Step-by-step directions for how I sewed personalized fabric birthday crowns for my grandchildren’s first birthdays.

James and Poppy Turned 1!

It is hard to believe that my grandbabies have both turned 1 — Jamie in late January and Poppy just last week.

I guess soon they won’t be my grandbabies, but my grand-toddlers!

Jamie is getting ready to walk any day now. He toddles around the house behind his little wooden shopping cart, carefully watched by his furry sibling Megan.

Poppy isn’t quite there yet, but she is very much into waving. On their recent trip to Italy, she waved her way through the airport security checkpoint and entertained an entire restaurant one evening.

What joy they have brought to our family over the past year! (As well as to TSA officers and restaurant diners…)

It has also been amazing to watch my own “babies” step so naturally into the role of parent.

I, at the same time, have been finding my way as “Mim”.

Of course I have been thinking a lot about my mom as we have entered this new chapter of our family life.

Wishing most of all that she was here to meet her great grandchildren.

And also remembering how amazing she was with my kids, so I can learn from how she grandmothered.

Trying, somehow, to fill her very large shoes.

You can read all about my mom’s legacy in my blog post I Am My Mother’s Daughter.

Birthday Crowns: A New Tradition

For several years when my kids were young, my mom made them special birthday t-shirts.

She painted them with their name and age. For the girls, they were bedazzled with jewels and glitter.

I wanted to do something similar to celebrate these special occasions.

So, in January for Jamie, and just this week for Poppy, I sewed them personalized fabric birthday crowns.

Jamie loves dogs — he and Megan are the best of friends — so I chose a colorful fabric covered in our canine friends.

And for my sweet flower Poppy, a pretty floral print.

On the center front of both, I appliquéed a felt “1” and embroidered their name and the year on the back.

As I have mentioned before, I am not an expert with the sewing machine.

These crowns are pretty straightforward, but do require attention to detail.

Here are step-by-step directions for how I sewed these birthday crowns.

If I can do it, you can too!

Birthday Crown Materials

These are the materials you will need to sew a fabric birthday crown with a covered elastic band in the back, appliquéed felt number and embroidered name/date tag, and decorative wool felt pompoms.

  • 1/4 yard fabric: I always tend to get more than required, just in case. So I bought 1/2 a yard.
  • Approximately 1/4 yard medium weight fusible polyester batting: I attached to both the front and back pieces of fabric to give the crown good shape.
  • 6 inches of 3/4 inch elastic: more or less depending how much stretch you want the crown to have.
  • A square of felt in coordinating color
  • Thread in coordinating color
  • Standard sewing supplies: scissors, pins, a needle, seam ripper (just in case!)
  • Sewing machine
  • Iron
  • Poster board: for the template
  • Yardstick and/or ruler
  • Felt tip pen
  • Roller cutter (optional)
  • Embroidery Floss (optional)
  • Wool felt balls: I ordered them from Amazon. For Jamie’s I used .5 cm size and it was generally felt they were too small. So I ordered 2 cm size for Poppy’s.

1. Create poster-board templates

First you need to create two poster-board templates — one for the fabric and one for the batting.

I wanted my finished crown to measure approximately 18″, including the elastic at the back.

I think it is best to have an odd number of points, so that you end up with a center one in the front.

So, I chose to make the body of the crown 15″ wide, with 5 points, each set 3″ apart.

NOTE: Remember that you will be adding an elastic band at the back for a custom fit. So the template should be several inches smaller than the finished size of the crown,

The crown is a total of 4″ tall, 2″ for the base and 2″ for the points.

NOTE: Keep in mind mine is for a 1-yr old. You would want to adjust accordingly for a larger child. Or an adult!

Sketch out your template for the exact size of the finished crown. Then cut it out. This will be for the batting.

Next, trace around your batting template on the poster board to create a second template. This will be for the fabric.

Mark the 1/2″ seam allowance all around, creating a template that is 1/2″ larger on all sides. Cut out.

Lastly, choose a style for your felt number and create a template for that.

Now you are ready to cut and sew the fabric!

2. Cut and Sew the Fabric

1. Using the templates, trace the designs for the crown and number onto the fabric, batting, and felt. I use a plain old felt tip marker, because any ink will be hidden in the seams. Then cut out.

REMEMBER: You need two pieces of both the crown fabric and batting! I folded the fabric in half and used a roller cutter for nice straight lines.

2. Pin the felt number to the front center of the crown fabric, and then attach with a zig-zag stitch. Before sewing, make sure the applique is within the 1/2 seam allowances on all sides!

3. Next, following batting directions, use an iron to apply the batting to the WRONG SIDE of both crown fabric pieces. Try to make sure the batting is centered in the middle of the crown, with the 1/2″ seam allowance on all sides.

