Crafts (summer)

Rags to Riches

Posted on 27 June 2016 at 10:52am

Our village has a small but busy following for its sewing club. This group of likeminded ladies contribute a variety of skills into creating projects which are then sold in aid of local charitable causes. There are seamstresses, milliners, soft furnishers and curtain makers. There are those who are not quite so confident with the sewing machine, but are happy to pin and tack ready for seams to be sewn, or to fill sachets and pouches with sweet smelling lavender. Others contribute by looking after the accounts or sourcing new and pre-loved materials for the club to use. And, of course, there is always tea and biscuits.

Making and Gifting Rag Wreaths

The internet is littered with 'how-to's' for making rag wreaths, so I am not about to re-invent the same here; suffice to say, all you need is a wire form (widely available from florists etc.), a hardy pair of pinking shears, and a generous bag of co-ordinating fabrics, ribbons and lace. If they are to be raffled or sold for charity, as ours are, use colours which may appeal to most people and situations where the wreath might be displayed. Muted, soft tones are popular, as are colours which reflect the seasons. We've been asked to make up wreaths with specific colours to hang in a newly painted kitchen, and for a new-born baby girl's nursery, for example. The options are endless. The wreaths can transform tired looking doors or add a pop of colour and contrast to otherwise plain looking decor. Hang them in porches, on the backs of chairs, or to brighten up the front door to the house. Delicate silks, satins and veiling create a vintage look.

Linen, Satins and Silks

Ring the changes with seasonal adornments. Fabric contributions come from un-likely sources; not least a vast collection of fabric sample books, the type generally found in furniture shops. These sample books Experiment with contrasting colours and prints. were gratefully received from a kind donator to our club, and had a wide variety of fabric types and weights. We have used them to help craft everything from lavender bags to cushion covers. Pre-loved fabrics are given a new lease of life in wreath making. The range of satins, voiles, cottons, silks and linens have also been the focus of inspiration for the humble but popular rag-wreath. Many an afternoon has been passed cutting and tying fabrics of typically cheery colours and textures in order to make up rag wreaths. Tiny painted eggs were added to our Easter wreaths, softly floating bows are created from pre-loved satin ribbons, whilst the addition of lace and voiles and bridal veiling add an air of vintage.

Almost any fabric can be used to make rag wreaths, as long as they are not too thick or heavy in weight as this makes tying difficult and the wreath is not nearly as full as it needs to be. Choose light-weight printed cottons and silks instead. Wash new fabrics before using to take out any stiffness and consider recycling out-of-favour pillow slips, bed linens, shirts, blouses and similar items whose structure will have softened over time. Soft linens and fine burlap type fabrics work equally as well.

A craft that is quick and fun to make.

Rag wreaths are relatively quick to make up once the fabric strips are cut and ready for tying, and they are easy to sell at craft fairs and village charity events. Offer a variety to choose from and you'll be surprised at how quickly they go - especially when customers know the proceeds are heading to help charities in your local area.