Tag Archives: homespun Christmas

Dotty Christmas Trees

Christmas is finally upon us. Seems I have been preparing for months and months. But I wanted to share with you some of our creations and hopefully inspire you to make a tree yourself.

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Firstly my fabric Christmas tree. This took 4 hours to make and about 8 metres of fabric. I used fabric I purchased in a charity shop for £1 a metre and mixed it with some other fabric that had been given to me. It took 2 whole double duvets to stuff plus more, but I am delighted with the results. The decorations hang beautifully with the upholstery pins and no damage is done to the tree. There isn’t anything on the tree that isn’t handmade, I have treasured collections from my 2 years I spent in Indonesia, there are decorations that I made with my sister and my mum when we lived in Norway and there are beautiful beaded decorations from our travels to South Africa, plus some lovely ones we have made ourselves with my own children.

The tinsel is handmade and you can see a tutorial on how to make that @ https://dottybobbin.co.uk/christmas-tree-fabric-tinsel-tutorial/

I also have a tutorial on how to make the tree in case you missed that @ https://dottybobbin.co.uk/fabric-life-size-christmas-tree-tutorial/

Can you imagine how delighted I was when I went on one of my monthly trips to IKEA (I get withdrawal if I don’t go), only to find a roll of fabric with life size printed photograph of a Christmas tree on it?  I don’t know how I missed them last year!

I have a digital embroidery machine, mine is a Brother Innovis V3, and I love it! I used this machine to create these embroidered decorations on my trees. The first one is for my Mum and is hanging by her patio doors. She has a double curtain track in her pelmet so its a perfect place to hang the tree. Every year I have promised to add a decoration to her tree. If you don’t have an embroidery machine you can make fabric or felt decorations and velcro them on. One of my sewing clients has made an advent tree using this fabric, with a new decoration to put up every day. Alternatively try applique using a satin stitch and you can add hearts, stars, snowflakes etc.

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Here are a few samples of the decorations. Do you like the Dotty Bobbin?

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Below you can see my finished Christmas tree, which has pride of place in my porch, hanging from a curtain pole at the top and it has a pole inserted at the base to add some weight. I lined it with a white sheet and I appliqued the star on the top on my regular sewing machine as I couldn’t do one big enough on my embroidery machine.


I have also been making some felt trees with the children at a crafting party, and look what they made. Why not try making some yourselves with your own kids?


Lastly I wanted to show you my own little Dotty Bobbin embroidered Christmas tree!  Guess what people are getting for Christmas this year?


Merry Christmas, I hope Santa brings you all a lovely sewing machine for Christmas!

Christmas Tree Fabric Tinsel Tutorial


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I was given this idea a couple of years ago by a crafting friend, however I have tried it out many times and have discovered what works well and what doesn’t. So I am going to share my mistakes and successes with you.

I found that 25 meters of ribbon makes about 6 meters of ruffle, depending on how gathered you would like your ruffle. I used 1 inch wide ribbon, gingham, which I purchased on Ebay for about £12. It sounds expensive but 1.5 meters of quality tinsel is about £6! Make sure you don’t accidentally purchase ribbon with wire in it as that will prevent it from gathering.

You can cut strips of fabric and use an overlocker to finish the edges, or keep them frayed if you like that look. Hessian with unfinished edges looks nice. Ensure your fabric or ribbon has a pattern on both sides, or at least looks nice from both sides. The first one I made I didn’t do this and then you are forever having to arrange the ruffle round your tree with the right side up.

The first ruffle I made I used a long length of string, I held down the center of the ribbon and used a wide zig zag over the string making sure I didn’t catch the string with the needle. As I went along I held the string and pulled the fabric to gather it as I sewed. This is very quick and efficient way of gathering your ribbon. However what I found was that as you drape the ruffle round your tree or carry it around the house, the gathers move out of place with gravity. If you accidentally sew the string, it won’t gather at that point. I also found that if your string broke, then the whole ruffle would come undone!!!!!

Finally I tried a completely different approach which was a great success. The discovery of the gathering foot!  These only cost a couple of pounds on ebay or Amazon and are a must have for your sewing box. It can be done without the gathering foot but the gathers are not as tight if you do it that way.

So place your gathering foot on your machine, or use a regular sewing foot. Increase the tension dial to 9, set the machine to a straight running stitch, place your ribbon under the foot and stitch in the center and it will gather as you sew. The stitches will hold the gather in place as you sew. It does take about 5-10cm of ribbon before it starts to gather really well, so be patient. Ensure you don’t try to pull the ribbon as the machine is doing the gathering. Once you have reached the end of your ribbon, secure your stitch by going forward and backwards or using a lockstitch. You can even out any bits you are not happy with using your fingers, as you would if you were gathering a skirt for example. I decided to go over mine again once it was finished with a regular tension and a regular foot just to make it stronger and more durable. If you would prefer a smaller gather, then reduce the tension from 9 to 7 and experiment until you have your desired effect.

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Let me know how you get on.

Dotty Bobbin x