Falling Leaves Wall Hanging
This project was an absolute joy to make. It started with an idea but morphed as I was working on it. The pattern has the tree trunk, the major large pieces and an assortment of "leaves". It also has the majority of stitches I used, but I encourage you to be playful, and make this tree your own. I mitered the corners of the border, but if you'd rather, just square them off. The main thing with this wall hanging is self expression. Pick colors you like. Be daring, combine colors in ways you might not normally. Hope you enjoy making this as much as I did!
1 piece of felt 11" x 13" for background
1 piece of felt 8" x 10" for tree trunk
assorted felt for foliage and leaves
1/2 yard of light to medium weight cotton fabric for border and backing
1 piece thin batting or flannel approximately 18" x 20"
Cutting out border and backing:
Cut your fabric in half along the fold. You should have 2 pieces of fabric each approximately 22" x 18". One will be used for the backing. The other piece for the border pieces. Cut 4 border pieces 3 1/2" x 22".
NOTE: When making my Woven Spider Wheel Stitches, I made the stitches longer than I usually do, and I made the spokes' length and spacing irregular. Plus, I used 5, 7 and 9 spokes. Then, I only partially wove the Spider Wheel, leaving half the spokes' length exposed. This was just me having fun! Make any stitches you like. Remember, though, in order to weave the Woven Spider Wheel, you must have an uneven number of spokes.
1] Make a copy of the pattern pieces.
2] Cut out background felt 11" x 13".
3] Using a disappearing marker, mark a 1/2" seam allowance around the 4 edges of the felt background.
4] Cut out pattern piece marked "positioning outline". Note: If you cover the pattern pieces with clear contact paper or wide tape before cutting out, they will be more rigid and easier to trace around.
5] Center this template on your background felt. Using a disappearing marker, trace around the template.
6] Following the pattern, the photos and your own imagination, attach the four large "foliage" pieces to the background.
7] Using a running stitch and 6 strands of floss, attach tree trunk following the outline you drew on the background. Following the pattern, the photos and your own imagination, attach leaves as directed or in any pleasing manner you decide. NOTE: I added the "falling leaf" on the far right, AFTER I had sewn the border on. I did not totally center my design, and added this little fellow to balance the design.)
Adding border with mitered corners:
NOTE: Mitered corners are not an "ish" technique. Straight seams, beginning and ending at the appropriate spot are necessary to turn out a professional looking corner. Mitered corners are not hard, taken step by step, but take the time to be accurate. It is time well spent!
1] Border pieces should be cut the length of a side, plus the width of 2 unsewn borders, plus 1 - 2" extra. Always error on the side of having your borders too long, rather than too short.
2] To start, take a border piece for a long side. Center the border piece on a long side of the appliqued piece, with right sides together. Pin in place. On the wrong side of each end of the border, mark the edge of the appliqued piece. Then mark 1/2" in from the previous line. This will be the starting and stopping point of your seam.
3] Sew your seam. Make sure you do not cross the start and stop line. This is very important. Attach the other long border in the same fashion.
4] Iron your seams. Normally, when making mitered corners, I iron my seams open. When using felt and a lighter weight material, however, I do not iron the seam open, rather, I let the felt lay flat. Note: If using felt, make sure your iron is not too hot or you will shrink the felt. I do not actually iron the felt as much as the other material around it.
5] To attach the other borders, start by pinning the other borders you just sewed on out of your way.
Now, pin your new border to the applique piece, placing your "start pin" next to the stop point of the other border.
To check positioning, fold back your new border on your "start pin". It should line up exactly next to the border you already sewed on.
Do the same with the other side where you place your "stop pin". Sew on the new border between your start and stop pins. (It is better to stop 1 or 2 stitches before the start and stop pins than go over them, which will cause your corners to pucker.) Iron.
6] It is now time to "square up" your corners. To do this, lay your work on a flat surface. Smooth down your borders. Pin them in place. At this point your border ends will extend beyond a square corner. Following the outside edge of the border, cut off the excess fabric. Flip project over and trim the other side of the corner following the other exposed outside edge of the border.
7] To sew a corner together, remove the pins, turn your work over and separate the two border pieces.
8] Pin the two border ends with right sides together. Make sure you do not catch the applique piece while you pin. Notice how I used a red pin to pin the applique piece out of the way.
9] Draw a line from the outside corner to your stitching line. (Remember, you have 2 lines, one the marked the outside edge of the applique piece and a stitching line. Make sure you are drawing a line to the stitching line. This is a 45 degree angle.
10] Sew along this line. IMPORTANT: Make sure you do not over sew your stitching line (the bottom line on the lower right hand side of the photo. It you sew even 1 stitch beyond, it will cause your corner to pucker. You are better to stop a stitch or 2 short of the stitching line. Trim away excess material.
11] Iron the seam open.
12] You have now mitered a corner! Do the other 3 corners in the same manner.
Sewing the wall hanging together:
1] Create a sandwich by laying your backing material down first with wrong side showing. Lay a piece of batting on top of that. (NOTE: In my picture, I had already cut a piece of batting 1/8" - 1/4" smaller than the applique piece. In the pic the batting is hidden between the backing and applique piece. I did this because I wanted to make sure I could see the pattern in the backing. It has a stripe and I wanted to make sure I accurately laid my applique piece along a stripe. If you are working with a solid or print background, you do not have to cut the batting out separately, since being "a little off' won't be noticed.) Trim away excess batting and backing.
2] Carefully take seperate the backing layer from the applique piece and the batting. It may be helpful to chose a corner, and put a pin in the backing and the applique piece so when it's time to pin the pieces together, you are sure to get the same corners together. This is important because you applique piece may not be a perfect rectangle. (Stuff happens, right?) When you cut out the pieces together, you made the backing, batting and applique piece exactly the same shape. You will want to make sure when you sew them together, you are putting them together in the same way you cut them out.
3] Pin all three layers together with the right sides of the backing and applique piece together and the batting on top. Pin the four sides of the wall hanging together.
4] Using a 1/2" seam, sew the four sides, leaving a 4" opening on one side.
5] Trim the corners and turn the piece right side out.
6] Iron the seam, being careful not to over heat the felt. Using a ladder stitch, sew the opening close.
7] Using 6 strands of floss, sew a running stitch on the applique piece about 1/8" from the border.
You are now done. If you would like you can sew round rings to the back of your piece for hanging. Because this is so light, I simply used 3 straight pins, that I pinned about 1" below the top edge on the backing, and pinned it to the wall.
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