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A Party Garland

This whimsical garland would be a perfect decoration for a child's birthday party, a wedding, a holiday celebration or a baby shower. The fun bright colors and different sizes and shapes will make any space more festive and inviting! Enjoy --Molly

 

Materials

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This is enough to make at least a 40 foot garland!

  • Lots and lots of scraps in at least 10 different patterns. This would be a great use of fat quarters and it's also a fun and effective way to whittle away at your stash! (You may recognize some of the above patterns from my previous projects such as "Fabric Window Valentines", and the "Patchwork Easter Eggs".) You can get at least 6 feet of garland for every 1/4 yard (or fat quarter) of fabric!
  • 1 spool Gutermann Invisible thread
  • 1 set of Garland Templates which you can download here and here.
  • 1 heavy paper bag

 

Cut Fabrics 

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Download and print the Garland Templates above. Transfer them to your paper bag and cut them out. I like to iron my paper bag first (but make sure not to use steam). It's helpful to use a heavy paper bag as opposed to just cutting out the original print-out because you'll be using the templates so much and you don't want them to wear down.

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Press one of your garland fabrics and fold it in half, wrong sides together (so the right side is facing out.) Trace your templates onto the fabric. I did at least one tracing of each template on each fabric I had, and I also tried to do more of the smaller shapes than the bigger ones. The biggest shapes work best as an occasional accent.

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Cut out each shape. Since you are cutting on a doubled piece of fabric every shape cut will actually yield two pieces, both with their right sides facing. Keep these pieces together, you will treat them as one piece from now on. That way the garland won't have a right and a wrong side.

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Cut the template shapes out of every fabric keeping like shapes together. Make sure to keep the front and back of each shape together as well. 

This is the sort of project that's better to do over time as opposed to all in one day. I cut out the shapes in my spare time over a week or so (My hand got tired if I did too many!) and kept them in a box together until I was ready to sew.

 

Sew Garland 

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Thread your machine and bobbin with the invisible thread.

Sew with a 1/4-inch seam allowance along the top edge of each set of pieces. Again, make sure that you're keeping the front and back of each piece together.

Pick another piece at random, place it directly after the piece you've just sewn, and continue sewing. Do not pick up the foot.

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There should be very little (if any) distance between the sewn pieces. 

When sewing a flower piece, as shown above, sew your seam through the middle of the shape. For all other shapes sew with a 1/4-inch seam along the top.

Sewing the pieces together is the most fun part of this project. Try to vary the colors and shapes often. As you get going it will go faster and faster.

Just keep sewing in this manner until you reach your desired length. Keep the garland neat as you sew because it will get long quickly. You might want to wrap it around a piece or cardboard as it grows to keep track of it.

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Here is a picture of the final garland. Notice how each piece has two right sides so it will look good from any angle.

Now all you have to do it hang it and enjoy. To get the garland to fit in your space properly don't be afraid to cut it... if necessary you can always sew it back together!

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50 Responses to A Party Garland


  1. Maritza says:

    What a fabulous idea! And your photographs are stunning (as always).

  2. E. Lovely says:

    I LOVE THIS!!! I can’t wait to make one. We are separating our 2 girls (ages 14 & 7) into their own rooms in 2 weeks, and I totally want to do this for my 7 year olds room. She will love it. Thanks for the inspiration!

  3. Concha says:

    What a fabulous, witty idea! I love your fabric choices, they make the garland look so fresh and happy! This is indeed a fantastic project!

  4. Leslie says:

    Oh gosh, this is such a neat project! What a great way to use up stash fabric! Thanks for sharing!

  5. Rebecca says:

    Brilliant! Some friends in The Netherlands just had a baby and the Dutch are big on garlands for celebrations. I cannot wait to make this for them. Thanks!

  6. Lynn says:

    What a great idea….and washable and reusable, many times over. Sure beats paper. Thanks!
    -Lynn

  7. Tamar says:

    WOW! great project! I love the idea of just sewing it with the invisible thread.
    Thanks for sharing!

  8. jessica says:

    what a great tutorial, I’ll have to file this away for my daughter’s next birthday party

    the picture you took is gorgeous along with the styling

  9. Melissa@Pink Paper Peppermints says:

    Oh, so beautiful and simple and a fresh twist on garlands/banners! I love it! I’ll have to do a little boy version!

