The people down at my local hardware store think I'm weird. They think I'm weird because normal people look at curtain rings and think of, well, curtain rings, but I look at curtain rings and I see this:
Transforming a curtain ring to a very personalised Christmas ornament will not be a quantum jump for you however; you just have to follow the step by step instructions.
What you need:
Note: My supply lists tend to be pretty long and scary looking, but I tend to put every little thing on them. Chances are you will have many of these things around the house.
- Small scrap skin coloured high quality quilting cotton (look for a high thread count, so that the seams don't come apart when the head is stuffed). I love using a Hoffman watercolour batik fabric in Latte. You can buy it here in the UK from Cassie Rafferty's website.
- Small scrap white cotton fabric for the beard and moustache
- Small scrap red cotton fabric for body and hat
- Small scrap green fabric for hat lining
- 1” (2.5cm) wide strip green fabric (ripped) for wrapping curtain ring
- Curtain ring - mine is 2¼" (5.7cm) at the outside diameter, you can use plastic, but you may want to use wood as it is easier to glue the fabric to it.
- Tacky glue
- Small scrap green felt for hearts on gloves and for backing the photo frame
- 2 x size 11 or 12 seed beads in black for the eyes
- Small scrap red felt for the gloves
- Standard sewing equipment: sewing machine, pins, sewing shears, hand sewing needles (a John James Long Darner #7 needle is especially helpful) etc.
- Mechanical pencil
- High quality polyester thread (such as Gutermann) to match fabrics
- High quality stuffing (I prefer Fairfields)
- 1 x ⅛" (3mm) pom-pom for top of hat
- 6" (15.2cm) ⅛" (3mm) wide ribbon for loop to hang ornament
- Powdered blush make-up (matt variety, not shiny or metallic)
- 2 x miniature picks of holly (each holly leaf in the picks I used are ¾" or 19mm long x ½" or 13mm wide)
- Small piece of cardboard, the weight should be like that found on the back of notebooks
- Photograph with an image that will fit inside the ring
- Paper scissors
- Strong thread such as Gutermann upholstery thread
- Optional but helpful: haemostats (American spelling is hemostats) for stuffing
- Hot glue or other strong glue such as UHU Power
You also need to download the pattern page here: Download Santa Christmas Ornament with Photo Frame Pattern Page
Read the instructions through before beginning.
Pattern pieces should be copied onto card stock and cut out exactly on the line. Trace the pattern using a mechanical pencil especially for the head pieces. If you prefer, you may use a purple fade-away marker. When the fabric is particularly dark, a gel pen can be used to trace lines, but the lines will not be removable, so be sure the lines cannot be seen if you choose this option!
Note that a solid line on the pattern pieces indicates that you trace and sew directly on this line. Then you cut out around the pattern leaving a 1/8” seam allowance. A solid line with a dotted line indicates that a seam allowance has been included meaning that you cut out the pattern piece directly on the outer solid line. All seam allowances are ⅛” unless otherwise stated.
Change your sewing machine needle before sewing.
Your stitch length should be set to 1.5 which is 15 stitches per inch. Remember to back-stitch at the beginning and end of every seam so that your seams don’t come apart.
How to Make it:
1. Using a mechanical pencil, trace the head-back & head-front pattern pieces onto the wrong side of the doubled skin coloured fabric, folded with right sides together. Make sure that the arrows on the patterns are aligned with the straight grain of the fabric, so that both head pieces are cut on the bias.
2. Sew the curve of the head-back, leaving the tab open. Sew down the front of the face from the forehead to the chin. Cut out both pieces, leaving a ⅛” (3mm) seam allowance along the seams and cutting right on the remaining traced line.
4. Turn the head-front right side out. Slide it into the head-back with right sides together. Match the seams at the top and bottom of the head and pin. Baste stitch around the head by hand before machine sewing all the way around the head. Don't be tempted to skip the hand basting. With a head this small, the basting will save you time and frustration. I now hand baste all my heads together before machine sewing and I never have to re-sew a doll head.
5. Turn right side out and fill head firmly with stuffing. Beginner doll makers will be astounded by the amount of stuffing I use to stuff a head. I used the entire piece of stuffing pictured below in this one tiny head.
When I stuff , I grab one bit of a large piece of stuffing with my haemostats and push the stuffing through the opening, feeding the stuffing into the head in one continuous piece until the head feels like a ripe kiwi in terms of its firmness. I do not use individual, small pieces of stuffing as that makes the head lumpy.
6. When the head is firm enough, use the tip of a John James Long Darner #7 needle to gently scoop stuffing into the nose and chin areas. Just stick the tip of the needle into the fabric near the tip of the nose and dig gently into the stuffing to pull it into the nose area.
7. Trace the torso pattern onto the wrong side of a piece of doubled red cotton fabric, folded with right sides together. Sew the torso from one side of the opening at the neck, around the shape, stopping at the other side of the neck opening. Cut out the torso, clipping the corners.
8. Turn the torso right side out. Stuff the torso firmly through the neck. The neck itself must be firmly stuffed. With a hand sewing needle and strong thread, sew a gathering stitch around the neck opening. Pull the gathering stitch tightly to close the neck opening and anchor off the thread.
10. Ladder stitch the head in place with strong thread.
If you don’t know how to do the ladder stitch, have a look at the diagram above.
I’ve used red thread so you can see the stitch better. The blue lines indicate where the thread is travelling through the folded edge of the fabric. When you pull the thread taut, the two bits of fabric butt together. You should pull the thread taut as you go, but I have left it loose at the end here so you can see the stitch better.
11. Trace the beard and moustache patterns onto the wrong side of a piece of doubled white cotton fabric, folded with right sides together. Sew the beard and then the moustache leaving the marked opening open on both pieces. Cut out the beard and moustache. There is no need to clip into the curves. Turn both pieces right side out through the openings. Stuff each piece so that the shape is filled, but do NOT stuff them as firmly as you did the head. With a hand sewing needle and regular thread, ladder stitch the openings closed in both pieces.
12. Make a division between the two halves of the moustache with a hand sewing needle and regular thread. First, anchor the thread in the middle of the moustache piece at the seam and then wrap the thread around the moustache on the outside of the fabric. Pull the thread tightly so that the thread gathers the moustache and appears to divide it in half When you get back to the point where you first anchored your thread, take one small stitch approx. ⅛” (3mm) long and loop the thread around the moustache again, pulling the thread to define the division of the moustache. Repeat the thread loop one more time and anchor off the thread.
13. To finish the face, first prepare some fabric from which to cut the eyelids. Apply a scant amount of tacky glue to the wrong side of a very small scrap of fabric. Fold the fabric in half with the tacky glue sandwiched between the layers with wrong sides together. Place something heavy on top of the glued layers of fabric and leave to dry.
14. While the glue is drying on the eyelid fabric, mark two dots with your mechanical pencil on the head where you will be placing the eyes. The eyes should sit at or just above the halfway point of the head, that is halfway between the crown of the head and the chin. Imagine a horizontal line running across the face at this halfway point. Along the halfway line mark two points, one ½" (1.3cm) to either side of the seam dividing the face in half.
15. Once the glue on the eyelid fabric is dry, use a mechanical pencil to lightly trace the eyelid template pattern twice onto the fabric with the straight edge of the template resting on the fold. Cut out.
16. Run a thin line of tacky glue along the curved top edge of the eyelid making sure to place the glue right to the corners of the eyelid and leaving the lash-line (the fold) glue-free. Place the eyelid so that it partially covers the top of the bead. Press the top curved edge of the eyelid down and hold it in place until the glue dries. Warning: do not pin the eyelids in place or you will get little holes in the fabric of the eyelid that won’t disappear due to the glue used to bond the fabric. Repeat for the second eyelid.
18. Pin the beard to the face leaving a small gap below the nose (to leave room for the moustache) and ladder stitch the beard to the face, along the top curve where it touches the face.
20. To make the hat, place a piece of red cotton fabric on top of the fabric for the hat lining with right sides together and trace the hat pattern onto the wrong side of the fabric. Sew along the front of the hat (the solid line on the pattern). Cut out the hat leaving a ⅛” (3mm) seam allowance along the seams and cutting right on the remaining traced line. Turn right sides out.
21. Fold the hat in half (so that the ear flaps are together) with right sides together. Fold a piece of ⅛" (3mm) wide ribbon in half to form a loop. Position the ribbon loop so it sits at the pointed top of the hat near the fold with the loop on the right side of the fabric, facing down and with the ends of the ribbon sticking out above the seam allowance. Sew along the back seam of the hat using a ⅛” (3mm) seam allowance. Make sure that the ribbon loop has been sewn into the seam.
Turn right side out. Place a small amount of stuffing into the pointed end of the hat and pull the hat onto the doll’s head and pin in place. Fold the flap at the front of the face up. By hand, tack the hat firmly to the head. By hand, tack a ⅛” (3mm) pom-pom to the top of the hat.
22. Trace the mitten pattern twice onto a doubled piece of felt. Sew around the shape of each mitten leaving the wrist open. Cut out leaving a very scant ⅛” (3mm) seam allowance along the seams and cutting right on the remaining traced line. Clip as close to the stitching between the thumb and the finger part of the mitten as you can. Turn the mittens right side out.
24. Rip a strip of cotton 1” (2.5cm) wide, making sure that there are raw, ripped edges on both sides of the fabric strips. Begin to wrap the curtain ring with the strip by gluing one end to the ring and then continuing to wrap the curtain ring overlapping the fabrics strips so the curtain ring doesn't show beneath. When the ring is completely covered, apply a small amount of tacky glue to the end of the fabric strip and hold it in place until it is dry.
Place the curtain ring on a piece of cardboard and trace around the circle to create a backing for the photograph. Cut out. Trace the cardboard circle onto a piece of felt and cut out the felt circle. Glue the felt circle to one side of the cardboard circle. Once the glue is dry, use the felt covered cardboard circle to trace around the image in your chosen photo and cut the photo out. Glue the photo to the cardboard side of the circle or use double-sided tape to adhere it. Set the photo aside for now.
25. Wrap the mittens around the top of the curtain ring so that the bottoms of the mittens can't be seen from the front. By hand, firmly tack the mittens to the fabric covering the curtain ring, making sure to tack at points all around the mittens.
27. Glue the felt-backed photo circle to the back of the curtain ring along the edges of the photo preferably with hot glue or another strong glue.
Then apply some glue to the top of the felt backing on the circle. Press the glue to the chest of the Santa. By hand, tack the mittens to the Santa's chest with strong thread for added security.
28. Add the finishing touches by tracing the heart template twice onto a piece of contrasting coloured felt and cut out. Glue a heart to the front of each mitten with tacky glue. Then bore a hole into the hat just above the hat flap with a sharp pair of small scissors or with an awl, if you have one. Apply a small amount of tacky glue to the stem of a miniature holly pick and slip it into the hole in the hat. By hand, tack the hat flap in place.
Jolly well done with this jolly old fellow.
If you love Christmas and you love cloth dolls (ooh, pick me!) then you might be interested in two of my patterns which bring together all things festive in the form of a cloth doll. Check out the Christmasy Give us a Kiss Pattern and the wintry Snowflake Sprite.