Dec 12, 2011

Tutorial - Xmas 'Paper' Chain

Xmas Fabric 'paper' chain

I got the idea from, however I made some modifications. So thought I'd create a tutorial on making this and using the snap-fasteners as it took me a bit to work out how it really works and I cannot find one online!

So to have a chain of 70, you would need:

  • 5 fat quarters of fabric - I cheated by buying a pack of 5 colour coordinated fabrics!
  • 1 x 100cm-wide 'Non woven iron-on interface (1600F-white), approx 45cm long.
  • 2 x packs of "Gripper Studs" (50 sets in a pack) - silver.
  • Thread - I used grey coloured thread to cover all, rather than white.

Cut all 5 fat quarter fabric so they're 21" x 19" or 54cm x 48cm.

Then fold it into half at the widest side.

 Here, you'll be cutting strips of 3" x 19" - 7.5cm x 48cm (the widest side being folded in half - hope this make sense?). You should have 7 strips then.

 Now, open the strips and cut in middle, thus you'll have 14 strips of 3" x 9&1/2" - 7.5cm x 24cm per fat quarter.

The left strip shows the shiny dots, meaning it's the iron-on side, while the right side strip is the other side - click on image to see it closer.

Interface -  As there are many types of interfacing, I decided on thin type of interfacing as I wanted it to be more paper-like, rather than 'puffy' fabric. So I used non woven iron-on interface, the one I found was labelled as 100cm white non-woven iron-on interfacing fabric which was priced at about AU$2.50 per metre. Here I've tried to take a photo to show how you'd know if it is iron-on interfacing fabric, but didn't really succeed. On one side you'll see tiny shiny dots, while the other side doesn't have that - that means the shiny dotted side is the one you'd want to iron onto the fabric as they're glue.

Anyway, if you've cut the 100cm wide interfacing fabric at 8&1/2" - 21.5cm twice, you'll then need to cut both wide strips into 1" - 2.5cm strips. Thus you should have 80 strips of 8&1/2" x 1" - 21.5cm x 2.5cm.

 Here it can be tricky if you don't watch what you're doing! I've had one interfacing fabric stuck on my iron other day, the gunk's still there on the iron plate! Now, following the picture above, put the iron-on side facing the fabric strip, which has been folded right sides together. This is when you'd need an iron now.

 I've got my wonderful hand-sized iron, bought from a craft fair few years ago and loved it! It can be found at


You can choose to iron straight on the fabric itself with the interface underneath, or use a Rajah Cloth and iron interface on the fabric. Remember to keep the shiny side of the interface on the fabric!

Ensure the interface is placed on the edge of the folded fabric and in centre of the length of the strip.

Now here is something I've hated to do - turn something inside out without anything to make it easier. I thought of a brilliant idea - use a wool string and have it as a means of pulling the inside out. So for this part, if you're adventurous enough like me, you'd need a reasonable length of a wool string (I've had this old green acrylic wool string measured around 40cm long) and a wood stick.

Open up the folded strip and place the string in middle with bit out at the end.

This is how it should look like - bit like a flat tampon, eh? Lol...

This is the machine I've been using for a while now, when my 'top of the range' Pfaff machine refused to cooperate with me a year ago. I originally bought this for my daughter but took it as mine for time being... Nice mummy, ain't I? ;) Sorry, got off the track here - you'd need a sewing machine now to sew up the strips. That's right - 70 of them!

Ensure the wooly bit is still visible, sew a straight line about 1/4" - .75cm from edge, turning at the corner then straight to the end.

Stopping here! You'd need an opening end to turn it inside out. Make sure the rest of the wooly string is not sewed on!

There! Nice and secure for now...

And if you pull the string gently at start, the top end should fold inwards, sometimes you'd need to help a bit by putting finger in to make a dent there. Keep pulling the string gently - I've had the string coming off, but that is ok, because the idea is to have the worst part done. This is when the wood stick comes handy. Use it to push the rest into the right side out.


You can try this, or use the usual method - thrush the stick and have the strip inside out quite roughly. I did snipped off the corners so it would make nice corners. Snip off the wooly string, pluck out any fluffy bits.

Then I ironed them nice and flat, ready to have the opened end sewn together.

Try and sew from the non-bulky end, that way the thread won't get caught up. Try to sew it closely to the end as you can.

There, one of 70 strips all done and ready for the next step.

I decided on using the snap fasteners rather than velcro or other sort. I want it to be easy for kids and won't get 'snared' by other stuff, etc over the period of storage.

For Snap-Fast technique, you'll need:
  • Sturdy surface - here I used kitchen bench with the support.
  • Tiny hammer and mat.
  • The 'Gripper Studs' pack, which should come with 50 sets and a funny tool.

To start, you'll need 2 sets of studs - one set with prong and stud for inner section (this one is the one with bump) and other set with a socket with a prong as outer section.

Here you can see two prongs with stud on side. You'll need to pick where the prongs should go and press the prong into fabric.

This is when that funny tool comes handy as you press the small end inside the prong, so the sharp bits get through the fabric.


Time to put a stud on... ensure it is placed right over the jutted bits of the prong.

Now the funny tool's head is used to hold the stud in place while you hammer it in.

Secured now.

This is where a sort of plan-ahead is needed because you would want to be sure both stud and socket are on the right place and side! I've had the stud on one side with a prong at end so the socket will meet the stud in the right way. Click on image to see what I mean.

This is where I had trouble until I worked it out. The socket has two sides, the one with dark inside is placed over the prong with the 'shiny' side on top. Again, ensure you've got the prong placed right, with the bits being pushed through the fabric, the socket placed on top of the jutted bits of the prong.

Hammer it in. And you're done!

One down, 69 to go!

Nice and almost paper-like strip met to make a circle, eh?

All strips ready to be joined!

I love the fabrics here - will make another set soon so I'd have the chain much longer than it is now.

I do hope this tutorial is quite clear. Please do ask me to clear up anything on this.

Cheers till later!

Dec 7, 2011

Fabric 'Paper' Chain...

Hello, I haven't forgotten you - just that I am having so much trouble with Photoshop Elements 9 since I upgraded my iMac OS to 5.1, argh!

So this means no photos for a while till both companies (Apple and Abode) work this issue out. I might have to resort in using different program but that would take more time out. Sighs...

Anyway, I've been sewing this adorable fabric 'paper chain' strips for xmas decoration and I am nearly finished, however I am starting to think that 35 strips may not be enough! I've been taking photos as I am thinking of turning it into a tutorial.

I also have been busy brainstorming more sewing ideas, but tidied up bookshelf and stashes so I'd know what I've got and use them all up as much as I can before buying any more!

Next year I will have to set up my schedule more differently - I will be using a whole month for either sewing or scrapbooking so thus both will get to be done more quicker than they have been for this year.

Anyhow, I've decided to join the concept of "WIPocalypse 2012" for fun as I have too many unfinished craft projects all over my study! WIP stands for 'work in progress' and the -ocalypse means that there may be Apocalypse at the end of 2012 as a tongue in cheek. I thought it would be funny to do that - at least I can try to say I can go into oblivious and report to the past-life review that I did as many WIPs as I can! ;)

Cheers till I come back with a tutorial!

Later, peeps!