If you're like me, then you are already itching to start your holiday embroidery projects. Summertime is such a fun time for crafters — all the joy and creativity of Christmas crafts without all the stress.
So, in the spirit of Christmas in July, let's make a fun embroidered Christmas tree ornament to send seasons tidings just a few months early!
Photos via Debbie Henry
You have stitched out a lovely holiday sentiment on felt, but how do you make this embroidered piece even more spectacular? Cut it out in the shape of a Christmas tree and transform it into an adorable ornament. And there is no easier way than by using a die cutting machine!
Die cutting is no longer just for paper crafts. Die cutting machines cut a variety of media with ease and precision. Whether you have one created specifically for fabric, like AccuQuilt® GO!, or one traditionally for paper, like the Sizzix Big Shot, you can make ordinary embroidery projects quite extraordinary.
Every Christmas season, I create a special holiday ornament. I have always been fond of this Very Merry Christmas embroidery design and tested a couple of ideas that were lackluster. Then, I remembered the Holiday Medley die from AccuQuilt, and it suited this embroidery shape.
1. Start by cutting two pieces of green felt slightly larger than the tree die. Place the die in the AccuQuilt GO! machine with blades up. Top it with the felt and an AccuQuilt cutting mat. Crank the handle and roll the die through the machine.
2. Remove the cutting mat and you have two felt trees (left).
3. Hoop a sticky-backed adhesive tear-away stabilizer (right). Alternately, you could hoop ordinary tear-away stabilizer and spray the back of the tree with temporary adhesive. Using the hoop's template, mark the center and each of the four centering lines.
4. After test stitching, I found that the design worked best if reduced in size by 10% and centered perfectly within the cutout tree by resting the second bough from the top on the top edge of the horizontal centering lines. Finger-press the tree in place on the stabilizer and stitch out the design, which finishes up quickly with just two color changes.
Stop and clip thread jump stitches as they occur to prevent them being covered with text or berries. It is much easier to clip them during stitching than after. When stitching is complete, remove the stabilizer from the hoop and carefully tear it away from the felt.
5. Match up the front and back, then dot glue on the wrong side of the tree back. Cover everything except for the tip where the hanger will go. Place the front and back together matching edges.
6. Create a hanger using a 2" piece of 20-gauge wire. Slide on an angel body, wings, head, and halo from a string of Darice Enchanted Angels. Bend a hanging hook for the top end and a smaller hook at the bottom end. Insert the bottom hook between the tree tips. Add glue around the hanger, place a flat object on top of the felt to hold everything in place and set it aside to dry.
1. The Sizzix tree was part of a cutting and embossing set by Beth Reams (left). Because the Sizzix tree was smaller in size than the AccuQuilt GO! tree, I stitched out the design first, leaving extra felt around the edges (right).
2. To help with cutting the embroidered felt, create a template from quilting plastic. Cut a piece of semi-transparent plastic the size of the die face, then center it on the die and run it through the Sizzix machine. It cuts the tree shape perfectly centered, as it would be on the die (left).
3. Center the template opening over the embroidery. Mark the top center and draw a line across the top of the plastic template on the felt.
4. Place the line on the felt along the top edge of the die. Carefully lift corners of the felt to see that the design fits inside the die blades. Do not press down on the die foam. The blades are razor sharp. When you are certain the design is lined up right, place the cutting plates on top and bottom of the die and crank it through the Sizzix Big Shot.
5. Glue the tree front and back together, like above, and add a hanger.