Kids Crafts Ideas: DIY Fabric Ornaments
These sweet fabric ornaments teach children hand sewing techniques while building fine motor skills, and they don’t demand that parents have a lot of fancy sewing skills to facilitate. Perhaps best of all, they’re heirloom quality and can be gifted or saved and used for years to come.
Hand sewing with Kids
As soon as the tree went up my kiddos begged me to pull out all of our ornaments, and we spent two full days decorating. We ooohed and ahhed over all of our hand made ornaments, some made by my girls’ great grandma! Last year we made stacks of salt dough ornaments and we talked about making something different this year.
My 4-year old has been interested in hand-sewing, and she came up the idea of making her own stitched ornaments. Great! Not only are they sweet, but children can make these with just a wee bit of adult assistance.
This is a good project for older children or children who have a little bit of sewing experience. We’ve done other sewing projects such as Toddler Hand Sewing and Preschool Machine Sewing, so my daughter was ready for this.
With cups of tea and cider poured (I highly recommend this step), this sewing experience was a soothing way to spend an afternoon connecting with my preschooler. If you have a child who’s interested in sewing, I’d encourage you to give it a go.
- Fabric scraps
- Fluff such as cotton balls to fill the ornaments
- Embroidery floss
- Embroidery needle
- Sewing Needle
- Treasures and Glue gun (optional)
Choose a shape and cut out two of them. One will be the front of the ornament and the other will be the back. I like to give my children creative freedoms whenever possible, so I encouraged N to choose the fabric. She picked out fabrics that reminded her of the holidays. I love that!
You don’t really need a tape measurer, but kids love them and they add to the fun. Oh, and you can see how big our ornament is. Maybe that’s useful?
Sew any ornamentation you like onto each of the fabric pieces (before you stitch them to each other). N wanted a heart sewn to this one, so I helped her hold the fabric while she did all the sewing. Normally I’d help with two hands, but I had to pull one away to snap this revealing shot.
Stack your two pieces of fabric together with the right sides facing each other. Pin fabric in place. Hand or machine stitch around your shape, leaving about a 1.5″ opening. Be sure to lock your stitch at the end.
We hand-stitched ours. N made it about half way around before she lost steam and then asked me to step in. That’s fair…sewing can be tiring for little hands!
Take out all the pins. Flip the fabric shape inside out. Fill with stuffing.
Cut a piece of ribbon, about 6″ long. Fold it in half.
Insert the bottom of the ribbon into the fabric opening. Stitch the ornament shut, being sure to sew the ribbon into the ornament.
This is where my toddler happily stepped in to play. Attach treasures with a hot glue gun. Don’t make our mistake! We “secured” ours with white glue, and they mostly flaked right off the next day.
When you’re done, hang them proudly on the tree or gift them to loved ones.
You could also take a cue from a friend of mine who invited all of her friends to do a random act of kindness in lieu of birthday presents — and gift an ornament to a stranger or someone you know could use a thoughtful hand made pick-me-up.
Those ornaments are darling! I love to sew but haven’t had time to do much of it lately. Not sure why a simple project like ornaments didn’t occur to me, what a fun way to pick it up again! Thanks for sharing!
I’m in the same boat, Tiffany. I also love to sew, but with little people underfoot this has fallen to last priority for me. But then of course all it takes is the curiosity of a 4-year old to bring this family tradition back to life!
Oh wow, aren’t those just beautiful?! I am a real sucker for anything with sequins added and they just sparkle so prettily there on your tree. We have been glueing onto felt too (isn’t felt wonderfully versatile?) to make some gingerbread men ornaments which I will then stuff and sew. I think my eldest is ready to have a try at sewing herself after reading this!
I know, Anna! Sequins and glitter make the holidays come to life. Felt is fantastic for this project too. The only difference would be to blanket stitch the edges without flipping the fabric inside out. I can’t wait to see what you and your girls are up to. x
Oh those are adorable! My boys aren’t into sewing, but I haven’t ever given them the opportunity either! What type of needle do you let your girls use? A ‘real’ one?
Thank you, Jamie! We used an embroidery needle for this project — it’s a large needle with an oversized eye, which makes it easy for little hands to hold. It does have a sharp end, but I think you can find them with blunt (or at least not-so-sharp) tips. Let me know if you give it a try. ~Rachelle
My 7 year old son just decided to pick up hand sewing a week or so ago. He was working for a while before he revealed his creation. A sweet little tree topper for his Nana. Ahhh.
The ornaments are really cute! What a wonderful keepsake they’ll be.
Oh my goodness, Jill, this melts my heart. I bet that Nana loves it! Thanks for sharing this story.
Thank you so much for this… These are the ornaments that hold the best memories year after year…
It’s so true, Mariah. I’m sure we’ll be telling stories about them (and all the other handmade creations) as we unpack them each winter. My big worry is that our tree won’t be able to hold all these creations in just a couple years 🙂
I love how open-ended this is! And it brings back so many memories of having free rein over my mom’s sewing scraps. What a treasure for your kids — the experience and the memories as much as the end product!
You know something, Amanda, I had the same experience with my mom’s sewing scraps. Mine our usually tucked away, but maybe I’ll pull a small stack out for my daughter to sort through on her own time. Thanks for the inspiration.
Adorable. My little ladies love doing “pin work.” They started at Montessori. I think it really gives them a sense of power to be doing such an adult activity. It is a great way to teach respect for materials. Wonderful post as always.
I don’t know anything about pin work — must check that out! You’re so right that teaching children how to sew, or how to do any number of traditional adult activities, gives children a lot of confidence and pride. Thank you!
Thanks so much for this. I’d love to introduce my kiddos to the art of sewing early on but don’t have much experience myself. We’ll definitely be trying this one!
Oh, you would love it Steph. You don’t need a lot of fancy equipment. If you’re starting out, a blunt needle and embroidery thread would be perfect.
Oh my these are SOOOO adorable. I love child made crafts. They have something so beautifully innocent and colourful about them. Great to get your kids sewing.
I know — the imperfections give it a stamp of hand made love.
These are so stinkin adorable, my daughter would be in heaven. She loves making things like this. She’s at the table crafting right now as I type this!
Thanks so much Stacy! I learned how to sew as a child and it’s such a great skill to carry into adulthood.
Great idea. What a unique ornament. I’ll be pinning this for a future project. Why not fabric valentine hearts or Easter eggs? Hope you had a great holiday!
Thank you, Melissa! Fabric Valentine hearts are on my agenda — now we’ll see if the littles want to make them too! Happy holidays to you too!!
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