Tag Archives: tutorial

One Way to Make a Wreath

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One Way to Make a Wreath (Pattern and Branch)

There are about a billion ways to make a wreath.  It’s just a circle, after all, so it really depends on your own imagination.  A few years ago, a lady at my church showed us a method for wreath-making that I’d like to share with you today.

Here are the supplies you will want to have:

One Way to Make a Wreath (Pattern and Branch)

  •  A metal hanger
  • Newspaper
  • Masking tape
  • Pruning shears or tough scissors (for cutting the branches)
  • Pliers
  • Floral wire

Also, you should have some branches that you’ve cut.  If you can’t work on the wreath the day you cut the branches, keep them outside (or in a cool place) in a bucket of water.

One Way to Make a Wreath (Pattern and Branch)

Here’s what you do:

1.  Stretch out your hanger by pulling the bottom down.

One Way to Make a Wreath (Pattern and Branch)

2.  Use your pliers to straighten out the bends and keep pulling and pushing on the wire until you have it more or less circular.

One Way to Make a Wreath (Pattern and Branch)

3.  Tear your newspaper until the double pages are single (leave the single ones as they are) and fold them lengthwise two times to make long strips.

One Way to Make a Wreath (Pattern and Branch)

4.  Wrap the folded strips of newspaper around the hanger, starting at the top and going around.

One Way to Make a Wreath (Pattern and Branch)

5.  Use masking tape to secure the newspaper to the top of the hanger.  It’s hard to see, but I was originally using off-white masking tape.  I used that to secure the newspaper to the top of the hanger.  I had to switch to blue because the off-white wasn’t peeling off the roll easily.  It seems like a happy accident since the blue is so much easier to see.

One Way to Make a Wreath (Pattern and Branch)

6. Keep wrapping until you’ve gone all the way around.  End by taping the last of the newspaper to the top of the circle.

One Way to Make a Wreath (Pattern and Branch)

7.  Take a bunch of short branches and wrap floral wire around them to secure them.  If your branches are too long, use your pruning shears or some tough scissors to trim them to the size you want.  You don’t need to knot the wire in any way, just wrap right over the end.

One Way to Make a Wreath (Pattern and Branch)

8.  Without cutting the wire, lay your group of branches on part of the wreath form you’ve made and continue to wrap the wire around the form and the branches a few times.  I brought the wire from the inside of the wreath out, but however you find it most comfortable is what you should do.

One Way to Make a Wreath (Pattern and Branch)

9.  Continue to make small bundles of branches and lay each new bunch over the ends of the last bunch.  Hold the new bunch in place and wrap wire around it and the form.  (You won’t be wrapping wire around each bunch before putting it on the form at this point–that was only for the first bunch.)  Make sure not to cut the wire, just lay each new little bundle down and wrap.

One Way to Make a Wreath (Pattern and Branch)

10.  Keep going until you are nearly back to your starting point.

One Way to Make a Wreath (Pattern and Branch)

11.  Carefully cover up the place where you started.  This takes a little bit of trial and error.  I laid a bunch of branches over my starting point, but had to lift some of the pine needles up and wrap the wire under them so it would remain hidden.  You can also wrap wire around and, as long as it’s not too tight, you can pull pine needles out of the wrapping to cover your wire.  Cut the wire, leaving a little bit extra (maybe an inch or two).  When I had finished, I tucked the extra wire under some other wire and twisted it around until it seemed secure.

One Way to Make a Wreath (Pattern and Branch)

12.  Now you have a basic wreath.  Time to add a little bit of interest.

One Way to Make a Wreath (Pattern and Branch)

13.  Take a few berries or some pinecones or whatever you like the look of.  Make a little bunch, wire them together like you did in Step 7 and, without cutting the wire, wrap it around the wreath while holding the bunch in place.  Try placing it slightly under some of the pine needles so the wire doesn’t show.  Secure the wire by wrapping it around itself like you did when you finished the wreath (just make it up until it feels secure).  Use the hook from your hanger to hang it up.

One Way to Make a Wreath (Pattern and Branch)

Good job!  You did it!

If you hang this wreath outside in the cold, it should stay nice and green for a long time.  If it’s dry in your area, mist your wreath with water every day or two.

DIY Baby Gifts: Flannel Blanket

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Awhile back we talked about baby gifts.  I want to share one of my go-to baby gifts with you today:  flannel blankets.

DIY Baby Blanket with Pattern and Branch

These blankets are very easy to make (perfect if you are a beginner), and are also very well received.  When I had my children, we were given a mound of blankets, but these blankets, made by my Mom and grandmother, were the ones we used the most and were some of my favorites.  You can make them in various sizes, but the sizing I’ll give you is great as babies pass out the infant stage, but still need to be swaddled, nursed, or just tucked into a stroller or car seat.  The other thing that I love about them is that since flannel has a nap to it, it sort of grips itself, which is excellent if your baby likes to be swaddled or you need a non-slippery blanket for a mom to throw over her shoulder as she nurses.  If you live in a warmer climate, you can also make these out of old sheets or a sheeting material or half flannel, half sheeting.

