DIY & Crafts

Create your own creche

Author: Canadian Living

DIY & Crafts

Create your own creche

This holiday season, celebrate the first Christmas. Set the scene by stitching these charming crèche figures to go under your family tree. Nestled among the packages, they're a reminder of other gifts: hope, happiness, and new beginnings.

Created by designer Renée Schwarz.

Finished adult figures are approx 15 cm (6 in) tall. Baby is approx 10 cm (4 in) long. Lambs are approx 8 cm (3-1/8 in) tall. To see larger image of nativity scene click here.

You Need:

To get the patterns for this craft click here.

For human figures:
Piece of sweatsuit fleece, 50 x 20 cm (19-3/4 x 7-7/8 in), for each adult body
Piece of sweatsuit fleece, 25 x 15 cm (9-7/8 x 6 in), for baby's body
Piece of white or coloured cotton, 35 x 15 cm (13-7/8 x 6 in), for each robe
Piece of coloured cotton, 15 cm (6 in) square, for each cloak
Piece of white cotton, 15 cm square, for swaddling clothes
Piece of white fake fur with woolly pile, 20 x 10 cm (7-7/8 x 4 in), for shepherd's vest*
Piece of unbleached cotton 20 x 10 cm, for vest lining
Piece of brown felt, 25 x 15 cm, for each pair of sandals
Polyester stuffing
Scraps of metallic ribbon, trim and thread, to decorate robes and cloaks
Matching thread
Embroidery floss to match baby's skin; black, brown or blue floss as desired, for eyes; red floss for mouths; and light brown floss for toes
Thin crochet cotton, for Mary's hair
Fuzzy yarn, for other hair
Small crochet hook
Clothespins
Powder blush (optional)
Small hooked twig, approx 14 cm (5-1/2 in) tall, for shepherd's crook
White craft glue
Brown paper

*Shepherd wears no cloak.

For Each Lamb:
Piece of white fake fur with woolly pile, 25 x 10 cm (9-7/8 x 4 in), for body
Piece of brown sweatsuit fleece, 25 x 5 cm (9-7/8 x 2 in), for head and hooves
Scrap of brown felt, for ears
White and black embroidery floss
Brown paper

For Gifts:
3/4-in dowel, 3/4 in long
1/2-in dowel, 1/2 in long
3/4- x 1-in wood, 1/2 in long
1- x 2-in wood, 1/2 in long
1/8-in-thick piece of wood, 1-1/2 in square
Scraps of flat metallic trim
Black bead
Red, blue and brown permanent markers
White craft glue

To Make:

General Notes:
Enlarge pattern by squaring method as follows: On brown paper, draw grid of horizontal and vertical lines 2.5 cm (1 in) apart. Each square on diagram equals a 2.5 cm square on your paper. Enlarge by drawing each line of design onto corresponding square on your paper. Make a separate set of pattern pieces for Mary, cutting each piece 3 mm (1/8 in) in from all edges. Transfer any markings.

Sew with right sides together, using matching thread, small stitches and 6 mm (1/4-in) seam allowance, unless otherwise indicated. Backstitch seam ends. Stuff firmly. To embroider, use 2 strands of floss and hide knots by beginning and ending stitching at back of head (for face) and bottom of feet (for toes).

MARY

1. Cut all pieces for body and garments. From remaining felt, cut 4 strips, each 6 cm x 3 mm (2-3/8 x 1/8 in), for sandal straps.

2. Sew 2 body pieces together, leaving bottom edge open. Sew body bottom in place, leaving open between Xs. Turn right side out. Stuff. Turn under 6 mm (1/4 in) around opening; slipstitch opening closed.

3. Sew each pair of leg pieces together, leaving top and sole edges open. With leg seams aligned with Xs on sole, sew each sole in place. Turn right side out. Stuff. Turn under 1 cm (3/8 in) around each opening; slipstitch to body. (Note: If necessary, add stuffing to ensure rigid leg joint.) Embroider 6 straight stitches to indicate toes.

Overlap ends of each sandal strap approx 3 mm (1/8 in), to form loop; tack together. Repeat to make 4 loops. Cover top of 1 sandal piece with glue. With tacked ends down, lay 2 loops across glued sandal piece from notch to notch; place another sandal piece inside loops, sandwiching straps between layers. Clamp with clothespin; let dry. Repeat to make 2 sandals. Slip sandals on feet; tack in place.

4. Sew each pair of arm pieces together, leaving top edge open. Snip into corner formed by thumb. Turn right side out. Stuff. Turn under 6 mm around opening; slipstitch opening closed. Centre top edge across side seam of body, approx 1.3 cm (1/2 in) from body top; slipstitch.

5. Sew face pieces together down centre-front seam. Sew face to head back around side seams, leaving open between Xs. Clip corner under nose. Turn right side out. Stuff. Turn under 6 mm around opening; slipstitch to body. (Note: If necessary, add stuffing to ensure rigid neck joint.)

