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fabric garlands – it’s party time!

Guess what? It’s been a whole year!!! That’s right, a year ago I began blogging, shouting into the bustle of the internet, waving my arms and hoping to be heard above all the tweets and the porn and the snickering over at 4-Chan and the sound of puppies being cute and of kittens reducing people to d’awwww-ing puddles.

And now, today, we celebrate that some of you have heard me and that I continue to wave my arms and blog. Remember a year ago, when this blog was just crawling? Now it’s up and running with scissors, getting into the expensive Japanese paper and playing with superglue. This calls for a party!

In celebration, I will teach you a super simple, super colourful and even super washable way to make party decorations. While I’m at it, I’ll also give something away. What will I give away? That’s up to you. If you could have any of the items featured in tutorials on this blog, which would you choose?

Leave a comment on this post answering the above question. Also include your favourite thing about the blog, and one thing you’d like to see changed or improved. Only one entry per person, though you can post multiple comments if you have more to say, it just won’t increase your chances of being drawn.

At the end of the week I will randomly draw a winner, and announce it in next week’s post. The winner will get to choose as their prize anything that I have made and featured in a tutorial here, with a couple of exceptions.* Here are a few quick details:

  1. You can have me resize and modify a t-shirt, but you have to either provide me with the shirt or allow me to buy a cheap plain shirt (you’ll get to choose the general colour) from Value Village to mod for you. Either way, you’ll also have to send me your exact measurements and a photo of yourself (it can be blurry, I just need to get a sense of your build).
  2. *The exceptions are: D&D stat boosters (way too heavy to ship), play dough (might cause issues with customs), sugar cookies (most of the supplies used belonged to a friend, not to me, and I don’t have current access to them). These probably weren’t your first picks anyway, so it shouldn’t be a problem. Also, I’m sorry to say that the plush Myr is not an option, as he’s not actually part of a tutorial. He’ll be up for sale at some point, though.
  3. There is no geographical requirement: people living anywhere in the world are welcome to participate and are eligible to win. I’m pretty sure Canada Post can even ship to Antarctica, but it might take some extra time getting there.
  4. In most cases the winner will not receive the original item from the blog post, but another iteration of that item. (Most of the originals are in use, given away or sold, frankly.)

And now, on to the tutorial!

What you’ll need:

  • fabric, lots of fabric – this is a great opportunity to use up all the little bits in your scrap pile, or to cut up old shirts or towels or anything colourful. You don’t need very large pieces, just a lot of small ones, and it doesn’t matter what kind of fabric it is – cotton, polyester, satin, silk, felt, fleece – use it all!
  • thread
  • 1″ to 2″ wide ribbon (a looooooooong piece, or several pieces sewn together) OR double wide bias binding
  • sewing machine OR needle and thread (this option will not be so quick, but it’s not impossible to do this project by hand, just time consuming)
  • iron & ironing board

Putting it all together:

1) Decide what shapes you want to make your garland from. Half circles (like I used) are pretty, but triangles (like on pennants) will be faster and simpler. You could try long narrow strips, too, or combine any or all of these shapes. Your choice may depend partly on the size and shape of the fabric scraps you’re using, as well.

2) Make a pattern by folding a piece of paper in half, drawing half the shape you want, and cutting this out. Unfold the paper and you have a symmetrical pattern. You can get a nice look by varying size, as well. I used two different sizes of half circle.

3) Use the pattern to cut a whole ton of these shapes from your fabric scraps. Make sure you have equal and even numbers of each shape. Each piece of the garland will use two fabric shapes, but the two sides don’t have to match. In fact, it may look more fun if they don’t.

4) When you have enough shapes cut out, pair each piece with a matching shape and pin them, right sides together.

5) Sew each piece together, leaving the top edge open.

6) Turn each piece right side out. If you’re using a rounded shape, as I did, you’ll get neater results by making cuts around the edge of each shape. Cut from the edge of the fabric up to the thread (be careful not to cut through the thread, though). Make these cuts about 1/4 inch apart along all curved edges, and they will curve more neatly when you turn them right side out.

Use a chopstick or the end of a pencil to poke all the corners out and smooth the edges.

7) [optional but recommended] Iron each piece flat.

8) Arrange all your pieces (now facing right side out) in a line according to colour, shape, etc. – in whatever order you want them to be on the garland.

9) Lay your ribbon out, wrong-side up. Now place each garland piece down on your ribbon, so the raw edge sits in the middle of the ribbon. Then fold the ribbon over and pin it, so the top, raw edge of each garland piece is hidden by the ribbon.

Leave several inches of ribbon dangling at either end of the garland.

10) Sew along the edge of the ribbon to secure each piece of the garland in place.

Be sure that your stitches are going through both sides of the ribbon.

11) At either end of the garland, tuck the ribbon ends under and sew them down to hide the raw edge and prevent fraying. Then fold the end of the ribbon in next to the first fabric piece and sew it in place to make a loop that you can use to hang the garland.

12) Decorate!

