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The Witch’s Friends Autumn and Halloween Felt Wreath from ThreadED

Something a little different from me to you today… now that we have waved goodbye to Summer and said hello to Autumn this seems like the perfect time to celebrate the change of Seasons and share this absolutely darling felt wreath from ThreadED.

At approx 40cm diameter this fun door hanging is absolutely bursting with charm and features black cats, toadstools, a toad and a witch’s broomstick. There is also a witch’s hat which you can move around and place on the cats or the toad (or used as a separate decoration as I have). All of this is laid upon a generous bed of Autumn leaves in a soft and gentle colour palette which in turn is mounted on to the stuffed felt ring that is also handmade as part of this project. Phew!

The designer behind this lovely wreath (and others) is Claire Knight. Based in the UK and clearly a very talented lady, she has grown her business during the Covid Pandemic, and let’s face it we have all needed something to take our minds away from this dreadful situation over the past few months. Craft projects like this have been a source of comfort and distraction at a time when we have most craved it. Clarie’s patterns can be purchased in the form of paper patterns, PDF download patterns, or kits where you can choose between 100% wool felt or a blended wool felt.

This is not a quick project, but then you wouldn’t expect it to be, and what you have created will have been a source of pleasure to make, and potentially an heirloom piece that you can enjoy bringing out year after year. A textile wreath is a truly sustainable decoration, and whilst you can already find other designs in her Etsy shop listed above, I’m pretty sure there will be more to come in the future!

I would like to say right from the start that this kit was gifted to me from Claire in exchange for an honest blog post. As soon as I saw her designs I absolutely jumped at this lovely offer, and of course you know that you can always expect my honest opinions when I review anything that has been kindly sent to me.

I have made the wreath using the premium kit containing the 100% wool felt. The quality of this soft wool felt is very obvious right from the start and a real pleasure to work with – lovely and soft on your hands. An A5 colour instruction booklet contains written step by step instructions and colour photographs, and the full size templates are included ready for you to trace off. Top quality DMC embroidery floss, velvet hanging ribbon, roving wool, a felting and embroidery needle are just some of the contents that you will find in addition to the felt and all that you need to add yourself is the stuffing, freezer paper, and lots of tea and biscuits (optional). The kit arrives with you all beautifully packaged within a handy cotton drawstring bag – useful to keep all your bits and bobs together as you are making it, and also making it perfect for sending as a gift too!

The wreath base is where you start, and the attention to detail is apparent right from the beginning. The front and back wreath piece is sewn together with the inclusion of ricrac around the outer and inner edges, so that whilst your base ring should not be visible after decoration, if there is a little glimpse of it you will only see the pretty ricrac detail. It also means that your wreath looks cute from the back. The hanging ribbon is velvet (which feels very luxurious) and includes enough to not only to hang it, but to feature a sweet bow at the back where the ribbon attatches to the wreath. It’s also good that the wreath backing is made from felt too as you are safe in the knowledge that this will not damage or scratch your door.

Next are the cats. We have a stretching cat and a winking cat sitting on a broom. So cute, and actually contain rather a lot of different skills to make them – so lots of fun! The cats are traced and sewn around on the machine (although you can hand stitch them if you don’t have a sewing machine) and stuffed, you then have your first go at needle felting to add a fluffy pink inner ear detail. Embroidery stitches used on this include blanket stitch, running stitch, satin stitch and french knots! They’re actually quite detailed aren’t they? Instead of the black french knots to make the centre of the cat’s eyes, I used a small black bead to give it a little shiny detail. That’s the joy of handmade don’t you think – you can add or swap little details to put your own ‘stamp’ on it. Be very careful with your pattern placement on the black felt before cutting out if you are using the kit. You will need the black felt for the cats and the witch’s hat. Make sure you place your cat pieces on the felt really carefully allowing room for the hat too, otherwise you will end up digging around for extra black felt in your stash for the hat later on (like I did… whoops)

The toad is made in a very similar way. I’ve never used freezer paper before, but it’s really good, and I loved the challenge of sewing around the outside line of the shapes on the paper before carefully tearing it off. Once again place your toad carefully to make sure that you have as much leftover green felt as possible as you will use these leftovers later for leaves.

