The super talented Laura Howard designed this beautiful autumn wreath for a class for our West Hampstead shop and now she is sharing a tutorial for all of you to make at home! If you’d like to take one of Laura’s classes you can find them here.
We love this wreath so much, but if you don’t fancy making the whole wreath the templates can be used to make a toadstool brooch or you can add ribbon loops to turn the toadstools into Christmas ornaments!
You will need:
*The template sheet (opens as a pdf in a new page to print)
*A 30cm polystyrene ring wreath base
*Chunky yarn in an autumnal shade
*Red, white and dark brown wool or wool-blend felt
*Matching red, white and dark brown sewing thread
*Assorted autumnal shades of felt for the leaves. Laura used Pumpkin Spice, Butternut Squash, Old Gold, Barn Red and Copper Kettle
*Red, orange and light brown embroidery thread
*Embroidery scissors (these are great for cutting out felt shapes!)
*Sewing needles and pins
*Glue gun and glue
*Heat-proof mat for the glue gun
*Newspaper to protect your workspace from any glue drips
*Optional: air-erasable fabric marker pen, a pencil
To make the toadstools:
1. Use the templates provided to cut out the toadstool pieces (as marked on the template sheet). Pin each paper template onto the correct felt colour, cut around it carefully with embroidery scissors then remove the pin. Don’t throw away any scraps of white felt as you’ll need them to decorate the toadstools. Both sizes of toadstool (large and small) are constructed in the same way.
2. Place the two white toadstool pieces together. Starting near the top of the cap, begin sewing the edges together with whip stitch and white sewing thread. Sew down the stalk then up the other side, stuffing it gradually with small pieces of toy stuffing. Continue sewing up around the cap, leaving a small gap at the top. Stuff the cap with more toy stuffing then sew up the gap with more whip stitches.
Tip: use the closed blades of your embroidery scissors or the point of a pencil to gently poke the stuffing into all the corners of the toadstool so it’s evenly stuffed.
3. Use embroidery scissors to cut out an assortment of small circles from the white felt scraps. You could cut these freehand (they don’t need to be perfect circles!) or use an air-erasable marker pen to draw circles on the felt and cut them out. Arrange the circles on one of the red cap pieces. For a natural-looking toadstool, make sure your arrangement isn’t symmetrical. One by one, sew each circle in place with white sewing thread and an X of two stitches.
Tip: don’t position the circles too close to the edge of the cap – remember you’ll need to sew around the edge of the cap in the next step.
4. Sandwich the stuffed toadstool shape between the two matching red cap pieces. Start stitching where the cap and stalk meet, sewing up and around the cap until you reach the top of the stalk again. Use whip stitch and matching red sewing thread, joining the edges of the red felt so the white felt cap is completely hidden inside.
5. Continue whip stitching across the bottom of the red cap, sewing through all the layers of felt and stuffing and pulling each stitch tight. Turn the toadstool back and forth as you sew, so you can make sure your red stitches aren’t overlapping onto the white of the stalk. Finish your stitching neatly at the back.
Variations: for a slightly different look, you could use whip stitch to attach each felt circle instead of an X of two stitches. You could also use white seed beads, white sequins or even small white buttons to decorate the toadstool caps instead of using felt circles.
To make the mushroom:
1. Use the templates provided to cut out the mushroom pieces (as marked on the template sheet). Pin each paper template onto the correct felt colour, cut around it carefully with embroidery scissors then remove the pin.
2. Sew and stuff the two white mushroom pieces, using the method described in step 2 of the toadstool instructions (above).
3. Position the brown mushroom cap piece (A) on the white mushroom cap piece (B) and pin it in place. Use dark brown sewing thread and whip stitch to sew along the bottom edge of the brown felt shape. Remove the pin. Turn the cap pieces over and carefully trim the excess white felt above the line of stitching, as shown below right.
4. Place the white stalk piece on the cap pieces as pictured below, so the top of the stalk slightly overlaps the bottom of the mushroom cap. Hold or pin the layers of felt together and whip stitch along the top of the stalk with white sewing thread.
