by Ellen B. Wright
Why are felt ornaments so awesome? Here are five reasons!
- They’re quick! It’s easy to finish a few in an afternoon.
- They’re cheap! Buy craft-sized squares of felt in a variety of colors for under a dollar at your local craft store (or online).
- They’re cute! There are all sorts of adorable patterns out there, including Lark’s very own Fa la la la Felt and ‘Tis the Season to Be Felt-y. They’ll look great on your tree or make great gifts.
- They’re easy! Simpler designs are accessible for beginning sewers, but still turn out looking good.
- They’re customizable! Simpler designs aren’t the only designs; we ambitious crafters can tackle more intricate styles.
You’ll be able to handle the basics once you’ve finished reading this short post. If you know how to thread a needle and stitch a basic running stitch, you’re more than prepared to make some adorable felt ornaments. (Back stitch, mattress stitch, and satin stitch will give you more options, if you know them or want to learn them, and tutorials are included in the books listed above.)
Felt ornaments run the gamut from completely flat to three-dimensional — almost like a stuffed animal. The most common variety, though, are the ones with a two-dimensional design but just a bit of shape. The base for that look: a front and back and a tiny amount of stuffing.
This tutorial will show you how to make two ornaments on the simpler side. The first: two triangles in green and a rectangle in red or brown — a Christmas tree! Second: two circles of a bright, matching color plus a rectangle of white at the top, and you’ve got a flattened version of a round Christmas bauble, a classic tree ornament.
This year, I made several more complex ornaments: the faces of a Santa, a snowman, and a penguin, all of which started out as plain circles with other shapes added in. You could also make a little scene out of smaller scraps for a felt pseudo-snowglobe. Once you get started, the possibilities are endless.
More felt. More felt, in contrasting or complementary colors, is the easiest way to embellish your ornaments. I attached them using a running stitch; you could also use fabric glue.
Ribbons. Plain or patterned, metallic or matte — almost anything would work on the right design. As with the felt, sew or glue it on.
Buttons, etc. We’re going to snazz up our tree with some multicolored buttons. Other similar options: sequins or mini jingle bells!
- I used a little bit of embroidery on my circular ornaments to make the Santa’s, reindeer’s and snowman’s eyes. Elegant embroidery contrasts well with the homey feel of felt to make stunning ornaments.
Most of the time, it’s easiest to do the embellishment before you sew the body of the ornament together, though there are exceptions. For my Santa and snowman, for example, I added the hat in after the rest of the ornament is finished.
Putting It All Together
1) Cut out two tall isosceles (two sides are the same length and the third is different) triangles of green felt and a square of brown or red felt, for the tree; two circles of a bright color (I’ve used red) and a white square for the baubles.
2) Sew or glue on your embellishments. My tree is decorated with buttons, and the bauble with stripes of felt in other bright colors.
3) Place any pieces that need to stick out — tree trunk, the top of the bauble, ears or antlers, etc. — between the two layers of felt that make up the body of your ornament. Pin them in place.
4) Sew around the outside of the ornament with mattress stitch in a contrasting color (I used black), stitching in any pieces you’ve placed between the two layers as you go. (You could also sew it up with a running stitch or a backstitch if you prefer.) Pause when about an inch is left open.
5) Stuff the ornament lightly through that one-inch hole, then finish sewing around. Give the ornament a good massage to get the stuffing spread evenly.
6) Once you’re happy with your ornament, thread a bit of cord through the top, and you’re ready to hang it on your tree!
For more holiday-themed felt ornaments as well as lots of project ideas for stockings, garlands, and decorations, pick up a copy of Fa la la la Felt and ‘Tis the Season to be Felt-y at your local bookstore today!
About the Author:
Ellen B. Wright works as a book publicist in New York City. Her mother taught her to sew, her grandmother taught her to knit, and they both taught her to take Christmas decorating very seriously.