Stars and Stripes Hat Band

I love to wear hats!  I have several I’ve practically covered with silk flowers just because I like them.

Stars HatBand on JanMadeIt 14

I got this hat from my brother, David, who died May 7 of this year. It’s a tad big for me, but that cord around the crown threads through the hat to tie under my chin.

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That chin strap comes in very handy in the Oklahoma wind.

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These are the stars left from my wreath, and the garland I posted last night. This is the kind of holiday hat a man could wear.

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To make this hat band, I laid the stars out on the brim of the hat to line them up.

Stars HatBand on JanMadeIt 03

Then with points aligned, I tacked them together with needle and thread.

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With the fleece fused on the back it was easy to stitch through the backing and hide the stitches.

It doesn’t have to be pretty on the back. And it will be easy to clip those stitches when I want to take it apart and put something else on the hat or do something else with the stars.

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I had to match the right size stars and twist them just right to fit in the last opening of the band.

Stars HatBand on JanMadeIt 14

I would totally wear this somewhere, but the only place I’ll be going tomorrow is work.  And if I wore it I’d have hat hair and be stuck wearing it all day, no matter how hot and sweaty it was.

Does everyone have plans for a great Fourth of July? There will be lots of baseball, hot dogs, apple pie and all other things American going on. Be careful with the fireworks!

How do you plan to celebrate?



A Simple Fabric Flower

Fabric Flowers on JanMadeIt 1 A co-worker once said, “Jan always wears a flower on her shirt,” and I took it as a challenge.

Now while I don’t wear one every single day, I’ll have one pinned to my shirt almost every day. For one thing it will brighten up a plain cotton t-shirt, and they also make me smile. As a result I have piles of fabric flowers, but of course I still don’t have a flower to match every single color combination I might wear. So, I’m always making more.

Fabric Flowers on JanMadeIt 2

These don’t have to be pins, they can be hair clips, headbands, or ponytail holders. You can also adorn a hat, purse, or tote bag with one or a bouquet of them.

Frequently people ask. Where did you get it? How did you make it. When I answer some will say, “Oh, that looks easy,” or they’ll be totally baffled and say “I couldn’t do that, I don’t have a creative bone in my body.”

Well, that’s not true. Everyone is creative about something, and if you want to make a fabric flower, just pick up a needle and thread and a scrap of cotton and I’ll show you how.

Fabric Flowers on JanMadeIt 4

One of the very easy starter flowers involves a strip of fabric, any old strip will do, and a button.

Tools you need are simple: needle, thread, and scissors. You can use any all-purpose thread, but regular thread can snag and fray and it will tangle. Hand quilting thread is coated just to make that less likely so that’s what I use.

Making Fabric Flowers JanMadeIt 01

Your strip of fabric can be cut or ripped across the grain. It doesn’t even have to be straight. A strip that tapers from about one inch to two or three inches is good. It needs to be about 18-20 inches long. If it’s longer, you’ll cut off the excess when you’re done. But if it’s shorter, and you really love that scrap, that’s OK too. Just find a scrap to go with it and continue on.

I also make flowers out of small randomly shaped chunks of fabric, so if you don’t have a strip of a favorite print, save it. I’ll show you how to use it later.

Making Fabric Flowers JanMadeIt 03

So thread your needle and get started.

Knot your thread, and then start a simple running stitch along the edge of your strip.

The coating on quilting thread that makes it easy to use, also makes it hard to tie into a knot. You can hold the end of the thread so it doesn’t pull through the fabric and make a couple of stitches before you start. Or you can make a quilters knot. Since I don’t have pictures right now, you can do a search and find several how-tos. 

I usually start with the narrow end of the strip, this will be the center of your flower. On this blue strip below I wasn’t quite sure what I wanted to do in the center so  I started a few inches from the end of the strip. I can use it later or trim it off. (I ended up trimming it off.)

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Make a running stitch about an eighth of an inch from the edge. I’ll run three or four stitches on the needle before pulling it through. The length of the stitches is not important, but the distance from the edge needs to be consistent.

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Do this a few times and then pull the strip into a ruffle along the thread. Make a couple of back stitches to hold the ruffle in place. Keep that up and as you continue to gather the strip it will curve into a circle.

When your stitching curls around to meet the beginning of the strip make adjustments to the gathers and when you’re happy with the way it looks tack the two layers together. You can end it there or if you feel like it keep gathering to the end of your strip. When you decide you’re done, turn the last half-inch to the back and tack it in place.

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That’s all there is to it for a one layer flower like this.

One Layer Flower on JanMadeIt 1

When you have your completed flower, you’ll work from the back to add the button. A shank button works great. That’s the kind of button with the loop on the back.

