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Every year you may have Christmas crackers on your festive table. But do you realise how much waste they produce? A lot of the high street shops have announced that they will be producing plastic free versions in an attempt to be less wasteful this year. But this idea goes one better. These reusable fabric Christmas crackers can be used year after year as part of a more zero waste Christmas. They are really easy to make. Want to find out how to make them for yourself? Read on.
Reusable Fabric Christmas Crackers
You will need
- Fabric – fat quarters are great for this. I used this stiff quilting cotton. For similar fabric try here…
- Co-ordinating thread
- Some stiff card – I had some old card that E had drawn on, but you could use scrap card.
- Some measuring and cutting tools, I used a quilting square and my rotary cutter, plus scissors.
- Sew on velcro, the narrower the better- I had some 2cm wide velcro, so I cut it in half lengthwise (see later on) – this link is for the 2cm wide.
- A sewing machine
- Some pretty ribbon for the bows at each end
- Pins or clips to hold the cloth when stitching
- A tape measure
Making the Card Tube Inners
Inside the fabric outer of the crackers are some card tubes. One tube needs to be slightly longer and needs to nest inside the other.
So, using an A4 piece of stiff card, I made marks at 10cm and 18cm from one edge. I marked lines and then cut along the lines to make long strips. Then I rolled the strips up to make tubes, sticking them securely with tape. And making one of the tubes slightly smaller so it fits snugly inside the other (but not too tightly).
These tubes have a large enough diameter to fit over my hand, which is quite important later on.
Measuring Fabric Needed
To decide how much fabric I needed for the width of each tube, I needed to measure the circumference of each tube.
The first (narrower/longer) tube was 27cm circumference. I added 2 cm onto this to give me a 1cm seam allowance = 29cm wide piece.
The second (wider/shorter) tube was 28cm circumference. I again added 2cm onto this for a 1cm seam allowance =30cm wide piece.
To decided on how much fabric I needed for the length of each tube plus the cracker end, I took the length of each tube, added 15cm extra for the cracker ending. I then doubled this figure.
The first (narrower/longer) tube was 10cm long. I added 15cm for the ruched cracker end and then doubled the whole figure. (10+15)x2= 50cm long
The second (wider/shorter) tube was 8cm long. Again I added 15cm for the cracker end and then doubled the resulting figure. (8+15)x2 = 46cm long
So – the resulting fabric pieces needed to cover my tubes were 29cm by 50cm and 30cm by 46cm.
Making The Fabric Outers
The next step is to make the fabric outer to cover the tubes. I placed the long edges of my fabric right sides together and sewed a 1cm seam allowance all the way down this long edge. I pressed open my seam allowance.
Then, I turned the resulting tube partly the right way out. This results in putting the wrong sides together, and creating a cylinder of fabric that has the right sides out both inside and outside.
At one end of the cylinder is a fold, at the other end are the raw edges of fabric (see bottom left of picture). I pinned the seam allowance seam at the top to help me make sure that the cylinder was not twisted.
It is now time to focus on the folded end of this cylinder.
Adding The Velcro ‘Snap’
Of course, the most important part of any Christmas cracker is the bang! So to achieve this (and hold the christmas cracker together) we need to use something that takes a little but not too much effort to pull. And so we need some sew on velcro.
Wide velcro cannot be pulled apart easily, so a 1cm width is the best size. I wanted to use up what I had left from making my reusable sandwich bags, and this was 2cm wide, so I cut it in half lengthways.
I then pinned and sewed this to each tube’s folded end. Sewing it to the inside is easier, and once I had sewed it I turned the longer tube inside out. This means that the velcro is one the outside of the longer tube, ready for the longer tube to fit inside the shorter one.
Putting In And Securing The Cardboard Inner
Now it is time to put the cardboard tubes inside the fabric outer layer. Remembering which tube goes in which, put the cardboard tube into the fabric. This is where the fact that the tube goes over your hand is a real help.
Once the tubes are both in, fold down the raw ends of the fabric, and sew a scant seam allowance to secure and neaten these raw edges.
Finally, gather up the excess fabric at the end of the longer tube and secure this end shut, sealing it up by sewing a few hand stitches around and through the gathered fabric.
Finishing The Cracker
Tie a pretty bow around the secured end.
Then you can secure the two halves of cracker together using the velcro, but leave the other end open. You now have a long tube with an open end ready to be filled with goodies!
Why not fill with
- miniature perfumes or alcohols
- bath bombs or travel sizes
Once filled, tie the open end with a matching bow – and your cracker is complete!
The Finished Crackers
Your finished reusable fabric Christmas cracker should last you for many years to come. Coordinate them to your Christmas table. Or make them personalised to friends and family. They also make amazing presents for teachers.
Do you think that you will be making some reusable fabric Christmas crackers this year? I’d love to see your makes. Comment below or find me on social media.
And please do pin this post for later.