Saturday, May 9, 2009
Wool Felt Birthday Crown Tutorial
*Pictured above, L to R: Autumn birthday crown, Spring birthday crown and doll's birthday crown*
When I decided to make a birthday crown for my first daughter, I searched and searched for the perfect pattern, but didn't find anything I truly loved. So, what was a determined Mama to do? Make up a pattern of my own, of course!
I hope I convey these instructions well. This is the first time I have tried making a tutorial from something I completely dreamed up in my mind. If you have any questions or need more details, please do not be afraid to contact me! Here goes!
-wool felt (I will go into measurements in a minute)
-a small piece of cotton (or other natural fiber) fabric
-small piece of 1/2" or slightly larger elastic
-cotton thread to match crown color
-inspiration (pictures, objects, fabrics, etc.)
-notions (embroidery needle, scissors, pins, ruler/measuring tape, a pencil)
A note about the felt. I prefer only natural materials so I used 100% wool felt from Gossamer Rose on Etsy. Her felt is amazing and she is so wonderful to work with. She sells the felt in 9" x 9" pieces but you can contact her for custom sizes. For the crown itself I ordered 2 pieces in 9" x 18" and then for the embellishments I just got the 9" x 9". You will end up with lots left over for other crafting pleasures :) The 9" x 18" is the perfect size for any head measurement.
Step one: Design
Take notes and gather any inspiration you may have for your crown's design. I like to make mine represent not only what I see of my child's personality, but also the season that they were born in. Once I know what I want on the crown, I sketch it out, and that is my reference for decorating the crown.
*Some of my inspiration for my Spring Baby's crown*
Step two: Cut out the crown
I imagined what a crown should look like in my head and then I free-handed it on a piece of paper. I did this by folding the paper in half and drawing just one side of the crown, with the middle being at the fold. I made it about 16" in length (which ends up being a great sized crown for ages 1 to 99). Double check your free-handed pattern on your child's head to make sure it goes around pretty far. Keep in mind, you will want a large enough gap in the back for your elastic.
I then cut it out and traced it onto my wool. You can make it any shape you desire. Really, with this project there is no right or wrong way. It's all up to you and your imagination!
*template traced on the wool and prepared to cut out*
I cut out the crown, which will be my front piece, and then using that piece, I pinned it to my other piece of 9" x 18" wool, and cut that out. That is now the back piece or the 'lining' to the crown. This way they should be exactly or very close to exactly the same. If they are slightly off you can trim them to fit once the crown is sewn up.
Put the back piece away for now, as you will not need it again until later on.
Step three: Embellish
Now, get your sketch back out and start decorating the crown front how you desire. I chose to do embroidery and wool felt cut-outs on mine. Again, you can do this any way you like. For my cut-outs, I sketched most of them on paper first, cut them out, and then traced them onto the wool. Some of them I just free-handed directly onto the wool and used the side I drew on as the back. To add the cut-outs you can embroider them on, machine sew, or hand sew them.
Examples here: Spring Crown, Early Autumn Crown
You can make it as simple or complicated as you like. I have seen people even start out with just one embellishment and then they add on a new one each year. The possibilities are endless!
*Attaching a wool felt clover on a doll's crown*
Step four: Cover your elastic backing
You will be making a casing for your elastic backing. It can be done by hand or machine. Take your elastic and pin it to one side of your crown, then try the crown on your child's head and measure where the elastic should be at to reach the other side of the crown and sit somewhat snuggly on her/his head. You want it to be loose enough so that when you try it on your own head it will fit as well. When you find the perfect length, cut the elastic to that length. Now take that piece of elastic and lay it on your fabric, on the right side of the fabric. Fold your fabric up over your elastic and leave about 1/2" above the elastic. Mark it and cut it. You are going to want the fabric to be about 2 times as long as the elastic (so when the elastic stretches the fabric will cover it all). Now with the piece of fabric folded in half horizontally with right sides together, pinned in place, sew at about the width of the presser foot all the way across, leaving both ends open. Trim your seam and then flip it right side out. Feed the elastic through and then sew the elastic and the fabric together at each opening. This will close the opening and make the elastic more secure for attaching it to the crown.
*Elastic casing on back of crown*
Step five: Put it all together
Once the front of the crown is decorated the way you want and your elastic is covered, you are ready to sew it all together. Place the back piece of the crown (lining) onto the back of the crown front and pin in place. If they do not line up perfectly you can always trim the excess afterward. Insert your covered elastic from one side of the crown to the other between the two pieces of felt about 1/2" up from the bottom. Pin that in place and double check it on your child's head.
You may now sew it together. You may hand stitch it, machine stitch it (as seen below), blanket stitch it, or use some other embroidery stitch (as seen in the Autumn crown); whatever you feel looks best. Make sure you go over the elastic band a few times to really reinforce it. Trim threads and any excess and you are all set!
We have a family tradition of putting the birthday crown on the pillow of the birthday child so it's the first thing they see when they wake up on their special morning.
*Machine sewing it together*
I hope that explained it well enough! It's hard sometimes to get things that are in your head across in words, so as I mentioned before, please don't be afraid to ask any questions or offer any critiques! I would love to see your finished crowns. Please post a link here or email me with pics! I do ask, though, that you not make these crowns to sell, unless it is for a charity. Contact me for more info. Thanks and happy creating!!