DIY Baby Blanket with Pattern and Branch

Made by Sue Schwabauer from high quality flannel.

DIY Baby Blanket with Pattern and Branch

Made by Sue Schwabauer from quilting cotton and high quality flannel.  The bottom blanket is a smaller size perfect for a newborn.

DIY Baby Blanket with Pattern and Branch

These are made from an old sheet (top) and a crib sized duvet cover (bottom).

Now that I’ve talked these up so much, let’s get to the directions!

Materials:

  • two lengths of cotton flannel fabric (one for each side), approximately 44″ wide, 1.25 yards long (The goal is to make the blankets approximately square.)

When I buy flannel, I’m often planning to make several blankets.  I usually wait until J0-Ann Fabric has a sale on flannel, and I buy several yards of a print that will work for boys or girls.  Then I buy the same amount of yardage in a solid or another coordinating gender-neutral print.  At other times, I’ll buy several yards of a “girl” print and several of a “boy” print.  My Mom usually gets her flannel at an independent quilt store, and there is a big difference in the feel of the fabric.  I have also recycled sheets and crib sized duvet covers, making nice summer-weight blankets.  Those are just a few different fabric strategies that you can try depending on your budget and requirements for the kind of blanket(s) you want to make.

  • thread color of your choice, contrasting or matching
  • self-healing mat, lipped ruler, rotary cutter (and Kevlar gloves if you want to be EXTRA safe) or fabric scissors and measuring tool of your choice
  • pinking shears or other fabric scissors
  • sewing machine or needle and thread for hand-sewing

Directions:

  1. Prewash and dry your fabric.  You want any shrinking to happen before you sew it up.  I don’t use a dryer sheet when I’m drying fabric in case I ever want to use it with something like Heat ‘N Bond or another fusible, as I’ve been told it won’t adhere well if you’ve used a dryer sheet.
  2. Measure the width of your fabric after it has been washed and dried.  For the last blanket I made, the width (including the selvage) was about 42″.  I typically buy flannel that is around 44″ wide.
  3.  The goal for this step is to even up the ends of your fabric, so if you have a method you like, use that.  If you don’t have a favorite method, you can try what I do.  Fold each piece of fabric in half, matching selvages.  I often have to scoot mine around a bit to get the selvages to match up without wrinkles.  Smooth your fabric out and lay it horizontally on your self-healing mat with the folded edge or the selvages lined up with one of the horizontal measurement marks.  (You can cut each piece of fabric separately or lay one on top of the other once they are smoothly folded and cut them at the same time.)  Then, take your clear, lipped ruler, and place the lip over the top edge.  Line up the right side of the ruler with the vertical measurement mark on the mat that is closest to the end of your blanket.  Holding the ruler in place with your left hand (gloved in Kevlar, possibly), use the rotary cutter to cut off the excess fabric and make a straight edge.  Do the same for the other end of your fabric.  You want the length of the fabric to be similar to the width, but this doesn’t have to be exact, so don’t worry if it’s an inch or two different.  Now you have two squarish piece of fabric that are (in theory) the same size.

    DIY Baby Blanket tutorial with Pattern and Branch

    This picture is slightly different from the description in #3, but I wanted you to be able to see the tools I described and the way the fabric is lined up on the self-healing mat.

  4. Unfold your fabric and match both pieces with right sides together.  Somehow, mine are never truly the same size, so I pick a side or two and line them up as best I can.  Like I said, it doesn’t have to be exact.  Just try to smooth out any wrinkles as you go so that you don’t have one piece of fabric that is flat and one piece that is bubbly or lumpy when you finish.  DIY Baby Blanket tutorial with Pattern and Branch
  5. Using a straight stitch and about a 0.5″ seam allowance, stitch around the blanket, leaving about 8″ unsewn in the middle of one edge.  Unless your blanket edges all match up perfectly (which mine never do), you may have a side (or two or three) where you are just sort of guessing at the seam allowance.  Just do your best to keep your stitching parallel to one edge with something like a 0.5″ seam allowance.  As long as it is generally straight, it doesn’t have to be perfect.  DIY Baby Blanket tutorial with Pattern and Branch
  6. Using your pinking shears or fabric scissors, trim around the edges where you have sewn in order to even the layers up and reduce bulk.  You can also clip diagonally at the corners when you are trimming (just don’t clip into your sewing).
    DIY Baby Blanket tutorial with Pattern and Branch

    Trim around the edges.

