I was asked by Simplicity patterns to review Simplicity 2488, and make a bespoke Christmas tree decoration. These are a lovely way to add a sentimental touch to your Christmas tree. Here’s one of my finished versions with chalkboard oilcloth
I am a seamstress and tailor, and way more comfortable with suits and frocks than small crafted projects, so this was a departure from my usual sewing! I tried to make some video, but have technical issue with my camera being smarter than my old computer, so i haven’t got images for every step and a video fail…
Here’s what you’ll need (i skipped the applique tree on my version):-
- Simplicity 2488 sewing pattern
- 11.5cm x 18cm of contrast fabric remnants
- 6.3cm x 9cm each of clear acetate and cardboard remnants
- 11.5cm x 14cm of felt
- 5cm square of felt for tree applique
- 50cm of 1cm wide ribbon
- One pom pom (to top the tree)
- A sharp pair of dressmaker’s shears
- Sewing machine
There are 4 variations of this ‘frame block’ inside the pattern, and i’ll admit i got a bit lost. Here’s my idiot guide!!
Using the Simplicity 2488 sewing pattern, cut out pieces 30, 31, 32, 33 and 34.
Look at the guide for building the ‘Picture Frame Block’ to aid the construction process. they haven’t repeated this for each variation
You’ll need to cut 2 fabric pieces of each of the pattern pieces, 30, 31, 32, 33 and 34. then cut a single layer of felt with pattern piece 30, this helps the frame stay firm.
Transfer the stitching lines onto one of the larger pieces of fabric( pattern piece 30) I used chalk, but you could thread mark
Step 2- Bagging the top edge of the inner side bands
Take the two inner band side sections (pattern piece 31) and fold them along the length with the right sides together. We’re going to bag out the top edge, so stitch across the top of both pieces.Turn bands right side out and press.
Step 3- Attaching the inner side bands
Pin the inner band side sections with the bagged out top edge to piece number 30. The folded edges are towards the centre. You’ll be stitching these down with a 1/4 inch seam allowance, so place the seam line of the bands along the marked stitching line. it’s important that the bagged out edge sits flush with the stitching line at the top ( This forms an opening later) Stitch in place.
Step 4- Attaching the lower inner band
Fold one of the lower inner band sections ( piece 32) in half lengthwise, with WRONG sides together and press. Pin along the bottom with the fold towards the middle, and the seam-line lined up with the marked stitch-line. Stitch in place with a 1/4 inch seam allowance.
I went a little off piste here, and found that the order i’m about to describe gave a neater result than the pattern instructions.
Step 5- Bag out the upper inner band
Fold the upper inner band section (piece 32) in half lengthwise, with RIGHT sides together. Stitch seam, leaving ends open. Turn band RIGHT side out with either a safety pin or a rouleaux turner centering seam on underside; press. Set this band to one side for a moment
Step 6- Attaching the upper and lower outer bands
With RIGHT sides together, pin lower band section (Pattern piece 33) over inner side band sections lining up the raw edges at the bottom. Stitch in place , then press bands out towards outer edge. Repeat for upper band matching the seamline to the stitchline along the top. NB- Be careful not to stitch over the bagged out top edges of the inner bands at the top
Step 7- Attaching the bagged out upper inner band
I found that once the upper band was attached, i could easily line up the bagged out inner band. I simply lay the pressed edge flush with the seamline at the top, and stitched the short ends in place at the sides.
You can see in the pic below that this has created the opening into which i can slide a picture- how very clever!
Step 8- Attaching the outer side bands
With the right sides facing down, Line up the raw edges of the 2 outer band pieces( pattern piece 34), pin and then sew. Once stitched press the bands toward the outsides, completing the “frame block”
Pin felt to the wrong side of the back section ( pattern piece 30), lining up the raw edges. Machine baste really close to the raw edges. Fold ribbon in half to form a loop. On the outside pin the loop to the frame back, centering it on the upper edge. Pin into place
With right sides together, pin the front to the back, lining up the raw edges. Stitch all the way around 4 sides, leaving an opening to turn the frame through.
Turn frame right side out and press. Slip stitch the edges of the opening together.
To finish, cut a piece of clear acetate and a piece of cardboard (6.3cm x9cm) and trim the photo to match. Sandwich the photo between the acetate and cardboard and insert into the frame. I actually used some chalkboard oilcloth fabric to make a re-writable frame.
I also made another frame block and attached to a blank card, am liking these, there are several in construction now!
For more sewing inspiration or to pick up the Simplicity 2488 pattern, head over to the Simplicity website