Rustic Holiday Ornaments

Rustic Holiday Ornaments
Charmingly easy to recognize yet somewhat difficult to define precisely, sewing with a rustic esthetic can be recognized as practical, decorative, functional, whimsical, unrefined, vintage, contemporary or even ceremonial. Terms often overlap and purists may debate the subtleness of each.

However rustic design may be recognized, it is easy to see the simple beauty in fluffy pillows wrapped in buffalo plaid flannels, multi-colored braided rugs, door or mantel wreaths of fraying and coarse burlap, muted and muddied colors on patchwork, rag or log cabin quilts, tea-dyed muslin soft-bodied rag dolls dressed in homespun-like print or checkered dresses seem to be rustic and cleverly fashioned. Often, highly stylized Santas, snowmen, birds, bears, bunnies, barnyard animals, pine trees and so many more representations made with raw, simplified details or an unconventional suggested shape are favorite subjects considered for a rustic appeal.

Consider the following sewing projects designed for just such an appeal:

Puffy Plaid Hearts – with a top loop to string on a garland or holiday tree. Cut out several pairs of hearts from dense-weave homespun fabric. Using a narrow seam stitch two right-sides together (enclose a top loop for hanging within the seam) leave an opening for turning right-sides out and lightly stuffing. Hand stitch opening closed. Thread hearts onto a length of jute twine and hang across a window or mantel edge. Alternatively, stitch a pair of hearts wrong-sides together and leave the edge of the seam as a raw edge. Okay if the edge frays a bit as it adds to the rustic charm.

Prairie Rag Doll – uses less than a yard of unbleached or tea-dyed muslin fabric for a raggedy style soft-bodied doll. Tear the entire muslin fabric into long one-inch or slightly larger strips then drape about half of them over a round foam craft ball so the torn lengths lie evenly. (As an alternative to using a foam craft ball, cut a square of fabric and place a generous handful of poly fill stuffing in the center, gather tightly and tie off into a rounded shape.) Once all torn strips are over the round head shape, tie securely at the base of the ball (yarn is ok)so all torn strips flow freely and become the doll’s soft body. For arms, lay the remainder of the strips lengthwise (about 10) bunch and tie off each end to represent hands. Lay the doll over the arms/hands and in a crisscross fashion use another torn strip tie around the body somewhat close to the head shape. Make a simple gathered skirt or apron to add to the doll if desired. Embroider a simple pair of eyes (closed for a sleepy style with wispy eye lashes), or fabric paint a charming face for the doll.

Primitive Ornaments – prims are delightfully whimsical. Evenly tie several individual lengths of torn cotton fabric (muted plaids in greens, browns, and burgundy) around a cinnamon stick or short twiggy branch. Attach a gold cord or jute twine bow at the top for hanging. Easy fabric craft for kids to do as well.

Mini Torn Fabric Wreath – another kid-friendly DIY ornament is to tear or cut holiday theme fabric into several 1-inch by 6-inch long lengths to tie around a plastic macramé craft ring or use one of the two rings of a round mini wooden 4-inch embroidery hoop (both inner and outer rings of the hoop can be used). Tie strips all around the ring until covered. Attach a twine bow or ribbon and hanger.

Welcoming Door Hanger – cut two elongated heart shapes out of burlap then hand stamp or paint the word Welcome onto one of the shapes. With right-sides together stitch a narrow seam around the edges leaving an opening for turning and lightly stuffing. Hand sew opening closed. Glue or hand stitch a curly wire hanger to the heart, embellishing with small dried flowers and lace ribbon scraps.

The expression “beauty is in the eye of the beholder” would seem to apply to a rustic design style as the many terms that are identified with this esthetic may not appeal to all. Yet, items sewn with a raw but personalized natural beauty, coarse textures and simple earthen colors convey an unassuming and identifiable charming warmth.

Sew happy, sew inspired.

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