Tuesday, October 6

a vintage recycled, 'whatnot' holiday garland tutorial...

ingredients required:
rose colored specs
a trusty basic sewing machine
scraps of vintage fabrics
off cuts from sewing projects
skinny lace
the odd petit doily or two
buttons of one's liking
embroidery thread
fabric scissors

ingredients not required:
exact measurements.
precison cutting tools
cutting mat
or any other
'precise' measuring thing,
all must be tossed aside.
in short
do like i do
make it up as you go along.

if you are ready,
then i shall begin

step 1:
choose an assortment of fabrics from your stash of leftovers, vintage and perhaps even 'sparingly used' favorite fabric of all time.
i have used bark cloth, cotton, tablecloths and antique linens.
i have also chosen to theme them for a 'holiday season' look. you can do the same or just go with your own style.
cut 15 rectangular, double sided pieces from your fabric choices.

cut them different sizes to add a 'quirkiness' to the garland.
do this all by eye, (remember, no measuring tools allowed).
this also helps add a 'handcrafted' vintage feel to the garland.
(my pieces are no bigger than 4" x 5")

step 2:
leaving edges raw, stitch around each piece with the help of your trusty sewing machine.
(for the purpose of today, Miss Ethel, is my trusty helper)
then attach any doilies, patches of contrasting fabrics or other such things.
you have now completed 15 little flags.

lay out your 15 flags in a pleasing order and set aside

step 3:
for the string part of the garland, take random lengths of lace, ribbon, ric-rac or thin strips of fabric. (you could even use bias binding if you have some to hand.)
place near your trusty sewing helper along with your pile of 'pleasingly ordered' flags.
leave extra string at each end of the garland for tying purposes,
start stitching flags onto the string, one at a time.

as your length of string runs out, attach another as you go. no need for pinning...

i have left a rough gap of 3.5" between my flags.

step 4:
hang garland up and step back to stare,
ponder where you wish to place a few buttons
and a couple of cross stitches along the string.
when your decision is made,
go ahead and stitch on the buttons and crosses

step 5:
next you will need to think of a saying you wish to put upon your garland.
i chose
"shine a little light on me"
i felt this covered most 'holiday' celebrations whatever your beliefs may be,
it would also look 'pretty peachy' above a little girl's bed.
once you have decided,
take a scrap of white linen and pencil on your words.
embroider with a contrasting color.

next pin, (yes, i did say pin this time... just for the purposes of placement)
your little saying upon the hanging garland.
step back once again (avoiding small objects, children, sleeping dogs, even perhaps the elves in your workshop) and see if the arrangement of words is pleasing to your eyes.
if so
go ahead and take the garland down
and return to your trusty friend
stitching your 'little saying' in place.

step 6:

rehang garland
step back for the last and final time

invite passing strangers and perhaps the mouse that lives in your studio
to admire also.

that's it dearest readers.
quite honestly, it's a rough guide to an age old item.
but one that i hope, will bring a vintage eclectic charm to a corner of your home this holiday season.
and really i can't stress enough, it's more of a project for using up all your off cuts from your stash of fabrics and other 'bits n bobs' you have lying around your crafty area.

if after all that,
you are going
"for crying out loud Tif, i can't sew and even if i could, your instructions are rather iffy"
do not worry,
for the little 'whatnot' garland that features along with the lovely Miss Ethel in today's tutorial will be up for grabs next monday...

she is thinking she may have achieved the unachievable ~ Tif


Jamie said...

I'm so in love with this. Perfect for what's been in my mind and has yet to get out. Must. Make. Soon.

Lola Nova said...

Well now, dottie's done it!
Thanks ever so for sharing your pie in the sky tutorial. Pity, I've lost me rose colored specs and can't do a thing without them. I'm thinking they may have toppled into the bread dough, mayhaps upon slicing into the wholesome grain loaf they shall be discovered. Let's do hope so, for there is a wayward cushion in my studio awaiting some rosy perspective.
...and only then might I set off to 'whatnot' garlandry bliss. Ah lovely!

Sarah - Red Gingham said...

Oh you are too funny if not too crappy at times! That little garland is just gorgeous. I actually thought you had a pile of serviettes instead of fabric at one point. Maybe that could be an alternative? Love the sneaky doilies that have popped up again. Did you have suitcases of them left to you by a relative?