Now you are ready to sew the crown together!

4. Pin the two pieces of the crown, right sides together.

5. Stitch along the top (the points) and bottom, using a 1/2″ seam allowance and leaving both sides open. Your stitching should line up fairly well with the edge of the batting. Try to not stitch over the batting!

Use a backstitch at the beginning and end of each seam to secure it.

Putting the Crown Together

1. Trim the seam allowances on the top/points of the crown close to the stitching. This helps to make the points and valleys lie flat.

2. Then, using one of the open ends, turn the crown inside out. I used a chopstick to poke out the points and corners of the crown.

3. Fold in the side edges and press the entire crown flat.

4. Admire how cute your crown looks, then get back to work!

5. Cut the elastic to the desired length. Remember to add an extra 1″ for seam allowances. I used a 4 1/2″ length.

6. Cut fabric to make a casing for the elastic. This should be long enough to allow the elastic to stretch fully. Again adding 1/2″ seam allowances. My piece was approximately 3″X6″

7. Fold fabric in half, right sides together, and stitch along one edge. Turn right side out. I used the chopstick to help with this too.

8. Press fabric flat, with seam in the middle of one side.

9. Pull elastic piece through the casing. To make this easier, I attached a safety pin to one end of the elastic.

10. Pin ends of fabric and elastic together. The fabric will be slightly gathered. Sew.

11. You are almost there!

12. Pin fabric-covered elastic to the opening of each end of the crown, with the seam facing in. Top-stitch along the edge to close each opening and secure the elastic.

13. Done!

Finishing Touches

I hope you love your birthday crown at this point!

But you can bring it to the next level with a couple finishing touches!

1. I add colorful pompoms to the points.

I highly recommend that you use wool felt pompoms instead of less expensive fuzzy ones. For one, they are solid, so you can sew them on securely. And also, they just look better.

I used a 2 cm size for Poppy’s crown.

Shop these choices on Amazon:

2. I embroider the name and year on a piece of felt and attach it to the back of the crown. This way the crown serves as a memento of this special occasion.

Full disclosure: I have zero experience with embroidery. The first one I did for Jamie’s crown looked like a child did it. I like to think it was quirky in a folk-art way, ha!

With a bit of experience under my belt, I did a much better job on Poppy’s. Still not professional level, but definitely charming!

My personal tips:

  • Write the lettering on a piece of tissue paper.
  • Pin to the crown and hand-stitch over the tissue paper.
  • Remove the tissue paper and then hand-stitch again over the writing for a more finished look.
  • I found embroidery floss to be too thick for the small letters, so I just used regular thread.
  • Attach the felt piece to the crown by hand using a blanket stitch.

That’s it!

Would you try making a fabric birthday crown?!

For more of my easy sewing fabrics, see my posts: A Cottage-Style Easter Table Setting in Beautiful Blues and Whites and Easy Sewing Projects to Warm Your Kitchen and Table for Winter.

This Week Into Next

I am posting from D.C. this week!

I ended up changing my flight to leave Maine a day early since there was a Nor’easter bearing down on the state, bringing snow, ice, rain, and high winds.

The house sitter says we are getting slammed.

Can’t say I am sad to be missing it. I have had enough with storms this winter.

Meanwhile, here in D.C. the crabapple trees and forsythia are in bloom. The grass is green. Some of the trees are getting ready to leaf out. This was always my favorite time of year here.

And, as you know, it is my least favorite time of year in Maine.

Speaking of flowers…

My friend Danielle from Finding Silver Pennies sent me a few goodies from her new Hydrangea collection!

How pretty are these note and list pads, notecard, print, and, my favorite, dish towel?! Danielle creates these designs from her own watercolors. She is so talented!

Danielle has a blog and on-line shop. Plus you can buy fabric, wallpaper, and homegoods in her original designs on Spoonflower!

You can read about her new hydrangea collection and also the hydrangea plants she has surrounding her home in Massachusetts in her blog post Hydrangeas For Your Home.

I have also written a blog post about hydrangeas: How to Grow Limelight Hydrangeas for Beauty All Year.

So much love for those beautiful mop-head blooms!

In Zoe’s Kitchen

I spent Friday in Zoë’s kitchen, preparing 5 Pop of Lemon Poppy Cakes for our little Poppy’s 1st birthday party on Saturday!

Zoë will be sharing this recipe in her newsletter this week, in addition to Martha Stewart’s recipe for baked macaroni and cheese. This super creamy version of classic mac and cheese, topped with buttery croutons, has been a family favorite for years. In fact, Zoë used to request it for her birthday dinner when she was young.

Are you seeing the theme here?

Happy birthday to our Poppy, aka Pops, aka Popsicle, aka Poptart, aka Popstar!

Be well, friends!


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