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Happy Christmas in July: Make Christmas Bells and Baskets Using Apple Core EPP
Submitted by Pam on Thu, 07/23/2015 - 02:59
Fashion little bells or baskets to use as tree ornaments, advent calendars, on garlands or as package tie-ons using an English Paper Piecing template known as an Apple Core!
To be honest, when I first saw some of Diane's (Craftypod) Apple Core projects destined for her newest book "All Points Patchwork", I was quite intimidated and determined there was no need for me to get involved with those scary template shapes!
But, when I decided to put the book to the ultimate test, I chose what I consider the most difficult template pattern - the scary Apple Core! Diane's instructions were so clear and easy to follow that my very first one turned out PERFECT!!
As I admired my first - did I mention perfect - Apple Core, I realized it would make an adorable Christmas Bell!! And once I stitched one together, and turned it upside down, I saw the potential for a little basket - perhaps for Advent goodies!
Here is how to make them!
Following the instructions in All Points Patchwork, baste your fabric onto two Apple Core templates. Mine are 3 1/2" long but you could certainly go a little bigger if the templates are available. (Diane provides sources for templates in her book)
Once two Apple Cores have been basted, press with a steam iron, place them right sides together as shown and stitch on three sides following instructions in the book for stitching two EPP pieces together.
Yes! I am slightly breaking the Apple Core stitching rule here!
Once the two pieces have been stitched together on three sides, remove all basting except the basting on the outside curves - remove the tack stitches, but not the running stitches on the curves. I helps to hold the gathers in place.
Press gently again and then turn inside out, using a pointed tool to poke out the corners. Press. Fold in half matching round edges and sides.
Close the side seams using the basic EPP joining stitch or…
or close with a ladder stitch.
There will be two layers of fabric at each side seam. And one seam will be stitched and one not. When stitching the side seams of your bell or basket - whether working on the stitched or open side - be sure to only pick up tiny stitches on the two outside fabrics as shown in the two images above. I take a couple extra stitches right at the join of the two curved edges as there is extra fabric here and the extra stitches provide strength and help you close the gap tighter.
And this is the point at which you must decide whether you are making bells or baskets!
For the basket, simply use ribbon or yarn to create little handles and add a bow!
To make a bell, first run a little gathering stitch at the top as shown above. You don't have to do this, but it gives the bell a little better shape. (Compare the appearance of the pink bell in the top photo which I did not gather to the red one which I did.
Next, using a large needle, run a fingerling or sport weight yarn (or a narrow ribbon), through the top edge of the bell and tie the ends into a bow. I place my ornament hanger right into the knot.
The easiest way to make a "ringer" is to make a ball from roving or even a cotton ball and tack or glue in place.
If you want your bells to jingle, tie a little jingle bell inside as shown.
Notice that there is a small stitch just under the bow. Be sure when attaching the jingle bell, that you leave a small stitch exposed at the top middle of the right side of the bell. This is where the ornament hanger will be placed. It helps support the weight of the jingle bell so your bell retains it's shape.
I hope some of you will have fun trying these ideas out! They go together so quickly and you can make bunches of them in a short amount of time!
Perfect for those of you that prefer waiting until hot summer days are long gone and holiday spirit strikes!!!
All Points Patchwork can be ordered right here on Amazon where you can find 30 reviews! And if you love the beautiful EPP on the cover, Diane has provided a free PDF right here! She has named it the Cover Girl Rosette!!
And be sure to visit the All Points Patchwork book site where you can learn more about the book, read reviews and find tutorials and projects! Find the book site here!