Gnomes Tutorial

Posted by on October 24, 2010 in Holiday, sewing, thriting, tutorial | 40 comments

Does anyone else get a little giddy when the Magic Cabin catalog comes in the mail?  All that natural cuteness makes me happy.  I love you Kathe Kruse!  Magic Cabin carries lots of her beautiful waldorf style dolls and toys.  I am sure she doesn't have half dressed plastic Barbie dolls all over her house like me!  I saw this cuteness in the new catalog.  Inspiration (combined with motivation) finally  hit and here is the result…

I have a love of seventies fabric scraps so my gnomes HAD to be from that pile of course.  The heads are big chunky wooden beads that were around from some uncompleted project & the hat is wool felt.

Here is a picture of the materials I used~
  The one I have pictured is my smallest gnome.  I used a 5" square piece of fabric.  The others are 6" and 7".   So you can choose or make yours a variety of sizes.

Start by taking your piece of fabric and folding it in half with the right sides together.  On one of those short sides, sew a seam starting about 3/4" to and 1" from the open edge and make a curve at the end like in the picture below.  In the picture I already trimmed away the right angle of fabric into a curve.  

 Now move onto the next edge, fold it, start sewing an 1" from the open edge, sew a curve, and trim of the excess fabric.  In some of them I didn't do this curve and it still turned out cute but a little more poofy on top.  Once you have sewn up all four edges it should look like this…

 Turn it inside out.  Just stuff polyfil in at this time or you can add some weight to the bottom by putting  some beans, rice, or popcorn in the bottom. Stuff a small handful of polyfil so that it is about 2/3rds full.

 Stuff a small handful of polyfil so that it is about 2/3rds full.  


Now twist the top so you can put the bead head on.


Pull the fabric twist through the bead head.  Sometimes this is really easy- if you have enough fabric and if you used lightweight cotton but can be a challenge if you use decorator fabric.  just stick with it you'll get the hang of it.  Pull the fabric through as tight as you can and it should look like this..

UPDATE!  Nice commenter Julie just made this great suggestion for this step of the project~

"For anyone that has trouble pulling the fabric through.. I used a long oversized saftey pin to pin the fabric and pull it through the bead.. after you get the fabric through, just un pin the saftey pin, and voila!"

Thanks Julie!  That will make it better for sure.


It is cute already!  Now for the hat.  This is the template Download Gnome hat for what i used but if your beads are bigger, it is very easy to make on your own hat by wrapping a piece of felt around the head, holding it closed with your fingers and cutting up to make a triangle as tall as you want the hat to be.  See? Easy.

Fold in half to make the hat.  I use my sewing machine and have a small seam- less than 1/8".  You can do it by hand too if you are uncomfortable with that tiny seam.I like to leave the top a little open so that i can have a really pointy top when i turn it inside out in the next step.

Turn it out with a chopstick.  Try to poke out the tip.  At this point you can just hot glue on the hat and be done. If you are going to have kids playing with it, you can secure that hat on better with a little more work.  

Thread the needle with the embroidery thread and go through the place where fabric comes out of the top of the bead head.  Sorry my picture turned out terribly dark so I don't have one of this step.  Take your needle up through the top of the hat and start sewing down with a simple whip stitch.

If your stitches are a little loose you can give the thread a pull to make your hat bend in a cute way.


At this point, the hat is on but it needs a little something else. I usually just use the hot glue gun to secure it. 

Now use a permanent marker and make some cute little faces!

I am seriously addicted to these little friends!  You can make bunches at one time.  Make as many as you want for personal use and gifts.  If you have a question, leave it in the comments and I will try to answer!  I would love to see your gnomes in my new gnome flickr group!  



  1. super cute Virginia! They would make cute christmas ornaments (maybe santa ones!) I am trying to get ready for your challenge! 🙂

  2. So, so sweet!

  3. These are adorable. Great directions too. I often look at the Magic Cabin catalog and think, “I could make that..” You DID!