5. Cut a piece of light brown embroidery thread and separate half the strands (so, for six-stranded thread use three strands). Switch to a larger needle if necessary and backstitch around the top of the stalk, sewing flush with the edge of the felt. Then use an air-erasable fabric marker pen to draw several lines radiating from the top of the stalk. Sew along each line with backstitch and more half strands of light brown embroidery thread. Don’t sew all the way to the edge of the white felt – leave a small gap at each end of the lines, as shown below.
If you don’t have an air-erasable pen just sew the lines freehand using the photo as a guide.
6. Place the embroidered mushroom on the stuffed mushroom shape, lining up the stalks. Starting at the top of the stalk, sew down the stalk and around it using white sewing thread and whip stitch to join the pieces together. Then add the brown mushroom cap piece (B) at the back and begin stitching up around the cap. Start with white thread, switch to brown as you sew around the brown felt, and then switch back to white again on the other side of the cap.
Finally, sew along the bottom edge of the cap at the back of the mushroom (don’t stitch through all the layers as in step 5 of the toadstool instructions) then finish your stitching neatly.
Variation: instead of making a mushroom and three toadstools to decorate the wreath, you could use the “mushroom” and “mushroom cap B” templates to make a third red and white toadstool.
To make the leaves:
1. Use the leaf templates provided to cut out 24 felt leaves in assorted autumnal colours (12 large and 12 small). Pin each paper template onto your chosen felt colour, cut around it with sewing scissors then remove the pin. I used six felt colours, cutting two large and two small leaves of each colour.
2. Add detail to your leaves with half strands of contrasting embroidery thread (i.e. for six-stranded embroidery thread just use three strands). Sew a line of running stitches down the centre of each leaf then finish your stitching at the back and trim any excess threads.
Variation: keep the leaves unstitched for a simpler look, or mix and match stitched and unstitched leaves.
To wrap the wreath base:
Chunky yarn is perfect for wrapping the wreath! I chose brown yarn, which goes well with the autumnal colours of the wreath but allows the leaves and toadstools to stand out. Grey or black would also look great, as would an autumnal shade like burnt orange or mustard yellow to match your leaf colours.
Tip: if you’re using thinner yarn, use two balls of matching yarn and wrap with two strands at once (one from each ball) to save time.
1. Secure the yarn with a knot at what will become the back of your wreath. Begin wrapping the yarn around the wreath base, passing the skein/ball of yarn through the hole in the centre of the wreath as you wrap the yarn around the outside.
2. Hide the loose yarn end under the yarn as you wrap, and make sure that you’re not leaving any gaps where the white wreath base shows through. Continue wrapping, gradually covering the whole of the wreath base with your chosen yarn. This can take a while, so I highly recommend wrapping your wreath while watching a film or an episode of your favourite TV show.
3. Once the whole wreath base has been covered with yarn, tie a knot securely at the back and carefully trim the loose end so it won’t be visible when the wreath is hung up.
To assemble the wreath:
1. Arrange the leaves on the yarn-wrapped wreath base, using the photo below as a guide. When you’re happy with the arrangement pin each leaf in place, inserting the pin at the bottom of each leaf.
2. Heat up your glue gun then use it to attach the leaves to the wreath. Work inwards, holding the leaf back and applying a small dab of glue to the wreath then lightly pressing the outer/top half of the leaf down so it sticks in place. Then remove the pin from the bottom of the leaf and glue the lower half.
When you reach the central cluster of leaves, glue all the outer/top halves of the leaves then remove the central pins and glue the inner/bottom halves of the leaves one by one.
IMPORTANT: take care when working with the glue gun as the glue gets very hot! Always place it on a heat-proof mat when not in use, and use newspaper to protect your workspace. Work slowly, squeezing the gun with care to control the amount of glue you’re using and keeping your fingers out of the way of the hot glue.
Tip: you may find it helpful to test glue a couple of scrap pieces of felt before you start, so you can see how much glue you need to use to hold each piece in place.
3. Arrange the mushroom and two toadstools on the leaves. When you’re happy with their position, glue them in place one by one. Apply several dabs of glue to the back of each mushroom/toadstool where it will lie against the leaves, then place it in position and press firmly.
4. Finally, cut a length of yarn or co-ordinating ribbon and knot it securely around the top of the wreath. Use this to hang the wreath in your chosen spot.