Monday, November 29, 2010

Haul Out the Holly: Day 1 with Gwenny Penny

Welcome to Day 1 of Haul Out the Holly!!! This promises to be an amazing twelve days filled with fantastic Christmas tutorials from twelve different bloggers. Believe me, you won't want to miss a single minute of this event!

Let's get started! I'm kicking off the series today with a felt holly wreath...

Believe it or not, this is a pretty simple project. It can even be a completely no-sew project, so anyone who can handle a glue gun can make one!

Materials and supplies needed:
  • 18" quilting hoop
  • 24" x 24" square piece of muslin (or the background fabric of your choice)
  • four 9" x 12" sheets of felt (I used Kunin Eco-fi felt in olive.)
  • embellishments, like buttons, pinecones, ornaments, etc.
  • bow (If making a fabric bow using this tutorial, see Part II below for materials.)
  • glue gun
  • scissors


Part I – Making Your Basic Wreath

Step 1:  Lay out your 24" square piece of muslin. Draw a 12" diameter circle at the center of the muslin. I traced a cake stand, which was a little bigger than 12". It doesn't have to be exact. This is the outline you will use to lay out your felt holly leaves later on.

Step 2:  A rotary cutter works really well for the next three steps. Take one sheet of felt and cut it lengthwise into 2½" wide strips. You will get three 2½" wide strips and one 1½" wide strip.

Step 3:  Take all three of your 2½" wide strips, and cut them across the width into 1½" strips. You will end up with 24 pieces that are 2½" x 1½".

Step 4:  Take your 1½" x 12" strip and cut it across the width every 2½". You will end up with 4 pieces that are 2½" x 1½", plus a little scrap at the end of the length that you can discard. You now have a total of 28 2½" x 1½" pieces from one sheet of felt.

Step 5:  Repeat steps 2, 3, and 4 with the remaining three sheets of felt. You will need approximately 102 2½" by 1½" pieces of felt to complete your wreath.

Step 6:  Now it's time to shape your little felt pieces into holly leaves. This appears to be a daunting task, but it only took me a little over an hour, and this is the most time-consuming portion of the project. The rest moves along pretty quickly. Take one piece of felt and fold it in half lengthwise. Cut a curve from about 3/4" down from the top of the raw edges up to the top of the fold (Cut #1). Next, cut a curve from about 3/4" up from the bottom of the raw edges down to the bottom of the fold (Cut #2). Finally, cut a curve about a ¼" into the center of your felt along the raw edges from the start of your first cut to the start of your second cut (Cut #3). If you are having trouble following along, check out the diagram below. Unfold your piece, and it should look like a holly leaf.

Step 7:  Repeat step 6 for all 102 (more or less) pieces of felt.

Step 8:  Take three holly leaves and overlap them slightly, one on top of the next. Make sure you can't see any space between the leaves. Lay the three leaves on the circle you drew on your muslin, making sure that the top and bottom points of the center holly leaf touch the circle.

Step 9:  Holding the three leaves in place, lift the right side of the leaves off the fabric about an inch or two. Run a bead of glue along the fabric about 3/4" under the lifted edge of the leaves. Press the leaves into the glue.

Step 10:  Take three more holly leaves and overlap them slightly, one on top of the next. Make sure you overlap them in the same order you overlapped your last three leaves, and make sure you can't see any space between the leaves. Lay the three leaves along the circle you drew on your muslin, making sure that the bottom points of the holly leaves overlap about half of the last three leaves you glued down and that the top point of the center leaf touches the circle drawn on your muslin.

Step 11:  Holding these three new leaves in place, lift the right side of the leaves off the fabric about an inch or two. Run a bead of glue along the fabric about 3/4" under the lifted edge of the leaves. Press the leaves into the glue.

Step 12:  Repeat steps 10 and 11 until you fill up your entire wreath. It took 102 leaves for me to fill up my wreath, but you may need more or fewer depending on how much you overlap your leaves. When gluing on your last layer, lift the very first set of three leaves that you glued down, and glue down the ends of the last set of three leaves underneath.

Step 13:  Open up your quilting hoop, and lay your muslin over the inner ring, centering your wreath. Slip the outer ring over the inner ring, and tighten it a bit. Stretch and smooth your muslin, making sure to remove any bubbles or folds in the fabric and also making sure your wreath remains centered in your hoop. Finish tightening your outer ring, and cut off the excess fabric from the back. Your basic wreath is now complete!

Part II – Embellishing Your Wreath

Now it’s time to dress up your wreath. There are tons of options, and a walk through your local craft supply store is sure to give you lots of different ideas. You could glue on baby pinecones, mini candy canes, miniature Christmas balls. I decided to go with “berry” buttons and a bow. I just used the glue gun to add the buttons right on top of my leaves, being careful not to use too much glue. I sewed my own bow, and I’m going to show you how below, but you could buy a bow or make your own with ribbon so you don’t have to do any sewing. And here’s another tip… I used a safety pin to attach my bow. This way I can always change it out some year if I decide I want to change the color or the fabric or use something entirely different on my wreath.