Leave a comment


  1. Thank you for this tutorial! I have planned to make one to decorate my craftroom with so it’s nice to see this for an idea at how to go about it. I’m working on a paper one right now but the fabric one is next!

  2. The one project I would choose would definitely be the one that drew me to your site: The Perilous Myr plushie!
    I have since found several other projects on your site that interest me. My favorite part of the blog is how-to’s; the more detailed the better! The one improvement I’d like to see is the inclusion of patterns for the sewing projects like the plushie (ones like this week’s garland really don’t need one). I don’t have much artistic creativity; but I can follow instructions and a pattern!
    Thanks for sharing all these creations!

  3. A full year? That’s awesome! I really love your blog because 1) crafting is cool! 2) these are things I could make and 3) you are absolutely adorable.

    I can’t think of anything off-hand that I would do different or change.

    As for the question… I would have to say the bacon bracelet. If only for the reaction of “is that… is that bacon?”

    I’m looking forward to another awesome year of crafts.

  4. Well, in that case, I’d dearly love a book handbag. I have actually started making one, but I’m not that crafty and anyway, multiples would be great.

    One of the drawcards is the geeky crafts, but I’d also like to add the friendly and personal presentation.

    As for an improvement… how about more papercrafts? I’m a big fan of those.

  5. Congrats on the one year! :)

    First, I looove all of the crafts. You have such an amazing variety: plushies, jewelry, decorations, gift wrapping, etc. So many amazing ideas that I hadn’t contemplated and just seeing the results makes me thrilled to open up my crafting box. The best part of the blog is just the sheer inspiration you bring to the table :)

    Hm, I guess you could always use bigger pictures. Better to go too big than to go too small.

    If I had my choice, I’d sweeten the pig with a Desert Bus Plush Pig. I spent wayyy too much time watching Desert Bus and too little time actually sleeping.

    Keep up the grand work :)

  6. I can’t believe it’s been a whole year! I’m so proud of you, Tally! ^_^

    Your blog really has your energy and voice, which makes it as fun to read as it is fun to see what you’re making. And you do make some really fun stuff! :D

    If I could recommend anything to improve, it would be a bit of site design and maybe some short video tutorials for some of your more difficult processes.

    If my name is chosen, I would defer my prize to Dikla, and she could choose something she would like.


  7. You’ve only been doing this a year? I thought you’d been doing this much longer, you are a pro!

    1. I am barely able to use safety scissors and not poke an eye out, so I appreciate the simple steps and the pictures to show me if I have screwed up. I haven’t been able to do some of the more complicated ones, but I have actually succeeded at some of the simple ones and you taught me how!

    2. The only improvement I can think of would be maybe adding video? I think your steps are pretty easy to understand, but a short video of a complicated step would help the slow learners like me :)

    3. I would love a book purse! That was one that I tried to make and failed (twice)!

    Keep up the good work and fun crafts for us to do!

  8. Hey Tally, Fantastic craft as usual, apologies for not commenting before.

    In regards to your competition:
    what Is my favourite craft of yours: Cassette notebooks, by far.

    My favourite thing about your blog: is that you continue to help people who want to make things, you constantly produce funny and stylish items and you do it with a smile.

    One change to the blog: it seems too feminine, I know that is a minor point, but it would be nicer to see more unisex items being crafted. that’s just my opinion.

    But on the topic of this craft: it’s definitely a party pleaser (see what i did there?). keep it up, and congrats on the anniversary.

  9. Congrats on your one year blogiversary! (that’s a word…right?) I’ve really enjoyed following along in your crafting adventures, and I look forward to all of your future crafts! Keep at it!

  10. Your crafts are totally amazing!

    I tried to make your Sock Bunnies earlier this week. It was just to follow your guide and even I, who never ever crafted anything nice, managed to make the cutest little bunny.

    I’ll look forward to another great year of crafts! Love from Sweden!

  11. Wow time seems to fly by!
    I remember hearing about this blog in a podcast and checking it out and I’ve loved it ever since. Its cute, funny, and you show neat thinga to make and you make them seem not so complicated and that even someone like me could make that. You are sweet and awesome and it is so wonderful that you share your awesomeness with us. We definately appeciate it.

    One thing I would like to see is more video game and nerd themed stuff. I go bonkers for that kind of thing. :)

    My favorite is the cassette books. I would love a purple one. I’d even buy one from you if I were not a poor university student, lol.

  12. Tally, it took me some time to find your blog, but I really do like it and there are a few things on it which I promised to myself I’d try one day even though I get quite timid about getting started with such things becuse I’m not very crafty.
    Generally, I’m most fond of your T-shirt ideas which are absolutely brilliant. I had that idea a couple of years ago, but clumsiness in that direction, plus lack of sewing machine led to a very pathetic attemt at making a t-shirt look nice and special and in the end, the result disappeared from my wardrobe. So I do admire your ablilities and your creativity in that direction a lot.

