The Fourth Doctor’s Felt Holiday Garland

Holiday Garland

Although there are a lot of creative Doctor Who themed Christmas trees out there, my main issue is that they tend to be so…blue. I’m a fan of the Tardis, just like any other Whovian, but I wanted to take my decorations in an earthier direction with this garland patterned after the Fourth Doctor’s scarf.

Materials Needed

  • A copy of your favorite scarf pattern for the Fourth Doctor
  • Pre-cut 9″ x 12″ rectangles of felt in various colors (see notes below for details on color and quantity, which will vary by pattern and tree size)
  • Heavy-duty embroidery thread (I used size 5) – or fishing line
  • A large embroidery needle
  • Hot glue – or other quick-drying fabric glue
  • Scissors

Step One: Choose and Convert a Scarf Pattern

The first order of business for making your very own garland patterned after the Fourth Doctor’s scarf is to figure out which scarf you want to reproduce – since the colors and lengths of the scarf varied widely during Tom Baker’s run.

Since I’m not very good at following actual crochet or knitting patterns, I chose to adapt this classic set of instructions from the BBC, which was supposedly drafted and distributed at some point during the 1980s.

The pattern I chose to use calls for 25 gram balls of double knitting wool in the following quantities:

  • 3 purple
  • 6 camel
  • 3 bronze
  • 3 mustard
  • 4 rust
  • 3 grey
  • 4 greenish brown

To make my garland, I decided to substitute one sheet of pre-cut felt per ball of yarn, with a few extra sheets of felt thrown in for good measure. As a result, I ended up buying sheets of Eco-Fi felt in the following colors/quantities.

  • 3 sheets of Orchid
  • 8 sheets of Cashmere Tan
  • 6 sheets of Orange
  • 6 sheets of Gold
  • 8 sheets of Ruby
  • 6 sheets of Silver Grey
  • 6 sheets of Kelly Green

Step Two: Prepare Your Felt

20171118_160937

Once you’ve chosen your pattern and gathered your felt together, the next order of business is to cut each sheet of felt lengthwise into 1″ or 1-1/2″ strips – depending on how thick and/or long you want your garland to be.

I cut my felt into 1-1/2″ strips to keep my garland a little on the chunky side, which yielded 6 strips per sheet. Since I had 43 sheets of felt, this yielded 258 strips. And, since each strip – or “row” – of felt will compress to roughly 1″ when added to the string, the overall garland ended up being roughly 22 feet long (or 258 inches divided by 12). As a result, my garland was just long enough to drape around a 5-foot Christmas tree.

If your tree is taller than 5 feet, then you can either buy additional sheets of felt to repeat your pattern or try cutting each sheet of felt lengthwise into 1″ strips to yield 9 strips per sheet. In my case, this would have caused my 43 sheets of felt to yield 387 strips, or 387″ of garland, or roughly 32 feet.

Step Three: Calculate Your Colors

20171118_153502

Once you have all of your strips cut, then you will need to figure out what your “sewing” pattern is going to look like – or how many segments of each color you will need to add to the garland in what order.

If you take a look at the BBC pattern I used, you will see that it calls for the knitter to sew several rows of each color. For example, the pattern starts off with 8 rows of purple. Since the felt, once compressed into accordion-like segments, looks like several rows, I divided the rows in my pattern by 8. Therefore, 8 rows of purple translated into one segment of purple felt, which led me to the following pattern:

  • 1 purple segment
  • 7 tan segments
  • 2 orange segments
  • 1 yellow segment
  • 3 red segments
  • 1 purple segment
  • 3 green segments
  • 1 yellow segment
  • 4 tan segments
  • 2 red segments
  • 1 orange segment
  • 1 purple segment
  • 5 green segments
  • 1 yellow segment
  • 2 grey segments
  • 1 red segment
  • 7 camel segments
  • 1 purple segment
  • 2 green segments
  • 1 yellow segment
  • 2 red segments
  • 1 purple segment
  • 5 orange segments
  • 1 tan segment
  • 1 grey segment
  • 5 red segments
  • 2 yellow segments
  • 3 green segments
  • 1 purple segments
  • 5 tan segments
  • 2 orange segments
  • 3 grey segments
  • 1 red segment
  • 2 purple segments
  • 1 tan segment
  • 2 yellow segments
  • 7 green segments
  • 2 red segments
  • 2 grey segments
  • 1 yellow segment
  • 3 orange segments
  • 1 purple segment
  • 2 tan segments
  • 4 grey segments
  • 1 red segment
  • 2 yellow segments
  • Repeat, in order, until the felt runs out

Note: I was able to complete my scarf pattern three times before the felt ran out!

Step Four: Assemble Your Scarf

DSC_0061

Once you have your strips cut and your sewing pattern laid out, then it’s time to assemble.

Thread an embroidery needle with as much thread or fishing line as you can handle. It would be ideal to thread the entire length of garland at once, but you can always tie and/or glue segments of garland together if needed.

Fold your first strip of felt into an accordion-shaped segment that’s roughly 1″ long. Then, center your needle on one end of the segment and sew through the middle – right through all of the folded layers. Repeat with the next strip of felt in the pattern, lightly gluing the segments together as you go.

Step Five: Decorate Your Tree!

Once you have your garland in place, then it’s time to decorate the rest of your tree. If you’re wanting to stay within the Doctor Who theme, then you may want to take a crack at replicating this Weeping Angel Tree Topper. Otherwise, you can stay tuned for my next post, which involves transforming traditional felt ornaments into something that would make any Whooooovian proud (wink, wink).

 


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