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Gnome for the Holidays

Posted by CJ Neal on

There's no place like gnome for the holidays! Today artist Kate Martens is sharing a felt gnome tutorial that you'll love to use as holiday decor or to give as gifts.

Handcrafted felt gnomes for holiday decor made for Bella Luna Toys

 

Materials: 

  • Wool felt
  • Wool roving 
  • Cotton fabric
  • Pearl cotton thread
  • Needle, pins
  • Scissors 
  • Scissors, fabric, needle, thread and wool laid on a table.

    Assemble your materials

    These gnomes lend themselves very well to using what you happen to have on hand. Collect some scrap fabric or wool felt to work with. Polyester blends tend not to work as well for this craft.

    A hands only image showing how to cut the hat for the felt gnome holiday tutorial.

    Cut your fabric

    These gnomes can be as large or small as you want them to be, which is why there are no specific dimensions.

    Start by cutting two felt rectangles of the same size and two cotton triangles of the same size. The felt will provide structure to the gnome. The length of the felt will determine the height of your gnome.

    Make your rectangles the length you want your finished gnome to be, including his hat. The cotton will be attached on top of the felt to create the look of the hat. The length of the cotton triangles should be slightly less than half the length of the felt rectangles. The width of the base of the triangles should be equal to the width of the felt rectangles.

    When cutting your cotton, it works best to find the fabric selvage, which is the tightly woven edge that runs along each side of a piece of fabric's lengthwise grain, and use it as the base of your triangles.

    If this is not possible, either fold and iron the bottom edges of the triangles or fold and do a quick running stitch along the base of the triangles to create a clean, fray-free look.

    A hand holding the sewn fabric shape for the felt gnome tutorial. 

    Stack and trim your felt and cotton fabric pieces

    Layer each cotton triangle onto its rectangular felt counterpart. These pairings will create the front and back of the gnome.

    Once you have laid the cotton triangles over the felt rectangles, making sure the selvage is at the base of the triangles, trim the edges of the rectangles so that they match the diagonal lines of the cotton triangles.

    Your pieces should now look like two little houses.

    Pieces of frabric lay next to scissors for the felt gnome holiday tutorial.

    Turn the fabric so that the right sides are facing each other

    You should not be able to see the cotton fabric. You can put a pin in the top half to hold the triangles in place.

    A hand holds the fabric in a horizontal orientation.

    Sew the front and back of the gnome together

    Thread your needle with the pearl cotton thread. Make a knot or do a back-stitch to secure the thread. Using a simple running stitch, sew along all edges except the straight edge at what will eventually be the bottom of the gnome (e.g. the edge that is parallel to Kate's thumb in the photo). 

    Hands only image showing the fabric of the felt gnome body being turned inside out.

    Turn the fabric

    Use a butter knife, chopstick, or rounded (closed) scissors to turn the fabric so that the right side is facing out and you can see the cotton fabric. 

    A progress shot showing the felt gnome body.

    Admire your work

    This is starting to look like a gnome!

    A hands only image, stuffing the felt gnome with wool.

    Fluff up the roving by breaking it into small pieces with your hands. It tends to tear on the diagonal. Rather than forcing it, try pulling it apart using a few different hand motions.

    Once it is fluffy and light, start putting it into your gnome body. You can use the same tool you used to turn the fabric to stuff the gnome. This will help you achieve a neat and even shape. 

    Hands only image shows someone cutting a small felt circle for the bottom of the gnome.

    Cut a circle to finish the bottom

    It is fine to leave the bottom open but with little hands at home an open-bottom gnome would not stand a chance and the bottom adds a finished look to your project. Start with a felt square that has sides about the length of diameter of the circle at the bottom of the stuffed gnome. Trim the corners of the square to form a round shape.

    Hands sew felt circle to the bottom of the stuffed felt gnome.

    Sew the circle around the bottom of the gnome

    This step sounds more difficult than it is. Place the felt circle on the bottom of the gnome. If the circle is too big, trim it down so that it is about the same size as the stuffed opening. If it's much too small, cut another circle that fits. When you're ready, re-thread your needle, line up the stuffed walls and the edges of the flat circle, and sew the edges together. Use a running stitch. Check every few inches to see if the flat circle seems much too big or too small and reassess or adjust as needed. 

    Attaching a fluffy white beard to the front of the felt gnome.

    Make the beard

    This is the simplest and most satisfying step. Pull a bit of wool roving from your stash. Double it, making a small "u" shaped bundle of roving with the open edges pointing down. Then stuff the curved part of your roving bundle between the gnome's hat and body.

    The little pocket between the felt and cotton should be quite tight, so there is no reason to secure it further - unless you have a child or pet who likes to pull on things. In this case, tack it down with a few quick stitches. Make sure the beard is your desired length, is centered on the gnome's body, and is as luscious and luxurious as all gnome beards deserve to be. 

    A hand holds a completed felt gnome with several other gnomes lined up behind it.

    Repeat steps these steps to make your gnome some friends!

     

    Thank you Kate for such a beautiful craft! Find all of her stunning creations in her Etsy shop or follow her on Instagram here!

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