Mini Stockings Advent Calendar Pattern

Mini Stockings Advent Calendar Pattern from Shiny Happy World

The Mini Stockings Advent Calendar pattern is finished and it was so much fun to make!

You get patterns for 25 mini stockings – just the right size to hold candy, small toys, gift cards and more. Open a stocking every night to count down the days until Christmas!

One of my favorite things about this pattern is that you’re getting 25 different repeat patterns that are very easy to stitch. (I only used the four most basic stitches – all of which are covered in my free Embroidery 101 class. The pattern also has links to the how-to videos for all of them.)

You can use these designs on so many other projects! I’ll be showing some samples of other things you can make in the weeks to come. 🙂

My other favorite thing is that you stitch the designs on a grid – which makes it so easy to get your stitches perfect! Here’s an example of what one stocking looks like all stitched up, before I soak away the Sulky Sticky Fabri-solvy.

Mini Stockings Advent Calendar Pattern from Shiny Happy World

See how easy it is to get the stitch length perfect and the spacing perfect?

And here’s that same stocking after soaking.

Mini Stockings Advent Calendar Pattern from Shiny Happy World

I just love how those thread colors glow against the dark purple felt!

Speaking of colors – I stitched all of my samples using the Tutti Frutti felt and thread bundles – but you could do any colors you like!

This red thread on white felt is so fresh and pepperminty!

Mini Stockings Advent Calendar Pattern from Shiny Happy World

And I especially love the way the white thread on Tahitian sunset felt looks like royal icing on gingerbread. 🙂

Mini Stockings Advent Calendar Pattern from Shiny Happy World

Your family will pull hang this advent calendar every year and have so much fun finding surprises in the stockings every night!

Are you ready to stitch up an heirloom?

Get the Mini Stockings Advents Calendar pattern here. 🙂

Happy stitching!

Best,
Wendi
Wendi Gratz from Shiny Happy World

Mini Stockings Advent Calendar Pattern – all your questions answered

Mini Stockings Advent Calendar Pattern - from Shiny Happy World

I’ve been stitching away at the Mini Stockings Advent Calendar and I’ve been getting a lot of questions about it. I thought I’d pull together all of my answers in one handy place. 🙂

How big are the stockings?

They’re definitely mini stockings. Each stocking is about 4 inches wide and 5 inches tall – at the widest and tallest points. The “leg” of the stocking is 3 inches wide. I made sure it was big enough to slip in a gift card. Maybe one of the goodies is a gift card for a movie night?

How long do they take to stitch?

It depends on the design. Some take me only an hour. Some take more like three hours. And I’m a fairly slow and careful stitcher.

How hard is the stitching?

Really easy. Even if the pattern looks complex, it’s actually made of very simple stitches. And the fact that they’re stitched on a grid makes it soooo easy to get perfectly spaced stitches – even if you’ve never embroidered before.

What’s that filmy stuff on the felt?

That is Sulky Sticky Fabri-solvy – my very favorite embroidery supply. You print the pattern onto it, peel off the paper back, and stick it to the felt. Then you stitch right through the felt and the stabilizer. When you’re done stitching you soak it in cold water and it dissolves away. It’s pure magic. I have a post here that shows in more detail how awesome it is for working with felt.

Is every stocking a different pattern?

Yes – you’re getting a total of 25 different geometric patterns.

Why is there a sheet of plain grid paper in the pattern?

That’s so you can use the same geometric patterns in other designs. Like maybe stitch a monogram letter filled in with your favorite pattern? Or the silhouette of a favorite animal? Or trace a cookie cutter, use brown felt, and stitch the design in white thread like icing?

Do I have to stitch the numbers? I’d rather use the little stockings as gift tags/tree ornaments.

Of course not! The pattern also includes a page of three stocking with just the grid – no numbers.

Can I machine sew the stocking front to the back?

Yes! Just use a simple straight stitch and matching thread, and stitch really close to the edge.

Can I get those tiny clothespins?

Yes! You can get them here.

Where did you get that red and white twisted cord?

I got it at Joann’s a few years ago and I use it for all my ornament hanging loops. It was in the section of cotton yarn – the stuff people use to knit or crochet dish cloths.

Can you show some examples of the designs in different colors?

Sure. I’m using the Tutti Frutti felt and thread bundles for my samples, but I stitched up a couple of individual stockings in other colors for you to see.