Pomona said...

Quite beautiful, and made even more beautiful by being ethically sound!

Pomona x

Kaylovesvintage said...

tif, you make me smile,looks wonderful

CurlyPops said...

Awww that's so lovely!

Kitty said...

So pretty.
I can't wait to get my sewing machine out and get to work.
You have inspired me.
Thank you.

Fritzi Marie

Juliane | Fröken Skicklig said...

I wrote you already an email a few minutes ago - it is not nice to publish such an inspiring post at 10:37 AM (your time) which I read only a few seconds later at 10:38 PM (my time)!

What do you think people in Europe do in the middle of the night after they have read about your new treasures? Do they get out of bed to find some doilies, buttons, thread? They do! And again they won´t find much sleep...

(thank you for this pretty idea, I really appreciated reading about it ;-)

Sarita said...

This is absolutely fabulous!! The best compliment I can give you is that your garland is Unique...in a cookie cutter world. Extra kudos for being 'green' too...;) I can't wait to make one (or 10). Thank you so much for this. ~Sarita...xx

Em. said...

I love it!
And the way you sew reflects the way I do..... stick it together, stand back occasionally, trust your instincts, go with the flow, use every last scrap of usable stuff.
Will definitely make one of these for my munchkin's room.

Anonymous said...

Your instructions are definitely NOT iffy, but I couldn't even manage this much sewing. Sad, but too, too true. I would love to purchase her! I love the saying, and the colors, and the bits and bobs. Pretty much everything! As always, you rock.

Kylie said...

Oh wow! I love this so much! Wonderful tutorial, thanks Tif. Especially love that no exact measurements are required! You are a super star :) K

martha brown said...

ooooohhhh, pretty, pretty, pretty! -- thanks for the inspiration!

chloejessica said...

Yes Tif I can not sew and even if I could it would never look this good! And would lovvveeee to have this lovely banner so I can't wait for Monday! :)

themagicalbean said...

This is great! I can't wait to make one now. This is so inspiring.

Michelle said...

This is the most impressive tutorial...
Yes that's right...The utmost kind!!!
Love it...
Had so much fun following along...
Love the instructions...
And yes standing back several times and admiring is the "best" part...
I have a tendency to grab small children and passers by to admire as well...

I am sure you will hear this a zillion times but once more for good measure...WELL DONE!!!

dottie angel said...

oh thank you most kindly for making my 'whatnot' garland tutorial appear achievable... and delighted it was not 'iffy' at all.

and of course do not forget, monday 12th will be 'whatnot giveaway' monday, so stay turned and in the meantime whilst searching out your vintage stash for the garland be sure to locate your thinking caps as well

Tif x

~ Junkyard Jennifer said...

I'm in love with this garland--since the moment I laid eyes on the first one you showed us.

Thank you for the tutorial! I must make one. I don't even know how to sew properly, but I must have one of these. Or twenty.

My boxes of vintage fabric have been waiting so long. But it may be just a bit longer... (As I have a few other things on my plate currently!) I can't wait to try my hand at it this winter though! You're the best. :)

~ Jennifer

Inka said...

Oh Tif, thank you! I just love that garland and now I think I just might be brave enough to try to make one myself. With such instructions, I know I can't go wrong :)

Mary said...

I LOVE it! Can't wait to try your lovely tutorial out! It looks like a fun project. Thank you for sharing it! :)

Floss said...

Fantastic, Tif - I am congenitally incapable of following instructions, measuring precisely or planning in advance, so here you have designed my perfect garland! I shall be back in an attempt to force myself to read your 'instructions-lite' - surely I could manage that much!

And I shall be back for the giveaway too, which would solve the problem, wouldn't it?

Unknown said...

oh miss Tif i don't mind saying you are a tutorial genius! and this is possibly the best kind of crafting ~ no measuring and not much pinning, just get stuck in and have fun... love it!
you know, i'm sure you could easily put a book together of this and other such thrifty style projects... :)

Kristy said...

Gorgeous as ever!

* elizabeth * said...

Oh! I love it!!! LOVE IT!

Michelle May-The Raspberry Rabbits said...

What a fun and simply charming project! Love it!
bunny hugs,

Phillippa said...

