We’re thrilled that Laura Howard is back with a tutorial for her lovely vintage-style felt Christmas baubles! Read on for the tutorial and if you’d like to take one of Laura’s classes you can find them here.
Sew a set of felt ornaments for your Christmas tree or to give as gifts this season! These decorations were inspired by pretty vintage glass baubles and are so much fun to sew.
Make them in classic red and greens, retro pink, turquoise and lilac, or any colour combo that takes your fancy. Mix and match the colours across the set, and decorate them with co-ordinating embroidery thread, ribbons and trims, plus sequins and beads to add some festive sparkle. You could also use things like mini buttons and mini pompoms, or even strips of festive fabric cut with pinking shears.
You will need:
The template sheet provided (click here to download and print the PDF)
*Three co-ordinating shades of wool felt for the baubles
*Light grey felt for the bauble caps
*Sewing thread to match all the felt colours
*Embroidery thread in co-ordinating colours
*Narrow ribbon for hanging the baubles (approx. 7 inches per bauble)
*Assorted co-ordinating ribbons, ric-rac, sequins and seed beads for decorating the baubles
*Embroidery scissors (these are great for cutting out small shapes!)
*Sewing needles and pins
*Optional: air erasable fabric marker, a ruler, toy stuffing, and pinking shears
To make each bauble:
- Use the templates provided to cut two matching bauble pieces from your chosen shade of felt, and two cap pieces from light grey felt. Pin or hold the paper templates onto the felt as you cut around them.
- Use pinking shears to cut a contrasting strip of felt to sit in the middle of the bauble. You can cut this by eye, or use a ruler and an air erasable fabric marker to draw guide lines to cut along. You can make this felt strip as wide or narrow as you like, but it must be long enough to overhang each side of the bauble as shown.
Don’t have a pair of pinking shears? Just cut a straight edge with your sewing scissors instead.
- Pin the felt strip to one of the bauble pieces and trim it to size. Using running stitch and matching sewing thread sew along the top and bottom edge, then remove the pin.
Now comes the fun part: decorating the bauble! You can use the photos in this post as inspiration, or get creative and come up with your own bauble designs. The basic design principle to follow is to add the embellishments in rows, keeping things as symmetrical as possible.
- Start by adding ribbon and/or ric-rac. To add each piece, cut a length slightly wider than the bauble (so it overhangs the edges by 1-2 cm at each side). Pin or hold the ribbon/ric-rac in place and sew along it with matching sewing thread. You can use running stitch, or sew tiny whip stitches along the edges. Fold the ends of the ribbon / ric-rac over and secure it at the back of the bauble shape with a few whip stitches, sewing into the felt but not through it.
You could add one piece of ribbon or add several pieces (as shown above). Create contrast and detail by sewing a narrow ribbon on top of a wider one, or by sewing a piece of ric-rac onto a second strip of contrasting felt (add this felt strip using the same method as in steps 2 and 3, but without the pinked edges).
- Next, add some embroidery. Use co-ordinating embroidery thread, separate half the strands (so for six-stranded embroidery thread, just use three strands at a time) and switch to a larger sewing needle if necessary.
If you’re an embroidery whizz you can add any stitches you fancy. I decorated my baubles with lines of running stitch and simple patterns of Xs and Vs, each sewn from pairs of stitches.
To help keep your designs symmetrical, sew outwards from the centre of each row then fill in the second half with the same number of stitches.
Tip: If you have trouble keeping your stitched lines straight, use an air-erasable marker and a ruler to mark guide lines to sew along.
- To finish the decoration, add a selection of sequins and small beads. Use matching sewing thread to sew each embellishment in place – I used thread to match the felt / ribbon I was sewing onto, but you could match your thread to the embellishments themselves if you prefer.
Sew each seed bead with a double thickness of thread, using one stitch per bead. Secure each sequin with two or three stitches, depending on the size and shape of your chosen sequins. I used two stitches for the round sequins, and three for the stars.
- Turn over the undecorated bauble piece. Position the two cap pieces on the top of the bauble pieces (which will become the front and back of the bauble) and sew them in place with two stitches each: one between each scallop.
You’ll see that the cap pieces are larger than the cap shape on the top of the bauble – this is so that when you sew the grey felt caps together the bright felt of the bauble tops will be completely hidden inside the grey caps.
- Turn the back bauble piece over again, and add a ribbon loop to the top. Cut a length of narrow ribbon about 7 inches long, fold it in half to form a loop and sew the ends in place with whip stitch and matching sewing thread. Take care to sew into the felt, not through it.
- Place the two layers of the bauble together and begin joining the edges. Start with the cap, sewing around it with whip stitch and matching grey sewing thread.
If you want to stuff the baubles, add a very small piece of toy stuffing to the cap.
Then start sewing around the edge of the bauble, using whip stitch and matching sewing thread. If you’re leaving the bauble unstuffed, sew all the way round the bauble and finish your stitching neatly at the back.
If you’re adding stuffing, sew most of the way round then stuff the bauble evenly with small pieces of toy stuffing and sew up the gap.
Tip: When sewing the long bauble, I’d recommend stuffing it gradually as you sew up the second side.