Thursday, December 9, 2010

Haul Out the Holly: Day 11 with Jane of All Crafts

Hi there! Thanks Gwen for having me over for some Christmas decorating fun!  I am so excited and honored to be among such talented crafters and bloggers.

My name is Andi, short for Andrea. If you call me Andrea I might think I'm in trouble and make a sad face.  You've been warned :-)  When I'm not taking over Gwen's blog you can find me over at my blog Jane of All Crafts.  It's my twist on "jack of all trades".  There isn't a craft that I've met that I haven't wanted to try, although many I probably shouldn't have.  Fickle crafter may have been a more appropriate blog name since every day I have a new hobby.  I'm not kidding.  They know me by name at Hobby Lobby.  Many of the things I post on my blog are crafts that I am attempting for the first time like the one I'm about to share.  I also like to sprinkle in some decorating stuff, family stuff, with a heavy dose of humor and a tad bit of sarcasm.

Okay let's get on to the craftiness...

I'm sure many of you have heard of "Elf on the Shelf".  For those who haven't it's an answer for us parents whose kids ask "So how does Santa really know we have been naughty or nice?"  The idea is that one of Santa's elves is sent from the North Pole to act as Santa's eyes and ears reporting back to him your kids' behavior.  So that only families who want an elf receive one, the elves are instructed to hibernate in a box until they are adopted and only when they are given a name then they will receive their Christmas magic. The only rule is that the children may not touch the elf or the Christmas magic will disappear.  Parents are encouraged to move their elf around when the children are sleeping so it appears that they have been travelling to the North Pole.  Not only is it a fun tradition but also a way to curb naughty behavior at least for part of the year ;-)

Instead of purchasing our elf I thought it would be fun to make our own.  We haven't named ours yet and instead of hibernating in a box I told my oldest that for some families with crafty moms Santa asks that the moms make their own elf and once it has it's Christmas magic it won't be a doll anymore even though it looks like one.  This explanation seemed to satisfy my daughter.  The best case scenario would be to make the elf without your kids seeing and then have it show up one day.  And for those of you who don't have kids, grandkids etc. it still makes a really cute Christmas decoration.

So without further ado, here she is...

Ready to make your own?  Other than a sewing machine and associated notions here's what you need:

Fabric for dress body and sleeves

Fabric for tights (legs)

Fabric for shoes

(I used fat quarters for the above)

Twill or similar fabric for face

Felt for hair

Felt for mittens

Felt for ears (I used the same color felt for the ears that I did for the mittens, ivory)

Felt for trim on shoes, mittens, collar, and hat.

Felt for hat


9.5mm jingle bells

Poly fil

Poly beads or rice/lentils

Embroidery floss

Hot glue gun


1. Print out your templates. I like to use freezer paper for my pattern paper, so much easier to iron it down than to pin, seems more accurate for me too.

2. Cut out your pieces.  You need 2 dress bodies, 4 sleeves, 4 mittens, 4 tights, 4 shoes, 4 ears, 1 face, 1 back of hair, 1 front of hair, 1 hat.

3. I started with the legs but you can start with whatever appendage suits your fancy.  I'm starting with the legs.  Take one shoe and one leg line up edges with right sides together and sew using a 1/4 inch seam allowance.  I used 1/4 inch for the whole project.  Iron seam flat.

4.  Repeat 3 more times making sure you sew 2 with the toe of the shoe facing towards you and two facing away so that they match up when you sew the two pieces of each leg together.

5. Take your two pieces of one leg and put right sides together.  Make sure your seams match up.  Pin if you want.

 6. Sew around. Leave the top open.

7. Clip toe point on shoes and clip curves.

8. Turn inside out.  I have to admit this isn't the easiest but it can be patient and take your time.  My secret weapon is a bamboo knitting needle or if you have a tool specifically used for turning then that works too.

9. Once turned fill with poly fil.  Take care not to over stuff otherwise when you get to the step where we make a doll sandwich it will be really tough to close and sew around.  It just needs to be squishy not stiff.  I also did not stuff the toes of my elf's shoes but this is a personal preference.

Now on to the arms.

10. Line up edges of one mitten and one dress sleeve with right sides together and sew together.  Iron seams flat.

11. Repeat 3 more times, again making sure that 2 are with thumb towards you and 2 with thumb facing away.

12. Put RIGHT sides together making sure seams match and sew around. Leave the top open.

The picture above shows wrong sides together proving that I should never sew before having coffee. Ha! I was so frustrated with myself that I forgot to take a corrected picture.  So please use your imagination.

13. Turn inside out...the felt is bulky so for me rolling up the mitten was helpful.

14. Fill both arms with poly fil, again taking care not to over stuff.

Now that the legs and arms are done we can move on to the head and body.