    DIY Baby Blanket tutorial with Pattern and Branch

    Clip the corners.

     

  7. Turn the fabrics right side out through the opening you left on one side.  I usually use a pin to pull the fabric at the corners out into points.
    DIY Baby Blanket tutorial with Pattern and Branch

    Turn your fabric right side out.

    DIY Baby Blanket tutorial with Pattern and Branch

    Use a pin to pull the corner fabric out to a point.

     

  8. Smooth everything out and fold the edges in at the opening.  You can pin them together if you like.  I usually don’t, but do what makes you comfortable.
  9. Using a wide zigzag or decorative stitch, stitch around the outside of the blanket, staying fairly close to the edge (especially as you sew over the opening you used to turn the fabric right side out).  You want to catch the fabric at the opening in your stitching.  I think I used about a 0.5 or three-eights inch seam allowance, but as I said, the main thing is to stay close to the edge.

    DIY Baby Blanket tutorial with Pattern and Branch

    I used a wide zigzag stitch for this blanket.

  10. Next, fold your blanket into thirds and mark those thirds with a pin.  DIY Baby Blanket tutorial with Pattern and Branch
  11. Stitch down the blanket from one pin to another (I don’t draw a line, I just start at one pin and aim for the bottom one.) with a straight stitch.  You want to end up with two parallel lines running down the blanket to anchor the two pieces of fabric together so they don’t bunch up.  You can get creative with how you do this.  I think my Mom has sewn a heart or other shape to the middle of the blanket rather than stitching parallel lines, which accomplishes the same thing.  When I do the two lines of stitching, I often get a little bit of fabric that bunches up at the bottom, even though I try to make sure the fabric feeds evenly.    DIY Baby Blanket tutorial with Pattern and Branch

Congratulations!  You did it!  Now fold or package your blanket to give to that special baby in your life.

DIY Baby Blanket tutorial with Pattern and Branch

Faux Fur Purse Tutorial

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I have rarely ventured into the bag-making arena, but recently I made a very simple faux fur purse.  I thought I would share it with you in case you know anyone who needs one…or if you do.  😉

This little purse was my inspiration:

Inspiration for DIY purse tutorial via Pattern and Branch

the inspiration

It’s really an envelope without the flap.  Seemed simple enough, despite the lining (I’m a little bit afraid of lining, but I think it’s got to be one of the next things on my “to learn” list.).

Here are the materials I used:

  • pink faux fur 0.5 yard (this is the amount I bought, but you could probably get away with 0.25 yard)
  • lighter pink lining 0.5 yard (this is the amount I bought, but you could probably get away with 0.25 yard)
  • 1 yard of trim for a strap
  • 1 magnetic snap (This is the first time I’ve used magnetic clasps, and I found the one I bought to be a little strong.  You may want to try the smallest/weakest option if your fabric is thin and flexible, like mine.)
  • 1 decorative button (optional)
  • scrap pieces of interfacing and felt or something similar (maybe 1″ by 1″ or 1.5″ by 1.5″ squares)
  • thread
  • hand-sewing needle
  • needlenose pliers
  • general equipment like scissors, rotary cutter, self-healing mat, clear lipped ruler, sewing machine, pins, your vacuum for all the fur bits, and maybe some Kevlar gloves* for safety

Other important information:

  • Total time: about 3 hours to set everything up, cut, sew, figure out measurements, and clean up.  If you have a dedicated sewing space so that you can skip set-up and clean-up, this should take under 2 hours, especially if you are a fast sewer.
  • Seam allowance:  0.5″
  • Skill level:  beginner who knows how to use all the tools (like sewing machine and rotary cutter, although you can use scissors to cut if that is your preference)

Here’s a look at the finished purse…then we’ll go into the details of how it got made.

Faux Fur Purse Tutorial via Pattern and Branch

The finished product!

How to make your own:

1.  Lay out your outer fabric (the pink faux fur, in this case) and cut a piece that is 8″ by 5″ with your rotary cutter.  You will also need a piece of the outer fabric that is 1.5″ by 8″.  The faux fur that I used was really thin and flexible.  If you are using a thicker or furrier piece, it might help you to read about cutting and sewing with faux fur here first.  It doesn’t hurt to keep your vacuum handy, either.  That faux fur really sheds!

Easy DIY purse tutorial from Pattern and Branch

lay out your faux fur and cut

*After hearing stories about my aunt cutting off the tip of her finger, a former employer cutting into her hand and almost needing reparative surgery, and some quilters with bad rotary cutter injuries (and consequent infections) from my Mom’s emergency room nursing days, I finally moved the Kevlar gloves from the kitchen drawer to my sewing drawer.  I bought them for shucking oysters, which I’ve only done once, but I use the rotary cutter pretty regularly.  Seemed like maybe they should live with their new buddy, the rotary cutter.  You can see them in the picture above.

