January 27, 2013

Waldorf Crown

After seeing many exciting, homemade, personalized birthday crowns come across my computer screen in various ways....some through blogs, and others through Etsy, I just had to have one for my special little guy. I just fell in love. Until blogging, I had never really heard of Waldorf+ birthday+crowns, with the exception of my glittered, construction paper preschool crown I loved wearing when I was 5. (Yep, I remember back that far). Well, I Googled and found THESE pretty decent directions on how-to, and I got to work. HERE is an awesome round-up of some crown making tutorials for you to browse through, though I do tend to favor THIS one of the bunch.

I started with a few 100% percent wool sweaters (one gifted, one Goodwill)

 I shrank them in my washing machine twice (in two full wash/dry cycles). Man, they got small. The blue one started out as a mans extra large and could have fit me pretty tightly after its second wash. Here's a quick HOW-TO for you on "felting" wool. It's a lot easier than you think.

Once the wool gets so tightly woven together in the wash, it takes on a true felt texture, and will no longer ravel when you cut into it. Sewing with felt is one of the easiest fabrics to start sewing with, as it never frays, no edges to press under, no seams to finish. Felt can make wonderful things. After the sweaters were felted, I cut up the side seams (which will be barely noticeable at this point), and then cut off each arm. Just as THIS post instructs, I made my own crown template for Nathan. About 16" across, and a fabric encased elastic band at the back (about 2-3" long).
 Nathan wanted to help me with this project, so I gave him the sweater sleeves to fake-iron for me. He did a wonderful job!
 I then cut across the shoulder seams of the sweater so it could be laid flat.
 I pinned my template in place and cut. I ended up cutting off those long side edges later on anyways, so just stick to cutting out your basic crown shape....without long side additions.
 Now, set your iron to the hottest heat setting, and press your wool crown template. It will compress the felted wool even more and give the appearance of store-bought felt. Why just not buy store bought felt, you ask? Well, because #1: Homemade felted wool is 100% natural with no dyes or chemical additives; #2: this wool has a thicker body to it than the store bought variety, and #3: since I talk about home-making here on this blog of mine (well, mostly), that's what I'm showing you here.... how to make your own : ).

Next, I cut a back, or lining, panel out of another felted sweater, to give the crown a little more sturdiness. Press down this additional crown template with your iron. The next few finishing steps I completed downstairs while watching a movie with my husband. So, alas, no pictures of a few steps. But, I'll cover that with some links and directions for you.
The next step is to sew the two crowns together (with wrong sides together, right sides facing out) using a blanket stitch. I used dark blue embroidery floss for this step.
 Now cut a piece of 1" wide elastic about 3" long. Cut a piece of cotton fabric (to make a covered casing for the elastic) 5" long x 2 1/2" wide. Place right sides of fabric together long-ways. Sew a straight stitch (1/4-1/2" from edge). Turn fabric tube inside out and press with your iron. Insert elastic into fabric tube (fabric casing will be about 2" longer than elastic). Match up elastic end with one end of casing and sew across end with a straight stitch. Scrunch up rest of casing fabric and sew other end of elastic with other end of casing....so they meet. ***Please email me if you need further explanation, or are seriously confused! *** Now you have a fabric covered, elastic band. Insert ends into back of crown template edges and straight stitch them on (or hand sew). See here:


I used some more felted wool for Nathan's N monogram for the front, and instead of adding a ribbon at the bottom edge, I decided to cut out felt shapes each year to represent that specific birthday. We had a monkey theme for his FIRST birthday, and a train theme for his SECOND. While I free handed my above shapes, an easy way to make your own is to internet search "coloring pages" in what theme you want. Find the picture you want, cut out the coloring page, and use that shape as your template.

I suppose I will be able to fit new shapes on the front until he is at least 6 years old. Then I could maybe add more on the inside? By age 7 I'm figuring he'll start to show a disinterest in wearing it???? Or maybe I'll get him to wear it till he's 18! Ha...., yeah right! He's not that interested in wearing it right now, in fact, but I'm always hopeful for cooperation next year! Ready to make your own now? I may just take special orders if you'd rather have me make one for your special little one. 

Hope you have been inspired to make your little one's birthday extra special in some way. When I was growing up, my Mom had a huge pillar candle with numbers down the side. Each year she would burn down the candle to reveal the next number I was turning, and then take my picture sitting behind that candle. I loved it. I loved looking back on those pictures. I love sentimental things. 

Happy crown-making! 

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