A seamless project to complete. Over the years we have made Swedish woven heart decorations from paper and felt. They are great fun to make, hang, and look inside to find chocolatey treats inside on Christmas morning. A few times I taught this craft project with their classes at school, which was also fun.
I saw these woven star projects shared on social media from time to time and thought they would be fun to make. My daughter and I wanted to make some, so I bought some Christmas themed fabrics from the local store.
I found a tutorial and asked my daughter to watch it so she could make some for her tree. It didn't go very well. So I did some with her and it went a little better, but it seemed to me there had to be a better way to explain it. Some things to pay attention to to make it less frustrating.
As we worked on it together, we both discovered a few things that hadn't been highlighted in the video we watched, things that would make things run much smoother. I'm sure there are tutorials that could have been better, but I didn't want to search the internet when we already understood the concept and made some observations. My daughter discovered a trick that made the last folding step easier to do and I also realized that there were a few things that would help the stitches look good every time.
I thought we could write this tutorial for others, in case others have encountered the same problems or are also struggling to understand the technique. It's actually less confusing when you pay attention to these things, and we later found it relaxing to do them while chatting and listening to Christmas carols. The folding part was much quicker, taking about 15 minutes each.
Watch our video tutorial here, using 3 1/2″ x 14″ strips. It shows me making a star from start to finish.
For each star, 2 coordinated or complementary fabrics: large scrap (at least 7″ x 13″), large quarter or quarter meter of each.
Hanger wire or ribbon
Fabric glue, we used Unique Stitch
Alternative starch spray (optional, but helpful), we used Flatter
Roll and Press tool, such as Clover Perfect Press (optional, but useful)
For each star, cut (4) strips of fabric 3 1/2″ x 13″, 2 of each color.
We also tested a few other widths, but really liked the size of the finished star when using 3 1/2″ wide strips.
If you cut 4″ wide you will need more length. 4″ x 15 is recommended.
If you cut 3″ wide, you will need less length. 3″ x 11 1/2″ is recommended.
In the end, I didn't care about the amount of waste and plan to experiment more with the lengths. They require a fair amount of fabric to start with, so there's that too. You can get 4 to 6 strips from a large quarter, 3 1/2″ wide, but you would need to cut one in a different direction. I found that by cutting from a yard, I could cut 2 strips, 3 1/2″ x wof, and that made 6 strips in the same direction (3 star value). When purchasing more fabric, a quarter yard cut was better for this project than fat quarters.
You can make them in just about any size I suppose. I decided to start with 3 1/2″ strips. Most tutorials ask you to cut 14″ long strips for this width, but I cut about 2″ total for each strip. A 13″ length was better, but would probably work even with less. I have not tested other lengths.
Fold and iron the fabric strips.
We have found it helpful to spray the fabric strips with a starch alternative before pressing them. This made it easier to create shaping stitches, tighten the four patches, and work on the final step. We made some without the starch alternative and found that it created a softer, puffier star, which was also nice.
1.For each strip, fold in half lengthwise and press.
2. Open the fabric and fold the raw edges to the center fold.
3. Fold in half lengthwise surrounding the raw edges and press.
Center weave of 4 patches
Using 4 strips, 2 each of 2 different fabrics, fold each strip in half, so that one end is at least 1″ longer and on top.
Place them in this layout to start. This made it much easier to understand and get it right.
The open edge with the folds should all face the center. This made the stars look much better and also made folding the points more manageable.
Work first with the 2 horizontal strips. This helps keep everything straight while you work.
1. Move the folded ends of the vertical strips down or up until each is above a horizontal strip, and slide the horizontal strips inside the vertical strips.
2. Pull the folded edges of the horizontal strips past the vertical strips and weave the vertical strips inside the horizontal strips.
3. Pull the strips to fill the center gap. Working to get that center 4 patch tight was a key component to a better looking star. It should be flat and not wrinkled.
4. Flip the entire project over and create the 4 patch on the other side.
5. Fold the longer ends into the middle, one at a time clockwise. When you get to the last strip, pass it through the first folded strip.
6. Pull to tighten.
Make the Points
This is where we found that the little things help a lot.
This works much better when the folded end does not pass through the center mass, but rather is folded over itself and folded between itself and the layer of tape that creates the 4 patches.
If you look closely at the project you will notice that there is a central part where the straps are folded/woven into a four patch design. 4 straps are on one side of the central mass and the other 4 are on the other side of the central mass. Knowing that was the key to storing them neatly, but the tutorial didn't mention specific details on where to store them. You won't want the end of the strap to go through the center mass, and that didn't work either. in the intermediate mass.
You want to tuck the end in on the side it comes out of, so that it's folded over itself, with nothing in between, instead of going through the center mass first. I hope this makes sense.
We found that working 4 stitches at a time and paying attention to the fabric of the 4 patch helped us keep it all straight.
The first fold of each strip should be made with the bulkier side up and the strap flat on the table. It's easy to distinguish this side, because the adjacent square of the four squares facing up will be the same as the strip. In the photo below you can see that the plaid strip that is folded into one point has plaid in all four patches that touch it. This is what it should look like when you make your first fold.
Turned over, the four-patch square that touches the checkered strip being worked is the red print. This is what it should look like when you make the second fold and tuck the end in.
When tucking in, the end of the strip should be tucked under the other fabric print.
To make each point:
1. Choose a tape end. Bend the end of the strip away from the center, into a point and use a pressure roller or press with your finger to the point.
2. Turn the project over and fold it again to create the top point. Use a roller tool to fold (or press with your finger).
For the second fold: We found that holding the strip down with your thumb gave us neater stitches and made this easier. It helped keep the strip neatly folded while we worked the tip and used the roller tool.
3. Fold it on itself. The end of the strip should now be above all four patches.
4. Cut the extra strip of fabric, so that the end is shorter than the nearest square and the cut end is not visible when tucked under that square.
We found that cutting before tucking in the end of the strip worked better than cutting after tucking in the end of the strip (the video we watched cut after tucking it in, which made it difficult to maintain the center and other tight stitches).
This is what it would look like with the uncut end tucked in.
5. Tuck the end inside and smooth it out.
It is important not to disturb things (the 4 center patches or the already completed stitches) when tucking in the end. We found the best method was to gently open the center strip of the 4 patches and use your thumb to insert the end.
6. Continue bending the tips to complete the star.
7. Once the star is complete, use fabric glue to secure the ends of the strip.
8. Sew a ribbon or use embroidery floss to make a hanger for your ornament.