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Saturday, 31 December 2016

Spoonflower Project: The Maple Leaf Forever Neck Warmer

Canadiana Fabric Collection by eSheep Designs
My Maple Leaf Multi 3D on White fabric...
When the calendar flips over to 2017 tonight, Canadians will begin marking the 150th anniversary of confederation. It's going to be a year of big celebrations!

Those of us up here in the great white north who were around in 1967 will surely remember our centennial with this iconic song. Can - na - da... oh such memories!

Canadians are not known to be patriotic flag-wavers in the same way as our neighbours to the south, but we do have our moments. Consider the stereotypical backpack with the Canadian flag patch sewn onto it. (My rendition of that is luggage tags with flag stickers on them.)

Canadian flag
Canadian flag...
Whenever I look at our flag, I'm taken by how unique it is. It has just two colours... and one of them is white; not technically a colour. (There are actually several countries with red and white flags.) And it features a leaf: not a star, a moon, or a variation of a cross. Yes, we've been criticized for featuring a "dead" leaf on our flag, but I love the red. (A real maple leaf that has turned red in the fall is absolutely gorgeous.) Whether it's because of our flag or whatever, the combination of red and white has always been one of my favourites.

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Ever since I started sewing again, I've been wanting to make myself something in red and white that I could use or wear on Canada Day. I considered making a hat but never got around to doing so. It was one of those passing thoughts that seemed to be easily put on the back burner once Canada Day came and went.

Oddly enough, it took a Spoonflower sale in November for me to get the inspiration to create a fabric collection to celebrate the great maple leaf.

Canadiana Fabric Collection by eSheep Designs
Maple Leaf (Tiled Red on White)...

I started by drawing my interpretation of a maple leaf using Paint Shop Pro. Since I was using a mouse, I kept it simple and decided to leave out the two lower "points" on either side of the stem (sort of like how they draw cartoon characters with only three fingers).

Then I copied the same leaf in different sizes and orientations and put them together in three different layouts. The ones here were created as a seamless tile, then coloured in with alternating white and red backgrounds with opposite coloured leaves.

Canadiana Fabric Collection by eSheep Designs
Maple Leaf (Tiled White on Red)...

After completing these two, I decided to make a simpler version by foregoing the seamless tile process and making use of Spoonflower's half brick repeat option.

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With this one, I decided to add a black background. (Can you guess that I like the red/white/black combo too?)

Canadiana Fabric Collection by eSheep Designs
Maple Leaf on Black...

And here is the corresponding one with a white background.

Canadiana Fabric Collection by eSheep Designs
Maple Leaf on White...

I will mention that I wasn't impressed by the red that was ultimately reproduced on my samples of the above two fabrics. It shifted way too much into the rusty orange range and was not at all like what I see on my computer. I've since made some adjustments.

Canadiana Fabric Collection by eSheep Designs
My actual Maple Leaf Multi 3D in White fabric on top of snow... can't get much more Canadian than that!

My last design is the variation shown at the top of this post and immediately above. With that one, I decided to add some 3D effects to the largest leaves. (I might make myself a buff out of this piece.)

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But then a curious thing happened. I showed my other half these new creations and told him I was thinking of making a scarf out of them. He surprised me by asking what sort of fabric I was thinking of using and — to make a long story short — our discussion led me to try out Spoonflower's fleece to make him a reversible neck warmer cowl scarf with this rendition...

Canadiana Fabric Collection by eSheep Designs
This fat quarter in fleece is all you need to make a reversible neck warmer!

This is a project that you can make with just one fat quarter of Spoonflower's fleece, which is a piece measuring 28" x 18".

How to?

Start by trimming the extra white material off the top edge of the red part of the fabric. (Leave the extra along the bottom of the white part for now.)

Then it's your decision (depending on whether you want to maximize size) as to whether you want to: 1) trim off all the extra white material along the left and right edges or 2) leave a 1/2" of white showing.

Canadiana Neck Warmer by eSheep Designs
Trim the white edges away from the red part of the fabric....

Regardless of what you choose, the next step is to sew together the two vertical ends to create a large tube, using a 1/2" seam allowance. (With right sides together, of course.) By the way, you will want to use a stretch stitch for this project.

Canadiana Neck Warmer by eSheep Designs
Sew the two ends together to create a long tube...

Turn and fold the tube in half, so that the red pattern is showing on the inside and the white pattern is on the outside. Clip together and then run a row of 1/4" topstitching around the folded edge. (Tip: use both red and white thread.)

Canadiana Neck Warmer by eSheep Designs
Clip and then topstitch along the folded edge, dividing the white pattern from the red...

Open up the seam and pin in place as shown.

Canadiana Neck Warmer by eSheep Designs
Flatten down the seam allowance before trimming and sewing up the bottom...

Trim the exposed white edge even with the red.

Canadiana Neck Warmer by eSheep Designs
Trim off extraneous white edge...

Since the fleece does not fray, you can now simply pin and sew these edges together, at about 1/4" again.

Canadiana Neck Warmer by eSheep Designs
Pin and then sew right around again...

That's as simple as it gets! A reversible cowl scarf to keep you warm throughout the great Canadian winter! Click here to get the fabric, here to browse the entire collection.

Canadiana Neck Warmer by eSheep Designs
Ta da! A fleecy patriotic neck warmer to celebrate Canada 150!

I took my other fat quarters and also turned them into cowls for Mom and me, but I had to cut them in half and do a bit more sewing to make them similarly reversible.

And now, as I wish everyone a happy and healthy new year, let me ask this... how did your resolutions for 2016 work out??


  1. Your new fleecy Canadian cowl is beautiful Rochelle! A very Happy New Year to you - I hope 2017 brings all you wish for!
    My resolutions for 2016 worked out pretty well - just getting a little better each year in things I do and try! 2017 is going to be even better yet too I'm sure!!

  2. Congratulations on reaching 150 years as a country! We are grateful in many ways for our neighbors to the north! :)

    Your fabrics are so cool--when I visit a new area, I always envision finding something great like that to buy as a souvenir and take home; I visited Manitoba last summer and checked while I was there but didn't find anything so nice as what you've put together. (I'm not totally sure for what I was looking for....it was an "I'll know it when I see it" kind of thing). I like your idea, and I think you're onto something!!

    Happy New Year!


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