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The Project:

The main technique used in this project is the prairie point. This is a very effective technique that looks complicated but is actually made up of multiple small and easy to make parts. I love it not only because it looks wonderful but also because you only need little fabric pieces which makes it perfect for scrap-busting!

This project is also really adaptable – here I have put it in a frame but you could follow the same technique to make a page for a Stitchbook or the front of a card.

Photo frame tutorial

You Will Need:

  • Photo Transfer Paper (1/2 Sheet)
  • White cotton fabric
  • Coloured felt
  • A selection of small pieces of fabric (not too thick)
  • A piece of fabric for the background
  • A photo frame
  • Needle and thread
  • Coloured embroidery thread (optional)
  • Cardboard for photo frame backing
  • Glue dots or spray mount

You Will Need:

  • A computer and printer
  • An iron and ironing surface
  • A sewing machine (optional)
  • Fabric scissors

You will also need:

To download and print this template . Prairie Points Tutorial Template (113 downloads)

How to Make Prairie Points:

1.Cut your fabric into a square (in this project a 5cm (2″) square) using a rotary cutter or template.

Rotary cutter and ruler

2. Putting wrong sides of the fabric together, fold the square of fabric in half across the width to create a rectangle. Press with an iron.

Folded fabric in half

3. Fold each folded corner down to the center of the rectangle to create a triangle shape and press with an iron.

Folded down triangle fabric

4.  Some might need a little extra help staying flat so you can put a tacking stitch into the base of each one, over the folded edges, to keep them in place.

A single Prairie point

1.Find a lovely photograph you want to use and print it out at approximately  size  14 x 12.5cm ( 5 1/2″ x 5″), it doesn’t need to be exact as you will be trimming it later.  I use Microsoft Publisher for printing as it has a inbuilt ruler on the screen, but you can do some trial prints on plain paper to make sure you have the right size.

2.  Print your image onto your transfer paper (make sure you have reversed it!) You can find out how to do this here.

Print and cut out the Image Transfer template (the solid line) and draw around it on the back of your transfer paper. Cut it out.

3. Place the transfer, printed side down, onto your white cotton fabric and use a hot iron to transfer the image (again, check out the photo tutorial for more details). When cool peel the transfer paper off.

4. Cut around the white fabric 5mm away from the photograph to leave a small border.

5. Place the image on top of the coloured felt and pin in place. Put your pins through the white border not the image as this will make a hole in the transfer.

6. Sew around the shape on a sewing machine using a zigzag stitch. Try and adjust your stitch settings to get the stitches close together to form a tight zigzag. You want to sew over the edges of the fabric to trap the stray threads and prevent fraying.

If you don’t have a sewing machine this can be done by hand using a blanket or other edge stitch to prevent fraying.

7. Cut around the edge of the felt approx 5mm from the stitching.

You can use the template provided for this (dashed line) but I find it is difficult to center the image using a template, so usually just cut around it like this. I also wouldn’t recommend cutting the felt shape out first because it will be wonky if your image moves whilst sewing (mine almost always does!).

8.Draw around your shape onto your background fabric using a chalk or pencil.

9. Make your prairie points in a range of fabric using the instructions at the top of the page. You will need 15-20 for this project (depending on how far apart you space them.

10. Position your first prairie point, folded side up, around the outside of the oval shape so the raw edge touches the pencil line. Sew in place with a running stitch at the base of the triangle, near to the raw edge.

11. Add the next point further around the oval, overlapping a little and sew in place. Continue  adding the prairie points until you have completed the oval.

12.Place the felt piece over your prairie points covering your stitching and the raw edges. Pin in place.

13. Hand sew in place around the outside of the coloured felt using a running stitch or sewing over the edge of the coloured felt. You can use regular thread of a couple of strands of embroidery thread, depending on how visible you want your stitching to be.

You Could Also:

  • Embellish your frame with buttons, beads or sequins.
  • Add lettering to create a caption for your photo using stampers or embroidery.

To Frame:

  1. Take a sheet of cardboard and cut to the same size as the inside of your picture frame.
  2. Attach the fabric to the board with glue, smoothing out the fabric until it is flat and tucking any excess behind the board. I like to use re-positionable spray mount or glue dots for this as they won’t be seen through the fabric.
  3. Take the glass out of the frame (or use a deep box frame suitable for 3d work) and add the cardboard.
iron transfer to fabric
Pin photo to felt
Draw around template with chalk
Single prairie point to fabric
Add the next point around template
Ring of prairie points
Frame of prairie points
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