2.  Cut a piece of your inner lining that is 7.5″ by 4″ with your rotary cutter.

Simple DIY purse from Pattern and Branch

cut your lining

3.  Lay out your larger piece of faux fur so it is wider than it is tall.  Position your strap material so that the ends extend just a bit above the fur.  Make sure the trim isn’t twisted and that it is placed a little bit more than half an inch from the right side and just to the right of middle.  I laid mine with the back side of the trim facing up.  Then lay your smaller fur piece on top, with right sides of the fur together, so that the two fur pieces line up on top.  Pin them along the top.

Simple DIY purse from Pattern and Branch

pin purse strap and smaller piece of faux fur to the larger piece

4.  Sew along your pinned edge with a straight stitch and 0.5″ seam allowance.  When you are finished and flip up the short piece, it should look something like this:

Simple purse DIY from Pattern and Branch

faux fur sewn together with strap

5.  With the shorter piece still up, as in the picture above, match your lining up with the top of the smaller fur piece, right sides together, and pin along the top, as shown below.

Simple purse DIY from Pattern and Branch

pin your lining to your faux fur

6.  Sew along your pinned edge with a straight stitch and 0.5″ seam allowance.

7.  After you’ve done that, go back and do a small zigzag stitch inside the seam allowance along the edges of the two seams you’ve just sewn.

Simple purse DIY from Pattern and Branch

zigzag edges to prevent fraying

When you flip the lining and smaller piece of fur down, it should look like this:

Simple purse DIY from Pattern and Branch

fur, strap, and lining sewn together

8.  Before going on, you’ll want to insert your magnetic clasps, if you are using them.  I used this tutorial to learn how to insert a magnetic snap, since mine didn’t have directions.  I laid out the fabric and folded it in half as it would be when finished to figure out where I wanted the snaps to go so they would snap together when the purse was finished.  Then, I marked where I wanted them to be with a marker on the wrong side of the fabric, and cut little slits along the marks so that I could push the prongs of the snaps through and fold them down.  Before folding them down, though, I also cut slits in a square of interfacing and one of felt and put them over the prongs of each, per the tutorial I mentioned.  I think it gives it a little extra stability.  Make sure the snaps are oriented so that the correct sides are facing one another!  You should be able to see the snaps on the right side of the fabric, and the prongs should be on the wrong (back) side of the fabric.  The scraps of interfacing and felt are also on the side where they won’t be seen once the purse is finished.  I used needlenose pliers to bend the prongs down.  Hopefully this picture will clarify what I’m trying to say (the interfacing is the white square and the felt is the gray square).

Simple DIY purse from Pattern and Branch

insert snaps (view from wrong side of fabric)

Here it is from the right side:

Simple DIY purse from Pattern and Branch

inserted snaps (view from right side of fabric)

8.5.  If you want to be smarter than I was, go ahead and do a little zigzag stitch along the long end of the lining fabric so it doesn’t fray later.  Then you won’t have to do it in step 10.

9.  Next fold your purse with right sides together, snapping the snap shut and making sure your strap/trim is away from the edges, so you don’t sew it into a seam by accident.  Pin all around, leaving most of the end of the lining open so you’ll be able to turn it right side out.  I sewed about an inch in from each side on the end of the lining and left the rest open.

Simple DIY purse from Pattern and Branch

fold purse right sides together and pin around, leaving opening in lining

10. Sew around the edges, except for the opening in the lining with a straight stitch and 0.5″ seam allowance.  Then go back and zigzag in the seam allowance to keep your fabric from fraying.  I also zigzagged the open lining fabric (If you already did this in step 8.5, you can skip it now.  You are ahead of the game!).

Simple DIY purse from Pattern and Branch

sew around the outside, leaving opening in lining

Simple DIY purse from Pattern and Branch

zigzag around the edges to keep the fabric from fraying

Simple DIY purse from Pattern and Branch

zigzag the edge of the lining fabric so it doesn’t fray later

11.  Now turn it right side out.  Don’t forget to unsnap your snap.

Simple DIY purse from Pattern and Branch

turn purse right side out

12.  Fold the very edge of your lining in about 0.5″ and either do a straight stitch (0.25″ seam) or handsew with an invisible stitch to close the lining.  I was impatient, so I just used my machine.  (I’m still working on the patience part of sewing…)

13.  Push your lining and the top piece of faux fur to the inside and snap your snap.

Simple DIY purse from Pattern and Branch

view of purse turned right side out

14.  Last, but not least, sew on your decorative button, if you are using one.

You did it!  You made a purse!  Congratulations!

Faux Fur Purse Tutorial via Pattern and Branch

The finished product!