Monday, October 6, 2014

Halloween Sewing (with an update!)

I have a lot, I mean a lot of Halloween fabric. I've been collecting it for years from fabric stores, yard sales, trades and swaps, and pretty much anywhere I can snag it up. Did you know it's almost impossible to find scary fabric for Halloween now? All the pumpkins, witches, and skeletons are smiling! Not so much with my older fabrics, but anything acquired in the past 15-20 years, yup, they're smiling.

This year, I wanted to try a bunting. The way I've hung it is not mainstream, but the idea is simple. I made a simple triangle pattern, gathered my fabrics, and used pinking shears to cut the triangles for the bunting. I zig-zagged the triangles onto a piece of grosgrain ribbon, leaving tails of ribbon at the ends.

I did not leave space between the triangle flags, but if I did this again, I would absolutely leave a half inch or so for tacking it up, maybe even a little less than that. My ribbon is about 1-1/2 times the width of the mantle. I made it, I hung it, and I have learned a little something from it. You should ry it yourself. It couldn't be easier. I have made bunting with spaces before and they do hang better. This was kind of an experiment. 

Update: I hated the way it was hanging, so I tried something different. Much better!

My other project this year is a set of four placemats with a Jack o'Lantern, smiling of course, appliqued onto a skeleton fabric. I used store bought bias binding that I had on hand. The back is a complementary fall fabric which makes these reversible. If you are not interested in drawing a pumpkin, you can Google "Halloween coloring pages" or "Jack o'Lantern coloring pages" and use what you find as your pattern. I borrowed my design of the pumpkin and stem from a coloring page search. When I do this kind of applique, I do a straight stitch around the shape first to hold it in place. 

For the process, I appliqued the pumpkin and the stem onto the skeleton fabric. I then made a sandwich of the fall fabric, flannel, and the pumpkin decorated piece, and did some wide machine quilting on the diagonal to hold it all in place. I machine sewed one side of the bias binding in place (on the pumpkin side), pinned it, and hand sewed the back binding. You can use your machine; I prefer the hand stitching. (If you have it, use some kind of anti-fray liquid on the appliqued stitches.)

Last year, I was heavy into making trick or treat bags with Halloween patchwork. If you want to try one of those, simply make some patchwork fabric out of 4" or 5" squares of Halloween fabric, and make a simple lined tote bag. Here are a couple of last year's examples:

Have some ghoulish fun with your sewing for Halloween. Your kids will love placemats and tote bags that you made for them and they also make fun items to give away or sell at a craft show or online. Or do like I do and just make stuff for yourself.


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