I love your style (though the whole world seems to be sold out of doilies today) and thanks for making me smile too, yours is the only blog I make sure I read every word of!

Elissa said...

pretty and fun. "eyeballing it" is my favorite way to sew, so a perfect project for me!

Mandi said...

I absolutely adore these garlands and am beyond excited that you shared the tutorial.

Anonymous said...

super cute! i just love garlands. :)

A Bun Can Dance said...

It is beautiful Tif! And it says Dottie Angel all over it! I could see that amongst dozens of similar banners/buntings and I'd know it was yours - you have such a distinctive style which is a great achievement in itself! As one of the other comments says, you will NEVER be accused of Cookie Cutter crafting....
Thanks for the tutorial - it is such a fun read in itself and I love the no measure, no nonsense, get stuck in and have a go approach - wonderful !
Happy days to you Tif!
Denise x

dottie angel said...

that has to be the best compliment of all time... not to be a 'cookie cutter' garland maker.
it has made my day and quite possibly my handcrafted thrifty year!!

Tif x

dottie angel said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
celine said...

brilliant tutorial I say

Nadine said...

What a challenge, being known as the cookie cutter... to sew this, but I am going to try! Love the the fact that it's not perfect, but beautifully handmade! x

dottie angel said...

oh, cookie cutter... you have made me smile :)

Vintage Fabric Addict said...

This is one of the most beautiful things I've seen in a long time. I've borrowed a photo with credits to you and put it on my blog, If that's not ok please let me know. I'm still not sure how things work regarding photos etc. I'll be making one of these for sure this christmas, it's really lovely.

dottie angel said...

no problem vintage fabric addict :)
as long as it's credited to moi, i don't mind at all...
thanks for asking :)

mamas collection said...

All these years, who knew I sewed the 'The Dottie Angel Way'...!
I have barely measured; eyed most things....
Lovely to find a kindred spirit that proves that 'our' way is the fun way!!!!

Off to make my garland!

Violette Crumble said...

Sweet! I love all your little details that make it so you.

Greedy Nan said...

Ooooh! I L-O-V-E this so-o-o much and want it NOW! Then I read to the end and see it could be mine, all mine after Monday. Let that be so otherwise, I'm just going to have to make my own [very] iffy style one from your [very] uniffy destructions!

RachelDenbow said...

I love how encouraging and playful you are about creating beautiful pieces. I also love the 'no tools' rule as I often head in that direction out of pure adventure and lack of focus. It makes for great learning experiences.

You're the best, again and again!

j. wilson said...

thank you for sharing! i have a pile of wee fabric scraps i was going to turn into a garland and never thought to use many lengths of lace/ribbon/etc. brilliant!

this is so pretty!

Jessie said...

love, love, love this!

~~Deby said...

my mind is a whirling..oh I LOVE this...
Can I link this link to my blog..pretty please..

Lena said...

Thanks, this lovely.

Lola said...

Very pretty garland! ♥

I found you through Sew, Mama, Sew!

Luisa said...

Thank you for sharing your style, and giving us 'instructions' and more importantly inspiration...I have started collecting luncheon serviettes for what purpose I don't think I knew until now...I am going to love making a garland of loveliness!
You are a real treasure Tif...

Stace and Joey said...

As with everything you do; I am in awe once again. You make my heart sing and my eyes smoky thinking of all the bits I can make.
I will be going to my studio to retrieve my sewing machine as I have chosen to work from home with #'s 1-5 close at hand and trusty poodles at my feet.
The only frustrating part for me is the lack of doilies in my collection. I have been thrifting and not finding any for a good price. I am hoping to come across a discarded box or bag at one of my stops.
In the meantime; I am off to craft some vintage fabric pets for the wee ones in my world.
**and stalk your etsy for the upload of new beauties**

Thank you so much for reviving me; after three years of no crafting; I am back home where I belong and so much happier for it all. *squeeze*

m said...



merryheart2 said...

i don't really sew, but i have a pair of rose colored glasses and a sewing machine (that i use for scrapbooking). i just may be able to do this little project.
thanks for sharing.
merry christmas!

Tania said...

This is positively the most fabulous tutorial I have ever read! Apart from the utter gorgeousness of the said project, you have a way with words that uplift and induce joy! Very tongue in cheek, and very inspiring. Right...let me get out the fabric stash...I feel a garland coming on...