Sample Mini Stockings from the Shiny Happy World Advent Calendar pattern

These two use felt from the Enchanted Forest felt bundle with white thread. I thought that would be a really nice “snowy woods” kind of collection. 🙂 And the first stocking (the white thread on Tahitian sunset felt) looks just like gingerbread to me. A whole set done as gingerbread stockings would be terrific!

Classic red and white stockings from the Mini Stockings Advent Calendar pattern from Shiny Happy World

I also love these classic red and white stockings. Easy peasy! Red thread on white felt. 🙂

I haven’t had a chance to stitch up samples yet, but I also think these would look great in this Frosty Pastels palette.

frosty pastels palette from Shiny Happy World

What are some ideas to fill the stockings?

The sky (and three inches!) is the limit. 🙂 Candy or small toys would be great. A little note in each stocking with a favorite family activity would be fun. Maybe a little pack of cocoa and the name of a favorite Christmas book to read aloud. I’ll post this to the Shiny Happy People group and see if other have fun family traditions they can share.

I hope that answers all your questions! If you have any others, just ask and I’ll add the answers to this post. 🙂

Get your Mini Stockings Advent Calendar pattern here and stitch along with us!

Happy stitching!

Best,
Wendi
Wendi Gratz from Shiny Happy World

Everything You Need to Know about Working with Felt

Fanned stack of felt in pretty colors, with threaded needle. Text reads: Everything You Need to Know about Working with Felt

I LOVE working with felt! The edges don’t fray, it’s delightfully warm, it takes embroidery beautifully, and it comes in the most luscious colors.

But it’s different than regular fabric.

These tips will make it super easy to work with.

Why wool felt?

It’s way more durable that the cheap acrylic stuff you can buy at any craft store! I wrote a post about the difference here.

One important thing to know – it doesn’t need to be 100% felt to get that quality boost. The main thing is that it’s NOT acrylic. That’s what makes cheap craft felt pill. The felt I use is only 20% wool and 80% rayon and it’s lovely. If you have allergies and can’t work with wool, try bamboo felt instead. It can be harder to find, but it’s WONDERFUL!

How to Mark on Felt?

The trickiest thing about wool felt is that it’s hard to mark on it. It’s so thick that you can’t trace a design through it, and drawing on the felt tends to lift the fibers and make it look messy. I use two products that really help – freezer paper and Sulky Sticky Fabri-solvy. There’s a video here talking about both – but here are the details in a nutshell.

Freezer Paper

I use freezer paper when I just want to cut out small shapes. Trace or print the templates on the paper side of freezer paper, fuse it to the felt with an iron, and then cut the pieces out through the paper and the felt together. Peel the freezer paper off and it doesn’t leave even a trace behind. It’s the perfect way to cut out small shapes very precisely!

If I need to mark dots (usually for eyes) I punch a hole in the freezer paper before I fuse it down, then mark through the hole for very precise placement.

Use a hole punch to mark precisely on felt. - Handy tip from Shiny Happy World

Sulky Sticky Fabri-solvy

If I need to transfer anything more complex than a dot I use Sulky Sticky Fabri-solvy. I love this stuff so much! You print or trace onto the stabilizer, peel off the paper back, and stick it to the felt. Stitch right through the felt and stabilizer and then rinse away the stabilizer. Every trace dissolves in water and you’re just left with beautifully stitched felt. I show a lot of process photos demonstrating this in action in this post.

I can’t say enough how much I love this product. It has opened up a whole world of possibilities!

Whipstitch

I mostly use whipstitch to applique on felt and to sew felt pieces together. It’s called whipstitch for both uses – but the stitch actually looks a little different for the two applications.

This video shows how to use whipstitch for felt applique. I love doing this so much!

This video shows how to use whipstitch to sew felt edges together.

You can find all my other felt tutorials here – but those are the two main ones.

Free Felt Patterns

Want to give it a try? You can find a whole bunch of free felt patterns here. Baby booties, coasters, garland, softies – there are lots of different designs to choose from.

Here are a few of my favorites. . .

set of pretty felt coasters with flower applique and embroidery - a free pattrn for a great way to learn about working with felt

This free felt coaster pattern is a great way to get started working with felt. You’ll do a little applique and a little embroidery and you’ll end up with a pretty set of coasters.

Baby Bear Booties - a free pattern from Shiny Happy World

These baby bear booties are just too adorable. This is a terrific first not-flat project.

