Monday, November 15, 2010

Rick-racking around...the Christmas tree (mini tutorial)

Someone must have slipped me a motivation mickey because I have gotten a good bit done in the past week, and my fingers are itching to do more. I've missed this feeling--I don't know where it went the past few weeks. The Christmas PJs are done. I had a second try at making some Christmas ornaments (once I get some pics I'll post on that). And this evening I finished a delightful Christmas centerpiece.

First off--apologies for the corny title. I've been sitting here for fifteen minutes trying to think of a good one and believe it or not, this is the best I could come up with. Secondly, I'm kind of picky about my Christmas fabrics. If they are your basic classic Christmas prints I like them accented in gold (the only rich taste I have), or else I like them kind of retro and funky. When I found this picture online it took 2.7 seconds to pick out the fabrics for it:

So those fabrics in the picture didn't thrill me--kind of bland. Not much sparkle. Me likes sparkle. So I kicked it up a notch:

  It takes almost a yard of each fabric, but I have enough left over for another project I have in mind.

 I dig the starfishy bottom. And I didn't cheat with this one--I sewed the seams shut by hand. Apparently if I take my time and pay attention I don't create a hot mess.

And here is the full tree:

 I've only worked with rick-rack once before, and never around so many angles--it could be better but it's not too bad.

I am seriously limited on photo time with this getting-dark-early business, and I don't do early mornings, so please excuse the not so wonderful photos. I am also the world's second worst photographer (I like to believe there's someone out there worse than me--I'm an optimist like that) so these probably wouldn't have been much better anyway.

These were crazy simple to make. In basic terms here's what you do (or what I did--right or wrong it worked out):
1.  You need six pieces total--I did three each of two fabrics. I'm just going to call them 'red' and 'green' for ease in explanation. I can't say "main" and "contrast" because which is which? There are equal amounts!
2.  Add any trim--I put mine on the green pieces.
3.  Sew a red and a green together, right sides facing (3/8" seam allowance). I left the middle 6 inches on the bottom open for turning. Do this for all 3 sets.
4.  Trim the points, and clip any bulkiness.
5.  Turn right side out, poke your corners out a bit, and give it a nice convincing press.
6.  Then you make a nice even pile of your three separate trees. I did it like so: green down/red up, the second one is red down/green up, and the third is green down/red up. This makes the colors alternate nicely.
7.  Make sure they're even. Then sew a straight line right down the dead center of the trees, stitching all of them together. Backstitch at the beginning and end for security. It kind of looks a little like a book at this point.
8.  Stuff all six parts.  Make sure it's nice and even and smooth. I used about a half bag of regular fiberfill.
9.  Once it's up to snuff, you'll want to ladder-stitch each opening closed.

And that's it! If you're interested in making some I've got a template for you right here. Simply click, print (make sure your scaling is set to 'none'), tape together, and cut.

This is a Christmas gift and I'm so pleased with how it turned out. I have one more I'd like to make for a gift (in equally sparkly fabrics). This would probably look really nice in all one fabric, but I like the contrast of the red against the green. As ever, if you have any questions or need clarification let me know.



  1. I think these are just lovely!! How special to be able to make such beautiful decorations for Christmas! I love the fabric you chose too... I can see how it makes all the difference!

  2. It's great! How brave of you to trim it in rik rak - I hate working with the stuff, it looks great but I never manage to quite pick it all up with the machine.
    Kandi x

  3. Oh no. Now I'm scared to show my Christmas tree. Your DIY looks so much better

  4. I am loving it! The ric rac adds just the right touch.

    Thanks so much for linking up to Too Cute Tuesday!

  5. Where DO you get all your ideas from? That's so cute and your photos really aren't that bad! Shooting in the evenings really is a pain though... Hope your week is going well, Love from London x

  6. LOL They're back! That pattern has been reproduced by Simplicity many times and I think McCalls has created it, too! I've never made one of the trees, but I have a forest of them which are on display every December! I bought them all from thrift shops, paying only $1 or $2 each! You can't buy the fabric and stuffing for that! All the trees have different fabrics. At the end of the branches there are little ribbon bows or tiny ball ornaments or jingle bells, depending on what the maker decided to put there!

  7. hi!!!! I'm from Brazil and I'm looking for this pattern but I couldnt found some site that could send me as PDF file. Could you send me???? PLEEEEEEASE!!!!!! thanks in advance, Michelle

  8. I'm with Micha... can't find the pattern. Is it possible for you to pin it on pinterest?... looks like just one panel repeated, right?

  9. I can't thank you enough. I have literally been searching for a template for these trees for 3 days. And not just any template but the one that goes with the stuffed tree that in my opinion looks the best. I believe this is the one. Because the one that looks the best to me has its middle tree branch is slightly turned down. The others don't. And they are fatter than the other ones.These are so hard to find for some reason. I only found one other pattern. And it goes with a slightly different tree. It is so frustrating! I don't remember these at all like a lot of other people do. So this is my first time ever and I am looking so forward to having one. Or two, or three. LOL Merry Christmas!!



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