  4. So cute…too bad Gigi is so left handed!

  5. So incredibly perfect! These will be the cutest little Preschool Christmas presents ever! Thanks for the inspiration! Exclamation point!

  6. Those are too cute…and I have the same fabric! My sisters and I used to do something similar, only the bodies were always cylinder shaped and they couldn’t stand up. Never thought of making them round!

  7. These would make awesome ornaments. I can’t wait to get started!

  8. So darling! I love the European, vintage feel of these! I want to make some for my girls. Would be so darling atop presents at Christmas too! Thanks. Found you via Whipup

  9. These little fellows are so adorable. Thanks for sharing this charming idea and tutorial.

  10. Oh my gosh! These are adorable!!! I can’t wait to make a TON for my daughter, her friends and everyone else I know!!! 🙂


  11. Gorgeous! Thank you so much for a wonderful tutorial. I made some Halloween Gnomes last night (I just couldn’t go to bed until I had!). Can’t wait to make some more…. Thanks again!

  12. My brother Dans wife Erika made simular gnomes with whole bodies and beards into Christmas ornaments. This is a cool blog area. You should stop by sometime I have a 1913-1915 tredle singer i am fixing up and hope to be sewing on soon.

  13. Sorry major typeo asking spelling words and emailing at the same time. It was wool bodies:)

  14. These are unbelievably precious, and they look easy enough for little hands to whip out! I’ll definitely do this with my sewing club kids in December, maybe with some snowy fabrics.

  15. Genius! Love these! So simple and yet they will be a delight hiding in the tree branches! Thank you for the great tutorial.

  16. OMG. I LOVE THESE! I am trying them out this weekend!
    Thanks so much for the tutorial! You are my idol!!

  17. For anyone that has trouble pulling the fabric through.. I used a long oversized saftey pin to pin the fabric and pull it through the bead.. after you get the fabric through, just un pin the saftey pin, and voila!

  18. OMG, they’re so adorable! Thanks, I can’t wait to try making them!

  19. Sooo cute.

  20. I saw you on craft gossip!
    That is just the cutest thing!! Thank you so much for sharing! I’ll have to make some with my daughter!

  21. Oh so adorable! Thanks for sharing!!

  22. So cute I want to make one each for my kids and nieces to hang on the Xmas tree with their names on them…. Thanks for a great free tutorial

  23. muito legal!!!

  24. Cute as, thank you so much!

  25. Thank you for your tutorial! It was fun, easy, and an enjoyable project for my son and I. They are so cute.

  26. Hi!

    Wanted you to know I posted a link to this tutorial today on my blog, PaperFriendly.

    Nancy Ward

  27. Cute!!!! They might be better with arms and legs though, BUT I love them any way (and a great way to use up my scrap fabric!)

  28. Thank you for sharing!! 😀

  29. these are wonderful thank you for posting this fun idea. i had my kids at my preschool make them last week and they turned out VERY cute! ( ) ours had to wear scarfs though as it is just too, too cold right now.

  30. SO cute! What size wooden beads did you use?

  31. So adorable !
    I am ready to make a few on my own. Thank you for sharing 😀

  32. adorable! I think I’ll make some with my kiddos tomorrow to welcome the changing seasons!

  33. so cute 😉

  34. so cute 😉
    thanks for share free tutorial 🙂

  35. MMMM !!!! I like these too , after the carolers , I will try them !!!!

  36. Many thanks for this tutorial. These gnomes are so funny and easy to do. I have a lot of fun of making it. They are perfect surprises for friends and parents.


  37. So cute. I need to make some for my church fair!!

  38. Holy Moly!! My daughter is a GnomeManiac!! I will have to make her one as a pincushion for her stocking! Thanks!!

    Oh and I just had a thought! I can make them in Valentine fabric and give them away to! Oh that will be a fun craft day! Double thanks!

  39. Cute,cute, cute. I decided they would be a cute project to give to my quilting cottage group. Thanks

  40. I love them. I get a similar catalogue called Myriad (uk) and just pour over every page. A great alternative gift for friends. Thank you

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