Friday, March 25, 2011

Felt Circle Garland Tutorial

How to make a 10-ft long garland of 2-inch circles with felt on one side and fabric on the other. Like so:

Bytheway: I'm using these four fabrics plus a few more for a new quilt.
I'll show you the finished top next week.

Here's what you need:
2-inch circle template (or bottom of a cup--whatever)
3 sheets of felt (you can cut 20 circles out of each one)
Fabric (you can use just one print, a few different coordinating prints, scraps or yardage, whatever works)
Sewable Heat-n-bond Lite (or comparable)
Invisible thread

The full, multi-photoed instructions are just a click away...

Using your template, trace 60 circles onto your heat-n-bond.

Trace onto the papery side, not the webby side.
You don't need to number them...I just do it to keep
myself from counting and recounting and recounting.

Roughly cut out each circle. Not all the way to your drawn line, but you have to get pretty close to go the efficient route of fitting 20 on each sheet of felt. Now place your circles webby side down on your felt and run over them with an iron to fuse. If you like wasting felt, feel free to just slap a whole section of your heat-n-bond paper onto your felt willy-nilly...that would save you the time of pre-cutting the circles, but saving materials always beats out saving time if you ask my frugal-pants.
Fusing: cotton heat setting, no steam, about three seconds.
Ahh, maximum capacity.

Step 3:
Cut out all of those circles right on your traced line. I find it helpful to cut the sheet into squares first.

Do it for all three of your sheets of felt.
Step 4:
Fuse all those bad boys onto your fabric.
First, peel of the paper backing that's left on your felt circles. 

Now you've got two options: 

You can lay out your pretty fabric with the wrong side facing up, then put your circles on top of it with the fusing side down (touching the fabric), then iron on top of the felt to adhere them to the fabric. BUT, it's a little more difficult to send the heat all the way through the felt. You have to press extra-super hard (like standing up and pressing with all your weight), and sometimes it still doesn't stick together very well.

SO, I always go with option two: lay out your circles with the fusing side facing up, making sure that they're arranged in a way that will fit on the fabric you are using. Then, place the pretty fabric on top of your circle collection, with the wrong side down. Iron on top of the fabric to adhere it to them. You don't have to press as hard since the fabric is thinner than felt.

But maybe you're stronger than me (maybe), so it's your choice.

All arranged, fusing side up.
Fabric is right on top of those circles, iron them on.
Same cotton heat setting, about 10 seconds this time.
They're stuck together forever now.
Repeat for all your circles on as many fabrics as you like.
I like four fabrics.
Step 5:
More cutting. Now cut all of those circles out of your fabric. 

Do this again if you makes it easier. Promise.
Like so.
Step 6:
Time to head to your sewing machine. You can use any type of thread really, but I like invisible thread. Because it's invisible. And also strong.

Decide if you want your pretty garland circles to go in a pattern or to just be random. I wanted a pattern. This one:

So I laid them out on my sewing desk in order.
Put your first circle under the foot and start sewing close to the top edge. Backstitch a little here, then just sew right down to the bottom.
When you get very near the bottom edge stop with your needle down. Then lift up the foot and slide the next circle under it. Foot back down and just keep sewing. It's okay if there are a few stitches between each circle. And you don't need to backstitch again until the very end of your garland.

 Just keep feeding those circles in.
Pretty soon, you have a pretty circle garland
snaking out the back of your machine.
When you come to your very last circle, backstitch again right at the end. Trim your invisible threads. Gasp and wonder at what an easy and beautiful project this was.

The display options are limitless:
Hang it around your chandelier.
Around the banister.

Or from your mantel.
They even look nice just stacked up.
See the invisible thread? Of course you can't. It's invisible.

Questions, comments? Let me know. Criticisms? There is no room for haters here. Move along.

P.S. Finished garland is now available in the shop.

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