Tutorial: Scrap Fabric Wreath

holiday wreath
Holiday wreath for our front door, made with fabric scraps from past projects.

This weekend I had a little time to muck about in the studio — after I finally finished the much-dreaded office/studio clean up. I can see my drafting table again! It’s always nice to have a clean, cheerful studio to play in.

I made this wreath with some fabric scraps I couldn’t bear to throw in the trash, and I really like how it turned out. I used some white fleece I’d used for batting in a recent art quilt project for the ‘flowers’ and bits of red and orange flannel (from the same quilting project) and curtain sheer (from a screen printing project) for the rest of the wreath. I love it when I can use my ever-expanding rag bag for something fun!

If you’d like to make a scrap wreath for yourself, download a PDF Tutorial I put together here or continue reading. It’s very simple and I finished mine in an afternoon. I’ll outline the steps after the jump. If you make one, let me know, I’d love to see what other people do with the same idea!

holiday wreath
This is what my scrap wreath looks like without the back 'wreath' layer added.

TasteKillsCreativity HOW TO:
Make a festive wreath from fabric scraps

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YOU NEED:

* fabric scraps: Use thicker, non-fraying fabric for the flower shapes, like fleece or felt. I used a contrasting color for the long tassels and light/sheer fabric for the strips that make up the main body of the wreath because I liked the extra fraying and the gauzy effect. I’ve used skinny strips of patterned fabrics in the same color family for a neat effect, too. You could use ribbons, or almost anything. Play around with your scrap pile and see what works for you!

* wire hanger: For the wreath form. You’ll tie the fabric scraps to this shape. You could use thick, sturdy wire of any kind for this if you can’t find a hanger.

* thread, needle: Could used rubber bands or string. Anything you can use to pull the petals closer together and form the flowers.

* scissors: For cutting shapes and strips out of your fabric scraps and for trimming off extra shaggy bits to shape your wreath as you go.

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DIRECTIONS:

1) Make a wreath form: Bend a wire hanger into a circle shape.

holiday wreath

2) Prepare fabric scraps: Cut petal shapes out of fabric using the pattern shapes in this PDF. Be sure to cut on the fold so each shape has two petals. (I used white fleece I had left over from a quilting project.)

DSC_0027

Cut or tear rectangle shapes for the main body of wreath. (I used sheer curtain scraps because I liked the extra fraying and the gauzy effect.) Tearing the fabric gives you a nice frayed edge that looks neat. It’s fast to tear long strips the width you want and then cut the long strips into the lengths you need. For the main body of the wreath, I used strips around four inches long and about an inch wide because I wanted thick, bow-like body when I knotted them to the wire. You can cut thinner strips, but you may need to use more strips to fill out your wreath and make it fluffy. Play with width and lengths some to see what works with the fabric scraps you’re using. Tear thinner rectangular shapes for flower tassels. The short strips will be in the center of the flowers and randomly in the body of the wreath, too. The longer tassels will be on the outside of the flowers.

DSC_0026

(I used the same white fleece I used for petals for the shorter flower tassels and some bright orange and red flannel scraps for the longer tassels.)

2) Create flower feature shapes:
Tie the flower petal shapes to the wire hanger using a simple knot (B2). Start with the smaller petal shapes.

holiday wreath

Add some of the short tassels by tying the fabric strips to the wire roughly at the center of each strip. Slide each knotted fabric strip down the wire into place, pushing them next to the petal shapes. Then add some larger petal shapes on either side. The fabric should start to look more like a flower.

holiday wreath

Once you have a flower shape you like, push all the knots tightly together on the wire so they bunch up. Using a needle and thread or rubber bands, wrap the knots together so that the flower will keep shape and stay together as you work.

holiday wreath

You can add more petals as you go. Now tie some long tassel strips onto the wire and push them behind your flower shape so they peak out. Make as many flowers as you want on your wreath and slide them around the wire circle so they are where you want them to be on your finished wreath.

holiday wreath

Once you start adding the body fabric strips, you won’t be able to move them very much, so get them where you want them, now. You can trim the tassel shapes down some with scissors once the wreath is completely filled in.

3) Fill in the wreath: Tie your body strips to the wire circle, pushing them tight against the feature flower shapes as you work.

holiday wreath
holiday wreath

You can keep all the strips pointing in the same directions with the knots visible for a flatter, almost braided effect or you can turn them all different directions for a fluffy, rounder wreath, like I did. I also tied in some shorter flower tassel strips for a little variety. I left the hanger hook on my wreath for a handy way to display it (and so I could reference the top of the wreath as I worked), but you can bend the hook down to hide it or just snip it off. Once you’ve filled in the body of the wreath and the wire circle is no longer visible, you’re done!

holiday wreath

NOTE: I added a second red wreath behind my scrap wreath, for added impact on our glass front door. It was part of another wreath I made last year. If you want to add a background wreath layer to your scrap wreath, you can see some photos in my flickr set of how I made that wreath. It’s very simple. Just cut a wreath shape out of a piece of cardboard and sew a long fabric ‘sleeve’ out of cloth you’d like your wreath to be. Then slip the fabric sleeve over the cardboard (cut a slit in the wreath shape so you can slide the fabric on) and there you go! Some photos of  that wreath process are here.

holiday wreath
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Posted on tastekillscreativity.com 11/7/2011
Free wreath tutorial and shape templates by Woodie Anderson
© 2011 Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike Creative Commons

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