Felt Heart Garland - a free Valentine's Day pattern from Shiny Happy World

If you’re got a lot of random felt scraps, try this free felt garland pattern. It teaches you a different way to applique and join pieces together – the blanket stitch.

Have fun working with felt! It really is delightful. 🙂

Happy stitching!

Wendi Gratz from Shiny Happy World

Best,
Wendi

Play with some felt! Try the Oddballs – a fun pattern for silly monsters.

Add a Name and Date to Your Felt Ornaments

Free alphabet embroidery pattern and instructions to personalize the back of a felt ornament

All my ornament patterns have solid felt backs – no applique or embroidery. That makes it the perfect spot to add a name or date using this free alphabet embroidery pattern!

In my family and in my husband’s family, it was a tradition to give handmade ornaments to the kids every year. Having our names on them somewhere was absolutely necessary since we both have siblings. 🙂

Now that I’m a grown-up with my own daughter it’s fantastic to have those dates too. She loves knowing how old we were when we got each ornament and who made them for us. 🙂

It’s easy to add a bit of embroidery to the back of your felt ornaments. Here’s how.

Download the free alphabet embroidery pattern I used here. You can also choose to type up your name and date and adjust the size and choose the font – but be sure to choose a font that’s mostly straight lines with minimal tight curves so it’s easy to embroider.

Now grab a piece of Sulky Sticky Fabri-solvy.

This is a great use for any small scraps you’ve saved. 🙂

Draw a straight line to use as a guide to line the letters or numbers up, then trace them onto the stabilizer.

Use Sulky Sticky Fabri-solvy to transfer the date, ready for stitching

Peel off the backing, stick the stabilizer to the felt, and stitch right through it.

partially embroidered date on the back of a felt ornament using the free alphabet embroidery pattern from Shiny Happy World

I used backstitch with three strands of white thread.

I traced the date in pencil. It can be a bit hard to see, but there’s NO chance of it bleeding on the white thread. Most pens bleed a lot – test yours or use a pencil.

After you’re done stitching, soak off the stabilizer in cold water and lay the piece flat to dry.

Finish making your ornament according to the pattern instructions. (You can find all the Shiny Happy World ornament patterns here. More coming later this week!)

Free alphabet embroidery pattern and instructions to personalize the back of a felt ornament

Now you’ll always remember when you made it!

Happy stitching!

Try my new embroidery book! Over 500 fun motifs – all embroidered using the easiest, most basic stitches. Get the book here.

Easter Craft Ideas – Free Embroidered Felt Egg Pattern

Easter Craft Ideas - make a pretty embroidered felt egg with this free patternLooking for some easy and fun Easter craft ideas?

You (yes, you!) can stitch up a lovely felt egg just like this one. What do you need? Some felt. Preferably wool felt. It’s dreamy to stitch on and you can find it in gorgeous colors here.

You’ll need embroidery thread. Use any colors you like – either an assortment of colors like the sample above, or one color for a very simple, classic egg.

You’ll need a needle. I stitched my sample with three strands of thread – for that I recommend a #5 or a #8 needle, available here.

You’ll need the pattern – of course. Download that here. It’s full-sized, so no enlarging needed.

You’ll need a bit of stuffing. A handful of cotton balls will do the trick.

Finally, there are a couple of optional items that I strongly recommend to make your stitchy life better. Sulky Sticky Fabri-solvy is fantastic for transferring patterns to felt (as you’ll see below) and Thread Heaven just makes your thread behave really nicely.

Do you have questions about working with felt? I answer a bunch of common questions here – including info about how to transfer an embroidery pattern to felt.

Here’s how to make it. . .

Step 1

Download the pattern here. Print or trace the pattern pieces onto Sulky Sticky Fabri-solvy. (Learn more about how to use this fabulous stuff here.)

Step 2

Rough cut around each piece and stick it to the felt.

Step 3

Embroider the design. You’ll be stitching right through both the stabilizer and the felt. I used a combination of the following stitches – the links below take you to videos teaching you how to do them if you’re new to embroidery.

Easter craft ideas - free tutorial to make a pretty embroidered felt egg

I used three strands of thread for all my stitching. It’s all white thread on Norwegian blue felt. The top sample used straw felt.

Repeat for all four wedge shapes.

Step 4

After you’re done with all the embroidery, cut the four pieces out neatly on the outline.

