I love everything that’s old: old friends, old times, old manners, old homes, old linens, and old traditions such as family and Christmas. As soon as school starts in the fall, I start thinking about finally having all our family together under one roof to celebrate a couple of days of Christmas.
Since the first year we were married, I have made decorations for our home. It’s hard not to get them all out, but over the years I’ve been able to part with some of the more ragged things. However, each year Tommy and I put our very first tree top Angel in the tree somewhere. Even though she is too tattered and small for the top of the tree now, she still celebrates Christmas with us every year in the month of December.
When it gets close to Christmas and we are in the Christmas spirit, it’s too late to start making holiday decorations. I like to start those projects in July. I call it Christmas in July. It’s so much more exciting to sew and to create when the stress of shopping, entertaining, and cooking is not nagging at our conscience.
So I decided to show you what I’m making right now for my etsy shop. Following are the directions if you also want to celebrate Christmas in July and sew along.
Strip Pieced Christmas Star
The supplies you need are simple, and you probably have them in your sewing room.
You will need fabric scraps, a cotton batting scrap, approximately 16″ square of backing fabric, scraps of trims and laces, 2/3 yard of ribbon for back tie and tab, a five-pointed star pattern, 4″ square fusible web, buttons, trinkets, and stuffing.
Gather scraps of fabric that compliment each other. I’ve made the stars in fabrics that lend themselves to subtle colors and also the traditional Christmas red and green.
Bits of lace and trims in small pieces and quantity are all you need for embellishment.
The directions are simple to follow. If you have done any strip piecing, a Log Cabin block or crazy quilt piecing you will catch-on quickly. If you haven’t, but know how to sew on a machine, you will also do fine. Just follow my directions and study the pictures.
You can use any size star that suits you. My choice for a tree topper or a decorative pillow is 15″ across from point to point. This includes 1/4″ seam allowance. Trace star pattern on cotton batting and cut out.
Make a pattern for the center of the star starting with a 4 1/2″ square of paper. Cut the square slightly, so you have five sides rather than four. Using this pattern, cut a center from a photo transfer, embroidery fabric, cross-stitch piece, chenille, lace, decorative fabric or something to your liking. Iron fusible web to the back of your center fabric. Place it in the center of the batting star with each side facing one of the star points. Using a pressing cloth, iron it to the center of your star batting. You will stitch strips of scraps out from this center piece in rounds the same way you would piece a Log Cabin block. The batting is your foundation. You will stitch through it, the previous fabric, and a new strip to create rows leading out to the star points. Use a 1/4″ seam allowance.
Begin by positioning a fabric scrap right sides together on one side of the center piece. Stitch through both fabrics and the foundation. Turn the strip right side up. Trim it even with the width of the side to which it was stitched. Finger press and pin. This is called “Stitch and Flip.” Rotate the star and repeat the process on the next straight side of center extending the strip to cover the side of the previous strip. Stitch and Flip. Continue around the center, going the same direction, until each side has a strip of fabric covering the raw edge. Trim strips even with the foundation, if they extend, cutting from the wrong side. You may add pieces of lace or trim to the finished seams as shown.
Continue the rotation making a second row of stitch and flip strips and then a third row. Follow the same process as instructed above.
As you go around, you will eventually be stitching each of the five points until the foundation is covered. When star is covered, stitch 1/4″ from edge. Trim even with star foundation. Remove pins. You may embellish further with yo-yos, trinkets, appliques, and more trims.
Place completed Strip Pieced star right sides together with lining fabric. Pin and cut out lining same size as foundation. Determine what is the top of the star, and make a 5″ slit across in the lining fabric two-thirds from the bottom of the star. This will be where you turn the star right side out, stuff it, and stitch tying ribbons. Stitch 1/4″ from raw edge on all sides. Clip off star points above stitching. Clip into point intersections to the stitching.
Turn right side out and make sure points are out and smooth. I use a chop stick to push the points out and get stuffing firmly into the points. Stuff star full. Cut ribbon in half so you have two pieces. Insert one end of each ribbon into the lining opening. Turn under seam allowance of the slit and pin opening closed with ribbon end pinned inside. Stitch opening by hand with small stitches and double thread. Add a loop of ribbon to the top of the star for hanging on the top tree branch.
Once you make one of these stars, you will want to make more. Here’s a sample in red and green. You can see more in my etsy shop.
MERRY CHRISTMAS IN JULY FROM OUR HOME TO YOURS.