If you’re anything like me, you’ll have bags full of scraps of fabric that you just can’t bear to throw away – they’re too small to do anything with, but all together they add up to a lot of waste. So what to do with it all?

Well, that’s a question I’m always asking myself, so I was bound to come up with an answer sooner or later. :) So welcome to my Snow Garland tutorial! This charming string of ‘snowflakes’ is great for making your festive décor a little more tactile, whether you’re brilliant at sewing or you’re still finding your way around your machine. Use a mix of satins, linens and other textures for a sumptuous effect. I used my hemp mix corduroy, silk, cotton and linen in mine.

These look great hung in a window (either as a garland or vertically in a group), on a stair rail (if it has space to move, the snowflakes will shiver and twirl as the air moves around them!), tacked onto a boring dress, ;) on a tree, on the table… Make enough to go around a room, or just enough to wrap a present, it’s up to you! What will you do with yours?

Time taken: 30 mins

You will need:

  • Rectangles of scrap fabric in creams & browns (or the colours of your choice)
  • Scrap lace if desired
  • A bonding agent such as Bondaweb or Supermend (both readily available online or in haberdashery/fabric shops)
  • Grease proof paper (if using Supermend)
  • An iron
  • A sewing machine (or needle and thread if you want to stitch it by hand)
  • Fading fabric marker (such as Prym’s Trickmarker)
  • Fabric scissors
  • Template – see step 2 or print & cut out the template at the end of this tutorial

Notes:

  • I had my sewing machine stitch length set to 2
  • This tutorial is for a string of approximately 1m. Increase number of flakes for longer lengths (about 30 per metre)

Method:

Put grease proof paper down to protect your ironing board from the glue

1.a. If using Supermend, lay your rectangles on  a piece of grease proof paper. Sprinkle Supermend over one half (you’re going to fold it so that the short edges meet, making a rough square, rather than lengthways). Fold your rectangles in half, blow away excess glue crystals and cover with another piece of grease proof paper. Iron on a fairly high heat for about a minute. If using delicate or synthetic fabric, lower the heat and extend the time accordingly. Do this with each fabric scrap so that you have around 10 double-sided rectangles. Make sure that your fabric is evenly bonded, as you don’t want it coming apart when you cut into it!

Supermending: lay more grease proof paper over the top to protect your iron!

1.b. If using bondaweb, do the same except instead of sprinkling, cut a piece of bondaweb to the size of  half each scrap and iron in place. Remove the backing paper of the bondaweb, fold the rectangle and iron again. Repeat for each scrap.

Cotton reels, coins or old-fanshioned weigh scale weigths make good templates for your snowflakes

2. Using cotton reels (or something circular of a similar scale) as templates, fill your fabric scraps one one side with circles of different sizes using your fabric marker. Remember you want about 30 pcs. per metre, but you’ll need less circles if you want to use scraps of lace too. Each circle is a snowflake.

Cut pieces of lace, if you want to include them, to the same width as your snowflakes

3. Cut out all of your snowflakes using fabric scissors, trimming off the marker too if you can (but don’t worry too much, it should fade on its own). At this point I like to put all the pieces in a jar or box and shake it to mix them all up, but you can just gather them in a pile if you like!

Sew in a straight line down the centre of each snowflake

4. Sewing time! (If you’re stitching by hand, exchange a machine stitch for a running stitch, making a small knot at the beginning and end of each snowflake. You’ll need to cut a thread  about 120cm for a metre and stitch slowly so that it doesn’t tangle!) Thread your machine with cream (or corresponding) thread. Leave a tail of thread about 10cm long. This will help when you come to hang your garland. Place your first snowflake under the foot, with the needle ready to pierce a few millimetres from the leading edge as shown above. Sew a straight line down the centre, stopping a few mm from the opposite edge.

Pull your snowflake back about a cm

5. Lift the foot and without cutting the thread, pull your first snowflake back away from you by a centimetre or two. You may need to hold this one in place with a finger when you begin to sew the next.

Sew your next snowflake without cutting the thread

6. Place your next snowflake under the foot and sew as before. Continue in the way – sew a snowflake, pull it back, sew the next one (substituting the occasional snowflake for a piece of lace), until you run out of snowflakes or reach the desired length. When removing the final snowflake, remember to leave a tail of thread about 10cm long before you cut.

7. Double knot the tails at either end to secure them, and enjoy! Store them carefully on cards and your snow garlands can bring a touch of tactility to your festive decorations year after year. :)

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