If you find yourself rummaging around in your sewing box and wondering how to use up all those odds and ends, this is the project for you! Turn old wooden sewing bobbins into beautiful Valentine-themed photograph holders, or use them to leave notes for someone special. Designed to evoke a nostalgic air of vintage romance, you could adapt them to incorporate any theme by adjusting the fabrics and colours.
- Fabric, cotton; pale pink: deep pink: dark brown: light fawn
- Ribbon: velvet, deep red, 30cm; script, 33cm
- Wooden thread bobbins, 3.3cm tall, three
- Bamboo skewers, nine
- Paper clips, wire, 5cm tall, three
- Pearl buttons, two
- Lace flower
- Threads, assorted
- Wadding, small amount
- Stuffing, toy
- Glue: PVA; acid-free
- Blu Tack
Make a ‘tree of life’ stand
Cut the blunt end off three bamboo skewers so they measure 14cm. Glue them all together with PVA to form a tree trunk and use a peg to secure them as they dry.
Place a small piece of Blu Tack into the bottom of a wooden bobbin, push the dry skewers into it with the blunt ends down and secure in place with a small amount of PVA. Allow to dry. Take a little wadding, approximately 3cm x 5cm, and glue it around the base of the trunk so that the stalk is slightly wider.
Cut a piece of brown fabric measuring 1.5cm x 45cm and machine stitch a couple of lines along the length in a contrasting thread. Starting at the base of the tree trunk, apply a little acid-free glue and begin to wrap the length of fabric around it at an angle so that it overlaps itself. Keep applying glue as you hold it in place, finish 2cm from the top and trim the excess.
From pale pink cotton, cut two circles 8.5cm in diameter and set one aside. Using dark green thread stitch swirly branches onto the circle, as shown. Cut out 11 tiny hearts from dark pink or red fabric and place as shown using an acid-free gluestick. Once dry, stitch around each heart to secure and iron the reverse side on a low heat.
Place the two pink circles wrong sides together and stitch 0.5cm in from the edge all the way round leaving a 3cm gap open at the bottom. Clip the seam allowance close to the stitches, taking care not to cut through them. Stuff firmly with toy padding and then push it 5cm downwards onto the skewers. Secure with small stitches through the tree trunk or glue; you may have to add a little more stuffing as you close the hole.
Secure 8cm of red velvet ribbon, tied in a half knot, to the top of the trunk so that it covers the stitches. Finally, glue a piece of script ribbon around the bobbin and secure a paper clip to the back of the tree top using small stitches.
Create a ‘love has wings’ stand
Complete the tree trunk and bobbin as before, using light fawn fabric as the tree trunk. Locate and download the wings template. Cut two hearts from a contrasting deep pink fabric and one mini heart from pale pink material. Use a gluestick to secure the small heart onto a larger one. Once dry, stitch around the edges in dark pink thread and sew ‘love’ onto it in blue thread. Trim the seams, iron on the reverse and set aside.
Using the template, cut a pair of wings; a front and back for each pair, from contrasting fabric, remembering to cut a mirror image for each side. As before, glue just around the edges and assemble each pair of wings. Stitch the detail onto them just inside the edge and stuff very lightly.
Lay the two deep pink hearts wrong sides together and carefully insert the wings at each side as shown. Stitch all the way around leaving a gap at the bottom. Stuff and push the heart down onto the tree trunk as before and secure. Attach a half knot of velvet ribbon. Sew on a pearl button and tie a length of script ribbon around the bobbin. Finish by stitching a wire paper clip to the back.
Stitch an ‘I love you’ heart
Follow the same instructions as before for the assembly of the tree trunk stand using light fawn fabric to cover the skewers.
Using the heart template, cut two hearts from deep pink fabric and set aside. Cut a piece of plain cream material 5cm x 6cm and stitch horizontal lines across it in light blue thread.
Sew, either by hand or machine, the words ‘I Love You X’ on the note paper fabric, and place at an angle across one heart. Make sure that the glue stick is applied generously as it will prevent the edges from fraying. Allow to dry.
As before, glue around the edges of the hearts and place them wrong sides together. Stitch all the way around leaving an opening at the bottom. You will need to change to a cream thread to stitch around the heart where the ‘I Love You’ note is.
Trim the allowance, stuff firmly and push down onto the tree trunk as before, securing with stitches or glue. Finish with a velvet ribbon tie, script ribbon around the bobbin, a lace flower with a pearl button and paper clip attached to the back.