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Ruffle Tree Garland

Do you remember the show Little House on the Prairie?  Can you hear the theme song playing and see Laura running down the hill in the opening credits?  I loved watching it when I was a little girl.  It was such fun to get a glimpse of the “olden days” ~ days before running water, electricity, telephones, and computers.  Back then, cold winter evenings were spent by the warmth of the fire.  Carolyn (the mom) would sit in her wooden rocking chair and do handwork by candlelight…  Such a cozy little scene.

I decided I wanted to name our Christmas tree the Carolyn Ingalls Tree this year ~ since I’ve been spending a few evenings doing  “handwork” for our tree.

3 ornaments

I started by making a basketful of paper folded stars and last night I ruffled up miles and miles of some garland.

Ruffle Garland with words

It’s not exactly a quick 5 minute project.  In fact,I ended up using about 13 strips of lightweight cotton fabric ripped 4 1/2 inches wide by 42 3/4 inches long.

I found I needed to put my patience on, relax, and just enjoy the process.  I’m so glad I did.  In the end, it was worth all those hours of ruffling.

If you, too, want to try out this little homespun handmade creation for your tree, this is what I did:

I sewed the strips together using french seams.  Then, using the longest stitch possible on the sewing machine, I sewed a gathering seam right down the middle.  I stopped at each french seam and left a long thread, then started again.  I like to ruffle in sections rather than just one long ruffle.

sew seam in middle

Also, rather than sewing one huge long garland, I sewed 3 separate ones.  I found it much easier to nestle it in the tree that way.


As I sat in my chair ruffling away, I thought of my mom and my High School Home Ec teacher – Mrs. Teeters.  My mom taught me the importance of spreading the ruffle out to make it even.  And Mrs. Teeters taught me how important it was to clip all the stray threads!

I also thought of Carolyn Ingalls.  If she had wanted to make one of these, she would have had to sew the center seam by hand!

garland on tree

Yikes!  I guess it would have been a Winter project back then!

If you haven’t ever done a ruffle before, you can find a basic tutorial here.

I’m proud of those of you who already have your tree up and all decorated.

This “handmade” business is slowing me down!!

{I think I should have started a bit earlier…:)}

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