Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Sewing: Polka Dot Felt Garland (Tutorial)

While planning the "Oh baby! Oh boy!" baby shower for my sister-in-law I wanted to honor her aesthetic, which is modern, a bit restrained, and yet a little earthy with plenty of organic. So I wanted to lean more towards fibers than papers. I was thinking about making large felt mobiles (similar to these from Martha Stewart) to hang over the tables, which would be fun to do sometime, but I didn't want to suggest I was trying to decorate the nursery!

I'm not sure how I landed on the idea but I decided on a stitched polka dot motif for the invitation, and the swaddling blanket gift, and wanted to pull that through the party decor too. I have made these stitched fabric garlands, perhaps one could call them "buntings" too, in the past for the July holidays (see my star garland here), and there are many great examples online, including this recent one Dana MADE. I decided on felt for this one. So tactile and simple, and so many great colors available these days! I bought some from this Etsy shop and some from Joann.

I've got a little how-to here if you'd like. So simple and so many possibilities: you can hang them vertically from the ceiling, drape them over furniture, use them as table runners. I think they'd be cute arcing over a crib in a nursery too.

You'll need:
  • Pieces of felt (mine is polyester/wool blend) in various colors--your pick. Scraps would work great. The variations are endless...
  • Circle templates or a cutting tool (I tried this one from Martha Stewart, which I purchased at my local Joann store)

To make, cut a bunch of dots out of felt. The garland is more interesting if you have circles in a few different sizes.

This circle cutter didn't work perfectly (it slipped a bit and wasn't super smooth--I may be asking too much of it cutting felt) but it at the least outlined a perfect circle even if I had to finish the cutting with scissors.

I cut a good variety of dots and tried to vary sizes and values or intesnity of color. I didn't come up wtih a formula for calculating the length--I just cut a bunch and then started sewing. I ended up going back and cutting a few more to add to one garland I wanted a bit longer (just tied the threads together).

Now stitch the dots together by picking a circle and stitching down the middle and then placing another circle in the path of your presser foot. I didn't leave any space between the circles and tried to keep the stitch down the center by "eyeballing" it, which is fast if not 100% perfect! Back stitch at the beginning and end of your garland and be sure to pull your machine threads a bit long to start and again to finish so you have threads for tying the garland.

And there you have it. About as simple as it gets but such a great way to pull through the colors of a party.


Emily said...

Love the color scheme (and just any polka dots). I was actually admiring how nice your circles came out. I made one of these by tracing the circles and cutting them with scissors and it's okay looking but not beautiful like yours.

Trish and Bonnie @ Uncommon said...

This is so cute! Thanks so much for the tutorial! We are having a Home for the Holidays link party and would love for you to stop by!

CBH said...

I really like this. Such fantastic colours for a modern baby boy.

I'd like to adapt it for lots of occasions. Love your ideas!

dana said...

i love the colors and all those circles. cute!

Mallory Hill said...

Thank you so much for sharing this wonderful idea! I've been wondering what to do with all my extra felt and have decided to make this garland for Christmas!

miamihoney said...

Looks great! The colors work well together and seems easy enough :)

Our Little Beehive said...

I love that circle tool. We used it to cut out menus for our wedding - or I should say my husband used it.... I hadn't thought to use it for anything other than paper. Perhaps I'll be sewing some garland for the tree this year!

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