Friday, 6 November 2015

How To: Embroidered Felt Christmas Baubles

Today I'm sharing a tutorial for making felt Christmas ornaments decorated with festive embroidery.


These decorations are easy and fun to sew, and a great way to practice your embroidery skills if this is a craft that's new to you.

You could sew a whole set in co-ordinating colours, or just make individual ornaments. A hand stitched Christmas ornament makes a lovely gift!


I made my baubles in red, dark green and bright green felt. I thought these colours would work well together but actually, the light green didn't work quite as well as I'd thought. The white stitching looks nice close-up but gets a little lost against the green background from a distance. I'd definitely recommend trying doing some test stitching on a bit of scrap felt to check your chosen colours work well together before you stitch a whole pattern.

All the embroidery is done with white embroidery thread (floss), and the edges of the baubles are blanket stitched with more white thread (floss). If you're not confident with blanket stitch, you could use whip stitch in a matching shade of sewing thread (so your stitches blend in with the background felt) but if you can master the blanket stitch it's well worth the effort as it creates a lovely neat finish and frames the baubles very nicely. I used white ribbon loops for my ornaments but you could use ribbon in colours to match the felt.


I used the following embroidery patterns for my baubles: a penguin, a Christmas pudding, and a pair of snowmen (follow the links to view and print each pattern).  It's taken me two years to get round to stitching this set of patterns after sharing them on my blog but they're actually very quick to stitch - I promise!


I also decorated one bauble with this angel embroidery pattern - as you'll see, I've left out some of the detail when stitching the angel to make it better fit in with the other four designs.


As well as the embroidery patterns, you will need:

- craft felt in red and green (or your chosen colours)
- sewing thread to match the felt
- contrasting sewing thread to use for the tacking stitches
- white stranded embroidery thread (floss)
- narrow ribbon for the ribbon loops
- toy stuffing
- a five inch embroidery hoop (the designs fit inside a four inch hoop but I find it's helpful to have a bit more room to stitch in)
- white tissue paper or baking paper
- a fine pen for tracing the patterns
- sewing needles and pins
- sewing scissors
- craft scissors
- tracing paper
- the circle template at the bottom of this page (or a compass, ruler and pencil to draw your own)

To make each bauble:

1. Trace your chosen pattern onto white tissue paper, or baking paper, using a fine pen (a biro would do nicely). I like using tissue paper as it's so easy to sew through but it can tear easily, so take care! Leave the ink to dry completely then trim away any excess paper leaving a small border around the pattern.

2. Stretch a piece of felt in a five inch embroidery hoop, then position the pattern in the centre. Use sewing thread in a contrasting colour to tack the pattern in place, sewing around the motif with long stitches. Secure the end of the thread with a few smaller stitches so it's held in place but will be easy to remove later.

3. Begin stitching the motif. Using white stranded embroidery thread (floss), separate half the strands - e.g. for six-stranded thread (floss) just use three strands. Use these strands to backstitch the design with small stitches.


4. When you've finished stitching the whole design, remove the tacking stitches then carefully tear away the paper pattern. You may need to use a sewing pin to remove any small remaining pieces of paper stuck in your stitches. Then remove the felt from the hoop.

Your finished embroidery should look something like this:


5. Using the template provided (or a compass, ruler and pencil) draw a circle (four inches across) on a piece of tracing paper then cut it out. The see-through paper will help you position the circle perfectly around your embroidered motif.

Position the tracing paper circle with the embroidery in the centre, then pin the paper to the felt. Cut around the circle and remove the pins. This circle will be the front of your bauble.


6. Also cut a matching plain felt circle, for the back of the bauble. 


7. Cut a piece of ribbon, approx 6 inches long. I used white ribbon for my baubles, to match the white stitching.

Fold the ribbon over to create a loop and sew the ends to the top of the backing circle. Use whip stitch and sewing thread to match the felt, sewing into the felt not through it.


8. Place the front and back of the bauble together, then use more white embroidery thread (floss) (using half the strands, as before) to blanket stitch the edges together. Start your stitching at the top of the bauble then begin sewing round the edge.


9. Leave a gap to stuff the bauble, adding small pieces of toy stuffing gradually until you're happy with the bauble shape. Then sew up the remaining gap with more blanket stitches and finish your stitching neatly at the back.


Your finished bauble(s) will look something like this:

 

Follow the links to view and print the penguin, Christmas pudding, snowmen and angel embroidery patterns. 


Click here to view the circle template sheet, make sure you're viewing it full size then print it at 100%.


This tutorial is for personal use only: you can use it to stitch as many baubles as you want for yourself or as gifts, but please don't make any for sale. You may borrow a photo or two photo if you want to blog about this project, but remember to credit me and link back to the original source, and do not reproduce my entire post or share the patterns themselves on your site. Thanks!

For lots more free Christmas tutorials, check out my crafty tutorial archive or browse my Christmas Tutorials board on Pinterest.  

2 comments:

S.P Bragg said...

Those little ornaments are adorable and would make the cutest little stocking stuffers. I'm not sure that I have enough time this year, but definitely do-able for next year!!

BugsandFishes said...

Thanks! I hope you'll enjoy stitching them :)

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