We have been sent two Christmas Decoration craft kits to review by Hobbycraft, and my original plan was to let the children try and help me. On closer inspection, I decided it was probably a bit too difficult, or at least it would have taken them even longer than it took me. So I decided to make them myself, and perhaps we will make some more later with our stash of felt. (It is tempting to say that they were made by the children, but the slapdash sewing is all mine!)
We chose the reindeer and the heart decoration kits, and it was interesting to compare the two. The reindeer kit, which I did first, was harder, and in fact the children would have been able to do the hearts, so that is probably something we will try if we make our own.
The kits are priced at £3.00 each and include pre-cut felt pieces, thread and toy stuffing. The reindeer kit also has beads for eyes. Both kits contain an instruction leaflet.
I started by marking the snowflake patterns on both sides of the reindeer. It wasn’t clear from the instructions which thread to use, as there was a small amount of embroidery thread and a larger amount of thin sewing thread. I opted for the embroidery thread, which seemed the logical choice, but it turned out to be the wrong one as there was only enough for four snowflakes on one side. I used the thin thread to complete the last snowflake and decided to keep the other side plain!
The instructions included small pictures of the stitches needed – back stitch, blanket stitch and running stitch. However, I don’t think you would be able to work out how to do all the stitches from the pictures if you didn’t already know. I had to think hard about how to do blanket stitch – I did eventually remember, though I did it pretty badly. The instructions also refer to using French knots for decorations on the corner of the snowflakes, but I couldn’t remember how to do them so I missed them out.
Having joined the two pieces with blanket stitch, I filled the reindeer with the toy stuffing, added the antlers and sewed up the hole at the top. Then I added the beads for the reindeer’s eyes, and felt pieces for the feet. I have not yet added hanging loops, as they were supposed to be made with the embroidery thread which I used by mistake, so I will have to find some more thread and add them later.
Next, I made the hearts and they were much easier, particularly because I decided not to embroider any words on them. I didn’t really want “Mum” and “Dad” as suggested, and couldn’t think of anything else to do, so I left them plain.
The felt in this kit is thicker and fluffier, and there are pieces of ribbon to sew them together. I prefer the look and feel of the thinner felt, but it was very quick and simple to sew the thick felt pieces together with ribbon so this kit would be more suitable for a child or someone who is not very confident about sewing.
It would be useful if there was a slightly larger amount of ribbon provided to allow room for error. I nearly ran out of white ribbon so the hanging loop on the red heart is too small and I will have to replace it later.
I think the kits represent good value for money at £3.00 each, although they could do with clearer instructions in parts, and a more generous amount of ribbon and embroidery thread. They reindeer kit would be tricky for a beginner, and both kits would be too basic for someone more experienced. However, they were just about right for someone like me with rather rusty sewing skills, and I did enjoy doing them. I also worked out what to do, and what not to do, when I try to make my own decorations so it was useful from that point of view too. They may not be perfect, but the children love them so I am happy with the results!
This post is sponsored by Hobbycraft.