Tag Archives: reuse

Upcycled Felt Star Ornaments with Blanket Stitch Tutorial

Loryn:  I love working with wool felt, and one of the best ways to get it inexpensively is to felt wool sweaters from the thrift store. After I made the Felted Wool Stockings, I had lots of small pieces of felt left. Cheri and Kristin’s Ornament Countdown inspired some wool felt ornaments.

I cut three simple star shapes from card stock and used them as a template. Click here for a PDF Star Ornament Template  that you can download.

For your first step, layout your template. If you have a patterned fabric, play around with the direction of the pattern to find one that you like best before pinning.

Cut two of each piece, and you’re ready to start stitching. I used No. 6 pearl cotton thread in a yellow gold color. Sew with a single strand, and use a much longer piece of thread than you think you will need.

For your first stitch, start on the wrong side of your top star and bring the needle and thread through to the right side. Wrap the thread around the edge, bring the needle through in the same spot, and draw the loop snug.

All of the stitches will be started from the front side of the stars. Try to space them evenly, but don’t worry about being perfect.

To make the blanket stitch, insert your needle, bring the thread around the needle, then pull it taut.

Essentially, you’re making a knot on the edge of the fabric. Pull it snug, and repeat the stitches until you get to the point of the star.

To sew the points, make three stitches by bringing the needle up at the same spot each time, one stitch on the right side, one at the point, and one on the left side. Keep stitching until you’ve finished four of the five points.

It’s easier to stuff the finished points and main body while one point is unsewn. I used plain old polyfill, leaving the fill really loose. Small leftover felt scraps also make good stuffing material.

Stitch the remaining point, leaving a small opening to stuff the final point. Once it’s stuffed, finish sewing the seam and make a knot with your needle. Don’t cut the thread yet, though. Run the needle through the inside of one of the arms, and bring it out at the point where you want to put the hanging loop. Make a knot, measure out a hanging loop, then make two more knots to finish the hanging loop. Hide your thread, and you’re done!

This process would work great for all kinds of shapes, like trees, bells, or circles, and they look great hanging on matching stockings!

Upcycled Felted Wool Sweater Christmas Stockings

Christmas stockings made from felted sweaters

Loryn: Old wool sweaters from the thrift store make a great source for inexpensive wool felt. Just run the sweaters in your washing machine on the hottest cycle, and you’re ready to start sewing!

I made a basic stocking template that makes a 16″ stocking. You can download the PDF here. To print it on an 8 1/2 by 11″ printer, choose the tile option and tape the pieces together.

These were assembled with a 1/2″ seam and a simple turned hem at the top (it won’t ravel, so I just turned it once). Sew a simple hanger from a 1″ piece, folded in half and top stitched.

Crafty Challenge 4: Willis-Inspired Felt Messenger Bag


Crafty Challenge 4
Willis-inspired messenger
Craft Challenge 4
Felt Messenger Bag

Loryn: I’ll admit that I wasn’t sure about this challenge. It’s not that I don’t like making bags; quite the opposite, and that was the problem. I’ve been making bags for many years, and I always put a lot of time and effort into nice details and finishes. So how would I do that with the limited time allowed for a crafty challenge?

Typically, my bags are lined and interlined, with lots of pockets inside. To cut down on the time needed, I wanted to use fabrics that didn’t need linings or seam finishes. Luckily, I had two thrifted items that would be perfect. The wool felt came from a Soviet military coat, and the piping is from a fuchsia 1980s ultrasuede men’s sport coat. All of the “raw edges” are on the exterior of the bag, and the construction seams are exposed.

Crafty Challenge 4
Ultrasuede piping means no raw edges inside

To mimic the look of the Willis bag and to brighten up the dark felt, I put piping at all the seams. I’ll admit, I love piping, and put it on lots of projects. I used cotton sash cord from the hardware store inside the piping.

Crafty Challenge 4
The button, tab and original buttonhole.

For a closure, I used a buttonhole from the coat as my tab. My initial idea was to use a magnet closure, but it wasn’t strong enough. The clasp holds the entire bag together, so I changed to the button tab.

The coat had green topstitching, and I decided to match it, both so I could use the premade buttonhole and because it is a nice contrast to the fuchsia piping.

Crafty Challenge 4
Hardware for the handle.

I used a dowel in the top to match that detail on the inspiration bag. The metal rings are looped around the dowel, with slits in the felt so I could put them in place. I love working with a fabric that doesn’t ravel!

Crafty Challenge 4
Side view with ultrasuede piping.

It’s hard to tell from the pictures, but this is a pretty big bag. It’s 15″ wide, just under 14″ tall, and over 5″ wide. It’s perfect for work!

Crafty Challenge 4
Detail where the front piping joins the top front

Because of the single layer construction, I didn’t put any pockets in the bag. I didn’t want any pocket seams to show on the outside of the bag or any extra layers of fabric to mess up the lines of the bag.

Once the challenge was over, I decided to make up an organizer to put inside the bag:

Divider insert for bag

The divider is two-sided, with heavy cardboard in between to give it shape. I made special pockets to hold my phone, glasses, pens, and iPad. I lined some of the pockets with ultrasuede to protect screens and lenses. Not only is it really handy, but it gives the messenger shape. I love using it! Loryn

Back pocket for iPad