Easter craft ideas - make a pretty felt Easter egg

Step 5

Soak off the stabilizer. This is the magical part! Drop the pieces face down in a bowl of cold water and let them sit there for about an hour. The stabilizer will get all mushy and soft. Rinse it off under cold running water. If any bits are stubborn, just hit them with a kitchen sprayer and that should do the trick. Don’t rub the surface of the felt – just let the running water do its thing.

Easter craft ideas - pretty felt egg pieces waiting to be stitched together

Set them flat on a towel and let them dry. Don’t wring them out, twist them, or even smoosh them. Just lay them sopping wet on a towel and let them dry.

Step 6

Place two egg pieces wrong sides together and stitch them together along one edge. I used running stitch, which leaves a nice ridge that I like along the seams of the egg. If you want a smoother finish you can use whipstitch instead.

Easter craft ideas - two embroidered egg pieces stitched together

Repeat for the second pair of pieces.

It’s easy to mix up the ends – one is a little pointer than the other and has a bit more lattice. Make sure you put matching ends together.

Step 7

Put your pairs together (make sure the matching ends are together) and sew the last two seams. Leave a couple of inches of the last seam open for stuffing.

Easter craft ideas - embroidered egg is almost finished

It will be easiest to sew your egg together if you let it collapse into a deflated football kind of shape.

Step 8

Stuff your egg and finish sewing up the opening.

Easter craft ideas - free tutorial for a pretty embroidered felt egg

You can totally make this!

Looking for more Easter craft ideas? Click here for all kinds of Easter crafts – sewing, quilting, crochet and embroidery. 🙂

If you like this free pattern, sign up for the Shiny Happy News! Subscribers get a weekly newsletter full of sewing tips and tricks, free patterns, special discounts, and other things to make you smile. 🙂

Happy stitching!

Best,
Wendi
That's me!

Easter Craft Ideas - make a pretty embroidered felt egg with this free tutorial from Shiny Happy World

Try my new embroidery book! Over 500 fun motifs – all embroidered using the easiest, most basic stitches. Get the book here.

Easter Crafts You Can Make – Sewing, Quilting and Embroidery Patterns

Easter crafts - easy (and sometimes free!) sewing, quilting and embroidery patterns from Shiny Happy World

Easter is early this year – March 27 – so it’s time to start thinking about your Easter Crafts. What do you want to make?

I could just link to the Easter section of my shop – but then you wouldn’t see all the fun free patterns that are available!

(And there are a lot of them.)

So I created this handy dandy round-up post with all the patterns for all my favorite Easter crafts. Just click on the image to go to that project!

Easter Stuffed Animals

Some are big and huggable. Some are small and pocketable. They’re all easy and fun to make.

Easter Felt Projects

Spend a lovely spring afternoon stitching one of these by hand.

Easter Quilt Blocks

Make a kajillion bunnies with a fun mix & match pattern.

Easter Embroidery patterns

Stitch them on tea towels, baby onesies and more.

Other Easter Sewing Patterns

Including Dress Up Bunch dolls and clothes!

Of course, there are lots of spring-themed patterns too – but I stuck to Easter crafts for this post. 🙂

So whether you like to sew, quilt or embroider – stitch by machine or by hand – I’ve got an Easter craft pattern for you. Have fun with them and be sure to share what you make in the Shiny Happy People group on Facebook!

Happy Easter! Happy spring! Happy stitching!

Best,
Wendi
That's me!

Easter crafts - easy (and sometimes free!) sewing, quilting and embroidery patterns from Shiny Happy World

Using a Glue Stick to Hold Appliqué Pieces

Fabric glue sticks are handy!

Using a fabric glue stick to hold appliqué pieces in place while I sew has been one of my best discoveries ever.

Maybe a bunch of you do this already?

I have a very fraught relationship with glue. There are the glues that make your paper bubble and warp. The glues that seep beyond where you put them on fabric. The glues that stick your fingers together. The glues that don’t really stick like they should.

I have glue issues.

Usually my strategy is to come up with a solution that doesn’t involve glue – like this method for hooping finished embroidery pieces.

But last year I started using glue to hold my appliqué bits in place and I fell in love!

Let me count the ways. . .

