Saturday, May 5, 2012

ankle bell tutorial

Last year I made these ankle bells for Naiya and a bunch of her classmates and handed them out at our school's annual May Faire.  I think they're a playful and festive addition to the dancing and frolicking and are also somewhat traditional at this cross quarter seasonal celebration.

This year we're making a dozen or two again, and I thought this time around I'd take a few pics of the process for a quick tutorial.  These are pretty basic and seem to need little explanation but it's not always clear to me when a brief how-to might prove useful to someone.  Essentially, these are like big hair scrunchies with bells attached.  If you can find scrunchies to fit your child's ankle, you might just sew bells onto those and be done with it.  If you can't (or, like me, you just like to make stuff), here's how I put them together:

I started with a 44" wide scrap fabric I had laying around.

Folding the fabric over to make a strip about an inch wide, I sewed the right sides together.  (I could also have cut a two inch strip of fabric, folded it then sewn the seam but I found sewing prior to cutting made it faster and I planned to turn out 15 or 20 pairs of these things.)

I then trimmed along the seam.

(Because I was making a lot of these that were really just intended to be worn for this one festival, I wasn't overly concerned with quality.  I did not turn and sew the ends to make clean edges, but feel free to do that if you wish.  If you chose that option, you'll want to cut the tube in half and turn and sew the ends prior to turning it right side out.)

I attached a safety pin to one end of the tube and with the closed end of the safety pin pointing inside the tube, I used my fingers to move the pin through so that it was gradually drawn through the inside. Once the safety pin emerged from the other end, I pulled it gently until the tube was turned completely with the right side of the fabric facing out.

I cut the 44" tube into two 22" pieces for a pair of matching anklets.

By hand I sewed three bells at even intervals (about every 7 inches) onto the fabric tube.  (For extra jingliness, and if you're not making dozens of the things, feel free to attach any number bells you please.)

For my five year old daughter I then cut a 9" piece of elastic to run through the tube.  (I'd suggest custom measuring to loosely fit the person for whom your anklets are intended.)

I laid about an inch of one end of the elastic over the other end and sewed them together to form a ring.  I then pulled the fabric tube over the elastic and sort of tucked one fabric end into the other.

With it all scrunched up, I don't think the unfinished edges were very noticeable.

I ended up completing 18 pairs in about four hours.  (Hand sewing of the bells taking the bulk of the time.)

Running round the May Pole and through the fresh cut fields, the sound of tinkling children's feet was delightful.  (Pictures of the days events coming soon...)

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