• By: OLM Staff

Holiday Handmade Gifts for Beginners: Part II

Basic Sewing with Felt – Make a Tree Ornament

Many of us have basic sewing skills learned long ago, or perhaps no sewing skills to speak of.  But don’t let your poor memory or lack of practice stop you from learning!  Here is a basic sewing project using inexpensive felt from a craft/office supply store (about .50 cents a sheet), a basic sewing needle, thread, a good pair of sharp scissors and a piece of lined paper and a pencil (if you don’t have basic sewing materials and don’t want to spend a lot, check out your local drug store for a small travel sewing kit which should come with a needle, thread and a small pair of scissors).

Start by making a simple design using the paper and pencil.  Pictured is a small owl template that I cut out free hand (2 x brown body, 1 x white background for eyes, 2 x blue eyes, 2 x small white dots for pupils, 1 x beige tummy, 1 x orange beak, 1 x red heart).  But you can create whatever you like by drawing on the paper, cutting it out and using it as a pattern to cut your felt.  Hint: It is a much easier to practice your design and stitching skills on a simple shape (think two-dimensional and flat), but once you feel more confident you can stitch more complicated shapes and add more details to your design.

To learn a basic “straight stitch”, check out a quick YouTube video.  If you like you can match your thread to your felt, or choose a contrasting colour (which is helpful for beginners because your stitches are easier to see).  Felt is a wonderful material to practice basic sewing stitches because the edges won’t fray and it has some weight to it.  It also comes in a wonderful range of colours (as pictured).  My only other piece of advice here is to avoid frustration by using a good quality sharp pair of scissors for the felt cutting.  Once you’ve stitched the details onto the front of your owl, attach the back piece by sewing all the way around the body and leaving an opening across the bottom.  Stuff the owl slightly with the leftover felt from your cutouts, and sew the opening closed.  Use a bit of fishing line or a small hook to make your ornament tree-ready!