November 17, 2009

Felt Leaf Crown Tutorial

Here's the tutorial for my entry in last week's So You Think You're Crafty challenge. Though in my mind, it's a pretty simple project, it does require basic sewing skills.

Leaves are things of beauty, whether or not they're real or made of wool felt. To celebrate the cool autumn nights and the falling of the leaves, I created a felt leaf crown, named for Ceres, the goddess of the harvest.
What little (or big) girl wouldn't love wearing this at the Thanksgiving table?
Mostly embroidered and stitched by hand, this crown will make its wearer feel like the queen of the harvest amidst the fading days of fall.
Materials:
~Wool felt (or acrylic--I promise not to look down on you!) of various colors
~Embroidery needle
~Straight pins
~Scissors and pinking shears
~Sewing machine (optional)
~Elastic band
~Leaf tracers or leaf-shaped cookie cutters
~Coordinating buttons for decoration
~DMC Embroidery Thread. I used some gold thread and also some colors from my late grandma's vintage stash

1. To begin, I measured my head to figure out how big I wanted the crown. I subtracted a few inches for the back, where there would be an elastic band to make the crown stretchy.

2. With my measurements, I sketched out a template on a piece of paper (newsprint) with the basic background shape of the crown (sorry no photo here!). I wanted to make the crown highest in the center, and then go lower on the sides. To make it even on both sides, I folded the paper in half, and drew the shapes I wanted. You can roughly see it on the back of the crown in this photo:
3. Using various leaf cookie cutters and different colors of felt, I cut out leaves. I first traced each leaf template onto a piece of paper and cut it out.
4. Then I pinned it to the color of felt I wanted to cut.
and cut it out.
5. Then I pinned the leaves into place on the crown. You could do this individually, but I found it easier to work when all the leaves were in place and centered.
I also placed my buttons on it in the photo, just to see how they'd look. I'll add them at the end.

6. I used the backstitch to sew each leaf to the crown. The backstitch (great tutorial at that link) produces a solid line rather than a dashed one like the running stitch. When sewing on the leaves, I "drew" with the thread, making it look like the veins of leaves.
7. So it's easier to see, I'm going to show you how to do the backstitch on a felt leaf, but not one that is pinned to the crown. Just imagine that you'll be doing this directly onto the crown.

You'll start by threading your needle and tying a knot on the end. Push the needle into the back of your fabric about 1/8" away from where you want your line to begin. Then pull it through to the front.
Bring the needle down 1/8" to the place where you want your line to begin.On the back side, you'll push your needle through, coming out a little farther up on your line.
Then you go back through the hole where you previously made a stitch. Just keep doing this until you're done with your line, then tie it off. This is the time consuming part of the crown--all those stitches! But it's relaxing to do while listening to TV or music.
8. When all of those leaves are done, you'll sew on the buttons. I also added some extra embroidery around the edges, like scrolls.
Here's the back, not the best part of the work, but that will get covered up with another piece of felt.
9. I cut out a coordinating color of felt for the liner (in my case, red). Just lay the front of the crown over the new felt, pin it, and cut the felt slightly larger than the edges.

10. Hand-sew the lining felt to the crown. I added a zigzag edge with pinking shears along the bottom. I also made sure it showed from underneath.
The lining felt also keeps your forehead from becoming irritated by the knots of your embroidery.

11. Leave the ends unsewn together so you can tuck the elastic inside. The elastic will make the crown fit snugly on your head. I love this vintage brown elastic, another treasure from grandma's stash.
Cut a short length (I think mine was 3") and pin it to the sides of the crown. I sewed the elastic on with my sewing machine, but you can do it by hand.
On the machine, I sewed a rectangle around the edges of the elastic, then did an "X" in the center to secure it.Once both ends of the elastic were in place, I hand-stitched the sides of the crown/lining together.
And that was it! I apologize for being lax about taking true step-by-step photos, but I'm not a fan of flash photography and due to the constraints of being mother to a toddler, I was only able to work on this at night. So I reluctantly snapped shots of this project. Just so you know.

Go forth and make crowns!

10 comments:

  1. So pretty. I think a pillow made the same way would be amazing!

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  2. It is gorgeous, and much-loved! Thanks for sharing the tutorial.

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  3. THIS is gorgeous! So beautiful!

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  4. Oh goodness gracious. That is just so neat! And you make it look so easy. Hmmph! :D

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  5. Oh that's super cool! I wanted to make a crown like that for my son's birthday but I never got around to it. One day. . .

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  6. Wow! It's beautiful! I love the detail :)

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