Thursday, October 27, 2011
Festive Fabric Wreath Tutorial
I have been wanting to do a tutorial for a while, so I am very excited to have a good reason to do a nice, easy, no sew Festive Fabric Wreath for my first one. These are perfect for Christmas, but can be used for any holiday or season with just a change in fabric color selection. This could even be a great gift for a baby shower, decor for a party, to show your support for a team by using team colors. The ideas are endless. This is not an original creation, by any means, but it is a beautiful way to use up all those fabric scraps or just the ugly roll of mint green glitter fabric that keeps mocking you every time you open your fabric bin. For me, my Christmas fabric has been mocking me for 3 years ... daring me to come up with some creative way to use it. The prints are a bit un-inspiring and juvenile. I like them ... or I must have because I bought them at some point, but they don't stand alone all that well. Not to mention, I need them out of my fabric closet ... now. New fabric, more inspiring fabric is standing by to take its place immediately.
I started searching for any idea that I could mix and match all this red, white, and green festive flair. I had seen rag wreaths before and had recently been inspired by a rag rug demonstration I saw at the LA County Fair. I was thinking some kind of shaggy chic, raw, small pieces project would suit this fabric best. I found several tutorials on how to make a fabric wreath, but the one I liked the most and followed was on a blog called The Daily Sweat Pants - here. I made a few changes to my wreath, but hers is so pretty, I wanted to make sure I gave her some credit for inspiring me.
This is a very simple craft. You don't need to sew a thing. It costs less than $5 if you already have the fabric and the tools. This is also a great craft for a pre-teen or teen who is into this kind of Martha Stewart stuff because all it requires is the ability to use scissors and tie knots. I should also mention patience ... you are definitely going to need some of that.
Fabric Scissors or Pinking Shears - Just a word of advice... don't ever use your fabric scissors or pinking shears to cut paper, it will ruin your scissors. Make sure for this project (or any other fabric project) you have a nice sharp pair of scissors that have not been used on paper and be sure to set them aside as fabric only, so you can use them in the future. It will save your hand and you will thank me.
Fabric Scraps - For the wreath pictured above I cut my scraps into 2" W x 5 " L strips. I cut them straight down parallel to the selvages, but I cut some the other way and it didn't seem to make any difference. Do not worry about them being perfect or straight or if their are snags or stains ... no one will ever see it. The next wreath I make I will cut the fabric strips 1 1/2" W x 5" L. I think it will make the knots easier and faster to tie. You can play with the sizes of the strips. I think it looks more uniform if you stick with one size for the entire wreath, though. Anywhere between 1" W and 2" W, but the length is really good at 5", IMO. Use any fabrics, never mind the prints, but focus on the color. It's also really nice to add a little tulle in there for body and texture.
Wire Wreath- I bought a 12" one that has 4 layers of wiring. It was only $3 at Joann, but I think you can find them at Michaels or any other craft store like those. They make different sizes.
Things that are not necessary, but will speed things up ...
Self Healing Mat - If you plan to sew or cut lots of fabric in the future I recommend investing in one of these. They usually run around $25. You need one of these if you want to use one of these ...
Rotary Cutter - these are great for cutting straight lines. It really speeds up the whole process of cutting fabric. I don't recommend these for pre-teens. Older teens it should be fine, but always (adults included) be sure to close the blade every time you set it down. You can get a regular blade for a straight cut or you can get a pinking blade for a zig zag cut (I used a pinking blade on the wreath pictured above). If you get one of these ... you will need one of these ....
See-thru Sewing Ruler- These are great. You can easily measure the fabric and slice clean lines along the edge of the ruler with your rotary cutter.
I cannot live without my self healing mat, rotary cutter, and ruler.
1) Cut up your fabric scraps into 1 1/2" (or 2" if you prefer) W x 5" L with either pinking or straight scissors or rotary cutter. Direction doesn't seem to matter, but I cut parallel to the selvage. (I used pinking shears/cutter on mine)
2) Find something good on TV, get yourself a nice drink, find a good spot on the sofa, stretch your fingers and then get ready to tie some knots. Take your cut piece of fabric and fold it in half length wise, so the wrong sides of the fabric are together and the print is facing out. That way when you tie it onto the wire wreath you will see mostly print and not the back side of the fabric. There is no need to fold the tulle in half. You only need to make a single knot. No need to waste time making double knots. There is probably a smart way to go about doing this, like working from the bottom ring out or the top ring in, but I kinda went all over the place and it came out just fine. I also didn't stick to a strict pattern, but I did try to somewhat follow one just to keep from having the same fabric right next to one another along the same wire. Use as many or as few prints as you like. For my wreath I used 10 different fabrics (2 were tulle and 2 of the fabrics I had to use sparingly).
3) Keep tying. Stop cursing me!
4) Tie some more! If you are tired of tying you can always go to my Etsy shop and buy a Christmas wreath already made by me :) - trust me, you will entertain this idea about half way through the wreath .... but keep on tying because it is going to be gorgeous!
5) Finish it off any way you like! Add an already made bow, or make your own. Make sure you give it something to hang from. I just cut 3 long 1" strips of fabric and braided them together and tied them to the wreath to keep with a raw, natural look.
6) Hang it and enjoy! Then start making one for Valentine's Day and Spring! lol