This past summer I was “yardsaling,” which is one of my favorite things to do. I happened to find this fabric set, all cut out, at a very reasonable price. Can you see how much it cost me?? Yes, it was only 50 cents. Fifty cents!! All of the pieces were there, even the directions. Someone had cut it out, and then never finished the project.
Now I think I may have seen an old used version of this set before. The set was beyond saving, and so I had to pass it by. But this fabric was brand new! All I had to do was wash the fabric to freshen it up. Well, that and sew it all together and stuff it….
There was even a backdrop to complete the scene. I looked around online, and all I found was an uncut fabric panel of this same pattern, for $37. I estimate this panel to be around 30 years old. (Do any of my readers know?)
And so I began to work on this nativity scene. I laid out everything and read the directions several times. Everything had already been ironed and were as flat as could be. So much of the work had already been done for me! I sewed the fronts to the backs.
Each piece was clearly marked where to leave the seam opening, for stuffing and for turning the pieces right side out.
The backdrop has a back to it with “Away in a Manger” printed on it.
The only things not included (besides thread and stuffing) were the recommended flannel pieces to pad the backdrop. I used some flannel that I already had, and some batting. The only thing I needed to purchase was some iron on interfacing for the manger.
My Sewing Machine Cabinet
Here is my ancient sewing machine that someone gave me years ago. It was in a different cabinet then. I found this beautiful cabinet at an auction. No one else wanted it, so I got it for only….. $2! Can you believe it?! My husband was nice enough to adjust it a bit for me, so that my machine will fit and rotate down to close it all up.
Here is a close up of my Japanese made machine. A sewing machine repairman once told me that it was built like a tank! Most of it is made of metal. Only the buttons and dials are plastic.
My sewing machine cabinet doubles as an island in the kitchen when it is not in use. I have since moved it against the back wall, opposite the sink. So I guess now it is doubling as a buffet instead! I keep the recycle bin under it.
Enough about the machine– let’s get back to the project.
Here are the Three Kings front and back sewn together. I trimmed the circle for the bottom before sewing it on. The whole project was taking more time than I had thought it would. I had not counted on the third bottom piece– but that is what enables these pieces to stand up even though they are stuffed like a pillow.
So here at B4 and Afters I do strive to be complete in showing you how I did something, and that takes extra time. For example, I was going to show you this same shot of the shepherds, but guess what? Shepherds was spelled wrong on the bottom piece and I thought that would not be good, so I had to retake the picture using the kings instead.
Let me go ahead and mention here– do you have any idea how stopping to take pictures slows down a project?! Any time you see a step by step description like this let me assure you– the writer has taken great care to show you everything. I must take more than enough pictures to be sure that I have enough of each step– because if I do not– there is no going back to undo the project if I forgot something!
Here are the sheep sewn together.
I do most of my sewing without pinning things together, but pinning was a necessity in this case. I carefully pinned the bottom piece to the two top pieces, lining up the side seams and the places to be left open for turning and stuffing.
Here they are all sewn and ready to be stuffed!
Here is the back of the sheep:
The directions said to insert either cardboard or plastic canvas ovals in the bottoms of the people and animals. I decided to use plastic canvas in case they got wet accidentally, since cardboard could distort its shape.
I cut out these shapes, but because of the seam later had to trim them even smaller.
Here are the individual characters all sewn. But before stuffing them, I washed them and ironed them again. I wanted to sew them before I washed them, so that washing them would not damage the cut edges and make them fray too close to the seam. I was a little afraid to wash them, knowing the fabric was old. But they came out of the wash just fine, and did not fade or anything.
Here are the manger pieces on the interfacing. I washed these before ironing on the interfacing and sewing it all together.
- Ruffled Piano Bench Cover
- Removable Kitchen Chair Slipcovers
- Recliner Slipcovers
- Storage Chest Slipcover
I put the plastic canvas into the backdrop. This bottom seam would be hand sewn closed.
The last thing I had to do was stuff the main characters and hand sew all of their openings closed.
Here’s what I did step by step:
- sew fronts to backs
- sew bottom pieces to the matching top front/back
- sew the backdrop with padding together
- wash and iron everything
- insert the plastic canvas into all the pieces except the manger
- iron the interfacing onto the manger, sew, and assemble the manger
- hand sew the corners of the manger sides together
- stuff the people and animals
- hand sew all the openings closed
Finally it was alllll done! I LOVE IT! I didn’t think that I needed any more Christmas decorations. When I saw this set for 50 cents though, I just knew I could make room for it somewhere.
I crocheted the red, gold, and white dresser scarf as a teenager, more than twenty years ago. Here are the backs of everybody:
I hope that you have enjoyed seeing how I made this stuffed Christmas Nativity Scene!
The Star of Christmas: Jesus!