Putting on the Glitz: How To Turn Ribbon & an Old Dress into 10 Up-Cycled Christmas Angels.

If you have ever had a dress you love but know in your heart of hearts that you will never wear it again, here is how you can turn it into Up-cycled Christmas Angels to hang on your tree and enjoy year after year.

Up-Cycled Christmas Angels - Project Overview

If you enjoyed my last post – How to Make an Adorable Christmas Tree Angel – then it’s time to take it to the next level, put on the glitz and create some angels with a bit more glamour.

I love the colour red and my old taffeta evening dress was one of my favourites, but it is way out of fashion now and I know that it will spend the rest of it’s life in my wardrobe if I don’t do something creative with it.

I have an old sleeveless sequinned top which I used to love to wear at Christmas but it has lost some of its sequins over the years and it was high time to “let it go” and turn it into something special.

Add a couple of pieces of donated scraps – a pretty tartan  ribbon and a curtain tie back – and you have all the ingredients for making a host of glamorous Up-Cycled Christmas Angels.

Up-Cycled Christmas Angels - Work in Progress
Up-Cycled Christmas Angel - Red Sparkly Angels
Up-Cycled Christmas Angels - All Ready for Your Tree

Up-Cycled Christmas Angels - What You Will Need

Everything you need is listed on my previous post – How to Make an Adorable Christmas Tree Angel.

I always use up-cycled materials as often as I can with everything I create, but occasionally, I treat myself to something new that I can use to make something really special.

For this project, I bought a reel of Madeira red metallic thread.

I also used red painted wooden beads for the angels’ hands and feet rather than plain wooden ones – just to add a bit of glamour – the angel equivalent of high heels?!

For the final touch of glitz, I bought one square of red, low-shed sparkly glitter felt for the wings.  I splashed out a little here, but I think it was worth it?

Christmas Tree Angel Kit
Basic Christmas Tree Angel Kit
Up-Cycled Christmas Angels red Metallic Thread
Madeira Red Metallic Thread
Up-Cycled Christmas Angels red painted beads
Red painted beads

These little yoghurt pots make great containers for keeping different sizes and colours of beads together so you can always find which ones you need for a particular project.

It is all too easy to get the hands and feet mixed up otherwise!

Up-Cycled Christmas Angels - Step by Step Instructions

The basic instructions are all listed on my previous post – How to Make an Adorable Christmas Tree Angel.

For these glitzy angels, I decided to make some organza flowers and hearts to trim their skirts.

The technique for doing this using a fine-tipped soldering iron is explained in an earlier post:  Heart Fusing Fabric – Some Like it Hot.

The templates are actually nesting dies usually used for cutting paper.  See my previous post – One Tessellated Die, So Many Exciting Ways to Use It to see how to do this.  

They are metal though, so fine to use with the soldering iron for a project like this.  I used the tiniest heart and flower from the centre of the nesting die to cut the shapes I needed.

Up-Cycled Christmas Angels Fabric Fusing
Up-Cycled Christmas Angels Fused Organza Hearts
Up-Cycled Christmas Angels Fused Organza Flowers
Fused Organza Flowers

The organza was surplus from a previous project and – as you can see – very little went to waste.  From a small piece of organza, I managed to cut 36 flowers – plenty for future projects.

I find it useful to save tiny bits and pieces like this in little plastic pots, so I can easily find them again when I want them.

Up-Cycled Christmas Angels - Plastic Storage Pots
Plastic Storage Pots

I pride myself on creating unique pieces – no two are the same.  For these 4 angels, I used a mixture of heart and flowers and then either beads or sequins from the red glittery top to make the centres.

Up-Cycled Christmas Angels No Two The Same
Up-Cycled Christmas Angels - No Two The Same

Free Motion Embroidery

The red metallic thread was just asking to be used to create one really individual little angel.

I made her dress by embroidering free motion scrolls onto a piece of red taffeta secured in a small wooden hoop.  To see step by step instructions for how to do this, have a look at one of my previous posts:  A Big Bunch Of Sweet Peas.

Have a look at her neck in the photo below to see how that curtain tie back was put to good use.

I kept this one for my own tree – but I really enjoyed making her, so I will probably make a few more to sell next year.

Up-Cycled Christmas Angels - Free Motion Embroidery
Free Motion Embroidery
Up-Cycled Christmas Angel - Free Motion Embroidered Dress
Up-Cycled Christmas Angel - Free Motion Embroidered Dress

Heart Up-Cycling!

