Thursday, September 25, 2014

Fun Fall Leaf and Garland

Welcome to my FAVORITE time of year!  This week we celebrated my unofficial holiday, Pumpkin Day. 
(aka The first day of Fall)

If you missed it, don't worry, The Weather Channel and Google disagreed as to what day it even happened.  

But whatever day you celebrated, the point is, it is finally FALL!  Go get your pumpkins, people!

To get in the seasonal mood, I made a couple of quick, easy and inexpensive decorations to spruce up my Fall tub of stuff.

So, first, time to liven up that front door with a Fall wreath. :)

I made use of the Fall sales at Hobby Lobby and bought a plain wreath (on sale for $4), and some "blackbeard wheat" (also on sale.)  I also used some feathers I found ($1.99) and some scrap fabric I had at home for the ribbon.

I was going for a mix of these wreaths I found online:

*Note: I wanted light, beautiful wheat stalks like these, but sometimes you have to go with the sale!  But if you're looking for them, they are in the floral section at Hobby Lobby. :)

First, know that this will make a mess... so plan your crafting location appropriately. ;)

I cut the wheat stalks and just started sticking them in the wreath.  If any of the stalks come through the back of the wreath, you can trim them later.  If you want to use hot glue here, you can, but I don't think these are going anywhere. :)

After you have enough wheat on each side of the wreath, gather up the leftover stalks.

I used a twist tie to secure the stalks and fanned them out to have a bow-like shape.

Make a bow out of ribbon or fabric.

Use hot glue to attach the ribbon to the stalks.

I used twine to cover the twist tie... because I pretty much use twine on everything. :)  
Hot glue as needed.

Use your hot glue again to attach the stalk/ribbon to the wreath.  Work your way around the stalk "bow" to make sure everything is well secured.

This is when I added my feathers.... because I also have a problem with feathers, and any other bird-related things. (Why fight it? Isn't everything better with a bird on it?) ;)

I used more fabric to make a loop on top of the wreath to attach it to the wreath hanger on the front door.  This is optional, of course!

Trim up any stalks sticking out from the back of the wreath.


Hang it up, and enjoy. :)


Now, for the indoors.  

I made a quick and fun leaf garland to hang on the mantle, because... why not? :)

I just used extra cardstock/scrapbook paper I had, but you could use fabric, newspaper, or whatever you have handy!  The only other supplies you need are scissors and a needle and thread!

You can use a pen, butter knife or any other thin, blunt tool to make the creases.  It helps to make them over something soft... like a couch cushion. :)

Done!  Go celebrate the season and have a wonderful weekend!

Friday, September 19, 2014

DIY Rag Doll with scrap fabric and felt

Hi again!

Some weeks are just really wonderful, you know?  This has been one of those for me, and one of the most fun parts was working on this sweet little doll for one of my beautiful nieces. :)  I love celebrating birthdays.

So, I was scanning Pinterest to try to find something fun and felt-y to make, and I came across some adorable rag dolls.....

I decided to try to make my own.  :)  Bear with me, I was experimenting.  
If you remember the stuffed fox tutorial, you'll pretty much have everything you need to know for this doll.  I just made a few changes to turn the fox into a little girl with pigtails, but the technique is the same.

What you'll need:
-Scrap felt for face and hair
-Scrap fabric for dress/arms/legs
-Polyfill stuffing
-Sewing machine and thread
-Fabric glue (optional)
-Sharp scissors

Here we go!

First, pick your fabrics.  I wanted this doll to look like she dressed herself, like my spunky niece would.

Next, pick your doll model.  I pulled out my friend Fozzie Bear to help me determine the scale of the doll.

You can make your doll any size you want; use this same process regardless of size.


Now it's time to start cutting your pieces:

1.) You need two felt pieces for the head (front and back)

2.) You need two pieces of felt for the hair (front and back)

I also cut three strips of felt, 1/2" in width for her pigtail braids.

I cut three strips to the lengths of the sheet of felt, then cut them in half to make six. 

