Tutorial: yarn wrapped wreath

I love handmade Christmas decorations. I think it’s so nice to have unique and individual looking homes at Christmas time, not just straight from the shop. Don’t get me wrong, there’s a place for shop bought too, but I love to see some homemade bits in the mix.

Last year I made us all new Christmas stockings:

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(get the free pattern and tutorial here). I also made some festive bunting which I don’t think I showed you, but as it went up yesterday I can show you now!

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My first new addition this year is a yarn wrapped wreath for our living room door. I chose a dark blue and a sparkly white acrylic yarn, nothing expensive, to match our color scheme.

You will need:
Yarn
Empty cereal box
Bubble wrap
Tape
Yarn sewing needle

To start with I opened out an empty cereal box and drew 2 concentric circles on it. I made the hoop about 5cm/2″ wide and made the outer circle as large as my box would allow. You can make your hoop any size you like, I’m thinking of doing a mini one for young sir’s wardrobe door, and the technique is exactly the same. Don’t worry if your hoop goes over a bend in the box. It’ll all be stiffened up as we go on.

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I didn’t want my wreath to be too 2 dimensional, but I also don’t have hours to spend on wrapping the yarn. So I cheated! I bulked up my hoop using strips of bubble wrap, about 7/8cm wide, wrapped round the cardboard. Start by taping one end of a piece of the bubble wrap to the hoop, then start to wrap it around. Depending how much you want to bulk up your wreath will depend how much of an overlap you use. I left about 1.5cm between edges.

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Continue wrapping until the whole hoop is evenly covered, taping the ends of each piece in place.

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Now it’s time to start wrapping the yarn. My hoop is big enough to pass the whole ball of yarn through, but if you’re making a small wreath then you’ll have to cut lengths of yarn to wrap.

Simply wrap the yarn round and round on top of the bubble wrap, but not too tight or it defeats the purpose of bulking up the hoop! You’ll need the yarn to be at least 3 passes deep to give a nice full look. Just wrap:

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And wrap!

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I decided to have a 2 colour wreath, with blue covering 3/4 of the surface and the sparkly white on the top 1/4. So once I was happy with the amount of blue on my wreath I switched yarns and continued to wrap:

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Until the whole surface was covered. I also added some white crosses onto the blue section, which I simply did by wrapping at an angle from one end of the blue to the other end, then back again. Once you’re finished wrapping, use your wool needle to tuck the ends away under the rest of the layers, and your wreath is complete!

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You can add extra touches to it or leave it as is, depending on the look you want to go for. I was undecided between one big pompom in the centre and three small ones hanging from the bottom. In the end I chose to make one large pompom to hang in the centre of my wreath. To make it I wrapped my yarn 200 times round the top of a pint glass, which gives a large, floppy pompom. Then tied it round the centre, cut open the loops and trimmed it all to the same length.

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Some other ideas for finishing touches: you could hang ribbons from the bottom, a bauble in the centre, or even make a dreamcatcher style wreath with a yarny snowflake in the centre.

To hang my wreath I made a very simple twisted string using lengths of my two colours of yarn. Ta da!

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A simple way to make a wreath, which is easy to customise and will last year after year 🙂

Christmas Stocking Tutorial and Pattern

Well the big day is getting closer but there’s still plenty of time for a few more Christmassy makes! I’ve treated the whole family (well, all 3 of us!) to some fabulous new Christmas stockings, and as they were so quick and easy to run up I thought I would share the pattern and tutorial with you all. Consider it my Christmas present to you 🙂

These stockings are long and thin (more sock shaped) than the current trend for things that look more like sacks with toes attached. I suppose it’s because my brother and I grew up using actual socks so that’s what I wanted from my stockings!

