Valentine Rag Wreath with Vintage Lace

Parties and celebrations are always a big part of what happens on Trout Lily Hill.  In the past, I left the Christmas wreath on the front door until there were at least glimpse’s of spring but this year our mild gray winter made me think maybe the door could use a Valentine’s Day adornment. Wreaths and swags are the perfect way to say welcome to guests as they arrive at your home. Knowing that glittery foil garland wreaths would not be the appropriate for the traditional style of the house and that romantic pastel flowers would look out of place surrounded by residual snow, I opted to make a very easy and simple wreath.

I wanted the wreath to be heart-shaped and be large enough to make a statement so off to the craft store I went for a wire form.  I was disappointed when I went to the aisle with the standard wire wreath forms as the heart forms were very small being about 12 inches in diameter. Since many of my creative projects are spur of the moment thoughts I didn’t plan ahead to order a wire form of a more appropriate size. I didn’t give up on my plan and I went to the aisle with Valentine decor and found a large wreath form designed to use with deco mesh. I knew I could cut the tinsel wires designed to attach the mesh off and I would be left with a great wire wreath to tie a double row of rags and lace making for a full and substantial wreath. This is the wreath form I used but if you wanted a smaller size this wreath form would work and you don’t have to trim the tinsel wires.

I had all of the rest of the supplies I used at home but you will also need,

  • 1.5 yards of the main fabric (I used red and white ticking)
  • 1 yard of a contrast fabric (I used a red fabric with a small white dot)
  • 10 yards of a variety of lace or crocheted trims in widths of 1.25 – 2 inches in width
  • Ruler
  • Scissors
  • Using a variety of laces in shades of white, ecru and cream provides interest and texture to the wreath.

I determined that I wanted the ticking stripes to be vertical on my rag strips so I made sure I measured the width of my strips so that would happen. Measure 1 – 1.5 inch and make small cuts in the fabric like this.

Next, I torn the fabric into long strips. Tearing works with cotton fabrics but might not work with all fabrics. In that case you could use a rotary cutter and mat and cut long strips that width. I like tearing because it is a good way to work out any frustrations and makes the task of cutting the strips mindless. Using the tearing method would also work well if you were to be doing this project with girl scouts or for non-sewers. A dustpan and broom make quick work of any strings and threads that fall to the floor.

After I had a variety of 1 – 1.5 inch long fabric strips I cut each strip into 7 inch lengths.

Next I cut my different varieties of lace and crochet trims into 7 inches strips. I have crafted for over 30 years and have always used vintage textiles that I purchased at estate sales so I had a large variety of trims on hand. This was a good way to use some of my stash. Craft stores carry a variety of laces in their trim sections and you can generally find a sale.

Once you have all of your strips cut, the tying begins. Fold a strip in half and tie it in a knot around the inner wire of the wreath. I didn’t follow any pattern, sometimes I tied two ticking strips, a red strip and then a lace strip, next I would tie a red strip, a ticking strip, a red strip and a lace piece. Once the inner wire was completed, I tied the outer wire with strips, making sure I pushed them tightly together to make sure my finished product would be nice and full. Finally, I made sure both rows of tied rags were on the outer surface of the wreath, I ran my fingers through the strips to fluff and trimmed off any long stray threads with a scissors. I twisted a piece of the tinsel wire on the back of the wreath to make a hanging wreath and hung it on my front door.

I think the wreath would look sweet done using a small pink and red calico fabric inlace of the ticking stripe. I used this same technique to make this wreath from scraps of vintage fabrics from the 30’s with a nod to red, white and blue for the summer months. I liked that I could select fabrics that could look patriotic but was versatile to be used from Memorial Day to Labor Day.

I hope you can use this technique to make a charming wreath for your home!