Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Felt Christmas Ornaments

Disclaimer: I know Christmas is over. However, I intentionally did not post this before Christmas because several of the recipients read this blog (and to my brother and sister-in-law whom I still have not sent presents to, surprise!)

Christmas this year was tough.  People tend to show their appreciation and friendship for others through presents, but presents cost money.  Money is tighter than I've ever experienced and while I finally got a part time job mid-way through December, my first paycheck was after Christmas. Not having money to afford things didn't stop the feeling that we needed to buy things for friends and family.  However, I did have time, energy, and pocket change so I tried to find something I could make that wouldn't look cheap and like I had made it. 

I think I mentioned before that I joined pinterest a few months ago.  I am not nearly as into it as it seems everyone else is, but I find it a great place to stash a picture and link of something I want to make and come back to it later when I have time.  Around Christmas, I found some amazing felt ornaments on pinterest linked from etsy and various other places around the web.  I pinned all the ones I found interesting and decided to make ornaments for friends and family for three reasons: first, felt is crazy cheap, second, embroidery thread is super cheap, and third, I wanted to learn more about needlework and embroidery.

tools needed:
- felt
- embroidery thread (or button&craft/heavy/upholstery thread if you have it on hand)
- needles (I don't own embroidery ones; experiment with what you have on hand)
- scissors

tools I found helpful
- disappearing fabric marker - I did half of them without it and broke down and bought one.  love it.
- scrap paper to draw your own patterns
- fiber fill for making plush ornaments
- cookie cutters - I don't own any, but I heard you can trace the interior and exterior to make patterns)
- needle threader for threading several strands of embroidery floss onto tiny needles not made for embroidery

Step one: make a pattern for the shape you want.  For me, this meant drawing it several times until I got the shape I want or printing out a line drawing I made in Illustrator.  Then I cut it out in felt and traced any design I wanted in the disappearing ink.  I used pencil at first, but it doesn't rub out of felt very easily. 
Paper pattern star and felt cutout with disappearing ink

Step Two: Embroider away!  If you're like me and haven't really done it before, I found Sublime Stitching to be helpful in telling me how to do basic stitches.  By the way, I'm fairly certain I do it incorrectly (I knot the ends of the thread together to form a sturdy anchor knot) but I don't particularly care due to my medium of felt.  OH, another thing: it took me several ornaments to develop the sort of skill allowing me to do straight lines and even(ish) stitches, so make sure you start with practice pieces you plan on keeping instead of giving away.     
stitching right along my disappearing lines

Step three: After completing the decorative stitches, I stitched the white felt star onto a slightly larger blue felt star.

Step four: If it's going to be an ornament, add the ribbon to hang it now (I forgot several times)! Also, I suggest stitching your initials and year onto the back piece of felt so both you and everyone else can remember who made it and when.

Step five: I stitched two blue stars together using a blanket stitch (google it).  When I got about 1-2" to closing it up, I stuffed some fiber fill in there to make it poofy and then finished blanket stitching it up. 

Step six: All done!  Stick it in a bag and it's ready to go. By the way, these also make great pin cushions. (I may or may have no used one of my early I-don't-know-how-to-embroider ornaments as a pin cushion for the rest of the project.)
All done!

I ended up making at least six designs just playing around with it (the candy cane has already been given away) and fell in love with the tree in the back.  I made a little forest of them, but since I forgot to add a ribbon, this is the only one I have left.  The two circular ornaments were some of the first ones (the absolute first one never even got stuffed, it was that bad!).  
felt Christmas ornaments

No comments: