Colleen Babcock: Regency Silhouette Christmas Ornament
It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a lone crafter in possession of a sewing machine, must be in want of a free tutorial. I'm Colleen Babcock, and I'm here as a guest contributor at the Jane Austen Centre's online magazine to provide you with just that.
I am a cloth art doll and craft designer, as well as a Jane Austen fan, living in London. Originally from Canada, I teach and exhibit in the UK and across North America. With work featured in several books and magazines, I also write guest posts for popular craft blogs while keeping the creativity levels high with free tutorials on my own blog, The Magic Bean.
What you need
- Small piece black felt
- Extremely small scrap white felt
- Small scrap green felt
- Small scrap red felt
- Fat quarter piece of linen or other white or cream fabric for oval background
- Sewing thread
- ¾ yard (0.75m)of ½" (13mm) wide flat trim in two different colours to trim oval
- Approx 1½ yards (1.5m) ⅛" (3mm) wide white satin ribbon for loop and bow
- Assorted ribbons in different colours and widths (no wider than ½" or 13mm) - wired ribbon works well
- Miniature picks of holly (each holly leaf in the picks I used are ¾" or 19mm long x ½" or 13mm wide)
- 2 x miniature feathers
- Freezer paper or mechanical pencil for tracing patterns
- Tacky glue
- Standard sewing equipment such as sewing machine, thread, hand sewing needles, pins, sharp pair of fabric scissors
- The free pattern Download Regency Silhouette Christmas Ornament Pattern
Read the instructions through before beginning.
All seam allowances are ⅛" (3mm) unless otherwise stated.
Your stitch length on your sewing machine should be set to 2-2.5 which is 12-13 stitches per inch. Remember to back-stitch at the beginning and end of every seam.
Cut out the Felt Silhouettes
1. Either print the patten page directly onto freezer paper or trace the silhouettes onto the freezer paper by hand. Iron the freezer paper to a piece of black felt.
2. Using a sharp pair of scissors cut out all four silhouettes from the felt following the outline on the pattern pages as closely as possible. Pay particular attention to clipping carefully into the mouth and nose areas with the tip of a very sharp pair of scissors to make the shapes as clear as possible. Peel away the freezer paper. If after the whole silhouette is cut out there are areas where the fuzz from the felt is obscuring the shape, trim the fuzz away.
Decorate the Silhouettes
3. Add some extra touches to the gents' silhouettes to start. First lay out the silhouettes so that they face each other and assume that the side facing you is the right side. Cut small wedges from white felt to represent the starched shirt collars using the pattern collar pieces as guides. Apply a small amount of tacky glue to the back of the the narrow white felt wedge and place it along the collar area on the top hatted gentleman. Apply a small amount of tacky glue to the wider collar piece of felt and apply it to the hat-less gentleman along the collar area. Remember, in the Regency period, collars of this style were worn very high so that they actually came past the jaw-line; keep that in mind when placing the wider collar, in particular.
4. Use the tip of a sharp pair of scissors or an awl if you have one, to bore a hole in the felt along the hat band of the top hatted gentleman and on the lapel of the hat-less gentleman, respectively.
5. Slip a small pick of holly through the hole in the hatband of the top hatted gentleman and apply some glue to the stem of the holly pick at the back of the silhouette to hold the holly in place.
6. Strip one miniature pick of holly of its leaves so that only the berries remain. Slip the small bunch of berries through the hole in the lapel of the hat-less gentleman. Apply some glue to the stem of the berries at the back of the silhouette to hold the berries in place. Set the gents' silhouettes to one side for now.
7. Decorate the ladies' silhouettes with Regency bonnets. First lay out the silhouettes so that they face each other and assume that the side facing you is the right side. Print or trace the bonnet patterns onto freezer and iron one bonnet pattern to a red piece of felt and the other bonnet pattern to a green piece of felt. Cut the bonnets out and peel away the freezer paper. Make sure that you have one bonnet laid out with the brim facing right and one laid out with brim facing left so that when placed on the silhouettes you will have one lady facing one way and the other facing the opposite direction.
8. Wrap a small piece of ribbon around the base of the crown of the hat where a hat band would go (see the right side of the green bonnet at left), with the ends wrapped around to the wrong side of the bonnet (see the wrong side of the red bonnet at right). Glue the ends of the ribbon to the wrong side of the bonnet. I used wired ribbon. On the green bonnet I folded the ribbon in half to make it look narrower and kept the full width of the ribbon in the case of the red bonnet.
9. Use the tip of a sharp pair of scissors or an awl if you have one, to bore a hole in the felt along the top of the ribbon on the red bonnet and below the ribbon on the green bonnet.
10. Slip a small pick of holly through the hole below the ribbon on the green bonnet and apply some glue to the stem of the holly pick at the back of the bonnet to hold the holly in place.
11. Strip one miniature pick of holly of its leaves so that only the berries remain. Slip the small bunch of berries through the hole above the ribbon on the red bonnet. Apply some glue to the stem of the berries at the back of the bonnet to hold the berries in place.
12. Apply a small amount of tacky glue to the end of two miniature feathers and slip the ends under the ribbon of the red bonnet next to the bunch of berries.
13. Pleat a piece of ribbon with your fingers into an accordion shape. Bend both raw ends of the ribbon to the back of the pleated shape and glue the ends in place. Glue the pleated ribbon to the green bonnet below the holly. Hold the pleated shape in place until it dries.
14. Glue each bonnet to the respective silhouettes so that the top and back of the head is covered and so that the nose and mouth can be seen below the brim.
15. Tie a piece of ribbon into a bow, apply tacky glue to the back of the bow and place it at a jaunty angle below the jaw-line of the silhouette in the red bonnet. Hold in place until dried. Set the ladies' silhouettes aside for now.
Create the Oval Base of the Ornament
16. Fold the light coloured fabric that you have chosen for the oval base in half with right sides together. Cut the oval pattern from a piece of paper and trace it four times
onto the wrong side of the fabric. Cut out the oval shapes, giving you four pairs of ovals.
17. Now to apply trim to one side of each pair of ovals that you have cut. I used two different colours, trimming two ovals with red trim and two with white trim. Starting at the top of the oval pin the trim to a the right side of a single layer of fabric with the base of the trim even with the raw edge of the oval and the decorative edge facing toward the centre of the oval. Overlap the ends of the trim at the top. Pin the trim in place and then hand baste the trim in place to save yourself aggravation at the sewing machine.
Cut a piece of ⅛" (3mm) wide white satin ribbon 6½" (16.5cm) long. Fold the ribbon in half to form a loop and tack the loop in place at the top of the oval where the ends of the trim overlap.
18. Place an un-trimmed oval on top of the trimmed oval and pin together with right sides facing, sandwiching the trim and loop between the two ovals. By machine, sew around the oval making using a ⅛" (3mm) seam allowance and making sure to leave an opening (marked on the pattern and in red on the photo below) through which to turn the oval base.
19. Turn the oval base right side out through the opening. Press. Turn under the raw edges at the opening and ladder stitch the opening closed with a hand sewing needle and regular thread.
To see how to do the ladder stitch, see the below diagram.
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.
20. Tie a piece of ⅛" (3mm) wide white satin ribbon into a bow. Apply tacky glue to the back of the bow and place it at the bottom of the looped hanger at the top of the oval.
21. Apply a thin layer of tacky glue to the back of a silhouette and press it firmly to the centre of the right side of an oval.
22. Repeat steps 16-21 for the remaining three ovals.
© Colleen Babcock 2010, All Rights Reserved
I hope that you enjoyed making these Regency ornaments with me. If you want to see more of my free tutorials
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Colleen Babcock is a blogger, cloth art doll and craft designer offering patterns, online classes and in-person workshops. Originally from Canada, Colleen has a BFA in Theatre Design & Production from York University in Toronto. Now living in London, England, Colleen regularly teaches and exhibits in the UK and across North America. Visit her blog, The Magic Bean: News, Reviews and the Crafty Muse
or her Etsy store, The Magic Bean
, for more fabulous dolls and crafts.