DIY, Felt Leaf Garland
Last Christmas I started a project that I vowed to finish this year - a felt garland to hang in our home for Christmas. I was inspired by Dickens "A Christmas Carol" - Growing up, we'd watch the movie before Christmas and what always stood out for me (what symbolized Christmas) was the beautiful scenes in Nephew Fred's home during the holidays. I have images of green garlands hanging throughout his home - colour, sparking silver, family, carols. It was warm and inviting. (You may have also noticed I've been pinning a lot of Christmas Garlands over on Pinterest)
I decided to make my own - a garland I could pull out year after year. I couldn't find any similar projects or tutorials online so my "how to" tutorial here is really a lot of "I tried this, and I tried that" and there is no formula for the perfect garland. But that's ok, as I think the less you follow instructions on this one, the better it will turn out.
Anyhow ---I'm happy with how the project turned out so here is my how to, on how you can make your own to.
All of the instructions are in that video above, but if you want my "written" word, and details, click to read more after the jump. I don't typically like doing "read more" links but for this particular post I am because it's pretty darn long.
HOW TO MAKE A FELT LEAF GARLAND
The summary is, this project is super easy. But it may intimidate some as there are no templates, or no real "how to's" It's a mix of winging it, trying things out, fiddling with the placement of leaves and just having a good time making it. I have to stress that this project is for a beginner - I started this project without owning a sewing machine and then completed it with a sewing machine that I *just* got. So no fancy stitches or tricks. (Note: With a sewing machine is way faster)
What you basically do is layer on the leaves, one over the other, on a strand of felt that you've cut to the length you want. Layering, layering and more layering of leaves all in the same direction - eventually you'll end up with a fluffy strand of felt leaves that you can hang in your home.
To Sew by Hand, or, By Machine
Do you need a sewing machine? No. But it will make it go faster. You see, when I started the project I didn't have a sewing machine so I sat on the couch at night stitching leaves together in front of the TV. It took awhile but was actually quite relaxing. However... I wanted a lot of garland and it was taking a long time so I decided to wait to complete the project until I owned a sewing machine. (Which my Mom gave me this Summer (thanks Mom!))
Leaf SizeThe bigger the better but get some smaller ones in there to fill bald patches and also for variation. I didn't use a template - really, the more "imperfect" the leaf the better in my mind.
The Strand / Backing
Cut a long piece of green felt - the same colour as the leaves so that it hides behind the leaves. To make it easier to hang, cut two "button holes" in the end, to make it easier to hang the strand from hooks (I use 3M hooks)
Attaching the Leaves to the Strand
This was where I had trouble figuring out what was the best way to do it - every strand I did, I did it a different way. It's likely easiest to work from the bottom and layer your leaves as you go up. Between sewing leaves on, fluff it out and see how it is looking.
I completed three strands and hung them in my dining room (above). In the end I raised the garland some more after realizing it was hanging a bit too low...
Anyhow, I love it - and hope you do too!