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Inspiration for me comes from the strangest places … this year for Christmas I decided that I would make some lovely felted ornaments, in the shape of gingerbread men. Then I thought how cute it would be if the ornaments had “bite” marks in them; I had seen a set of cookie cutters a year or so ago, in the shape of “half eaten” gingerbread men, and thought they were hilarious.
So on a slow evening I retreated to my sewing room, sat down with a piece of cardboard, some brown felt, and various odds and sods and within two hours I had made my first three “zombie gingerbread” ornaments. (Hmmm … I seemed to have missed a step … OH, did I mention I was watching “The Walking Dead” at the time? No? Well, I was. Great show.) It wasn’t that much of a mental stretch, to be honest … half-eaten gingerbread men … back for revenge … zombie gingerbread.
- Fine tip black marker
- 1-2 yards of brown felt (depending on how many ornaments you decide to make)
- cotton batting for stuffing
- sharp scissors
- sewing machine
- needle for hand sewing (if desired)
- (for decorating) rick rack, ribbon, buttons, fabric paint
The first step is to decide how big you want your half-eaten gingerbread ornament to be … I think up to about 5-6 inches long is good, and about 3-4 inches across…this will make the figure large enough to add enough gory detail, but small enough so that they will not instantly be noticed when visitors come to admire your tree. My little guy below is about 6.5 inches long and about 4.5 inches across.
Trace a basic gingerbread figure, with missing appendages, on a piece of cardboard, (Figure 1). This will allow you to use the pattern over and over again without the pattern getting ripped and torn. Along one of the sides of the figure, make two notches to indicate where you will leave the seam open to lightly stuff the figure with some cotton batting.
Place your pattern onto a piece of brown felt, and trace the pattern with a fine tip black marker, (Figure 2). The outline should be just barely visible on the felt; this will help when you go to sew the felt together. Place the traced felt piece on top of another piece of felt, and pin the two segments together, with the outlined piece on top (Figure 3).
Using your sewing machine, sew the two pieces of felt together, following the outline of the gingerbread figure, (Figure 4).
Take special care around the “bite marks” … lift up the presser foot and adjust the material as needed to get the best bite impression. By the time I did the third ornament it was super easy. Also remember to leave a small opening along the side to stuff … (Figure 5)
Once the felt pieces are sewn together, use a sharp pair of scissors to cut around the outline…try to cut as close as possible to the seam. (Figure 6)
You now have a half-eaten gingerbread figure. Now all it needs is a little stuffing, (Figure 7), and a hook for hanging (Figure 8). When you stuff your zombie ornament with batting, you may also want to leave a little hanging out, like entrails. (Remember, not TOO much stuffing…most gingerbread men are fairly flat when they come out of the oven. Use just enough stuffing to give it a bit of a body).
You now have a blank slate in front of you. It’s time to unleash your inner zombie freak! For my first attempt I stuck with the very simple-to-use 3D paint markers. These are fabric pens that give a great 3D effect, and are SO easy to handle. If you are making zombie gingerbread you will most assuredly need the following colours; red (blood), white, black, green (gangrene), and perhaps a little yellow (gangrene/pus). Just remember to let the paint dry for a day.
If you are more creative, you could also hand-sew scraps of rick rack or ribbon to simulate a zombie gingerbread man’s torn “clothes”, a spare black button for an eye…the possibilities are endless.
One last note…zombies need a victim to chase, so it doesn’t matter how many gingerbread zombies you make…remember to make a terrified looking victim or two!!