Mine came from a craft shop, they sell them on ebay, some florists sell them too, so they are easy to find (and cheap too). I cut a heap of approx 2 inch wide strips (they need to be about the same width, as you'll sew them all together, but they can be whatever length you fancy). I also used some ric rac, buttons and perle cotton for embellishing, but you can leave it with just the fabric if you prefer.

Sew the strips right side together so you get one very long strip (mine was about 20 feet/6 metres long)

Fix one end of the strip with a pin to the wreath shape

and wrap it round, making sure it's nice and taut as you go round.

Once you get all the way round, fold the raw edge under and fix with the same pin.

You can leave it as it is, but I like to add a bit of fancy, so I attached 2 pieces of ric rac to the wreath, using that same pin again, and wrapped them round, one going one way, one the other to make crosses (see the first pic for details), and used the pin to hold the ends secure.

Again, you can leave it as it is, but you've started so why not add a bit more fanciness? Find some Christmassy coloured buttons and some perle cotton (or some other thick thread like an embroidery thread).

Tie a knot in the end of your thread and sew through the ends of ric rac where you pinned and, pulling taut again, wrap the thread around the wreath like you did before with the ric rac.
Every now and again put a small stitch through the fabric and secure a button, then carry on wrapping round until you get all the way to the end again. Secure your thread with a couple of stitches and knot, and cut off the excess.

To make a hanging loop, take a length of ribbon, and fold in half (depending on how long you want your loop, it's best to cut it too long, try it for length and trim down) ). Fix using the same pin as before, wrap around the wreath once, and secure again, with a new pin, or staple, or both. You don't need a hanging loop, you could just balance the wreath on the mantlepiece, or hang it on a nail without a loop.

There you go - all done! I made a couple of holly leaves for mine, and sewed them on afterwards with a couple of tacking stitches.
For the leaves I took a sandwich of felt, a bit of cotton wadding, and another layer of felt and then (using a contrasting thread) sewed a rough holly leaf shape, cut the shape out (so you can see the wadding between the felt layers). and stitched them onto the wreath when it was finished.
It's super easy, and super quick, let me know if you make one, I'd love to see it!

(any questions please ask - I have tried to be as thorough as possible, but I'm sure I've left something out!)