There will be a hole in the center of your flower so stitch across from edge to edge to tighten it up.  While you’re at it, take your needle through the shank of the button back and forth several times.

If you use a button with holes, pull the center of the flower closed so you’ll have something to attach the button to.  Be sure to check it from the front as you stitch, you can pull a button off-center without realizing it.

 (Note: I have no idea what that little brown smudge is. Looks like I was eating chocolate. Mmmmm… chocolate.)

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When you’re done, it may look something like this from the side.

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The next thing to do is cover the raw edges on the back and attach a pin back. Or hair clip if you prefer.

One Layer Flower on JanMadeIt 4a

Use a small scrap of fabric and turn the edges under if you’re using woven fabric, but felt or fleece also do the job they are much easier to use.

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Sometimes there will be a dip in the center of your flower. If that’s the case with yours it will be easier to attach the pin back if you fill this cavity. Use a few snips of felt, a tiny pinch of batting, or a bit of polyfil under the back cover.

So there you have it. For this blue scroll fabric and button I liked the ragged cut of the edge of the fabric but I didn’t want it to fray. I used a toothpick to run a line of glue along the edge of the fabric to prevent that.

One Layer Flower on JanMadeIt 6

After you make this simple single layer flower there are thousands of variations you can come up with.

A strip that starts at a half-inch wide will create a spiral when you use a contrast edging. This is a little bit of tatted trim I made years ago and stitched around the edge.

OneLayer 2 BlueMetallic on JanMadeIt

This scrap of linen was finished with a bit of scalloped lace.

OneLayer 3 Linen and Lace on JanMadeIt

This blue one is a little busy. I might take it apart and make it over. The top layer is a spiral with a blanket stitch edge. The bottom layer has rick rack trim, and the same rick rack frames the vintage green button in the center.

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There are a multitude of ways to use these. Decorate a purse, tote, a hat or even a pair of shoes… (Shoes, huh. I just now thought of that!). And there are a number of ways to use them in home decor. A wreath is just one idea that comes to mind. In fact the flowers stuck on my cork board were the inspiration for my crocheted spring wreath.

This is a nice little project, good for doing in front of the TV.  If you have a plan, you can finish one in less than an hour. But if you aren’t sure how you want it to turn out, deciding where to go next can take some time. I have a little stash of unfinished flowers that will surely tell me where they want to go one of these days.

Any ideas on what you would do with a pile of fabric flowers color coordinated to your wardrobe?

I’d love to hear your ideas. And if you make one, share a picture.


Updated Stars and Stripes Wreath

My Stars and Stripes wreath had been hanging maybe ten days and I realized the stars needed some reinforcement. WreathStars 03

The stars, especially at the top, were starting to flop over. So, as I sort of expected, they needed the heavy craft stabilizer. Fortunately I had some on hand.

So I took the three floppiest stars off the wreath and laid them out on the stabilizer.

WreathStars 01

Once again, I put my Teflon pressing sheet on top of the stars and fused the stars to the stabilizer.

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Then I cut them out with very sharp scissors.  I cut all the angles from point into the center because the stabilizer was too stiff to pivot the blades at that corner.

I also did my best to bevel the stabilizer, undercutting it so it would be less obvious from the front.

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From the side, the thick white stabilizer is visible. A matching Sharpie could be used to make it less obvious.

And you can see what a difference it makes. The white fabric print and the blue and the red are the stars I reinforced. The red star on the left of the photo, and the blue star on the lower right. are still floppy. I didn’t have time to do all of them, mostly because, as casual as it looks, it’s takes time to mix and match the stars to look just right on the wreath.

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Now that I know it does what I want it to, I’ll take time to apply it to all the stars.

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With the sturdier stars they could easily be tacked to a ribbon or cord and become a garland. They could also be attached to a hair clip, headband or ponytail holder to brighten up a patriotic outfit.

I can think of at least a half-dozen ways to use a stack of red, white and blue stars. How would you use them?

Do you have plans for a holiday party or picnic?  How will you decorate for the event?

I don’t think I have anywhere to hang it, but I’d really like to make a stars and stripes garland.  I’ll let you know if I get it done.


PS – Looking forward to my next wreath, which I plan to get done by August.  Stay tuned.

Summertime Stars and Stripes Wreath

Ta da!

Here’s my Summertime Wreath. It’s to celebrate Memorial Day, National Flag Day (June 14) and the Fourth of July.

Patriotic Wreath 1

This is made on the same Styrofoam form I’ve been using since Valentine’s Day and  St. Patrick’s Day.

For this wreath I used quilty scraps of blue and red, patriotic strips, fusible fleece, Heat’n Bond Hem Tape, white muslin, ribbon, and straight pins.

