Thursday, November 17, 2011

solstice/christmas chains - a tutorial

I am a bit funny about waste. Making paper chains only to throw them away seems frivolous to me. I know the kidlets love to make paper chains but i reckon there is something to be said for decorations that come out every year and become symbols of your family tradition too. So...i designed some Christmas/Solstice chains made of fabric...throw them in the wash and pack away...they’ll last generations. For those of you Southern Hemisphere folk who head to bush or beach, these travel like a dream...throw them in that backpack. Bring them out to decorate every Yuletime season.
I have some listed in my GrowMama store (click HERE) but for those crafty folk out there, I thought you might like to make some too. The tutorial is for your own use, not for making for sale thanks.
Okay, here we go...

You need:
-Half a metre each of green and red cotton jersey (or t shirting) fabric. .( I used jersey so i could leave the edges raw)
-Green &/or red thread
-Sewing machine

1)Lay your fabric down on your cutting surface. Cut 6 strips of 28cm long, and 20 cm wide in both green and red fabrics. You should have twelve rectangles in total.
2) Laying each piece in front of you, the longest side of fabric toward you, fold your fabric rectangle up by about 4cm. Keep folding until you have the whole piece folded over. Pin the edge of the fabric to stop it unfurling. Prepare the rest of your rectangles.

3) Sew! Sew down each side of your fabric ‘chain-link’. This makes sure it won’t unfold and gives it structure. Sew the other 11 pieces. Don’t forget to reinforce the beginnings and endings of your seams.

4) Trim any wonky edges.

5) Encircle your first ‘chain link’, overlapping the edges by about 2cm. I sewed a rectangle to anchor each make sure it was secure and to have it look purty.

6) Take the contrasting colour to your first chainlink and feed that through your chain and sew that one’s edges together...and so on and so on!

This is a good, fairly labour intensive, fairly brainless late night project to do while rocking out to a bit of Kimbra, the Nymphs, and Feist on you tube.

I made mine in twelve chain links – that way they can be used separately or pinned to make a continous chain. Pretty pleased with myself – they look good! I’m thinking some rainbow coloured ones for celebrations in general (birthdays etc) might be on the crafting table oh, sometime in the New Year.

I'd love to see your chain creations...send me your links or photos.

Happy crafting. I’ll be here alot in the coming month with gift ideas, other crafty tutorials and stories from the frontlines of parenting. Looking forward to it!


  1. Clever you1 They are very bright and cheerful. My granddaughter, who is 3, is asking for a 'flax Christmas tree' this year, so that will be an interesting challenge.

  2. thanks juliet...oooh, a flax christmas tree...interesting design challenge! let me know how you get on...i am trying to talk this small one into making a tree instead of cutting far we're at an impasse in negotiations. xx