  13. Tally, you are amazing!! Congratulations on your anniversary of blogging! You continue to amaze and inspire me! The paper earrings I made for the women in my family turned out AMAZINGLY well! All thanks to you, of course :)

    I have so many favourites… I’d have narrow it down to a book purse. Or maybe the pencils…or the little pumpkin garland…or the magic card ornaments… but I could probably make those myself, and (as you know), I couldn’t use a sewing machine to save my life, so if I won I’d pick the purse :)

    As far as an improvement, I’d have to go with Thomas on the site design and adding some video.

    Keep it up, Tally! I love hearing your voice in your writing, and I love that you are so willing to share your crafting gift with the world!

  14. There are so many fantastic things about this blog; I want to make nearly everything I see on it, and only time and the distance of the craft store from my house keep me from doing so.

    The only thing that’s sometimes sad-making is the fact that a lot of these seem to need a sewing machine, and I don’t have one. However, I may have a way of getting my hands on one fairly soon, so it may not be a problem for long.

    As with some of the others, I’d probably have to go with the book handbag, just because they are fantastic, and something I know I’d use all the time and carry everywhere.

    Keep being awesome! (I know that won’t be hard for you.)

  15. I really love the decorations
    I really like this blog because my friends don’t craft and I have been unlucky in finding people who share the same passion who are close to my age. It is nice to know that others are keeping the fun and new instead of older designs that may not fit with my personal preference.
    I have not seen anything that I believe is negative but it would be neat to see crocheted crafts considering it is my favourite way to create. I got a huge craft going on for desertbus.
    I love the cat ears the most!
    I use to not like them before I started watching desertbus but they have grown on me.
    Because of your blog it gave me more reason to start my own blog with crafting.
    hope for more fantastic crafts in the future.

  16. Alright, I was told I should comment, and I have been lazy and not done so yet.

    If I could have anything that you have featured on this blog so far, I would say a book purse would be my choice. They are pretty stellar.

    While I like the concept and idea of the above tutorial, these look too much like hanging bras to me (I know, I’m weird) so I don’t think I would make them myself.

    If I could say anything I would change about the blog, well…nothing stylistically. I think the blog is very well put-together. Personal preference would be maybe less things that require a sewing machine, as I don’t have one or access to one easily, nor do I remember how to use one very well :P But, that’s just personal preference.

    Keep it up Tally, and hurray on one year of lovely, educational blogging!

  17. Heh, I didn’t even read the other comments about others sharing my woes over a sewing machine. So, at least I don’t feel alone :P

  18. Congratulations on a year of fabulous tutorials and even more projects!

    This blog is refreshingly readable. My favourite thing about it is your personality coming through the writing. You have a clear strong voice and haven’t limited yourself to a charicature of you that fits with your crafting. Your crafting comes from all different parts and moods of your life, which makes it accessible.
    I’d like to see the photo quality come up a notch. The type and quantity of pictures suits the blog, but the images are sometimes sub-par as far as being blurry or off-colour. You are beautiful and your creations are bright; Let’s see it!
    I already had to have a literary purse so badly that I made my own, and used it at my wedding. Beyond that, it’s so hard to choose: T-shirt scarves, pretty pencils, paper garland. I guess if I got to pick, I would want one of those renovation themed necklaces. I was the shop-girl in my high school, and it would feel like a medal of honour from my metal fabrication days.

    Keep crafting it up!

  19. admin

     /  January 29, 2011

    Thanks everyone for taking the time to comment! All the positive reinforcements and all the ideas for improvements and new things are super helpful, and I’ll be responding more specifically to many of them in a post a little later.

    I’ve drawn a name from all you commenters, and our winner is Dex. Congratulations!

  20. Laura

     /  September 14, 2012

    Magic card earrings or christmas ornaments!

    Favorite thing! Your tutorials are easy to follow and you don’t get hung up on everything being perfect. Though it looks wonderful anyway!

    Change request! I would love to see more jewelry related things (maybe there were more before I started reading). Also, things that could be done by those of us who only have room for a hand sewing kit, and a few basic speciality tools (mine are jewelry pliers, pinking shears and fabric shears.)

  21. I love coming here every week and seeing what fantastic thing you have come up with. It is always varied and unique and shows a very “idiotproof” method to things.
    I like the new format (not that I didn’t love all the tutorials!) but I also love getting to see some of your other work. If I was selected, I would vote for a paper wreath. I also live in an apartment building like you describe and it would be something I could use to decorate too.

    Thanks for all your work to put this out there. We all love you for it. Happy Crafting!

    • Tally

       /  September 19, 2012

      Thanks Jen! I’m so happy to hear that you’re enjoying the site, and delighted to hear that the new format is still interesting to people. It’s also been fun for me to write some different kinds of posts and talk about some of the other stuff I’m doing.

      I’ve had a couple of ideas lately for a fall paper wreath (our door has had the same thing on it for months and months and I think it needs something new), so I’ll look at trying one of them out and posting it very soon!

      Thanks again for your lovely comments. :)

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