    Thank you for the inspiration!

    ♥ Melissa~

  10. Tori says:

    Did something similar for a beach party theme – used tropical prints and varying shapes of the triangle. As I sewed, I fed into a large handled shopping bag on the back side of my machine. When I finished all my ‘flags’ in one continuous line, I pinned the end to the top of the bag. When I got to the party site, all I had to do was unpin the end and start hanging from there. When I got to a wall, I cut it and moved on. No tangles and the perfect length for every string!

  11. laurennn says:

    what an adorable idea! we’re throwing a baby shower at our house this weekend and i’m going to convince everyone that these garlands in a baby blue theme would be the perfect festive decorations! beautiful pictures as well!

  12. Adrienne says:

    I love the garland- but also the table! Where is it from??? I feel like I have seen one like this before, but I can’t place it….

  13. purl bee says:

    Hi Adrienne,
    The table top was made for some legs a friend of mine found on the street in Soho. Its been photographed a few times so perhaps thats why it looks familiar. Anyhow, thanks for your comment! –Joelle

  14. Megan says:

    My new husband and I started cutting out fabric tonight. Since getting married, we have become very crafty, we are nesting and just want to create stuff together. He is helping me with the garland for the outdoor baby shower we are throwing for my sister. She is expecting a baby boy! Thank you!

  15. Debbie says:

    This project looks like so much fun! One problem: I don’t sew, and I don’t have a machine. Drat! I do have a question, in case I figure out a way to make this (borrow a machine!). I want to be clear that you only sew the top edge of each piece (well, except for the flowers). Is this correct? Thanks! I love the garland!

  16. Jacqueline says:

    I am SO going to make this for my daughter! She is leaving for college in two weeks and I will send her an Orange & Black one (that is the schools colors) in the mail. SO so cute!

  17. fanny says:

    Molly, I just made a small one last night. it was real quick to make and so fun.
    now I’m only looking forward to buy more cute fabric and make a giant one to decorate my living room.

    thanks
    xx fanny

    ps. here is the link to my garland in case you want to check it
    http://tinyurl.com/garlandfanny

  18. dot says:

    this is great! i love the colors you used. thanks for sharing the technique :)

  19. Cindy Keery says:

    This is so cute! I’ve been wanting to make one with just the triangles for awhile. Is there a template for the triangle shape or do you just wing it with a ruler?

  20. purl bee says:

    Cindy,
    You can find the templates above in the materials sections. There are two templates, the triangles can be found at the first link.
    Let us know if you can’t find them!

  21. Jennifer Paganelli says:

    such a sweet sentiment..love the garland ..love the photo..Jennifer

  22. jenny holiday says:

    Seriously…SOOOO soooo fantastic!! Sweet as can be!!! Makes my heart happy!!! Love it to bits and bits!!!

    Thanks bunches for sharing!!

    xoxo Jenny

  23. erin lang norris says:

    this is so much fun! i love it!

    i’m definitely making some as soon as i get a sewing machine, but i’m sure it wont be half as cute as yours!

  24. Katherine says:

    I found this post via Creature Comforts & think that this is such a fabulous idea! I love the fabrics tht you chose to use- your photos lokk like they could be from Martha Stewart!

  25. Holly says:

    I love your garland! I’m using your technique now to make one for my son’s “knight” birthday party… but I’m using felt, so only using one layer of fabric, and I”m just doing all triangles. And I discovered that using a rotary cutter and mat with a grid, there’s no need to trace a template. I was able to get three triangles from one of those cheap felt rectangles.

  26. lilfairy says:

    Oh, that’s a nice garland! thank you. I’ve posted it on http://fresh-touch.com (of course I refer people to here). Please let me know if there’s any copyright infringement.

  27. Whitney says:

    I love this garland! I will have to try it for Christmas this year…

    I do have a question: where is those table and chairs from? They’re just what I’ve been looking for. Thanks!

  28. purl bee says:

    Hi Whitney,
    The table is custom made, but the chairs are from West Elm. You can find the chairs here (and they have a table that matches them):
    http://www.westelm.com/online/store/ProductDisplay?partNumber=WE-PRODf785&cmsrc=rel&storeId=17001&langId=-1&catalogId=17002&viewSetCode=E

  29. heidi says:

    Molly, you are a crafty genius.

