By Diane Ellis
If you want to help your child or grandchild get ahead in their early years, why not make them this delightful alphabet hanger for their bedroom. It's easy to make, and will last forever.
Suitable Fabrics and Notions
For the fabric, I suggest you get 1 large piece for the backing, and then 4 contrasting coloured fabrics for the letters of the alphabet. We will be laying out the letters 4 to a row, with 7 rows of letters, like so:
A B C D
E F G H
I J K L
M N O P
Q R S T
U V W X
Feel free to change this layout if you'd prefer a wider hanger. Just remember to change your calculation when checking how much backing fabric to buy.
Suitable fabrics are felt or felt like material, or you can use anything you find in the remnant bin for the letters of the alphabet. Just ensure the fabric you buy for the backing is fairly sturdy, and it is a lot easier if you buy a fabric which does not require hemming.
We'll also need 2 pieces of thin wood for the top and bottom of the hanger, and some string or rope for hanging.
How Much Fabric to Buy
We will allow 15cm square for each letter (or 6" square per letter). So for your alphabet letters, assuming you buy 4 different colours, you will need 2 colours measuring 18" by 12" and 2 measuring 18" by 18" (or in cm's, this is two colours 45cm by 30cm, and two colours 45cm by 45cm).
For the backing fabric, you will need one piece, 48" tall by 42" wide (or 106cm by 60cm). This allows for a 3" (or 8cm) hem to fold over your wood and stitch. If your wood is wider than this, then you will need to get a longer piece of fabric.
To Make Your Pattern
First, mark off your alphabet fabrics into your 6" squares (15cm squares) using tailors chalk.
Now, mark off your 6" (15cm) square grid on the wrong side of your backing fabric, starting 3" (8cm) from the top (or whatever seam allowance you have provided). Now place pins along these gridlines, at each corner of a grid, so that you can see where to center your alphabet letter when you are placing it on the right side of the fabric. Turn your fabric over to check there are enough pins so you can see where the grid lines are before you start!
Now - to make your alphabet letters. The easiest way to do this is with your word processor (eg, Microsoft Word). Use a simple, easy to cut around font, and make the font size around 390 (my word processor won't go much bigger than that anyway). Now set your page layout to landscape with 2 columns, and start typing the letters of the alphabet.
If you don't have access to a word processor, or these instructions aren’t clear enough, you can find a sample alphabet set below (just right click on the Download image below and choose "Save Target As").
Print your alphabet letters, then cut out. Place on your coloured fabric, pin in place and cut out. (Note: if you need to hem your letters, don't forget to allow for the hem when cutting). Remember to make sure you have a good mix of colours on each line of the hanger.
To Make Up
Place your backing fabric right side up. Then take your alphabet letter and position it in the center of the appropriate grid. To stitch in place, you can either machine stitch, use iron on hemming tape, or hand sew using an appropriate thread (eg, a nice way to sew on felt is with contrasting wool).
You can do your letters one at a time, or pin them all in place and then do them all together, whichever is easier for you.
Cut your wood pieces so that one is slightly shorter than your width (for the bottom hem, so you can enclose it), and one slightly longer (say 1/2" each side or 1.5cm). Drill small holes at each end of this longer piece so you can thread through your hanging string or rope.
When all letters are attached, use your machine to sew the top and bottom hems, and then insert your wood. You may want to close off the edges of the bottom hem if it is likely that the wood could come out. You can do this by hand.
Now attach the rope through the holes in the top piece of wood. And you're done!
Diane Ellis is the owner of www.Sewing4Dummies.com. Learn more about her on our About Us page.
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