Sewing Your Own Bow

You will need a 6″ x 55″ piece of fabric, a 3″ x 5″ piece of the same fabric, coordinating thread, a rubber band, and a glue gun.

Step A:  Press your 6″ x 55″ piece of fabric in half lengthwise with right sides together. Sew around the raw edges of your fabric using a ¼″ seam allowance, making sure to leave a 2 to 3″ gap in the center for turning. Before turning, sew across the ends of you fabric strip at about a 45 degree angle.

Step B:  Trim up all of your excess fabric and clip your corners. Turn your fabric right side out, pushing the corners out with a blunt instrument. Press your fabric, making sure to press in the raw edges of the opening.

Step C:  Close up the opening in your fabric by sewing over the opening as close to the edge as possible.

Step D:  Now it’s time to “tie” your bow. Lay your fabric strip out in front of you. Find the center by folding it in half. Mark this spot with a pin. Determine how long you want your bow loops to be. Mine are about 4″ long. Fold one side of the fabric strip to the center to form one bow loop. Fold the remaining fabric down from this side of the strip to form one tail for your bow. Repeat with the other side of your fabric strip, making sure to make your bow loops the same length.

Step E:  Remove the pin marking the center of your bow. Pinch the center of your bow with your fingers and flip it over. Tie your rubber band in a knot around the center of your bow to hold it together.

Step F:  Take your 3″ x 5″ strip of fabric and press in half lengthwise with right sides together. Sew only along the long raw edge of your fabric using a ¼″ seam allowance. Turn right side out. Press flat with the seam running down the center of the piece.

Step G:  Take your bow, and wrap your newly pressed piece of fabric around the center, over the rubber band, tucking under the raw edges of the ends. Use your glue gun to glue the center piece of fabric around your bow. You now have a finished bow! Like I mentioned before, I used a safety pin to attach my bow to my wreath from the back, but you could glue it on or sew it on.

Here’s the finished product…

I love the way this turned out. Cutting out all of those felt holly leaves was well worth the result.

Thanks for stopping by today! I hope you enjoyed the first day of Haul Out the Holly. The next eleven days will feature holiday tutorials by eleven guest bloggers, and I can’t wait for you to see what they have come up with… simply amazing! Click here to see a list of participants, and make sure you come back tomorrow... my guest has a super cute tutorial to share with you!

Click HERE to see more Haul Out the Holly tutorials!


Kindra-At Home With K said...

I love this project! I like how the wreath pops next to the muslin background. And it can easily made using glue for us non-sewers. LOL Thanks for sharing! Can't wait to see what's next!

Cindy said...

Love the wreath Gwen. I don't know where you keep coming up with these ideas.

Jess@craftiness is not optional said...

its adorable! and i love how you can swap out the bow!

LeAnne said...

Love this! Such a cool way to do the bow, also! You're a genius!

Amy at Ameroonie Designs said...

Gwen, this is absolutely gorgeous! I love the color you chose for the holly- and amazingly fitting to do a holly project for your Haul out the Holly event! Very clever :). Terrific tutorial!

Unknown said...

I love it! So cute and so smart to put it on a hoop like that.

Kristin @ Yellow Bliss Road said...

Beautiful as always!!!

Fowl Single File said...

Love it! Also, I love your simple way of sprucing up your blog header for the season. Genius!

KJ@letsgoflyakite said...

Absolutely classic. I love those buttons, they are perfect, they almost look like candy.

Elizabeth said...

Love your wreath! What a great tutorial! Would love for you to visit me and link up to Made with Love Monday at Sew Chatty!

staci @ lizard n ladybug said...


Andi said...

Fantastic! So elegant. Oh and I love your festive header...too cute. I have mine all ready to go up on Weds. :-)

Ashley said...

I love this! I am so going to try it!

Heather{Our Life In a Click} said...

So cute! Very festive and homespun. Love it!!!

kate said...

love it! cute! I think I'm going to try it with paper!

Nichelle @ Vintage Wanna Bee said...


Thanks for linking up at Tatertots and Jello! I'd love for you to come check out my blog:

Mucho love!

P.S. I'm your newest follower!

Cecily said...

Oh, how pretty, Gwen! And I love the fabric you used for the bow! Just gorgeous!

Katie said...

Too funny, when I bought the fabric to make the embroidery hoop ornament you showed before...I bought the same fabric as you used in your example AND this red polka dot too!

Michelle @ Sweet Something Design said...

This is a fantastic project! I have lots of felt to try this with, thank you!

Anonymous said...

This is so pretty! Thank you for sharing a great tutorial. I'm a new follower stopping by from Tatertots & Jello!

Sarah @ Modern Country Style said...

This is beautful, Gwen. Your tutorials are just fantastic. I LOVE them!

But I have to say, if I was at your house, I'd be sorely tempted to pick off the 'berries' and gobble them all up!!


Brandi said...

Your wreath turned out great! Thanks for sharing your tutorial! Stopping by from Modern Country Style.

Amanda said...

Just dropping by to let you know that I linked to this post in a round up today from the Home & Garden channel at Craft Gossip. :) This will appear in the main Craft Gossip RSS feed, on the main home page and can be found directly here

If you would like a "featured by" button, you can grab one here!

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