Christmas in July ~ Candy Canes

I love candy canes.

Candy-Canes

While I’m quite partial to the edible kind, most of the candy canes I have at the holidays are made of cotton.

CT-Candy-Canes

Many years ago, a friend had a big bucket full of these, all striped.  Every time she’d see a red and white stripe fabric, she’d buy a little bit to add a few new canes to her collection.  Not having that kind of foresight but having  a lot of red and white prints, I went for a different kind of variety.

One caveat – while these are easy to make, they aren’t a done-in-a-day kind of project.  The stuffing takes the longest, and then the canes will need at least a day or two to dry.  But more on that in a bit.

Here’s what you need to know.

Step 1.  Download the template-instructions – Candy Cane Template.

Step 2.  Trace the template onto template plastic or cardboard.  (I save the back pieces from Layer Cakes for this sort of thing.)  There are advantages to each.  The cardboard is easier to trace as there is a bit more edge to use against your pen or pencil.  But the plastic template lets you adjust the fabric placement for stripes, checks, etc.

CT-Canes-Templates

Step 3.  Using a piece of fabric at least 6″ wide by 9″ long, fold the fabric in half lengthwise with right sides together so that it measures approx. 3″ x 9″.

Step 4.  On the wrong side of the double-layer of fabric, trace the template using a permanent pen or pencil.

Trace as many candy canes as will fit leaving at least 1/2″ between them – that’s 1/4″ seam allowance on both pieces.

CT-Canes-Traced

Step 5.  Using a slightly smaller than usual stitch, stitch on the drawn line.  Do not stitch across the bottom – leave that open.

Step 6. Trim the seam to a 1/4″ – leaving a 1/4″ extra at the bottom of the candy cane.

Step 7.  Clip the curves or “scoop” them using a very sharp pair of small scissors.  (These 5″ embroidery scissors by Elan are perfect for the job.)  The purpose is the same but the scoops seem to give the curves a smoother finish.

Be careful not to clip or scoop too close to the seam.

CT-Canes-Trimmed

Step 8.  As cute and collectible as they seem, throw away the little “seeds” you’ve scooped out.  Really.  Trust me on this one.

Before turning the candy cane right-side out, press the 1/4″ excess at the bottom edge as shown.  Do this on both sides.  I’ve found it makes stitching the opening closed a bit easier.

This is what the scoops look like – up close.  Please ignore the line of stitching that is not exactly on top of the drawn line.

CT-Canes-Scoop-Close

Step 9.  Carefully turn the candy cane right side out.  Use a knitting needle or chopstick to give the edges a good curve.  Seriously, both “tools” work really well.)  Press.

CT-Candy-Canes-Unstuffed

Now they’re ready for stuffing.

CT-Canes-Finished

Step 10.  Using small pieces of fiberfill – polyester or cotton – start stuffing the cane.  The hook and tip of the candy cane is the hardest part – so go slowly and use small bits of fill.  Be careful trying to stuff the canes too full, that’s when the seams are mostly likely to split.

Stuff to desired firmness – they should be firm enough to stand up if placed in a container.  They are also going to get an application of fabric stiffener so “rock hard” is not required.

Stitch the bottom closed – by hand or by machine.

Note: If you should happen to poke a hole in the side of the candy cane while stuffing it, don’t worry.  Remove enough fiberfill that turning under the edges is possible, then stitch the opening closed using a tack- or slip-stitch.  It will show a little bit when it’s finished but depending on where the seam separated, it might not be noticeable at all.  A hole on the outside edge will show more than one on the inside curve… ask me how I know.

Step 11.  Make as many candy canes as you can – more is better.  (See above.)

Step 12.  Fill a flat baking dish measuring at least 10″ long – glass, metal or aluminum foil will work – to approximately 1/2″ with a water-based fabric stiffener.  Any brand will work – I happened to find this one at my local craft store.

Water-based because it makes clean-up much easier.

CT-Fabric-Stiffener

Step 13.  Dip each candy cane in the fabric stiffener long enough to get it well-coated.  Repeat on the other side.  The candy cane should be fairly wet but it doesn’t need to be soaked all the way through.

Let dry.  The best way to do this is to let the candy canes hang from a hangar or clothesline.  The next-best option is to let them dry on a cooling rack – but preferably not the same one you use for Chocolate Chip Cookies.

That’s it!

Now comes the hard part… finding lots of red and white fabric.

CT-Candy-Canes-Crop

(P.S. My candy canes are all made with leftover pieces from a whole lot of Bonnie & Camille collections.)

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19 comments on “Christmas in July ~ Candy Canes

  1. pamelajs56 says:

    ADORABLE! I love them! I have to make a bunch for myself!

  2. Libby says:

    I love Candy Canes !!! Thanks for sharing !!

    “Merry Christmas in July”

  3. Joyce Gieszler says:

    Love these… with a Christmas birthday I think I’m entitled to all things Christmas! By any chance did you try pinking shears on the edges? This seems like a perfect project for them. Thanks for your entertaining, informative posts.

  4. Peggy says:

    What a great idea. If I start now I can have a big bunch in time for Christmas. Thanks Carrie !

    Peggy in NJ

  5. Judy says:

    So cute!! I like the variety of prints you used.

  6. 3leggedquilter says:

    these would make excellent individual Christmas Tree decorations.
    or unstuffed to be used as book markers using either Christmas wrapping paper or fabric.
    or copied onto sponges to be used as stamps on plain wrapping paper and home made Christmas cards.
    or even using a sheet of parchment paper folded accordian style, you could make candy cane paper chains to be colored in with various markers.
    the varied projects for these are almost endless!

    • 3leggedquilter says:

      P>S> not to mention an applique Christmas quilt made with with lots of crossed canes in varied fabrics, solid sashings between the blocks, and print corner stones from the left over fabric bits.

  7. Terrie says:

    These are adorable!! Thank you for sharing the tutorial. If I start now, I can make some for Christmas gift toppers 🙂

  8. Mary Ann says:

    Oh these are so adorable! I just started Fall quilt this week…Lucy! But I will be moving on to Christmas soon I hope. Thanks for all the inspiration Carrie and Moda.

  9. Mary Andra Holmes says:

    I remember these well. I recently found the pattern and thought it would be great to start a collection to give to our grandchildren. Thank you for the fun memory Carrie.

  10. Hildy says:

    These look really great! Thanks for the tutorial:-)

  11. quiltingholliday says:

    I’ve been thinking that my “Christmas in July” projects should begin now that the 4th of July is over! I think these sweet little candy canes could be my first project! Thanks for sharing this wonderful little project Carrie!

  12. Clair Becker says:

    oh my this is so cool,thanks for the pattern

  13. stephanie woodward says:

    My quilt guild would love these as table decorations for our Christmas luncheon.

  14. Judy Windham says:

    They are adorable. Love candy canes. Can you use the crushed walnut shells for stuffing?

  15. Diana Wylie says:

    Such a great idea!

  16. Sharon Askew says:

    You so generously shared these candy canes in a 12 Days of Christmas (I think) many, many years ago and I had such fun making and sharing these. Actually, they look really good on a large Christmas Tree and as package decoration. Sadly, though, I misplaced by template and instructions. Thank you again for being so generous. WooHoo!

  17. Debbie Rogowski says:

    could you use a sponge brush and paint on the stiffener?

  18. Sandy D says:

    I like the candy canes. I am going to make some for sure.

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