15. Take front hair piece and place on top of face piece.

16. Sew hair to face.  You can either machine sew or embroider.  I chose to embroider using a chain stitch.

Before doing this elf I didn't know many stitches including this one until I found Stitch School by way of Homemade by Jill.  It's a very helpful website for novices.

An elf just isn't an elf unless it has those cute ears.

17. Take two of the ear pieces and sew together.  Since they are out of felt they will not fray so no need to turn them inside out  (YAY!)

18. Trim edges.

19. Take face and one dress body piece and place them right sides together. Sew together.

20. Repeat with back of hair and other dress body piece.  Iron seams flat.

Hungry?  Cuz now it's time to make an elf sandwich. :-)

21. Take the face and dress piece and place on surface right side facing up.  The next step is easier to show with a picture.

22. Do the same with the arms (and yes those are drawn in arms)...make sure thumbs on each arm are facing each me it is not fun to realize this after the fact.

23. Place other dress body and hair piece on top with right side facing down.

Please notice in above picture ears are pinned the wrong way...see below how they should be.

24. Sew around leaving opening at top of head and turn right side out.

25. Take some poly beads or rice/lentils and put in doll body.  This will help weigh it down so that it sits better on your shelf.  Next fill with poly fil as little or as much as you like.

26. Stitch opening closed using a whipstitch.  Don't worry how it looks since it will be covered by the hat.

27. Take hat template and the felt you chose.  Fold felt and place one of the longer sides of the template along fold.  Cut around.

28. Sew edges together using a blanket stitch.  Set aside.

29. Take the felt you chose for your collar, mittens, shoes, and hat trim and using a disappearing ink fabric marker trace around templates.

30. Cut out and then hot glue onto doll and hat.

31. Take buttons of your choosing and glue onto front of dress.

Almost done only a couple more steps!

32. Take your jingle bells and with a needle and thread or embroidery floss thread through the tip of the toe and then through the loop of the bell.  Pull off needle so that you have two ends of the thread.  Tie a tight knot to secure bell.  Repeat on other toe and tip of hat.

33. Hot glue hat to head.

34. Draw the face I provided or your own using a disappearing ink fabric marker.  Using a very small bristled paint brush, paint on face using craft paint.

Here is a close up of my elf's face.

35. Now pat yourself on the back and go introduce this new tradition to your family!  And don't forget to name her!

Any questions?  Please email me, I'd love to help.

Wishing you and yours a very blessed holiday season.

Isn't she adorable?! I've heard of the "Elf on the Shelf", but I never knew what it was. This is such a cute tradition! If you've never visited before, you must go check out Andi's blog Jane of All Crafts. She has a tutorial for the cutest Pin the Candle on the Cupcake party game, and she just made the neatest Book Page Garland for her Christmas tree. Thanks so much for sharing your elf with us today, Andi!

Click HERE to see more Haul Out the Holly tutorials!


KJ@letsgoflyakite said...

Andi, I LOVE YOUR ELF!!!. This has been on my list to do this year and I didn't get to it. It is very common in Norwegian families to have Christmas or barn elf and it is a wonderful family tradition [ ]

Wonderful tutorial Andi, great post!

Kyra @ RACKS and Mooby said...

Wow - that is A-mazing! I'm in awe! She is so cute. I think she looks like you! :)

Fowl Single File said...

She's great! I love her pointy jingle bell boots and the fact that she's winking! Great job and thanks for showing us how to create her.

Amy at Ameroonie Designs said...

I love this elf too! I haven't really liked the ones that came with the story, and I didn't want to make a clay one since I didn't want to have to worry about it breaking. She is lovely and darling and I can't wait to introduce her to our family- next year!

Unknown said...

She is adorable! My 1 year old couldn't care less about Santa but I want one (or ten) to decorate with. :)

Amy @ Increasingly Domestic said...

Adorable! I will have to make one for next year:)

Jess@craftiness is not optional said...

that is too cute! will have to make this!

LeAnne said...

Very cute...I can see one in the making for my granddaughter. She's only 4 months old so by the time I get it done, she'll probably be ready! :>) Love the bells!

Andi said...

Wow thanks everyone for the sweet comments! Can't wait to see yours! And Kyra, are you saying I have pointy ears and teeny feet? ;-)

Cecily said...

WOW, what a great craft and I LOVE the story behind it! I'll definitely have to make an elf for our shelf next year!

Katie said...

What a sweet little elf, I love it!!!

Simone de Klerk said...

This one is going to be for a friend of mine, who just LOVES elves!

TerriM said...

What a wonderful little Elf doll. I'm trying to get the patten, however there is no way for me to split the pages to get all parts to print properly. Do you have this in PDF somewhere so I can download the pattern? Appreciate your help -- thanks!!

Terri : )
ps: my email just in case:

Erin said...

I'm a little late to the game, but I am totally going to make this little elf for my kids! Also, Gwenny Penny, I thought you'd enjoy knowing I have a 14 month old I call my little Jennie Penny.

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