Monday 20 October 2008

Felt Ornament How-To # 2: Baubles

Thanks to the guys at WhipUp for giving my first ornament tutorial a mention! & of course hello to anyone discovering my blog from there :)

Today's how-to is for a super-simple design with almost endless possibilities! It's so simple, you don't even need a pattern but you will need...

A sewing needle
Some pins
Assorted colours of felt (though you can get away with 1 colour)
Matching sewing thread
Sewing/fabric scissors
A piece of paper, a pencil, and something circular to draw round
Ribbon, sequins, buttons, ricrac, any decorative odds and ends you can lay your hands on!

1. First up you need to make your basic bauble pattern. To do this find something circular, eg a drinking glass, and draw round it. Then at the top of the circle draw a rectangle with a semicircle on top of it, like this:


(you can leave off the semicircle if you prefer). Cut these out and you're ready to go! You can easily make an assortment of different sized patterns for variety or to suit different locations. We only ever have a tiny Christmas tree so our ornaments have to be small, but the bigger your bauble the more decoration you can put on them. Pin your pattern to your choice of felt and cut out two pieces (a front and a back) for each bauble:

2. Choose a piece of ribbon to be the hanging loop for your ornament. The type of ribbon you choose will depend on the size of your bauble, but you need it to be at least 5 inches (12 cms) long. I chose a narrow red ribbon for my small black bauble (to stand out clearly from the black) and used a bit of sparkly silver ribbon left over from some parcel-wrapping for my large burgundy bauble. Fold your ribbon over to form a loop and sew the two cut ends to the inside of one of your pieces so that the ribbon seems to be emerging from the shape at the top...


... remember to use matching thread!

3. Now flip this piece over and you've got the front of your bauble ready to decorate (if you're worried about your stitches looking messy you can sew the ribbon to the back piece instead).

4. How you decorate it will depend on your stash of crafty supplies and the size of the bauble you're working with but there are two basic methods to choose from.

One of the easiest (and most sparkly!) methods is to just cover the whole circle shape with sequins, either a mix or all one colour, for some serious Christmas bling. Use three stitches to secure each sequin - if you're using all the same colour sequins you can match your thread to them (eg I used white when sewing silver sequins), but if you're using a mixed bag try using thread that matches the felt you're sewing them to so the stitches you use become part of the decorative detail themselves. On a large bauble you could perhaps use buttons instead.


The second method is based on stripes. At its most basic this means sewing a small strip of ribbon or line of sequins onto a small bauble, but with a bit of imagination you can create some really fab looking designs packed with detail. You can use anything to make your stripes - ribbons, ricrac, embroidery thread, sequins, lace, strips of patterned fabric, or even strips of coloured felt. Here's how I decorated my large bauble...

I layered two pieces of bright ribbon to create a lovely stripey effect, pinning them in place and making sure to leave enough length to tuck the ends "inside" the bauble neatly without pulling too tightly and distorting the shape. A narrow patterned ribbon on top of a wider plain one would look great!


I stitched them in place with matching thread, but you could try contrasting thread for a bit more detail.


Then I added some sequins. It's always a good idea to lay these out in a row to test how many will fit before you start sewing and discover you've run out of space! If you want to test out a complicated design of sequins, ribbons, ricrac etc remember that you have your backing bauble shape to hand: you can lay all your items out on that and remove them one at a time to sew to the real thing. Another couple of tips for sewing the sequins: just use two stitches, so the stitches themselves form a line (this looks lovely and neat) and always start with the middle sequin to get in nicely centred.


5. After you've finished all your embellishments, all that remains is to sew the front and back of your baubles together. Pin the front and the back so they're exactly how you want them, then sew all around the outside and secure with a knot at the back of your bauble. Then sit back and admire your work :)

Please note: this tutorial is NOT intended for commercial use. You can make as many of these ornaments as you like (they make great gifts!) but please don't sell them or reproduce my tutorial anywhere without my permission. If you give it a mention, please do link back to the original page & if you make the ornaments please let me know - I'd love to hear how it went & would adore to see pictures!
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michelle said...

They're all fab but the black ones really 'ping'!

Anonymous said...

Simoe but effective and nice! I guess one could also add a layer of filler between the felt...hmm and fasten the sequins with a bead and... you got me started!

Little Birdie Secrets said...

Those are so CUTE!

Anonymous said...

Really cute! Thanks for sharing that great tutorial.

Dot said...

Hey! I linked to several of yours in my ornament roundup today. Nice work!

Charissa said...

Lovely, lovely, lovely. Modern but still festive! Looking up some inspiration for felt ornaments and this is definitely one of the best. Thanks!