This weekend marks the fourth and final of Advent – and thus my fourth and final crafting project in collaboration with John Lewis (you can see the others here, here and here!). Every year I’m drawn to the beautiful seasonal fabrics in the haberdashery, which I’ve been visiting each year with my Mum for as long as I can remember! Last year I shared a Christmas cushion DIY and I knew I wanted to incorporate fabric somehow this year. I don’t need to espouse my love of Fair Isle – in fact, it featured in my outfit post just yesterday – and this beautiful wool contrasting black and grey material immediately caught my eye. Drawing inspiration from the Scandinavian-inspired prints and tactile details of John Lewis’ Winter bedding collections, I had the vision of a Fair Isle throw complete with festive pom-pom trim – so here are the results!
I’ve increased the level of difficulty of each seasonal DIY, and while today’s craft project isn’t too challenging it is more time-consuming, so I thought it would be perfect for the weeks ahead with a slower pace in mind. That said, the most time-consuming part is probably the pom-poms but you could make as many or as few as you want. I found the process very therapeutic actually – pom-pom mindfulness? Maybe there’s something in that! It was my Gran who first taught me how to make them, so today’s make comes with a hefty dose of nostalgia. What I love about crafting is the idea of passing on skills, manifested in finished pieces made with love, care and attention. That’s why all things homemade make such lovely presents too – hopefully you’ll be inspired by one of my advent makes to share your crafting projects this festive season.
For the fabric, you will need to measure the length of your bed – ours is kingsize, and I wanted enough fabric so that it would hang down enough at both sides so I went for 2.5 meters.
You will also need:
Bias binding (see notes below)
A sewing machine
Wool (I made 42 poms and used two medium balls of wool)
A pom-pom maker (optional)
First, make the throw. The length of the fabric had a deliberately frayed raw edge, which I thought was quite nice and rustic – so I left this as it was. This left the width to finish off; you could hem these edges but I decided to use bias binding so I could make the throw reversible. You could make your own binding but I wanted to keep things simple – John Lewis has an array of coloured double binding in different widths. You could use a contrasting colour but I went for black, an inch in width so it was nice and thin when folded and sewn onto the fabric.
You should press the entire length of binding, wrong sides together, to get a nice straight edge and make things easier for yourself – I skipped this as I was battling fading light for these pics (hence the lack of step by step here, blame the still-dwindling Scottish daylight)! Insert the fabric between the folded length of binding and pin into place.
As you’re not turning the corner to do the other edge, leave a wee bit of overhanging binding, tuck this under and carefully stitch in place. Remember to back-stitch at the start to make sure your threads don’t come lose. Then, using a zig-zag stitch, sew close to the inside edge of the binding along the entire length until you get to the end – then back-stitch again to finish. Repeat for the other raw edge and you have a finished throw! Now for the pom-poms!
Choose a colour of wool to coordinate or contrast with your throw. I went for a rich burgundy to add subtle colour to the black and grey Fair Isle. You could go traditional and make your own cardboard pom-pom rings or invest in a pom-pom maker, which will speed things up and can be reused! The one I got, you extend the arms on both sides and wrap the wool around as much as you can – mine took four wraps.
Repeat for the other side, then fold in both arms and slowly and carefully cut up the middle on each side. Cut a separate piece of wool and pass it through to the middle, tying it tightly as you can in a double knot – this will make your pom-pom nice and full looking.
Remove the pom-pom maker, splay out and tidy up your poms with a sharp pair of scissors. Warning – this can get surprisingly messy! Cut off your finishing piece of wool too.
You can make as many pom-poms as you wish for the trim – I made 42 in total: 38 small ones and 4 bigger ones for the corners.
Just call it pom-pom therapy! When you’ve made all your poms, decide on your placing along the edge of your throw – you could pin them in place if you want to see what they will look like.
Then simply sew each pom-pom onto the very edge of the binding, so that they run along the edge on both sides (rather than being on top of one side), making sure you finish off as you go.
And there you have it: your own festive throw! I like that the Fair Isle and burgundy is seasonal but not too Christmassy, so I think I can justify keeping it out with my Winter bedding. This was also a slightly more expensive make, but the cost of the fabric and all the other pieces is still far less than buying your own, and far more satisfying too. I hope you’ve enjoyed my festive makes as much as I have creating and sharing them with you!
What are you making this crafturday? Have you made pom-poms before?
Fabric, wool and binding very generously c/o John Lewis Edinburgh, but all love of Fair Isle and pom-poms entirely my own.
The bedding and furry throw are also JL (purchased by me); the lamp shades are c/o Laura Ashley; the Winter candle and house decoration are from The White Company; the bed is from M&S and everything else is vintage – including the wooden tray, mug, books, birds (on the wall) jug and lantern!