Category Archives: holiday crafts: Christmas (recycled stuff)

Recycled Wool Coat Needle and Stitch Book

Using a salvaged wool coat, you too can make a really cute holder for storing sewing needles. I use this project as a learning tool for beginner sewers. It is a fun way to introduce students to three introductory stitches: the basic running stitch, the cast-over stitch, and the back stitch. In addition, students learn to sew on buttons.

Search second hand stores for a wool coat or blazer that is worn out or ripped. Take it apart at the seams and felt the fabric by washing in hot water.

Order a pattern from me or design your own pattern. If you want to save time and support this website, send an e-mail requesting this pattern (HesterJane@FunInTheMaking.net) The pattern is 2$ and you can pay by clicking on the donation button on the right-hand side of this website. You will also receive a smaller version of this coat intended for making Christmas ornaments.

How to:

1. Print out the coat needle book pattern. (See instructions directly above.)

2. Trace and cut out two coat shapes. Follow the blue dots for the front piece and the pink dots for the back piece. Note that the back is slightly different on the center top of the coat. *Follow the perimeter of the coat: don’t cut the dotted lines that separate the sleeves from the coat body (D to E on pattern) yet.

3. Cut down the center top of coat (front of the coat only) about 2 inches or desired distance.

4. Pin the front and back of coat together.

5. Fold down and pin the collar.

6. Fold up cuffs and pin in place.

7. Use the overcast stitch to sew up the side of the sleeve from A to G on pattern. Do the same to the other side of coat.

8. Cut your sleeves D to E. I find that it is better to cut the sleeves now when you have the front and back of the coat lined up on top of each other. This way the front and the back of your sleeves will be the same size.

9. Sew sleeve front and back together D to E. Do not sew the body of the coat from D to E because you want the coat to open up like a notebook.

10. Sew on button(S). Sew the buttons to the front of the coat only.

11. Use a backstitch to make a decorative line across the bottom edge of the coat on thefront of the coat only.

12. Use a backstitch to make a decorative line across the bottom edge of the sleeve cuffs.

13. Sew the collar down.

14. Cut out the pockets of your choice.

15. Sew on the pockets using an overcast stitch or a straight stitch. Front of coat only.

16. Use a backstitch to make a decorative line on pockets.

If you or your child is interest in taking a class on how to make these adorable coats, please follow the link “Classes” on the top of this website for more information.

Here are samples of student’s work.

This coat was made by a soon to be 4th grader. Isn’t Sara’s coat so sweet!

This cute coat was made by a soon to be 5th grader. Great job Katie!

Make Your Own Christmas Dove Ornaments

lovely beaded Christmas dove ornament

Have a pleasant afternoon making lovely dove ornaments with your family. When provided with the supplies, even kids have fabulous results. I have a shoe box full of salvaged beads from unwanted necklaces etc. and this is a perfect time to make use of those little treasures.

This dove ornament was designed and made by my nine year old daughter. All I did was supply her with a pattern, scrap felt, and a box or salvaged beads. The gold beads came off a retired Christmas sweater and some of the others came from unwanted necklaces.

How To:

Print out and use the dove stencil provided in the make your own dove card post (see link below).

Trace and cut out two doves (one for the front and one for the back). It doesn’t take much fabric/felt to make so check your supply for scraps. Use felt or fabric that doesn’t fray very easily.

Sew on any embellishments (beads) before sewing the dove halves together. (This is a good idea but not absolutly necessary.)

Start sewing around the dove near the edge. When you are nearly done sewing all the way around, add a bit of stuffing. Then sew the hole closed.

Optional, add a string of beads to dangle below.

You will also need a bit of ribbon or a metal hook for hanging up.

If you like doves, you may also like this post on MYO dove cards.

Make Your Own Simple Yet Adorable Tea Cup Mouse

Making your own charming Tea Cup Mouse is easier than you think. I designed this project to be suitable for even beginner sewers. And you can adjust the project according to skill level.

This is a sweet way to use a lovely tea cup that has no matches. A cup with a chip or crack would be undesirable for drinking tea but these signs of wear would only add character to these little beds.

Sewing workshop: if you live locally (Southern Maryland) you might be interested in my Tea Cup mouse workshops for children (and adults too). Click on the Classes link above.

Tea Cup Mouse takes a break

This is Leo. He was made from a retired linen shirt. His bedside table was made from a slice of a tree branch and an old wooden spool of thread. The rug was made by cutting a rectangle from an old sweater. The tea cup was from a second-hand store.

Tea Cup Mouse snuggles under handkerchief

Leo loves his super soft handkerchief blanket. The handkerchief is vintage and the tea cup was a thrift store find.

Playful Tea Cup Mouse On The Move

This adorable mouse loves to play!

 MYO Tea Cup Mouse Kit

Three ways to give.

1. Make and give the finished mouse for a special gift.

2. Give a kit with pre-cut pieces and all the rest of the supplies, tea cup and all for a child to make for his or her self. Precutting the pieces might be necessary for younger children. Work together with him or her.

3. Give a kit with the pattern and all the rest of the supplies and let them have the fun of making a mouse friend just the way they want it. You might supply a few different pieces of scrap fabric for them to choose from. Give support as needed.

How to:

The first thing you will need to do is gather supplies.

You will need:

Salvaged fabric for the head and body of the mouse. No need to go out and buy any fabric; you only need a little from a past project or salvaged from an old pair of pants or shirt…

A washable marker for tracing your stencil on fabric.