  1. Fabric glue sticks are designed for use with fabric. They don’t seep through, and they’ll soften up after washing. They’re perfect for a temporary hold.
  2. They work really well on slightly napped fabrics like velvet and cuddle fleece. The beaver bits on that face you see above didn’t shift a smidge while I sewed them on with the machine.
  3. I especially love using fabric glue for hand appliquĂ©. Pins distort the fabric and – even worse – my thread was constantly getting hung up on them. With the fabric glue stick I can position all the pieces right where I want them, stick them in place, and then whipstitch away. Everything stays perfectly flat and I never catch my thread on a pin. Joy!

I tried a few brands and they all worked well, but I’m carrying this one in my shop because it works well and is a great price. 🙂

If you have ways that you use fabric glue sticks, I’d love to hear them!

Happy stitching!

Best,
Wendi
That's me!

2015 Christmas Collection

Christmas Club 2015 - a dozen fun felt ornament patterns from Shiny Happy World

The 2015 Christmas Collection is finished! All twelve fun and easy felt ornaments. 🙂

You’ll find two options for it in the shop. . .

  1. The PDF pattern. All twelve patterns in one 85-page PDF. It has each pattern complete – plus the last few pages have all the pattern pieces for all the ornaments grouped for efficient printing. There’s one page to be printed on Sulky Sticky Fabri-solvy and six pages to be printed on freezer paper (grouped by color for easy ironing). Every single piece is labeled so it’s easy to group them back together again.
  2. The PDF pattern + materials kit. It includes 10 sheets of my favorite wool-blend felt, 10 skeins of embroidery thread perfectly matched to the felt, all the pattern pieces printed out on Sulky Sticky Fabri-solvy or freezer paper (depending on what the pattern calls for), and the red and white baker’s twine I used for all the hanging loops. And, of course, you get an instant download of the entire PDF pattern. Handy dandy!

Get the patterns here.

Also – the 2014 collection is available here.

Happy stitching!

Best,
Wendi
That's me!

A Sweet Smiling Teddy Bear Ornament

Christmas Club ornament #3, 9 still to come

Everyone in the Christmas Club received the pattern for ornament #3 this morning. Happy Monday!

I love the sweet smile on this teddy bear face. And I love that this is a pattern you can use all year! Wouldn’t it be cute to top a baby shower gift with this cutie? Or appliquĂ© that little face on a baby onesie? Lots of possibilities for this guy. 🙂

Why are we doing Christmas patterns already?

I know it’s early – but the holidays can be such a stressful time of checking things off lists that we sometimes don’t have fun. Every year I hear from people who had planned to make a lot of handmade items, but just ran out of time. Or did it – but were completely stressed out by the whole process.

The idea behind the Christmas Club is that we’ll make a dozen handmade felt ornaments (at a relaxed pace so we really enjoy the process) before the holiday craziness really starts at Thanksgiving. No pressure. No sewing machine. Just a little time every week to put our feet up and enjoy hand stitching on some lovely wool felt.

Christmas Club - 3 released, 9 still to come

Want to join us? It’s not too late! If you sign up now you’ll be able to download a PDF with links to the first three patterns, then you’ll get a new pattern by email every Monday morning.

The club is closed now, but you can still get the patterns!

Get all the 2015 patterns here.

Get just the teddy bear ornament pattern here.

Merry Christmas! And happy stitching!

Best,
Wendi
That's me!

A Dachshund in a Candy Cane Sweater – Because Christmas!

Christmas Club - ornament pattern #2

The second pattern in this year’s Christmas Club went out this morning!

I must be on a bit of a sweater kick. The first ornament was a snowman sweater. This week’s is a cute dachshund wearing a candy cane sweater.

I’ve wanted to do this design forever! I’ve never actually seen a dachshund in a candy cane sweater – but I always thought that long body would be perfect for those spiraled stripes. 🙂

Why are we doing Christmas patterns already?

I know it’s early – but the holidays can be such a stressful time of checking things off lists that we sometimes don’t have fun. Every year I hear from people who had planned to make a lot of handmade items, but just ran out of time. Or did it – but were completely stressed out by the whole process.

The idea behind the Christmas Club is that we’ll make a dozen handmade felt ornaments (at a relaxed pace so we really enjoy the process) before the holiday craziness really starts at Thanksgiving. No pressure. No sewing machine. Just a little time every week to put our feet up and enjoy hand stitching on some lovely wool felt.

Christmas Club - 2 released, 10 still to come

The Christmas Club is over now, but you can get the whole collection here, and the dachshund pattern here.

Merry Christmas! And happy stitching!

Best,
Wendi
That's me!