When Prestigious Textiles asked if I would like to join in with their Advent Calendar of Christmas projects, I jumped at the chance to share these easy DIY Christmas tree decorations with you. Last year’s tree was hastily decorated with last minute purchases as we only got the keys to our house three days before Christmas, and I couldn’t not have one! So this year I wanted to make a bit more of an effort and make some of my own decorations.
My scheme is black and gold, because that was what was left when we rushed to B&Q last Christmas Eve, but these decorations would work whatever your colour scheme – simply choose a fabric to match. Prestigious has an amazing range, and when I searched for black and gold fabrics all sorts of things came up, but I thought the animal skin patterned faux leather would work really well for this project. They very kindly sent me some Elephant Gilt, Rhino Ebony and Buffalo Bronze to use to make my decorations. (Please note, obviously no elephants, rhinos or buffalos were harmed in the making of these decorations, the leather is PVC, Polyester and PU!)
I chose to make a simple but elegant star shape, but you can use fabric to make any shape decoration you want. I love the little stockings with cinnamon sticks in them – I bet they make the room smell amazing.
These are really easy to make, and quick too – I could make a couple in an episode of Narcos, but I will warn you that if using faux leather it is quite a lot of effort to push the needle through so you will get sore fingers – a thimble might be a great idea too. Anyone can make them – the only specialist kit besides a needle which you need is a pair of pinking shears. These can be picked up for a couple of pounds and once you have them you’ll find a million other uses for them as well, or if you prefer, you can simply cut straight sides. If using fabric, you could very easily make these on a sewing machine and make ten in the time it took me to sew one, but I wanted to make this a tutorial that even non-sewers could follow.
So, enough waffling, here’s how to make some gorgeous faux leather stars for your Christmas Tree!
Gather your materials. Per star you will need about 8 inches by 4 inches of fabric. You will also need a needle and strong thread (I used metallic gold), bakers twine (mine was beige with a slight gold sparkle), stuffing, pinking shears and scissors. You will also need a star template cut from a piece of stiff cardboard. This can be drawn freehand, within a box approximately 4 inches by 4 inches, or you can download a template here.
Cut two squares of leather large enough for your shape. Cut around the template so you have two star shapes.
Pin your shapes together, right sides out.
Thread your needle and double the thread, knotting the end. At one inside point of the star, sew up through one layer of leather, so the knot is concealed inside. Then, staying about 4mm away from the edge of your star, backstitch around it. If you are not familiar with backstitch you can find a simple guide here.
Sew all the way around your star, leaving one edge unsewn, i.e. you should stitch all along the black lines (you don’t need to draw the lines, they are just for illustration).
Take a small amount of your stuffing and carefully push it into each point of the star. When the point is full, add some more to the legs of each point, and finally, fill the centre of the star with stuffing. Last, fill the leg that you have left open down one side, and, being careful to keep the stuffing inside the star, sew the hole closed.
With your pinking shears, cut all the way around the star, being careful not to cut your stitches.
Take a length of bakers string (mine are a little long, you probably only need three inches maximum), and stitch into one end of it with the needle and thread. Wrap the thread around the twine and tie it tight, then push the end of the thread between the two pinked edges of one point of the star, so that you cannot see it. Sew the needle through the point of the star (always in between the two layers of leather so the stitches are hidden) and into the other end of the string. Sew through both ends and the point of the star a few times to secure your hanging thread, then cut off the remaining sewing thread. And there you have it! A gorgeous star Christmas tree decoration ready to hang!
What do you think? Are you tempted to make some of these? You could even turn them into a garland by tying each one to a long string, which would look amazing strung on a mantlepiece. Maybe I will do that next year, if we’ve got around to getting a mantlepiece by then!