Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Felt Christmas Tree- fun for the little tykes

The addition of twin grandchildren to our family in April has been a real blessing.  As Christmas approaches, I was looking for something to make for the little "elves."  My daughter-in-law sent me a picture of a felt Christmas tree with felt ornaments-  the perfect manipulative for little hands!

I wanted to stuff my tree so that it would be soft, like a big cone shaped pillow.  I decided on a size:
22" high with an 18" base.  The hard part for this math challenged girl was figuring out how to make the pattern for the cone shape.  With the help of my husband and the internet, we found a formula that worked perfectly.  I am going to give you the measurements and instructions for the size that I made but if you want to alter the size, you can check out the formula that I used from Math Central HERE. I have to admit that my eyes glazed over when I saw these calculations but if you take it step by step, it does work!  Here's the proof:

I made the cone pattern on craft paper because I wanted it to be sturdy enough to make the drawing.
The pattern is going to look like this:

To draw this arc, I needed the length of S to be 23 3/4" so I tied a string to a pencil, measured the string to 23 3/4" and cut.

I put a mark near the edge of the paper (T) and held the end of the string at that mark. Then I stretched out the string and drew a large arc.  It is important to keep the pencil upright when you are making the arc to get the correct shape.

The length of C needed to be 56.5" so I cut another string that length and laid it along the arced line that I drew.  I made a mark at each end of the string.

Next, I connected the marks with the mark that I made at T.  Voila!  A cone pattern!  

The final step in making this pattern was adding seam allowances.  I knew that I wanted to use 1/2" seams so I just added 1/2" all the way around before I cut.  I probably could have figured a way to incorporate the seam allowances from the beginning but all this math was making my head hurt so this just seemed easier to me.

The base was the easy part.  I wanted an 18" base with 1/2" seams so I cut a 19" circle.  I folded a piece of craft paper in half. Then I wrapped a string around a pencil to measure 9 1/2".  I set the end of the string on the fold and drew an arc from fold to fold.  Cut on the line and you have your base.

The rest is easy!  Use your pattern pieces to cut your tree from felt.  Match up the straight edges of the arc and sew from the bottom up to the point, leaving about 5" open in the middle for stuffing.

I trimmed away the excess near the point to reduce the bulk.

Pin this cone to the base, matching the edges and sew all the way around.

Turn right sides out and stuff.  I made mine quite firm with lots of polyfill because I figured over time it would squish down.  Stitch up the opening and your tree is done!

For the ornaments, I made very simple shapes because I figured that they would just get chewed. Maybe next year I will make some that are a bit fancier.  On the subject of chewing, I chose Eco-fi Plus Premium  Felt for my ornaments.  It's made in the United States and is washable which I thought was important for keeping things clean for my little sweeties.

Wouldn't the little ones in your life enjoy decorating this puffy tree?