If you are feeling in an angelic frame of mind, Mandy Shaw
has several ideas using folk art angels. All are simple enough
to sew in a few hours or less.
Based on 115cm fabric
20cm of calico
Scraps of red fabric for borders
Fat 1/8 of green fabric for backing and binding
25cm of wadding
20cm square of brushed fabric or felt for wings
Pigma pens, black and red
Raffia, approx 30 strands 20cm long
Flower embroidery thread (or top stitching thread)
20cm of lace
2 buttons to decorate
20cm (8") metal quilt hanger
9 x 12" (22 x 30cm)
You can download a pdf copy of the original magazine pages for this project here, Angels on Duty
Don’t think angels are only for Christmas. This small wall hanging would be great all year round as an angelic influence on family life or as a lovely gift for friends, newly weds, and new homes.
Figure 1: Reverse of the Suffolk puff
Cut calico into a piece 6 x 9" and a 6" circle. After making a pot of tea, add more hot water to the teapot. Pop the 6 x 9" piece in and remove after about 30 minutes for a gentle tea dyed fabric. It’s a good idea to warn your family, especially if they like a second cuppa! Leave to dry and press.
Trace or draw the angel face in the middle of the calico circle with the Pigma pens (use blusher for the rosy cheeks). Sew a running stitch around the outside edge of the circle. Gather up into a Suffolk puff and stuff with a little wadding (Figure 1). Secure the thread. (The puff is attached to the quilt so that the open side is hidden). The face should measure about 2 3/4" in diameter.
Tie the raffia in the middle with a strand. Holding the centre tightly, use a large sharp needle to split the raffia, so that it becomes finer. Glue the hair to the head and trim to get a neat hairstyle.
Using the template Fabric wings, cut two wings from the fabric / felt and one from the wadding. Trim the wadding so that it is about 1/4" smaller than the felt. Make a sandwich of the three layers and sew around the edge, in a blanket stitch using embroidery thread.
Gather up the lace and glue under the angel’s chin. Glue the head over the centre of the wings. If you like you can sew a couple of small buttons onto the wings.
Cut borders from the red fabric, two 2 x 6" and two 2 x 12". Sew the short borders to the top and bottom of the tea dyed calico. Press. Repeat with the remaining side borders. (As an alternative you can use strips left over from another project and sew around the calico in a log cabin fashion).
Trace ‘Angel on duty!’ onto the calico. Cut a piece of wadding and backing 10 x 13". Layer the quilt sandwich and pin. Using embroidery thread, embroider the words in a neat running stitch. Quilt inside the border.
Sew two buttons at the top of the quilt if you wish.
Cut binding strips 1 3/4" wide, pin and sew to all four sides of the quilts. (If you wish to sew with mitred corners, you will need to join strips to give a total length of 45").
Glue the angel to the centre of the quilt, adding a button, bow or sprig of greenery to her hair as you wish. Stitch the heart quilt hanger to the reverse side. Sign, date and love!
Once you understand the basic concept of Mandy’s Suffolk puff angel (steps 1-5), you can vary the scale and turn your angel into a hanging decoration for doors or trees, a brooch, fridge magnet or card.
This uses the same size of puff and wings as for the wall quilt. You will also need a length of twisted cord (about 35cm) and a motif for hanging below the angel. Stitch the cord securely to the back of the wings.
This time, cut a Suffolk puff 3" in diameter and six 4" strips of raffia. The wings are cut from the Foil wings template.
You need a fairly heavyweight foil - washed dishes from ready meals or Indian takeaways are just the right thickness! Take care when cutting as the foil can sometimes be sharp. Place the foil on a pad of fabric and mark the design using a biro. If you press firmly, this will create an indentation on the reverse.
Finish by glueing a 1/2" magnet on the reverse overlapping the wing and calico.
same measurements as for the fridge magnet. The wings are cut from two layers of felt, using the Foil wing template. Blanket stitch the two layers of felt together and sew on a couple of small buttons. Sew or glue a brooch pin to the back of the head.
Cut a rectangle of white card 6 x 8" using scissors which give a decorative edge and fold in half (or use pack of one-fold craft cards). Cut a 3 x 4 1/2" rectangle from brown paper or card and stick it in the middle. Cut the circle of calico 2 3/4" and some foil wings . Once completed, glue the angel face at the centre of the card. Add further decorations as you like, such as a raffia tie, gluedon buttons or a seasonal greeting with a silver pen.
These small angels are wonderful to make with children (take care when cutting the foil). For quicker wings, buy 20cm (8") of wire edged gold or organza ribbon. Fold both ends to the middle, overlap slightly and tie (Figure 2). Glue the head at the centre and ‘fluff out’ the ribbon wings.
Figure 2: Using wire edged ribbon
First published in Popular Patchwork January/February 2001