Scissors for cutting the fabric.

Scrap pieces of felt for the mouse’s hands, feet and ears.

Embroidery floss of some type to embroider on the whiskers, nose and eyes and an embroidery needle. Or a black permanent marker to draw on the face. Tiny black pompoms could also be used for the nose and eyes.

Tea Cup Mouse can't wait until Christmas

This is Leo’s friend Lola. She can’t wait until Christmas! Her mouth, whiskers, and nose were drawn on and the eyes are pins that have the tip cut off. The pins make cute eyes but are not appropriate to use as a toy. Ears, hands and feet can be glued on for easier construction but I like to sew on pieces for a more secure attachment. Her scarf was made from a sweater that I felted. Just snip the ends to make the ends fringed. I included a felted wool blanket as well. She snuggles in a second-hand cup.

Some piece of thin rope or leather cord to use as a tail.

Some kind of stuffing. I used dryer lint and a little dry rice.

Needle and thread for hand sewing.

A sewing machine for sewing the main body and head pieces.

MYO Tea Cup Mouse cutting fabric

Cutting out the pieces.

You will need a Tea Cup Mouse pattern.*

*Because it takes a tremendous amount of time for me to develop projects like this, design and draw a pattern, test ideas, make, take pictures, edit pictures, write the how to, etc… I’m asking for a mere 2 dollars (see side donation button for quick payment with paypal). Send me an e-mail and I’ll send a pdf file with the pattern right out to you.

Use stencil to make your own card board stencil. A cereal box works well. Trace the body and head on your fabric. Cut two at a time if possible.

MYO Tea Cup Mouse machine sewing

Sew the head. Sew the two head pieces (right sides together) using a sewing machine. Use the edge of your foot (sewing machine foot) as a guide. Keep the edges of the fabric running along the edge of the foot. You only want a narrow seam.

MYO Tea Cup Mouse body and head

Sew the body. Again with right sides together, sew around the body leaving a hole for the head. You will want a narrow seam allowance here too (not to exceed 1/4 inch). 

Trim the corners (A’s in the picture). Be careful not to cut your stitching. Also, clip the inner curve a few times (at B in picture).

Turn the pieces right side out.

MYO Tea Cup Mouse adding tail

Add the tail. Use a mechanical pencil or other sharp object to make a hole on the backside of the mouse. Tie a knot in the cord. Put the tail through the hole you just made. The knot should be on the inside of the mouse and the tail should extend out the back of the mouse.

Stuff the body. Next add some rice into the body of the mouse until it is about 1/4th full. The rice isn’t necessary but I like the way it gives the mouse weight and help it stand. Loosely fill the rest of the mouse and the head with dryer lint.

MYO Tea Cup Mouse adding a head

Connect head to body. Tuck in the raw edges of the body and stick in the head. Pin in place. Hand sew together sewing around the head.

MYO Tea Cup Mouse adding hands...

Sew on the hands, feet, and ears.

MYO Tea Cup Mouse adding smile

Embroider facial features. Use an embroidery needle and some black embroidery floss to make the mouth, nose and eyes. Use a French knot for each eye. Alternatively use a permanent marker to draw on the mouth, nose, eyes and whiskers.

MYO Tea Cup Mouse complete

Have a blast making the mouse a quilt, pillow, clothes, scarf, hat, whatever.

Make Your Own Stick Star Ornaments

How to:
Use a good pair of garden shears to cut some straight branches. From these branches, cut 5 stick pieces the same length and approximately the same diameter. Cut the first stick (whatever looks right) and use that stick to mark the length of the remaining sticks. I used sticks that were about 6 ¼ inches long and ¼ to nearly ½ inch wide. The exact size doesn’t matter as long as it appeals to your sense of proportion and all the sticks are the same length. Keep in mind; thinner sticks are easier to bend into place.

Tie two sticks together than tie another two sticks together near the end (see X and Y in photo).
Spread out the non-tied ends and overlay as in photo and tie top of star (see Z in photo).

Tie on the last stick. Play with the sticks a little; some go over, some under. Do whatever works for that star.

Party Craft
I prepared enough for my daughter’s whole class. I made bundles and tied them together with nice red yarn that was used to hang the star ornament after the star was constructed. The ball of wool yarn was used to tie all the sticks together.

How To Make Adorable Polar Bear Ornaments Out Of An Old Wool Sweater

polar bear stencil PDF

1. Print out the polar bear stencil that I made or make your own.
2. Felt a white second -hand sweater. I was at a thrift store recently and found a white wool sweater that someone accidently felted. That sweater was the inspiration for this project.
Felting Wool Sweaters
You can intentionally felt a wool sweater by putting it in the washing machine and washing with hot water and detergent. Drying in a hot dryer will continue the felting process.
3. Trace the bear with a fine point washable marker. You will be able to quickly rinse the ink off when done cutting and then pat dry.


4. Add any embellishments you want. A single black glass bead looks nice. Insert the needle in the back and out the front. Thread the bead on the needle and then pass the needle back through in the same place. Knot in the back. Use a little embroidery floss for the nose and the mouth or keep it simple.


I added a smile to this one for fun.
5. Add a hook or ribbon for hanging.

Alternatively, send as a holiday card with a removable ornament on the front and a message on the inside. I put a little tape to hold the bear onto a piece of cardstock.