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Lara Neel | The Journal Gazette
Create a Christmas tree out of craft felt as a memorable holiday decoration.

Felt, piping become festive tree

When I was in college, my Aunt Marilyn was sad for me, because I couldn’t have a Christmas tree in my dorm room. She was a talented seamstress, so she whipped up this little felt tree for me.

I’ve dragged it around, packed it in the bottom of boxes, and loved it for 15 years. It’s still in pretty good shape, considering all of that.

I’m not a seamstress of any kind, but I think I can explain how you could re-create this little bit of Christmas for yourself.

You will need:

•A sewing machine with an open or clear foot, for the applique

•Thin piping cord, in two colors

•Invisible sewing machine thread

•Black sewing machine thread

•Craft felt, in green, twice as wide and little taller than you want your tree to be

•Craft felt, in brown, in a size that is proportional to your tree, for the trunk

•Medium-weight fusible interfacing

•Tailor’s chalk pencil, for tracing


•Ornaments – see notes at the end

Marilyn probably made this without a pattern or guide, but if I were making it, I would draw a pattern for the tree on paper, first. Or, you could trace out a shape a little larger than the tree you want, using a tailor’s chalk pencil, and use that as your guide.

Using zigzag stitch and black thread, fold a piece of brown felt in half, with some interfacing in the middle, to make your trunk. Sew lines about half an inch apart from each other to make the trunk stiffer.

Using a zigzag stitch and invisible thread, applique piping cord all over your green felt, connecting the lines where you like, to create your garlands. The two sides of the tree are decorated differently, so I’m confident that uniformity isn’t very important, unless it’s important to you.

Fold the felt in half, with the wrong sides together, and sandwich the interfacing in-between the pieces. Inside your chalk line or outside your paper pattern, zigzag stitch with black thread all of the way around your Christmas tree shape.

The trunk is simply attached to the outside of the tree, but if you want a more sophisticated look, leave a space to insert the trunk on the bottom of your tree. Insert or attach it, and close the last bit of the tree.

With sharp scissors, trim all the way around the tree, cutting out the shape. Add a small buttonhole at the top or simply attach a loop for hanging on the wall.

You could make ornaments for the tree, in much the same way. My tree is pretty eclectic because I pretty much pin anything I like that seems small enough onto it. My mother made kind of a project out of finding tiny ornaments for me for a few years. A friend of mine pointed out that this might be fun with felt ornaments with a small amount of Velcro sewn on the back. Hung on the wall at a low height, with soft ornaments, this could be a nice decoration/toy for a child’s room.

Lara Neel has the Math4Knitters: Crafty Living blog at Regular columnist Joyce McCartney can be reached at 461-8364 or email