October Button Lover's Club: Jolly Garland

October 31, 2019

There is something about Christmas that just beckons for handmade holiday decor in your home. We fell in love when we spotted the To Be Jolly fabric collection from 1 Canoe 2 for Moda Fabrics! We just knew that it was the perfect fabric for some new handmade decor pieces for our homes this year.

The individual motifs on the Festive Jolly Greetings Quilt Panel reminded us of Christmas cards. We found ourselves thinking back to garlands we used to make from Christmas cards sent by family and friends. It was so fun to hang the garlands all around the house and remember each person whose card was included.

We decided to create a garland reminiscent of those Christmas card garlands using the Festive Jolly Greetings quilt panel. The quilt panel will provide plenty of blocks for a garland as well as a few extras blocks that would make wonderful coordinating pillows!

Read on to learn how to make your own Jolly Garland!

To Be Jolly Festive Jolly Greetings Quilt Panel
Fabric bias strip 2.5” x length of garland (determined in step 8)
Wool Felt – (2) 5.5 x 7” rectangles per motif block
Handmade and Hand-dyed Buttons from Just Another Button Company


A printable copy of these instructions is available here- Button Lover's Club: Words with Buttons Jolly Garland PDF

1. I used my 10 favorite motifs to make my garland, but I wish I had thought of where I would hang it before I used all 10. I ended up with a garland longer than my mantel. So, I suggest you measure the width of the spot you’ll hang yours now, so you know how many motifs you can include in the garland.
    2. Press the Jolly fabric panel. If any of the motif rectangles are skewed, use steam and the weight of your iron to stretch them back into shape.

      3. Without steam, iron fusible to the backside of the fabric panel. You only need to cover the motifs you plan to use. Let the fusible cool.

      4. Use a rotary tool or scissors to cut out the motifs. I rough-cut mine apart with a rotary tool and then used scissors to trim off all the dark green that was left outside the colored motif borders.

      5. Choose wool felt background colors to coordinate with each motif. Including a variety of wool felt colors adds a lot of charm to the garland, and it gives you the opportunity to pick colors that help each motif stand out. Make notes of how many motif backgrounds you’ll need from each wool felt color.


      6. Cut two 5.5 x 7” background pieces from the wool felt for each motif.

      7. Fuse each motif in the center of one of its wool felt background pieces. Sew the two layers together. I used matching thread and sewed ¼” from the edge of the motif.

      8. Calculate how much garland base you need for your garland base. Take the width of your hanging spot—add 10% for draping and 20” for tying or looping at the ends (10” per end). For example, my mantel is 60” wide, so I needed 60” + 6” (10% of 60”) + 20” (for ends) = 86” total.

      If you don’t have enough fabric to cut one continuous bias piece for the garland base, cut strips on the bias and sew them together before proceeding to the next step.

      9. Fold the garland base strip in half across the width, right sides together, and press. Sew along one short end and then along the long, raw edge to create a long tube, open on one end. Use ¼” seams. Turn the tube right-side-out and press flat with the seam running along the top edge. Fold the raw edges of the open end of the tube to the inside and sew it closed by hand.

      10. Tie a knot 10” from each end of the garland base that you just created. The area between the knots is where you’ll sew your motif blocks. It’s best to lay the garland base flat on a large surface (I used the floor) and arrange your motif blocks on top until you’re happy with the layout.

      For my garland, I arranged the motif blocks in sets. I placed two motif blocks, that look especially good side by side, with only 1” of space between them. Then I left a 4” space before placing the next group.
      Once you’re happy with the placement, take a picture to help you recreate it later. Mark the block positions on the garland base with pins.

      11. Start attaching your blocks to the garland base. Lay the first block (with wool felt background) on top of a second (matching) wool felt rectangle, sandwich the garland base between the two layers of wool felt. Use the placement pins to make sure the block is in the correct position on the garland base. ¼” of the garland base should still be visible above the top of the sandwiched motif block. Pin the layers together. Sew through both wool layers, all the way around the outside edge of the fabric motif. Use thread that matches the wool felt so the stitches blend in. Make sure your stitches catch the garland base. Move to the next motif position and continue adding blocks.
      12. Once all the motif blocks are sewn on, embellish the garland with buttons! Hand-dyed buttons add texture or can help play up a favorite color. Use the handmade buttns to add a special touch of character to the motifs. The gaps between the motif blocks are a great place to add some extra button fun.

      13. Hang your Jolly Garland in your home and enjoy it all holiday season!
      In a busy holiday season, we certainly love a project that is quick to create and easy to display. Making this garland is also a perfect opportunity to involve younger family members in crafting too! Let them sort and select buttons for each "card" to create not only a beautiful holiday garland, but also sweet holiday memories.
      I hope you enjoy making a Jolly Garland of your own!


      Pam Rinas

      Pam Rinas said:

      I love the garland idea. Never thought of making a garland out of “old” Christmas cards. It seems easy enough to make.
      Thank you!

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