Satin-stitch eyes where indicated, then outline with tiny backstitches. Backstitch mouth. To shape nose: At base of nose on one side, make small stitch, pushing needle through to other side. Make another small stitch and push needle out first hole on other side. Repeat twice. Apply small amount of powder blush to cheeks if desired.

6. Cut crochet cotton into 14 cm (5-1/2-in) lengths; arrange into bundIle approx 4 cm (1-5/8 in) wide. Centre bundle lengthwise across head. Backstitch to head down centre to form part. Arrange and trim hair as desired.

7. Sew 2 robe pieces together at shoulder seams, leaving open to X on 1 side. Turn under 3 mm around neck edge and shoulder opening; stitch. Turn under 6 mm twice around wrist and hem edges; stitch. Clip seam allowance at underarm. Turn right side out. Put robe on figure; slipstitch shoulder opening closed.

8. Turn under 6 mm twice along all edges of cloak; stitch. Wrap 1 edge of cloak around neck so corners overlap. Tack corners together.

9. Wrap ribbon around neck over cloak; tie under chin.

JOSEPH

1. Follow Mary, steps 1 through 5, omitting mouth.

2. With single-crochet stitches and yarn, work in round to crochet a solid circle approx 5 cm (2 in) in diameter, for hair. Backstitch to head.

With single-crochet stitches and matching yarn, crochet flat beard, using pattern piece as shape guide. Backstitch to head, joining to hair at each temple.

3. Follow Mary, steps 7 and 8.

BABY

1. Sew 2 body pieces together, leaving open between Xs at top of head. Clip seam allowance at underarms and crotch. Turn right side out. Stuff. Turn under 6 mm around opening; slipstitch opening closed. Wrap short length of matching floss around neck; tie at back, gathering slightly to form neck. Tack hands together.

2. Embroider stitches for eyes, nose and mouth where indicated.

3. Follow Joseph, Step 2, crocheting circle 4 cm (1-5/8 in) in diameter and omitting beard.

4. Press under 6 mm twice around all edges of square; stitch. Fold in half to form triangle and wrap around baby; tack closed.

SHEPHERD

1. Follow Mary, steps 1 through 5, omitting mouth.

2. Follow Joseph, Step 2, backstitching eyebrows if desired.

3. Follow Mary, Step 7.

4. Sew lining to vest around all edges, leaving open between Xs. Clip seam allowance around curves. Turn right side out. Turn under 6 mm around opening. Slipstitch opening closed. Put vest on shepherd. Slipstitch shoulder seams closed.

5. Stitch or glue crook to 1 palm.

WISE MAN

1. Follow Mary, steps 1 through 5, omitting mouth if face is bearded.

2. Follow Joseph, Step 2, omitting beard or backstitching mouth or eyebrows if desired.

3. Follow Mary, steps 7 and 8, satin stitching corners of cloak closed with metallic thread and stitching decorative trim along edges of robe and cloak as desired.

GIFTS

Note: Each step makes separate gift. Glue finished gift between palms of each wise man.

1. Centre and glue flat bottom of small dowel to flat top of large dowel. Let dry. With marker, colour red. Glue trim around each dowel section. Centre and glue black bead on top of small dowel.

2. With brown marker, draw “lid” line around 1/2-in-tall sides of 3/4- x 1-in wood. On 1 long side, draw lock and hinges on “box.”

3. Centre and glue large flat side of 1- x 2-in wooden rectangle to 1/8-in-thick square. With markers, colour rectangle blue and square red. Glue trim around sides of rectangle.

LAMB

1. From fake fur, cut one 9 cm (3-1/2-in) square, for body; 4 pieces, 7 x 4 cm (2-3/4 x 1-5/8 in), for legs; and 1 piece, 3 x 2 cm (1-1/8 x 3/4 in), for tail. From fleece, cut 1 head piece; and 4 pieces, 7 x 2.5 cm (2-3/4 x 1 in), for hooves. From felt, cut 2 ears.

2. Sew neck edge of head along 1 edge of body, making small tuck at midpoint of body edge so corners match. Fold joined piece in half along length; sew down front of face and along belly, leaving back end open. Turn right side out. Stuff. Turn under 6 mm twice around opening; slipstitch opening closed. Wrap short length of matching floss around neck; tie under chin, gathering slightly to form neck.

3. With black floss, satin-stitch eyes and embroider a stitch for each nostril where indicated. With white floss, outline eyes with tiny backstitches.

Fold each ear in half along length; tack straight edge to head.

Press under 3 mm around all edges of tail; fold in half along length; slipstitch open edges closed. Tack in place.

4. Sew 1 hoof to each leg, joining 7 cm edges, Fold each joined piece in half along length; stitch across bottom edge and up leg, leaving top edge open. (Note: Round corners and use slightly larger seam allowance on hooves.) Turn right side out.

Stuff. Turn under 6 mm around each opening; slipstitch leg in place. (Note: if necessary, add stuffing to ensure rigid leg joint.)

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