Party Anytime Garland and Chandelier: A Free Project Excerpt From Sew Fun, by Deborah Fisher

10 Dec 2013

Interweave/F+W Media were kind enough to send us a free project excerpt from the newly-released book, Sew Fun: 20 Projects for the Whole Family by Deborah Fisher. I could see this as such a cool Christmas/New Year's decoration to make with kiddos, couldn't you? Here's the excerpt - Enjoy!

Sew Fun - jacket art

Festive and whimsical, a garland just says celebration. But then what do you do with the garland after the party has ended? You can turn it into a decorative chandelier! Having a party to welcome a new baby? Use the garland for the party and then complete the chandelier frame with it and hang it over the baby's crib or changing table. A special birthday? Afterward, turn the garland into a chandelier for the child's bedroom as a memento. The garland loops over buttons on the chandelier frame so it can be removed easily and used again as a garland. Give the chandelier a new look by making a different garland and looping it over the buttons.


    11 yd (10 m) of ?/8" (3 mm) ribbon for garland base

    300 pieces of a variety of materials for garland embellishments, such as ribbons, sequins, felt shapes, rectangles, feathers, pom-poms, and bells

    Coordinating or contrasting thread

    2 1/4 yd (2 m) of 1/4" (6 mm) boning with 5/8" (1.5 cm) fabric covering for chandelier

    12 1/2 yd (11.4 m) of 3/8" (1 cm) wide ribbon for chandelier

    Sixteen 1/2" (1.3 cm) assorted or matching buttons

    1/4 - 1 yd (23 - 91.5 cm) tulle for garland (optional)

    Fabric paint (optional)


    Basic Sewing Kit

    Binder clip (optional)

    Paintbrush (optional)

Finished Size

The garland is 11 yd (10 m) long.

The chandelier is 52" x 18" x 18" (132 x 45.5 x 45.5 cm) from the bottom to the top hanging knot.

Make the Garland

You can make the garland any length you like to fit your celebration, but you will need a 10 2/3 yd (9.8 m) garland to assemble the chandelier. You'll divide the garland in half: one 5 1/3 yd (4.9 m) piece for the top ring and one 5 1/3 yd (4.9 m) piece for the bottom ring of the chandelier. About 300 pieces of embellishment will yield a garland of the same density as mine, as long as you sew on an element every 1 1/2 - 2" (3.8 - 5 cm). Of course, you can make your garland sparser or denser.

1. Assemble the elements. Cut the ribbon into 2 - 6" (5 - 15 cm) sections, the tulle into 4" x 8" (10 x 20.5 cm) pieces, and the felt into a variety of shapes.

2. Sew the garland. Starting several inches from one end of the ribbon, sew down the center of the ribbon and over the elements, adding them as you go. For the tulle, scrunch the tulle by hand down the lengthwise center and then sew it through the scrunched part onto the ribbon. Sew all the way to the end of the ribbon. If you need to piece the ribbon, overlap the end of the new ribbon with the previous ribbon and continue stitching down the center, joining them. You can also sew the elements to each ribbon section separately, leaving 4" (10 cm) or so on each end of the ribbons to tie them together.

3. If you plan to use bells, stitch down a length of 1/8" (3 mm) wide ribbon wherever you want a bell. Tie the bell onto the ribbon after the sewing is complete.

Make the Chandelier Frame

4. Cut the boning into two pieces, one 53" (134.5 cm) long and one 28" (71 cm) long. Pull back the fabric covering for several inches on each end of the 53" (134.5 cm) piece. Overlap the ends about 1 1/2" (3.8 cm) to make a circle. Using a zigzag stitch on the widest setting, zigzag the two ends together lengthwise. The needle will clear the boning on each side, wrapping the two ends together. Try using a binder clip to hold the boning together; this lets you keep your fingers out of the way while stitching the ends together.

5. Pull the fabric covering back over each end. Tuck under the raw edges so they butt together, trimming the fabric as needed. Sew the fabric ends together.

6. To coordinate your chandelier frame with your garland, paint the fabric covering on the boning rings with fabric paint. Repeat the previous steps with the 28" (71 cm) piece. You will now have one larger ring that is about 50" (127 cm) in circumference and one smaller ring that is about 25" (63.5 cm) in circumference.

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7. Mark each ring equidistantly in eight places on the outer flat surface of the ring. On the 50" (127 cm) ring, the marks will be about 6 1/4" (16 cm) apart. On the 25" (63.5) ring, the marks will be about 31/8" (8 cm) apart.

8. Cut eight 55" (139.5 cm) lengths of the 3/8" (1 cm) ribbon. Sew one end of one ribbon to one of the eight marked places on the small ring. Repeat with the remaining seven ribbons and seven other marked spots on the small ring. You now have eight ribbons hanging from the small ring; the next step is to attach them to the large ring.

9. Mark each ribbon 12" (30.5 cm) from the spot where it is attached to the small ring. Sew the marked place on one ribbon to one of the marked places on the large ring. Repeat with the remaining seven ribbons and seven other marked spots on the large ring. The two rings are now attached with 12" (30.5 cm) of each of the eight ribbons between them.

10. Mark each ribbon 16" (40.5 cm) from the place where it is attached to the large ring. Gather the ribbons together at the marks. Knot the ribbons in a single overhand knot, making sure the marks are not visible at the base of the knot. Using all of the ribbons, tie another knot 16" (40.5 cm) from the first knot. This is the top of the chandelier and will be used for hanging. Sew one button at each of the eight points on the small ring and the eight points on the large ring where the ribbons are sewn to the boning. The buttons will be used to loop the garland onto the chandelier.

Assemble the Chandelier

11. Cut the garland in half. You should have two pieces each about 5 1/3 yd (4.9 m) long. Mark each piece into eight sections of about 24" (61 cm). You can mark some sections a bit smaller and some a bit larger to make it more interesting.

12. Loop the garland onto the buttons on the large ring, looping each marked spot on the garland with a button on the ring. This will create the garland's swags. Repeat with the remaining garland and the small ring.

How you hang the chandelier will depend on your ceilings. A simple nail, screw, or hook through the center of the top ribbon knot should be sufficient. Be sure that whatever you choose is appropriate for your ceiling material and will support the weight, however light, of the chandelier, especially if you are hanging it over a crib or changing table.

Kid Work

  • Choose colors and materials
  • Measure and mark the ribbons for the garland
  • Paint the boning rings
  • Cut ribbon sections and felt shapes
  • Hand materials to the sewist


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