A. loves music class, especially free play time. She dashes across the room as soon as the instrument bin makes it’s appearance. She especially loves the bell bracelets. In fact, last weekend during free play time, she shoved five of these jingly bracelets on her wrist all at once. She held two in the other hand at the same time. I am pretty sure no other kid in the room got to play with these things (except me, clumsily trying to keep rhythm with them, shaking very gently so as not to draw attention to my total lack of musical skills).
After music class, I spent some time digging through my fabric stash to find the right combination of options to create a pillowcase to send to Katie of KTMade. In case you didn’t see, she’s traveling to Rwanda and wants to brighten the children’s ward of a hospital where she is volunteering by bringing along some colorful pillowcases.
During the process of selecting my fabrics, I found many (many, many) scraps and pieces in my stash that were just too small to work. I went digging around Pinterest for some scrap project ideas to use them up and came up with lots of pretty things, but nothing I thought we could actually put to use. Which, at the end of the day, is really no better than just holding on to the scraps.
After a few cups of coffee, though, I thought of my own scrappy fabric project! Using some jingle bells I keep for A. to use for sensory play, I thought I could pretty easily whip up some of our own Jingle Bell Music Bracelets.
Here’s a quick walk through of this super simple project. Make a ton of wristbands using if you like, but only for personal use, please!
1. Gather your supplies. You will need:
- Scrap fabric (My version is 4 inches by 8 inches, but you may prefer something larger.)
- 3 bells with a loop on the bottom to attach to your bracelet. I used 1 large and 2 small bells.
- Sew on velcro
2. Wash and press your fabric.
3. Cut a rectangle that measures 4 x 8 inches. This size fit me and adjusted enough to fit A. pretty well, but you may want to measure to ensure the size fits well for you. Our finished bracelet will be one inch wide. If you’d like a wider bracelet, cut your short side to a width evenly divisible by four.
4. Fold and press your fabric. Fold your fabric in half along the short edge and press. In our example, the folded piece would measure 2 inches by 8 inches. Unfold the fabric and fold the two edges toward the line pressed in the center. Press again. (Note: I am using all this folding to add extra stiffness and durability, but you could use interfacing if you have some on hand. I didn’t!)
5. Fold over 1/4 inch at each end and press the ends down well. Snip a small triangle off of each corner.
6. Fold one more time along the original crease and press well. Your folded fabric should now measure 1 inch by 7.5 inches.
8. Pin fabric at both ends so folded hems are enclosed. Top stitch around the entire rectangle, pivoting at the corners, using a 3/8 inch seam allowance. I shift my needle to the left and align my fabric the the seam allowance on the left for this particular step. I usually do it the other way around, but can more easily get topstiching closer to the edge and keep more control using this technique.
9. Now, set your machine to a midsize zig-zag stitch and sew around the entire perimeter, just catching the outside edge of the bracelet. Pivot at the corners.
10. Cut a two inch piece of velco. Sew one side of the velcro on to each end of the bracelet, attaching one to the top and one to the bottom. Sew around all four edges of the velcro piece first, then reinforce by sewing across the center of the velcro to make an X.
11. Stitch one bell to the center of the bracelet. I used the large one. Stitch the other two about a half inch or so from either side of the center bell. I just eyeballed this step since my fabric was centered and the graphic pattern gave me a clear indication that they were evenly placed, but you could measure and mark each spot. Stitch several times, knot well and you’re done.
Strap the bracelet on and jingle away to your favorite tunes. Super simple, right?!
A. loved these so much I couldn’t get her to hold still long enough to get an action shot. They are great for music play at home, but would also make a great inexpensive and handmade party favor for a music-themed birthday party.
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