I wanted a wreath full of stars, which is exactly how it turned out.

I love it when a plan comes together.

Fusible fleece is what keeps the stars from flopping over. I pressed fabric to the fleece before I cut out the stars.  I thought about using the cardboard-stiff craft stabilizer, but started with the lighter-weight Pellon 987F. This one-sided fusible fleece worked great.

I placed and fused the fabrics right next to each other so some stars are in one fabric and other stars are pieced, using two fabrics.

To start, I cut a star template out of a file folder.

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Actually I made two, so I could interlock them and get the best use of my fabric.

I kind of winged it making the pattern and started with a pencil sketch on paper.  I erased and redrew the angles until I liked the look.

If you don’t want to wing it, search for Christmas star ornaments and find a star template you can print and copy.  Star size is up to you. You can go with a variety of sizes, but I was impatient to finish this so I stuck with one size star.

With the pattern cut out, I traced the stars on the fabric. I used a white fabric marking pencil on the dark fabric and an orange colored pencil, which just happened to be handy, on the white.

Patriotic Wreath on JanMadeIt

Don’t worry about being precise with the outlines. You’ll cut out the stars on the inside of the line so none of the pencil lines will show. You could use a regular pencil if that’s all you have.

Patriotic Wreath on JanMadeIt

The raw edges were obvious on the pieced stars. I planned ahead and found my collection of red, white and blue ribbon to cover this. Literally.

Since I had decided this was a no-sew project, I used Heat’n Bond Hem Tape to fuse the ribbon over the join.

Patriotic Wreath on JanMadeIt

At this stage, unless you’re very precise with an iron, you’ll want to use a piece of wax paper or parchment paper to keep from fusing the hem tape to your pressing surface or the face of your iron.

Or, this is when you would use your Fons & Porter handy-dandy Teflon pressing sheet. I have one, but hadn’t thought to use it until I realized I was about to fuse that sticky stuff to my ironing board and my iron.

I put the stars on the sheet, and then flipped the other end of the pressing sheet over the  top.

Patriotic Wreath on JanMadeIt

Worked like a charm.

Patriotic Wreath on JanMadeIt

Then I trimmed the ends off the ribbon from the backside.

Patriotic Wreath on JanMadeIt

I had one little glitch with the first star. I accidentally scooched the ribbon off the mark just a smidge and the raw edge was exposed. So that star got two rows of ribbon.

Patriotic Wreath on JanMadeIt

By the way, and this is VERY important, the stars on the red grosgrain ribbon are painted or printed on the ribbon, and they WILL MELT if you touch them with the hot iron. So, if you use this kind of ribbon, it’s essential you use a pressing sheet of some kind, even a scrap of leftover fabric will do.

If you touch a hot iron to the stars, they will melt onto the surface of the iron, and then streak or smear across the underlying fabric ruining your whole project. I’d show you what that looks like, but then I’d have to clean off my iron before I could use it again.

You can tell by looking at the ribbon, the stars are sitting on top of the ribbon and not embedded into the fibers. So pay attention to this detail.

Patriotic Wreath on JanMadeIt

Got it?  Good.

I didn’t plan the design or count my stars. I just made them until I thought I might have enough.

Patriotic Wreath on JanMadeIt

To assemble the wreath, I first took apart my spring flower wreath. Then I wrapped the Styrofoam form with white fabric. Use anything you have since it shouldn’t show. It’s just to tidy up the background if it happens to peek through. I think I used a a six-inch strip of leftover muslin quilt backing.

Then I started attaching the stars.

Patriotic Wreath on JanMadeIt

I matched the color of the pin heads to each star so they’re not obvious on the wreath. I roughly laid the stars out in batches of red, then white, then blue. I needed to alternate the colors so you can see the shape of the stars.

When I’d used all my stars, there seemed to be a few gaps so I added a couple of loops of ribbon here and there. In addition to a few short pieces of ribbon, I wrapped a whole spool of ribbon around the wreath pinning loops in places where I needed them.

Patriotic Wreath 1

What do you think?

If you don’t have a stash of red, white and blue scraps,  buy 1/8 – 1/4 of a yard of a few favorite prints, a couple of spools of ribbon, and about 3/8 yard of the fusible fleece.  It will only take about half of it to make a wreath this size.

By the way, the fabric doesn’t have to be stars and stripes. A collection of red, white and blue calicoes will also get the job done.

While choosing your fabric, pay attention to the color of “white” in your choices. I realized some of my favorites use an antique ivory-colored white that doesn’t go with the true white I used here. Those red, ivory, and blue fabrics will play nicely together in another project.

Anybody else making a patriotic wreath for the summer? I’d love to see what you come up with.


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