I have designed this pattern to only need 1 fat quarter of fabric for the main body of the stocking, so you can easily make a different one for each person and not feel like you need to buy loads of fabric. For each stocking you will need:

  • Christmas Stocking Pattern
  • 1 fat quarter outer fabric
  • 1 fat quarter lining fabric
  • 32 x 17cm plush fabric for the fold down top
  • 1 fat quarter batting (optional – you don’t need to make your stockings padded, I have and the instructions include using batting, but if you don’t want to use it just skip those bits)
  • 16cm ribbon

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Start by cutting out all the pattern pieces, as shown above. Then we’re going to assemble the lining of the stocking. Take the two stocking shaped batting and lining pieces and layer them as: batting, lining, lining, batting. Neither my lining nor batting had a right side, but if yours do then make sure the right sides of your lining are together in the centre of the sandwich. Sew the layers together slowly using a longish stitch (about a 3) due to the thickness of the fabric, and with a 15mm seam allowance, remembering not to sew across the top of the stocking! Then tie off the ends and trim the seam allowance fairly close to the line of stitching.

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Then take the outer fabric and fold it in half along the fold, with the right sides together. Sew with a 5mm seam allowance using a smaller stitch (about a 2). Using a smaller seam allowance on the outer fabric leaves room for the batting without your fabric pulling. It also means you don’t need to trim the seam allowance of the outer fabric, but as we will be turning it inside out it is important to cut notches in the curved areas: around the  toes and heel, otherwise the fabric won’t sit flat on the finished stocking.

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Next we’re going to turn the outer layer over the inner. The easiest way to do this is to put your arm into the outer layer, while it is still inside out, and with your hand at the toes, take hold of the toes of the lining and pull the outer fabric over the lining. Like this:

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Then using a long tacking stitch sew the outer and inner layers together at the top of the stocking to keep them lined up.

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Take your fabric for the fold over at the top of the stocking. Lay the lining on the right side of the outer fabric and sew along one of the long sides of the rectangle. If, like me, you are using a plush fabric with a directional pile, make sure the pile is going to be the right way up on your finished stocking! I want mine to go top to bottom, so I sewed the lining along the bottom edge of my plush fabric. Open out your joined piece of plush and lining and fold it in half the other way to sew the sides together. If you have your own fabric labels then this is the time to add one to your creation.

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You’ll notice the lining piece isn’t as wide as the plush piece. This is so that when it is folded over on the finished stocking the plush fabric will be tucked under a little, completely hiding the lining fabric. It also means you don’t need to press open the seam you just sewed, instead fold it over the lining on both sides. Sew all along the side seam and turn the outer piece so that it is on the outside. Tuck in one piece of batting between lining and plush on each side of the fold down piece, and using a tacking stich sew the lining to the outer layer to keep them in place.

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You might be wondering why I used two pieces of batting here instead of one long rectangle. I found that by using two it was much easier to fold the piece in half and so it sits better on the finished stocking.

We’re then going to attach the ribbon for the hanging loop. Fold it in half and pin it into the stocking so that the edges of the ribbon line up with the top edge of the stocking. Sew across the ribbon, roughly over the line of tacking stitches, using a small stitch length to make the join nice and strong.

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Finally comes the only (slightly) tricky part of this project: attaching the main body of the stocking to the fold down top. After a little experimentation I have found that the best way to do this is to use pins as markers. On the main body and top, seperately, put in 6 pins at roughly the equal distances apart all around the edges you tacked together.

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Then put the fold down top into the main body, still the right way out, and match up the positions of the pins:

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At each position take a third pin and join all the layers together where the pins line up. There will be more fabric between the pins on the top piece than on the body, this is called the ease, and means that the top piece will not squash the main body when it is folded down over it and the stocking will lay flat. A good thing, yes, but does make this bit a little tricky as you need to try to evenly space the fabric and not let it all gather in one place. You might find it easier at this point to hand stitch the layers together as you can go more slowly and have more control, but it is possible to do by machine if you take your time and use your fingers to spread out the extra fabric.

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And it doesn’t need to be perfect so if you have a gather two it doesn’t matter. Or use patterned plush like me and you won’t even see them!

When you’re finished sewing, tie off the ends and pull the top out of the stocking body:

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And fold the top down, hiding the seam. Then fish out the ribbon and display your creations with pride!

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Ho ho ho, Merry Christmas!