Saturday, 30 October 2010

Lobethal Lantern Sewing Instructions

The Lobethal Lanterns are large, light textile constructions, that can be made from recycled fabrics.  Lobethal Lanterns are a unique decoration that was designed for the Lobethal community in 2009 by Cindi Drennan of Illuminart, to celebrate Lobethal’s textile based traditions and the town’s long running Lights of Lobethal festival.

In 2010 over 200 lanterns were made in workshops in Lobethal, and are displayed in the main street during festival times. The project has been supported by the Lights of Lobethal, Arts SA and Festivals Australia.

If you are a lobethal resident with an interest in making your own lantern, you can follow the sewing instructions here. The sewing pattern is available as downloadable pdf, that can be printed on A4 sheets of paper and joined together using the line-up marks. See below – right click the links to download printable patterns and instructions. You can follow the instructions or interpret in your own creative way.

A demonstration of how to make the lantern is shown here:

Instructions on how to make a Lobethal Lantern:

Sewing: These lanterns in this pattern can be made by hand, but it is easiest with a 4 thread overlocker or straight stitch with a zig zag.

Recommended Fabrics: brightly coloured, light fabrics such as Georgette, Chiffon, Silk, Sheer Rayon and Cotton, Tulle or Lace, and any other see through fabrics – you can recycle old dresses or lace curtains or tablecloths, they look terrific. Approx 1.5m x 1.2m.

Extras: Interwoven stiffening (a strip approx 150cm long and 8cm wide) to use for circumferance tunnel and dowel sleeves; 130cm fibreglass rods or wicker for centre circle (about 2.5mm diameter), and 100cm dowel or similar for the tension pole (about 6mm diameter); 50cm ribbon pieces for hanging the Lantern, wool for tassels, bells and other decorations.

Cutting: Decide whether it is a lantern with 4,5 or 6 sides, and cut 8, 10 or 12 of the pieces on fabric on straight grain, following the pattern diagrams. Allow 1cm Seam allowance.

Hanging and Storing: Many lanterns have been made during community workshops and these will be hung along the main street and in homes during festive events, such as the Lights of Lobethal. Hang them from a hook on a verandah, or attach them to a garden stake in a lawn so they stand upright. They are for daytime display or illumination with renewable energy powered LEDs. Its easiest to store them flat by taking out the centre dowel.


  1. Sew panels together in correct groupings to make a top half and bottom half of the Lantern. (eg if a 4-sided Lantern, sew 4 pieces to make the top half, and 4 for the bottom half)
  2. Place the two pieces right side together, matching the panel seams, and stitch a folded 8cm stiffening strip to the circumference seam. This creates a tunnel through which to thread a 130cm fibreglass or wicker rod. Leave a 1.5 gap at each end, seam allowance for joining the final panels.
  3. Stitch a 15cm opening section, 10cm from the top, on one side only. Join the remaining panel seam edges – and leaving the opening section unjoined.
  4. Make 2 sleeves (which will hold the 100 cm long tensioning dowel in place). Double over stiffening fabric and stitch to form the sleeve 7cm x 1.5cm in size. Leave the end open.

  5. With lantern inside out, place a sleeve piece and a ribbon loop in each end of the lantern, and secure with overlocker.

  6. Turn lantern right side out through the opening.Thread the fibreglass or wicker rod through the centre stiffening tunnel. Insert the tensioning dowel, and secure the ends into the sleeves at each Lantern point.

  7. Hand stitch tassels or your desired decoration around the centre… then hang and enjoy your beautiful Lantern. Simply remove the centre dowel if you wish to store it flat.


Project: Lights of Lobethal.