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An old-style 24 stage count in the somewhat sophisticated format of a tree - which is more suitable as a table centre-piece or desktop decoration than as a toy or a suspended artwork. In use, the tree should start as an octagonal cone - with all 24 side branch pockets pushed inwards.
A yard of 42" fabric includes both the 16" and the 8" tree. The large tree will stand just under 15" tall on a 13" wide base once assembled. The lower branches will protrude a little beyond that when pulled out.
To construct each tree, first cut out all its pieces (8 side elevations, 1 base and optional 2-piece star) and make the indicated easing snips in the seams below branches - to enable these edges to be turned right side out after sewing. The pale green outlines around the main pattern pieces should be more than enough seam allowance. In contrast, the stars are designed to be cut to whatever size you prefer.
I suggest ironing folds for the 24 retractable branches / pockets - ie along the straight cone edges of the side elevations. I think this will help the branches to be pushed in properly as pockets.
Choose an order of side elevations, eg consecutive clockwise or anticlockwise. Another possible arrangement (matching typical plant growth) would be 1, 4, 7, 2, 5, 8, 3, 6 around the base. The numbers are just on one side of each branch/pocket to enable any base order. Although the upper tiers are then fixed in that same pattern.
Assemble an octagonal cone by sewing each zig-zag edge in turn. It's important to try to get a reasonably tight top to the tree. Trim a little more of the seam allowance if necessary. Be very careful only to sew up the side edges of the elevations, including the underside of the lowest branch, and leaving the bottom edges open for attachment to the base piece.
Join the spiky cone to the octagon base but turn right sides out and lightly stuff before closing. Too much stuffing will go into the side branches and prevent them from becoming pockets. Not enough and the tree won't stand up.
Affix beads to each branch end and to the tree top (small enough to fit into the pockets but large enough to assist in pulling them out to the extended position). The few printed baubles are just the start. This is your chance to create a uniquely decorated tree. This would also be the time to applique or embroider little designs onto the revealed pocket-branches. The star can be a permanent top knot attachment or be something left with an open angle between points ready to be placed onto the top of the tree on day 25.
To use: push in all 24 branches alongside cone faces and add small items to the pockets thus formed. Eg (wrapped!) sweets, mottos/jokes/memos, coins, rings etc. The count-up (not down!) has started ...
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