Turn Out Your Button Box and Make a Christmas Button Angel

Everyone has a button box don’t they?  We keep them carefully for years, gradually adding to them, but never actually doing anything with them.  This Christmas, I wanted to create a pattern to make good use of all those buttons I had been saving.  It’s time to make a Christmas Button Angel.  Keep reading to find out how …

Christmas Button Angel - Project Overview

My Christmas Button Angel pattern is based on an angel ornament given to be by my grandmother many many years ago.  It is part of the magic of Christmas I always think that the ornaments we hang on our trees carry a whole host of special memories of Christmas past.  Handmade ornaments particularly evoke the strongest of emotions and are usually those that survive long after their manmade equivalents have been discarded to make way for the latest fashion trend.

If you have a couple of hours to spare, a little red and white fabric and some enthusiasm, you are half way to making your own Christmas Button Angel.  All you need is to empty out your button box and sort through it to find yourself a nice pair of angel legs!

Follow the step by step instructions below and get ready to welcome a new addition to your family of Christmas tree ornaments that will be loved year after year.  

If you have children to entertain over the Christmas holidays, this makes a nice little project to enjoy working on together.

Christmas Button Angel

I like to work with up-cycled materials as much as I can.  These little Christmas Button Angels use just a tiny amount of fabric, so they are a perfect up cycling project.  The beauty of working with remnants and scraps is that no two angels will ever look the same.  Each will have her own unique personality.  Depending on how much stuffing you use, your handmade angels will no doubt turn out to be a variety of shapes and sizes – just like us human beings?!

Christmas Button Angel - What You Will Need

Christmas Button Angel Materials
Christmas Button Angel Materials
Hi Tack PVA Tacky Glue
Hi Tack PVA Tacky Glue

Christmas Button Angel - Step by Step Guide

Time needed: 1.5 – 2 hours

The game changer with this pattern is that you cut AFTER you sew – not before.  That way, you can avoid the fiddle of trying to sew tiny seams that get caught in the plate of your sewing machine.  Even if you choose to hand sew your angel, this is also easier to do before you cut your fabric.

Christmas Button Angel - Head/Body/Arms

Christmas Button Angel Pattern
Christmas Button Angel Pattern
  1. Copy the pattern above onto the top half of a sheet of A4 paper and cut it out.
  2. Sew a strip of calico to a strip of angel dress fabric with RIGHT SIDES TOGETHER.
  3. Trim the seam (ideally with pinking shears) close to the stitching and press down towards the pattern (so the seam doesn’t show through your angel’s face).
  4. Fold your joined fabric in half, RIGHT SIDES TOGETHER and pin your pattern in place, matching the “neck” seam to the join in your fabric.  Pin your pattern carefully in place across the seam to hold it in the right place when you sew.
  5. Starting at the placement point for the first leg, stitch a 1/4 inch seam all the way around, finishing at the placement point for the 2nd leg.
  6. Turn inside out (haemostats/forceps are really useful here) and press.
  7. Fold your arm fabric with RIGHT SIDES TOGETHER.
  8. Pin your pattern in place, then hand tack your pattern in place – pins are too difficult to sew around on a machine.
  9. Sew 2 arms, leaving the top of the arm open.
  10. Trim the seam close to the stitching and turn inside out (using the haemostats/forceps, if you have them).  Haemostats are also useful to gently push out the shape of the tiny hand/thumb.
  11. The pattern allows a 1cm seam, so turn this to the inside now and press.
  12. Stuff the body and arms lightly.
  13. Decide whether you want your angel to have her thumbs up or down, then pin the arms in place either side of the angel’s body, just under the “neck” seam.  Make sure both thumbs are pointing the same way!
  14. Hand sew the arms in place using an invisible ladder stitch.  I like to try to point the arms into the body slightly and angle them down a little towards her beautiful button legs.

Christmas Button Angel - Legs

  1. Tip out your button box and sort out 8 pairs of 10 mm buttons and 2/3 pairs of beads (depending on the size) that co-ordinate well.  remember that the right and left legs should both be identical!
  2. Starting at the first leg placement point, thread a long double thread and knot one end.
  3. Take the thread through the bottom of the angel’s body, burying the knot inside.
  4. Pass the thread down through your chosen selection of buttons and beads, finishing with a button.
  5. Take the thread back up through the leg, through the opposite side of each button and secure the leg in place on the body when you reach the top.
  6. Close the centre seam, using an invisible ladder stitch.
  7. Now complete the matching leg in the same way to match.  
  8. When you reach the top again, take the thread right up through the top of the angel’s head and knot it 3-4 times.  It will be covered by her hair later.
Christmas Button Angel Legs
Christmas Button Angel - Legs

Christmas Button Angel - Finishing Touches

  1. Take an 18cm length of ribbon, fold it in half and knot the end,
  2. Sew the hanging ribbon to the back of your angel’s head.
  3. Make her little face using black and red sharpies.
  4. Take a length of lace trim and attach it to her neck to cover the seam overlapping the edges at the back of her head.
  5. Choose the yarn you want to use for her hair (see below – Heart Up-Cycling!).
  6. Pin in place so that there is hair either side of the ribbon and the knot is covered.   Create a style that you like.  You can use your angel’s head as a pincushion at this stage!
  7. Finish by cutting 2 pairs of wings in white/cream felt and sewing them together all the way around the edge and across the centre.
  8. Anchor the hair in place where you want it using tiny invisible sewing stitches
  9. Glue the wings in place over the lace trim seam on the back of your angel using Hi-Tack glue and your finished angel is all ready to take flight to your Christmas Tree.

Heart Up-Cycling!

Heart Upcycling Logo

Up-Cycled Angel Hair

Everything I create makes good use of up-cycled materials.   Angel hair offers the perfect up-cycling opportunity.

Discarded curtain tie-backs make LOTS of wavy/curly beautiful angel hair.  They can often be be found languishing in charity shops.  It’s time to rescue them and get creative!

Angels - Up-Cycled Curtain Tie Back
Up-Cycled Curtain Tie Back
Handmade Rag Dolls Upcycled Curtain Tie Back Hair for Rag Doll

Ordinary string, dyed with tea and frayed to add delicacy also makes good angel hair.

Christmas Button Angel Hair - Frayed String
Christmas Button Angel Hair - Frayed String
Christmas Button Angel
Christmas Button Angel Hair - Tea Dyed String
Christmas Button Angel Hair - Be Creative!
Christmas Button Angel Hair - Be Creative!

Scouring Pad Angel

You can even make a sparkly Christmas Button Angel from a scouring pad!

Christmas Button Angel - Made from a Scouring Pad
Christmas Button Angel - Made from a Scouring Pad

Tips and Tricks

  1. I find the knee lift attachment on my sewing machine a really useful accessory when sewing tiny seams.  It allows you to keep both hands on your work as you sew because you can lift the foot using your knee.
  2. Be sure to set your sewing machine to leave the needle in at the end of sewing and to secure the thread at the start too.
  3. You can easily use pretty stretch fabric remnants to make your angels as long as you remember to stabilise it first using fusible interfacing.
  4. A sewing machine is useful to speed up the making process, but not essential. You can easily hand sew your Christmas Button Angel – it will just take you a bit longer.
  5. Haemostats are really useful for turning the body and arms inside out quickly – but again, not essential.
  6. I always keep a supply of cocktail sticks and cotton buds handy.  They are so useful for applying glue neatly and pushing any stubborn bits into exactly the place you want them to be.
Christmas Tree Button Angels
Christmas Tree Button Angels

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