Tuesday, 3 September 2019

A Year of Wreaths: September Embroidered Oak Leaves Wreath Tutorial

This month’s wreath design celebrates the arrival of autumn! It features berry red yarn, a bit of sparkle, and a cluster of felt oak leaves stitched with the opening line of John Keats’ famous poem ‘To Autumn’: “Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness”.

autumn oak leaves wreath
embroidered felt oak leaves
This tutorial originally appeared on The Village Haberdashery's blog - visit their shop for lots of crafty goodness! I'm sharing all twelve seasonal wreath tutorials here on my blog as the year progresses.

You will need:

The template sheet (click here to view, download and print the PDF)
A 30cm polystyrene ring wreath base
Some dark red yarn (I used two balls of Rico Essentials Soft Merino Aran yarn, in Brick Red)
Beige wool blend felt
Dark red stranded embroidery thread
Gutermann Metallic Effect sewing thread shade 36 (or other gold/copper coloured embroidery or sewing thread)
Some sewing thread (any colour will do)
White tissue paper (or tracing paper, or baking paper)
Sewing scissors
Sewing needles and pins
A fine dark pen
A glue gun and glue
A heat-proof mat for the glue gun
Newspaper to protect your workspace from any glue drips
Optional: embroidery scissors (these are great for cutting out felt shapes)

To make the wreath:

1. Wrap the wreath base with your chosen yarn. Secure the yarn with a knot at what will become the back of your wreath. Begin wrapping the yarn around the wreath base, passing the ball of yarn through the hole in the centre of the wreath as you wrap the yarn around the outside. Hide the loose yarn end under the yarn as you wrap, and make sure that you’re not leaving any gaps where the white wreath base shows through. Continue wrapping, gradually covering the whole of the wreath base, and switch to the second ball when needed.

Wrapping the wreath takes a while, so I highly recommend wrapping your wreath while watching a film or some episodes of your favourite TV show.

Once the whole wreath base has been covered with yarn, tie a knot securely at the back and carefully trim the loose end so it won’t be visible when the wreath is hung up.

wrapping the wreath base with yarn
 yarn-wrapped wreath base

2. Use the templates provided to cut out the leaf shapes from beige felt.

felt oak leaves

3. Trace the words on the template sheet onto pieces of white tissue paper (or tracing paper or baking paper) with a fine dark pen.

poetry ready to stitch

4. Position one of the words on its corresponding leaf and secure it with large tacking stitches.

lettering template attached to the felt leaf

5. Embroider the letters with dark red embroidery thread and backstitch, using half the strands of the thread (so for six-stranded thread just use three strands).

embroidered lettering

6. Remove the tacking stitches then carefully tear away the paper – you may need to use a pin to remove any remaining small pieces.

felt oak leaf with embroidered word

7. Use Gutermann Metallic Effect Thread to stitch veins on the leaf, freehand. Sew a line up the centre of the leaf, sewing between the lettering. Then add lines to each “point” of the leaf, as shown. You could use backstitch for this but I used running stitch, sewing a line and then sewing back along it filling in the gaps between the stitches.

Tip: this metallic thread is easy to sew with, but I’d recommend cutting a shorter length of thread than you’d usually work with to make sure it doesn’t tangle. If you're using stranded embroidery thread, just use a couple of strands for the embroidery.

using metallic thread to embroider the oak leaf
embroidered felt oak leaf

8. Repeat steps 4-7 to embroider all the leaves.

9. Position the leaves on the wreath and pin them in place.

adding the oak leaves to the autumn wreath

10. Use a glue gun to attach the leaves to the wreath. One by one remove the pins and add a small amount of glue to the back of each leaf, pressing it carefully in position on the wreath base.

IMPORTANT: take care when working with the glue gun as the glue gets very hot! Always place it on a heat-proof mat when not in use, and use newspaper or other scrap paper to protect your workspace. Work slowly, squeezing the gun with care to control the amount of glue you’re using and keeping your fingers out of the way of the hot glue.

Tip: you may find it helpful to test glue a couple of scrap pieces of felt before you start, so you can see how much glue you need to use to hold each piece in place.

felt oak leaves on an autumn wreath
felt oak leaves on an autumn wreath
felt oak leaves on an autumn wreath

Hang the finished wreath directly from a hook or a nail, or hang it using a leftover piece of the dark red yarn.

This tutorial is for non commercial use only: you can use it to make as many wreaths as you want for yourself or as gifts, but please don't make any for sale. You may borrow a couple of photos if you want to blog about this project, but remember to credit me and link back to this page on my blog, and do not reproduce my entire tutorial / share my templates on your site. Thanks!

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