Birthday Crowns: tutorial and ramblings
Today is my daughter’s 8th birthday day. Yesterday was my son’s 6th. We’re all a little tired out from so much fun, but I wanted to post a little birthday present tutorial here.
Inspired by a birthday tradition I saw on soulemama shortly after stumbling into this world of blogs and blogging about two years ago, I have been wanting to make my children their very own Birthday Crowns. (Here is one post by soulemama about her 3rd child’s crown, more pics of her crowns here and what looks like another lovely blog, Uncommon Grace, with pics of her versions)
In our home, my children’s birthdays come in like a stampeding pair of horses, one day after another, riding on the coattails of Christmas and all the other winter and fall holiday craziness. This timing means it takes a little planning (and no little amount of stamina) to perserve the specialness of the day for each of them. We began making breakfast the special moment for the birthday child a few years back, with their place at the table decked out with a few select presents from us, and the kitchen preparing to order their most ardent breakfast whims (almost always, this means hot cocoa). This year, I wanted very much to add a crown to this morning celebration and was so happy I was able to pull it off this week.
Now, while soulemama, and some others I found, make their crowns entirely out of plant-based dyed wool felt, midnight last-minute sewing does not allow for such commendable restrictions on materials. My two crowns were pieced together entirely out of scraps: some felt (not wool, but the cheapy kind, left over from school costuming projects when my daughter was in Kindergarten), some silky dress material, and some shiny bits left from a cape (Nutcracker costumes again) and a past Halloween knight outfit.
Now, I believe that soulemama has instructions for her crowns in her book, which I happened to own, but could not locate. This is typical for me. When I need a book (or craft material, or phone number) I can’t locate it. Most likely, though, I’ll find it tomorrow.
Without being able to consult her book, and too lazy, at that moment, to look up the pics again, I merely put them together my own way. That being the case, I’m including a short tutorial on how to do these, in case you are similarly inspired. I think that this would be an excellent project for a beginning, or even child-student sewer. No matter who makes it, it is sure to carry a little magic with it. My son’s helped carry him off to dreamland, after jam packed birthday.
BIRTHDAY CROWNS- TUTORIAL
Piece of felt 18 x 7 (or similarly sized– one of mine was about 20×8)– thinking about this, I think that mine were a little too tall, so you might go for 18 x 5
scraps of various fabrics you want to use for the front, largest section will need a piece that is 5 x 7 (or 5×5), but you can customize
small piece of 3/4 or 1 inch elastic
matching or contrasting thread (you will be top stitching so make sure it looks good with the fabrics you have chosen)
1. Fold your felt piece in half so that you have a piece ready to cut that is two thick and about 9 x 7 (or 9 x 5 if you are making a shorter crown, as I’m thinking I should have). Cutting freehand, or using my template as a guide, cut your crown shape out. Depending on the age of the child you may want to make it shorter in either (or both) length and height. Ideally, you do not want it to reach all the way around their heads, as you will be inserting elastic in the back. If you too are embarking on midnight sewing, you can use the length of this template successfully for children aged 5-9 or so, then adjust the height to your liking. You will not lose much from your initial cut, so make sure you like how it looks before continuing.
2. Assemble your scraps, and cut into rectangles or squares, all around 7 or 8 inches in height. They can be varying widths, but to replicate what I made, you will need one center piece that is about 5 x8, 2 side panels of 4 x8 and 2 end panels of 3 x 8. Stitching right sides together, sew them into a long strip that should measure the same as you starting felt piece. Add or adjust strips as neccessary.
3. place your stripped fabric right side up on a work surface. Center you cut felt piece (crown shaped) on top of it (the felt has no right side so it shouldn’t matter which side is facing). Adjust it so the center stripped fabric is aligned correctly with the center point of the crown. Pin into place. Sew together leaving one end completely open, and removing pins as needed to keep the fabric smooth. It is easiest to sew with the felt on top, so that you can follow the shape of the crown. Sew as close to the edge of your cut felt shape as you can, but be sure to make a secure seam all the way around.
4. Trim the excess stripped material left around the crown, but leaving about an inch of extra fabric at the open end. Through the open, unsewn end, inside out the crown, using scissors to force the crown points and corners out. Fold the material at the open end inside and pin. Begining with that edge, top stitch around the entire crown.
5. Cut a small scrap to about 6 x 2. Stitch lengthwise and then inside out to make a long tube. Press flat. Cut a small piece of elastic, about 3 inches. Insert elastic into the tube, matching the edges at one end only. Sew onto one lower edge of the back of the crown, inside. Scrunch the fabric and match the other end of the elastic to the edge of the tube. Sew to the other end of the crown. Trim fabric and elastic as needed to make neat.
6. Embroider, or adorn as desired. I’m thinking about adding jewels, buttons or other for each year, but this might have to wait until next year.
7. Place on birthday child’s head or at their breakfast seat!