in this blog post you can find easy instructions for sewing a Christmas tree with decoration.
It’s that time of year again, the cosy time of preparations for Christmas! And with it comes a whole heap of Advent calendars. In our house, at least, there are a lot of them – after all, every child wants to open their own little door (in our case it’s more likely to be a little bag ;-)). How lovely that there is a little door to open with a surprise every day for the sewing enthusiast adults among us too, and not just the children. It makes the wait for Christmas Eve that bit sweeter. And it is a special honour for me to start off the BERNINA Advent calendar here.
Oh Christmas tree…
For me there is no other time of year as full of ritual and special family traditions as the Advent and Christmas period. Baking biscuits, lighting candles, greeting each day of Advent with a new candle, festively decorating the home, and putting up the tree shortly before Christmas. Which brings us to our theme. The Christmas tree is always a somewhat tricky affair – especially with small children. Our children help out enthusiastically with decorations and I am pretty relaxed about straw stars and felt hanging decorations. But when it comes to the glass balls… well, beads of cold sweat do occasionally appear on my forehead :-). For this reason, I thought to myself, we need a child-friendly Christmas tree that the little ones can decorate themselves and that – because it has no needles, glass or candles – can easily ‘stand’ in the children’s room.
This felt fir tree is of course not just something for a child’s room – depending on the material and the type of stitching used it can also serve as a novel substitute if you have no space for a natural tree (or are allergic to fir needles). Of course, in terms of colour, material and preparation, the variant shown here is clearly designed with my daughter’s room in mind. But there are no limits to the imagination. For example, how about embroidered felt decorations? Or a patchwork tree? Also, the number of buttons I sewed on was exactly 24. So you immediately have an original Advent calendar.
Because the instructions contain a few different variations, I recommend reading them through first, especially if you are new to sewing.
List of materials:
- Materials for the tree (I used a medium weight linen from a furniture shop) and remnants/wool felt as required for the hanging decorations
- Fleece for the tree (I used single layer H295 – however it depends on the size of the tree and how ‘stiff’ or firm you want the whole tree to be. For example, you can use a double layer of fleece and add a layer of Thermolan. Or strengthen the material parts with iron-on inserts. It would also be possible to stitch the tree as a cover and fill it with stuffing)
- Buttons (alternatively you can use Velcro and sew the other half onto the hanging decorations)
- Sewing and embroidery thread
- Seam tape and woven tape for the ‘hangers’ of the hanging decorations
- String for hanging (here cotton yarn)
- Paper/foil for creating the pattern
First, a pattern must be created. For my tree, I stuck several A3 pages together and then plotted a half tree (to the fold, so to speak) freehand. Then with the cut out pattern I cut a front and back part out of grey linen and and one middle section out of fleece. Now put the layers together like a sandwich: fleece – fabric section – fabric section – fleece. Lay the fabric parts with the right sides together. Now attach everything around the edges with needles, leaving an opening at the bottom end of the trunk so it can be turned right side out. Now cut three lengths of seam tape to the desired length. These will serve as fastening tabs, and are to be put in the points of the tree (fold in half once, lay on the inside and fix in place with a needle. After turning the tree right side out, pull out the points of the tree at the top and the sides). Now stitch the tree together around the edges – except for the opening at the bottom.
NB: There should be enough of a seam allowance so that with so many layers of fabric, it can slip a little (depending on how big the arm of the sewing machine is, it can be a little narrow ;-)). Tip: For the hangers many variants are of course possible. If the tree is quite firm and not very wide and sweeping (like mine), a hanger just on the top point might be enough. Instead of leaving the tabs as they are, you could sew a ring (like on a keyring) into them or put in an eyelet.
Now turn the tree right side out, smooth it out a bit with the iron and stitch around the edges – closing the opening at the bottom when you are doing this. If you do not want to topstitch the tree – e.g. for aesthetic reasons – you can close the opening with a mattress stitch by hand.
Now sew on the buttons. I laid out all the buttons on the tree first to see roughly where they would all go later. Then I worked from the inside to the outside. This makes it easier and avoids everything sliding out of place all the time. If you would like to work with Velcro instead, you should have sewn this into the front section BEFORE sewing the tree together. Tip: you could also use Kam snaps or press studs!
The hanging decorations
I decided on five different tree decorations in relatively simple shapes: stars, hearts, moons, balls and candy canes.
STARS: The starts are made from soft, white linen. Cut out two parts, put a piece of seam tape at a point in between them and simply sew them with the wrong sides together, using a contrasting yarn . Of course, you can also lay a piece of fleece under the linen or fill the star with cotton wool stuffing – for both variants however, the stars should be sewn with the right sides together and turned right side out. This naturally also applies to all of the other tree decorations!
MOONS: I stitched the moons using a light natural plush fabric – quickly, wrong sides together, as with the other tree decorations.
BALLS: For these I used rough white linen. Again, cut out two sections for each Christmas tree ball. I stitched the front side by hand using two-strand embroidery thread . Again, attach a piece of seam or woven tape as a hanger. Then I sewed the parts by hand, with the wrong sides together, using six-strand embroidery thread.
CANDY CANES: These are made from pink coloured wool felt. I first embroidered them by hand with six-strand embroidery thread, to imitate the stripes on a candy cane. Then I again sewed the two parts together quickly, with wrong sides together – without forgetting to again attach a piece of tape for the tab.
HEARTS: For the hearts I sewed the two parts together, with right sides together, turned them right side out, ironed them and topstitched around the edges twice.