Friday, December 31, 2010

Fabric Garland

This whimsical garland would be a perfect decoration for a child's birthday party, a wedding, a holiday celebration or a baby shower. The fun bright colors and different sizes and shapes will make any space more festive and inviting!


This is enough to make at least a 40 foot garland!
  • Lots and lots of scraps in at least 10 different patterns. This would be a great use of fat quarters and it's also a fun and effective way to whittle away at your stash! (You may recognize some of the above patterns from my previous projects such as "Fabric Window Valentines", and the "Patchwork Easter Eggs".) You can get at least 6 feet of garland for every 1/4 yard (or fat quarter) of fabric!
  • 1 spool Gutermann Invisible thread
  • 1 set of Garland Templates which you can download here and here.
  • 1 heavy paper bag

Cut Fabrics 

Download and print the Garland Templates above. Transfer them to your paper bag and cut them out. I like to iron my paper bag first (but make sure not to use steam). It's helpful to use a heavy paper bag as opposed to just cutting out the original print-out because you'll be using the templates so much and you don't want them to wear down.
Press one of your garland fabrics and fold it in half, wrong sides together (so the right side is facing out.) Trace your templates onto the fabric. I did at least one tracing of each template on each fabric I had, and I also tried to do more of the smaller shapes than the bigger ones. The biggest shapes work best as an occasional accent.

Cut out each shape. Since you are cutting on a doubled piece of fabric every shape cut will actually yield two pieces, both with their right sides facing. Keep these pieces together, you will treat them as one piece from now on. That way the garland won't have a right and a wrong side.
Cut the template shapes out of every fabric keeping like shapes together. Make sure to keep the front and back of each shape together as well.
This is the sort of project that's better to do over time as opposed to all in one day. I cut out the shapes in my spare time over a week or so (My hand got tired if I did too many!) and kept them in a box together until I was ready to sew.

Sew Garland 

Thread your machine and bobbin with the invisible thread.
Sew with a 1/4-inch seam allowance along the top edge of each set of pieces. Again, make sure that you're keeping the front and back of each piece together.
Pick another piece at random, place it directly after the piece you've just sewn, and continue sewing. Do not pick up the foot.
There should be very little (if any) distance between the sewn pieces. 
When sewing a flower piece, as shown above, sew your seam through the middle of the shape. For all other shapes sew with a 1/4-inch seam along the top.
Sewing the pieces together is the most fun part of this project. Try to vary the colors and shapes often. As you get going it will go faster and faster.
Just keep sewing in this manner until you reach your desired length. Keep the garland neat as you sew because it will get long quickly. You might want to wrap it around a piece or cardboard as it grows to keep track of it.
Here is a picture of the final garland. Notice how each piece has two right sides so it will look good from any angle.

This also works with felt... in that case you dont have to double up your fabric!

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