I’m going to be honest, you guys.
This project is insane!
I mean – it’s lovely. A paper-chain inspired garland of hand-embroidered felt rings with hook & loop closures so you can store them easily. It’s sooooo beautiful and looks so warm and cozy and wintry. I’m absolutely enchanted with how it turned out!
But seriously. Hand-embroidered felt garland rings? Twenty-four of them? This is hours and hours and hours (and hours!) of hand embroidery. Of course, I enjoyed every minute of it. But I’d be the first to admit that I’m a little crazy about hand-embroidery on wool felt. This is a project that will keep your hands busy for a LOT of cozy evenings.
If I haven’t talked you out of it yet, here are the instructions. . .
The pattern includes six different band decorations and they all fit on one piece of Magical Embroidery Stuff (aka Sulky Sticky Fabri-solvy). So I did six bands each of four different felt colors for a total of 24 rings. That made a chain 42 inches long. For the materials below I’ll assume you’ll do the same crazy thing. 🙂
What you need
- wool-blend felt – 2 sheets of each color you plan to use (I used grape jelly, babbling brook, denim, and ruby red slippers)
- embroidery thread in matching and contrasting colors (I used DMC #550, 502, 336, 600, 3746, 522, 726 and 3846)
- 2 feet of hook & loop tape
- the pattern (download it here)
- Sulky Sticky Fabri-solvy (optional, but very strongly recommended)
Want to get all your materials with one click? There’s a kit available here.
Throughout the pattern, the links go to video tutorials teaching that skill. If it’s a new stitch or technique for you, just click through to see how to do it!
Here’s how to make it. . .
1. Print the pattern. You can download it here. Print the pattern at 100% size onto four sheets of Sulky Sticky Fabri-solvy (aka The Magical Embroidery Stuff).
2. Peel the backing off and stick the stabilizer/pattern transfer onto the felt.
Cut the pieces out on the lines.
Embroider the designs right through the stabilizer.
I didn’t embroider the designs the same way every time – preferring instead to just play around. You should play too! You can find tutorials for plenty of stitches here. . .
For the lines I used. . .
For the dots and flowers and leaves I used. . .
- lazy daisy stitch
- French knots
- cross stitch (the little stars are just cross stitches, with an extra stitch taken across the middle)
By all means – don’t be limited to these stitches! They’re just what I used. You can find lots more stitch tutorials here.
If you want to work through those additional stitch tutorials in a more systematic way, sign up for Embroidery 201. It’s a free workshop that’s almost all stitch lessons – taking you well past the basic five that are covered in Embroidery 101.
3. Soak off the Sulky Sticky Fabri-solvy. I soak mine in cold water for at least an hour, then rinse off the mushy stabilizer under cold running water. Don’t rub it to remove any stubborn bits – just hit them with a kitchen sprayer if needed.
Lay the pieces flat on a towel to dry. Do not wring, twist or even smoosh them. Just set them sopping wet on a towel and let them be. I promise they’ll dry. 🙂
(If you’ve never used Sulky Sticky Fabri-solvy before, I ramble on endlessly about how awesome it is and why I love it so much and how I use it here.)
4. Finish the bands. Cut second piece of felt for the back of the band. I just laid the front band down and cut around it so the back would match the front exactly.
Sew a small piece of hook & loop tape to the blank end of the top of the band, and to one end of the back of the band.
I used a sewing machine, but you could do it by hand if you prefer. I left enough space on the embroidered side to use the narrowest big-box-store hook & loop tape (like you see on the top band) but if you order one of my kits you’ll get the special less-bulky skinny hook & loop tape I prefer (like you see on the bottom band).
Put the front and back together so that the hook & loop tape is on opposite ends of the band and sew the pieces together around the edge. I used whipstitch, but you could certainly use a sewing machine – especially if you want to finish before the end of the year. 🙂
5. Wrap them into rings and build your chain.
In the photo above you see the six designs in the pattern, stitched up on purple felt.
I do so love handsewing felt. 🙂
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