Toadstools are next and these were my favourite part of the process. Once again, every detail is considered as you have a selection of different coloured felts for the toadstool tops. Same for the stalks and frills. Light beige and brown roving wool is included for the dots on top, and the underside ‘gills’ are created with embroidery thread. I found that the perfect ‘gill width distance’ is appox 6 or 7 mm, and whilst I sewed some with lots more gill stitches, I think they look better spaced out a bit more (and also you might run out of thread if you sewed them all with the tighter stitch width). I should also say that the toadstool tops are a range of different shapes and sizes too. Nice one. The felted dots were a fun challenge on the toadstool tops, I have only tried felting once before years ago, so am not sure if the finish is exactly right, and I used an old knitting needle size guide to use as a template to give me nice round dots in various sizes. I also used some thick foam underneath when felting the dots.

The instructions continue to guide you through making the broomstick and witch’s hat until finally you reach the part where you make all the leaves. I used back stitch for the veins on the leaves, and used two strands of thread (rather than the three strands recommended in the instructions) as I wanted a ‘finer’line. Advice is given in the instructions as to how you can mark the hand stitching lines on your felt, such as the leaf veins. I actually chose to freehand draw the leaf veins on the felt with a heat erasable pens which disappear after a quick run over with the iron (after stitching). If you are going to choose this method however please do check on a scrap of felt that the lines you are drawing in will disappear leaving no damage/marking to the felt after ironing.

Just going back to the witch’s hat quickly … this is not secured to any of the characters and can be moved around to sit on any of the animals. It can also be added anywhere in the wreath as a decorative piece in it’s own right, which is just as well because guess who got a bit carried away with the glue gun and stuck all the back of the animal heads on to the wreath so well that the hat wouldn’t slip over the back of any of them. *raises hand*. Anyway, good job I like how it looks as an extra decoration and now you can see the pretty faces of all of the animals in all their glory!

The best bit is assembling the wreath once you have all your parts made up. A glue gun made this job significantly easier although they can of course be sewn on by hand. Claire recommends hanging your wreath and pinning your trimmings on first to check for balance and any leaf gaps before you start glueing/sewing them in place. Great tip.

I have really loved the whole process of making this wreath. It’s an enjoyable make that you can pick up and put down as you please. Hand sew in front of the TV, take it to work and sew some stitches in your lunch break, it’s up to you how quickly or slowly you make it. The important thing to remember is that you should enjoy the whole process. Before you start I would recommend that you take the time to read through the pattern and familiarize yourself with the kit contents so that you fully understand what’s coming up.

I would like to say a huge thank you to Claire from ThreadED for this wonderful door hanging which I shall treasure for many years to come, and also for the relaxing hours that it has given me in the whole making process. Why not jump onto your broomstick and check out Claire’s Etsy shop which is listed in the first paragraph of this post, and if you fancy giving this wreath a go why not enter the giveaway on my Instagram page where there is a chance to win a copy of the PDF pattern download! This giveaway will close at 9pm UK on Sunday 4th October 2020.

*edit – this giveaway is now closed*

Take care and I’ll be back soon,

Kathy x

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Simplicity 8554 Trench Coat

This garment has been a long time coming. I have actually had this pattern cut out for over a year and have now finally got around to stitching it together. I had planned to have this sewn up in time for Autumn 2018, but time ran away with me and as it really isn’t the best wardrobe choice for the very cold Winter months, I thought it would be a good project to save and make in the Spring. Turns out in the run up to Spring I completely forgot about it, and so here we are, Autumn 2019, and I’ve made it at last.

Simplicity 8554 is a great little pattern for an unlined trench coat, with various choice options for you including the jacket length, sleeve style, side slits, pockets and belt. I chose to make View B which is the mid-thigh/knee length version – shown in blue at the top left of the pattern envelope below.

 

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This jacket features side slits, which I really didn’t want, so I simply sewed these right up when sewing up the side seams. It has some really nice details including storm flaps either side at the front,  gently rounded collar and lapels, good pockets and a lovely belt tie with soft points at each end.

I don’t know exactly what the fabric composition is unfortunately. It was a bargain purchase from Milton Keynes market a couple of years ago, and is a beautiful deep navy blue colour with the perfect amount of weight and drape for a trench coat like this. The quality is outstanding and I’m really happy with it.  I’m afraid that a dark colour like this is sometimes tricky to photograph, particularly when inside.

 

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As mentioned, the jacket is unlined. To finish off the edges of the facings inside, I used a length of handmade floral bias tape that I had made some time ago with the remnants from a previous project.