Heart Upcycling Logo

Everything I create makes good use of up-cycled materials.  For this project, I used:

  • My old favourite red taffeta evening dress.
  • A pretty piece of donated tartan ribbon.  The red, white and green colours were so Christmassy and the ribbon had a lovely sheen to it.  Also – amazingly enough – it was just the right width for an angel’s dress.  Even better, it was already pre-trimmed with a neat finished edge – perfect!
  • A curtain tie-back.  The colour was just right for this project.  Unravelling curtain tie backs is always such fun because the threads emerge pre twisted into pretty curls – just right for finishing off the angel’s necks.
  • Oddments of donated ribbon and lace.
Up-Cycled Christmas Angels red evening dress
Take One Old Red Taffeta Evening Dress
Up-Cycled Christmas Angels curtain tie back
Donated curtain tie back
Up-Cycled Christmas Angels Red Sequin Top
Up-Cycled Christmas Angels - Red Sequin Top
Up-Cycled Christmas Angels tartan ribbon
Donated tartan ribbon - Thanks Sue!
Up-Cycled Christmas Angels - Oddments of Ribbons and Lace
Oddments of Ribbons and Lace

Tartan Ribbon Angels

Here’s how that tartan ribbon turned out – cute isn’t she?

I had just enough ribbon to make five angels.  There would have been six – but I needed to use one piece of ribbon to make their arms!

These are heading for my Etsy shop in November – ready for Christmas.  When they are gone, they are gone!  If you want to know when they are listed for sale, please subscribe for updates and I will let you know.

Do you remember the little red sparkly jumpers, knitted in the round?

I still had quite a bit of that sparkly wool leftover – what better to use to knit a little hat for an angel that wants to dress up and go out on the town?

Christmas Tree Angels Knitting in the Round red sparkly wool
Red Sparkly Wool - Left over from a previous project
Up-Cycled Christmas Angel -Sparkly Pom Pom Hat
Red Sparkly Pom Pom Hat

Be Creative!

Take:

  1. A piece of fabric from an old red sparkly sweater
  2. A gem stone left over from my daughter’s wedding
  3. A sparkly pom pom saved from a Christmas card years ago
  4. Beads from the red sequin top

and combine them to create one super glamorous angel bobble hat!

Up-Cycled Christmas Angels up-cycled red sparkly sweater
Up-Cycled red sparkly sweater
Up-Cycled Christmas Angels up-cycled red sparkly bobble hat
Up-cycled red sparkly bobble hat
Up-Cycled Christmas Angel -Sparkly Variation Pom Pom Hat

If you knit with both the sparkly metallic thread and your red wool AT THE SAME TIME, you get a lovely delicate shimmer to your bobble hat.

 

One little pattern – SO many variations.  No two angels are ever the same.

Tips and Tricks

Please refer to my original post for all my Tips and Tricks – but there are a couple of tips more specific to this project that you might find helpful:  

  1. A Needle Threader is really useful because the up-cycled beads and sequins are so tiny that you need a really small eyed fine needle to be able to pass your thread through them.  I find a needle that fine far too hard to thread without the aid of this clever little gadget.  So cheap – but it make me very cheerful!
  2. It is tricky to hold the little metal template in place when you cut the organza using the soldering iron.  I used a humble cocktail stick to hold the centre steady.  BE VERY CAREFUL NOT TO BURN YOURSELF!
Up-Cycled Christmas Angels needle threader

... and then there were 5!

It’s just like like taking photos of people – angels never all look at the camera at quite the same time?!

Up-Cycled Christmas Angels - and then there were 5

I will be selling these Up-Cycled Christmas Angels I will be selling them locally and via my Etsy shop to raise funds for Birmingham St. Mary’s Hospice.

When they are gone, they are gone – so if you want to know when they are listed, subscribe and I will keep you updated.

Buying an angel is of course an easy way to help, but if you want to be more “hands on” you can:

  1. Donate fabric/lace/ribbons/embellishments.
  2. Knit hats – please contact me if you want to help.
  3. Join an angel making workshop.  I am aiming to run a workshop at the Hospice next Autumn, so if you are local and want to come along, just let me know and I will add your name to the waiting list.
  4. Not local to Birmingham?  Make some angels and donate them to a charity shop near you.  Is there a better way to share the Christmas spirit?

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