3.) You need two triangle-ish pieces for the body/dress.

4.)  You need to cut four pieces to make the arms and four pieces for the legs (Have fun with the fabric!)

5.) *This is optional!*  If you'd like to make a ruffled skirt for the doll, cut an extra strip of fabric.  The fabric scrap's length should be ~1.5x the width of the dress/body piece.  The width of the fabric can be whatever you like, my scrap fabric was ~4" wide.


Now that your pieces are cut, it's time to do the detail work before assembling them.

I used a little bit of fabric glue to secure the hairline to the face and the back of the head. (We'll be sewing this shortly!)

I used embroidery floss to add the face details: 

French knot for the eyes, small stitches for the eyelashes, and backstitching for the mouth-

I used a straight stitch on the machine to secure the hair.  You could choose whatever color thread you like.  I chose a contrasting color... just for fun. :)  You only need to sew here where the hair meets the head/face.  The rest of the hair pieces will be secured when you sew the front/back pieces together.

If you're adding a skirt or other detail to the dress/body, now is the time to do it. :)

I didn't want to break out the iron for this tiny piece of fabric, so I just folded the hems by hand. To make the ruffle, you could also use your machine, but this is definitely small enough to do by hand.

Tie a knot in your thread, fold over about 1/4" on one long side of your fabric, and sew a running stitch.

Pull on the thread to make a ruffle.  Secure the ruffle the dress/body piece with pins.

  I positioned mine so that it was just wider than the body piece.  This way, it will get sewn into the doll and prevent you from needing to hem/finish the sides of the skirt.

Now sew the ruffle onto the body piece with a straight stitch, and pull out your running stitch.

If you want a finished edge on the bottom of your skirt, fold it 1/4" and sew along the edge.

Next, sew the arm/leg pieces together....  

With right sides together, sew along the perimeter, leaving one end open for turning. Repeat for each limb.

Turn the limbs inside out and stuff them. :)


Now it's time to start the assembly process!

First, sew the head pieces to the dress/body pieces.  Make sure right sides are together.  Pin and sew across the bottom of the head piece/top of dress piece.  (I hope that makes sense!)

Now it's time to secure our front and back pieces together.....

If you're adding pigtails, now is the time to position those. Pin them so that when you turn the doll inside out, they will be pointing in the right direction.  (Trial and error were my helpers for this part.)

It is easier for me to pin and sew the head portion first, then work on pinning the arms/legs.  (Feel free to try it another way; this is just what works for me!)

Pin the head pieces together (right sides together), making sure the body pieces are lining up well.

Sew around the perimeter of the head pieces, stopping when you get to the place where the dress meets the head... we can call that the "shoulder joint."

Now that the head/hair pieces are secure, start pinning along the body. 

Just like with the stuffed fox, point the arms and legs inside the body, so that when you turn her right-side out, her limbs are pointing in the right direction. 

*Note: As you add bulk to the doll's body by stuffing in the limbs, be extra careful to pin the dress/body pieces so that they line up well.

If you added a skirt, tuck the edges in so that you don't sew along the bottom of it. You're sewing along the sides of the skirt here, but you want the bottom of it to be free.


Now it's time to sew!  

Sew from one "shoulder joint" to the other, leaving an opening for turning.  (Since the skirt will cover this seam, I left an opening next to one of the legs.)

Now, carefully, turn your doll inside out!

Ta-da!  (My usual words here are, "Wow, I can't believe that worked.") :)

Start stuffing!

Use a blanket stitch to close the seam.

If you didn't add pigtails, you're done!

I wanted her pigtails to be braids. :)

I secured each braid with a few backstitches by hand.

Because a girl isn't complete without her hair accessories, I used small strips of different fabric to make a tie for each braid.  I secured the fabric with a couple of stitches.

Now she's done!

Ready for a birthday party, or tea party, or trip to the zoo.... whatever, she's just ready.

Thanks for reading!  Have a wonderful weekend!