  30. Amy says:

    I loved the way the garland turned out. So cute. I am definitely going to use it again and possibly to decorate my daughter’s bedroom.

    I’ve attached photos of the garland.

  31. Alison says:

    This made me think of other things like sewing door things Can’t think whaqt they are called but are beads etc I thought of sewing the flowers hanging down or butterfly shapes etc and then even pver the top of a plain coloured background curtain. Sad my daughter is now 17 and wouldn’t want these now….or would she? Maybe hearts?
    So many ideas so little time!
    Thanks for the inspiration though and hop this gives others ideas as well
    ALISON

  32. lyndsay says:

    thank you so much! this is sooooo cute, and brilliant with the SEWING of the garland, i’ve always found the flags slide around when linking it into string or ribbon, sewing it’s great because it’s stuck in one place forever! really, really cute and helpful tutorial, thanks for posting!

  33. Melanie says:

    Love this! Such pretty colors and fabrics. What a cool idea.

  34. Kimberly says:

    This is an adorable garland. I think I’m now inspired to make a Valentine’s themed one for our home. One question though… with the small, non-triangle shapes, does the fabric flop down showing the wrong side after a while because you aren’t sewing all the edges together (just one stitch down the middle of the shape)? Just curious…

  35. purl bee says:

    Hi Kimberly,
    The shape is small enough that it hasn’t pulled apart (at least not yet). Also, the cottons tend to stick to themselves. If you’re making one to hang long term you might want to rethink these pieces. A valentine themed versions sounds lovely!

  36. katie says:

    wonderful! thanks for sharing this great project.

  37. JCH says:

    This is a fabulous and easy idea…you could even do holiday-themed swatches and create garland for the holidays. Thank you!

  38. dana says:

    Hi Kimberly !
    Thank you for sharing your idea.Will you please make a reccomendation for a novice as what type of sewing machine to invest in ?

  39. purl bee says:

    Hi Dana,
    You can find a list of recommended sewing machines at this link:
    http://www.purlbee.com/the-purl-bee/2008/8/28/mollys-sketchbook-sewing-machine-round-up.html

  40. Anya (from PassiFlora magazine) says:

    Thank you for this great tutorial! I posted a link to it at PassiFlora magazine (http://passifloramag.com/2009/04/more-upcycling-and-a-contest/) since this is a creative way to recycle old fabric and a great green craft project!

    Anya (from PassiFlora magazine)

  41. pendy says:

    Love this idea! So glad I came across your blog.

  42. Coleen says:

    I’m translating this cute idea into a Christmas craft. I like that you had more shapes than just the typical triangle. What a nice gift idea.
    Coleen, http:/teaontheterrace.blogspot.com/

  43. Cait says:

    This is amazing! I never thought of doing a garland with different shapes!!
    Tip – Try to stitch your flowers, triangles, ect,ect, on to some long plain or pretty ribbon!! It could be really effective! Thanks!!

  44. julia says:

    I see this and I think ‘spring time’. I love it. I’ve posted a picture and link on my Garlands Galore post.
    Cheers!

    http://simpletruths.typepad.com/simple-truths/2010/03/garlands-galore.html

  45. anne says:

    Are frayed edges a problem? I can’t wait to try this …!

  46. Kate says:

    Fabulous – yet another inspiring post! It would also be a wonderful way of recycling all those outgrown clothes! I’ve posted an article on my blog http://www.minieco.co.uk

  47. Tara Bliven says:

    Friggin super adorable! I am going to make one of these as a “craft project” for a baby shower – I'll personalize it with the baby's name and then they can use it for all his birthday parties.

    The cutest garland I have seen!!

  48. Michelle says:

    I made it! With only a few minor modifications. :) Everyone was so impressed and I couldn't thank you all more for the great tutorial. Check it out! http://first4miles.blogspot.com

  49. purl bee says:

    Thanks for sharing Michelle- I love it in the more boy friendly colors!- Molly

  50. Jorie says:

    Made it, loved it so much I haven't taken it down! Though I confess I was too lazy to do the flowers and I just cut out lots of various sizes of rectangles and triangles with my rotary cutter.

    Now, is that a Liberty of London curtain on that window? because now I want that.

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