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I also used my bias foot on the sewing machine to ensure neat and even stitching, and for the whole this worked great. Although, despite adjusting the foot to allow the needle to fall exactly where you want it to, you do need to keep you eye on what’s going on when you’re feeding it through – as it’s easy to allow the edge of the facing to ‘slip’ out of the bias if you’re not careful.

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Aside from sewing up the side slits, the only other adjustments that I made were to shorten the length of the jacket by 1″, and the sleeves by 2″.

Back

There is a small mistake on the pattern instructions. To achieve the belt width shown on the pattern envelope you need to use all 4 belt pieces that you will have already cut out. Step 27 of the instructions appears to ask you to sew just two pieces together and then fold them in half lengthwise which would in fact give you a belt which is half the width to that pictured.

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The pattern is described as an ‘easy to sew’ project according to the wording on the envelope, and I would agree to a certain extent. It was fairly straightforward to sew, but I feel that you might need a little sewing experience to give you some confidence. The collar went in neatly with no problems at all, and the jacket has no buttons or other fastenings – it simply wraps around and is kept in place with the belt.

As is often the case with ‘The Big 4’ sewing pattern companies, there is a generous amount of ease built in, and I would probably size down at least one size if I were to make this again.

Take care, I’ll be back soon,

Kathy x

 

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My Snuggly Simplicity 8089

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Just a quick one today to let you know that it’s my turn again to share with you what I have made for the Minerva Crafts Blogger Network, and this month it’s something a little different for me – a jumper!

Do head on over here to read my full review and take a look at lots more pics!

Hope you enjoy it,

Take care, and I’ll be back soon,

Kathy x

minerva5

 

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Autumn Fall Felt Leaf Garland Tutorial

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Autumn is well and truly here now, and whilst it is sad to see the end of Summer the beautiful display of glorious colours outside inspired me to create something to reflect such an amazing Season. I think Autumn is far to pretty to be left outdoors don’t you think? Let’s bring a little bit of it inside..

I love a nice garland, and this one is just so quick and easy to make. I whipped this up in a morning, accompanied by a cinnamon candle and a hot chocolate It really was a rewarding little project and a good stress buster too!

Materials

  • Autumn coloured felt pieces – the heavier weight the better.
  • Leaf Templates – search the internet or sketch your own!
  • Neutral coloured thread.
  • Fabric Scissors.
  • Sewing Machine – this is optional, you can string your leaves together by hand if you prefer.

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I decided to make templates for about 4 or 5 different leaf styles/sizes, I also made up an acorn template and for good measure some small circles with my leftovers representing berries. My leaf sizes ranged from 2.5″ – 4″ but you can choose whatever sizes you like.

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As the finished garland will be made with a chain of thread which could move about and be visible from both sides I decided to make the acorns with a neat felt ‘cap’ which would be pretty whichever side is showing. So before I got around to making up the garland I decided to encase the acorn ‘nut’ with 2 ‘cap’ pieces, and machine stitch them securely.

 

So once you have all your leaves, berries and acorns cut out and prepared it is time for the fun bit! Simply run them through the sewing machine in a random order one after another forming a long chain. I used a long length stitch setting as this make the ‘vein’ of the leaf look better and also made the garland come together quicker too.

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In no time at all you will end up with a long length of pretty garland which you can either keep in one length, or snip to whatever lengths you like! So quick and easy. I have decided to decorate my staircase, but they would look amazing hanging vertically at a window, or draped around a plant. I think they would pretty decorating a bed headboard too. The possibilities are endless!

Although I cut my leaf shapes by hand, I’m pretty sure it would be possible to purchase pre-cut shapes if you prefer, or use a die cutting machine.

I left my garland pretty simple, but there’s no reason why you couldn’t embroider your leaves, or machine stitch more detail onto each leaf. If you are including the children in this activity then they could draw ‘veins’ on each leaf with a Sharpie. I also think layering different sizes and colours on top of each other would be stunning too.dsc04516

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I hope you love these garlands as much as I do, and are inspired to create your own! You can cut your felt to whatever shape and size you like. A string of pumpkins would be cute. Maybe Christmas trees or snowmen would be a great idea for the Christmas season – the possibilities are endless. You also do not need to have access to a sewing machine for this project, you could just as easily hand sew them using a running stitch using a sturdy thread.

Oh and finally, a word of warning – they do tangle easily if you’re not careful so I would recommend to store them you should wrap carefully around a large flat piece of cardboard, or use the cardboard tube found inside some rolls of wrapping paper.

Happy Autumn everyone, do let me know how you get on! Be back soon xx