Cut some felt, add some embroidery and you have adorable, artisan-quality ornaments that are certain to become family heirlooms. I’ll show you how to use pre-cut shapes from three AccuQuilt GO! dies with six different embroidery designs. These projects combine the best of both worlds and will have you thinking about embroidery in a different way.
Photos via Debbie Henry
I love creating handmade ornaments that don’t look handmade. I especially like seeing how embroidery can be made to work with other media, like die-cut shapes. I have found some embroidery designs that fit beautifully within basic tree, heart and star shapes.
Let’s make some extraordinary machine embroidery ornaments with AccuQuilt shapes.
Step 1. Cut a pair of shapes
The AccuQuilt system cuts perfect shapes with very little effort. Place the die foam side up, top the desired shape with felt, cover everything with the cutting mat and turn the handle to take the stack through the rollers. When it comes out the other side, you have a perfectly cut shape.
For each of the projects, I am cutting quality wool felt with AccuQuilt GO! dies in three shapes: tree, heart, and star. Cut two shapes for each ornament, one for the front and one for the back.
Step 2. Keep it stable
Use a medium-weight tear-away stabilizer in the hoop. An adhesive stabilizer is ideal as it will help to keep the felt from shifting while stitching. Otherwise, use temporary spray adhesive on the back of the felt shape and finger-press it in place.
Step 3. Line it up
Use your hoop guides and template to draw horizontal and vertical centering lines on the stabilizer. Begin by centering the shape in the hoop and conduct a test stitch-out to see how everything lines up.
The star designs were digitized for a 100 x 100 hoop. Because the points extend into the hoop frame, it was easier to line them up in the larger 150 x 240 hoop. Be sure to tell your machine that you are using a larger hoop by overriding the smaller size.
Step 4. Stitch it out
Sometimes, everything stitches perfectly centered. Other times, a slight adjustment to the position of the felt shape is all that you need. Whether you use adhesive backed stabilizer or temporary spray adhesive, it is easy to reposition felt shapes in the hoop if necessary.
If the design stitches slightly off center, it is okay. Just use a clear acrylic ruler, measure out from the edge of the embroidery, and trim to straighten up the edges.
More designs to embroider:
Trim a tree
With the Very Merry Christmas ornament (see the full tutorial here), I reduced the size of the design by 10 percent so it fit nicely within the Holiday Medley tree shape. Depending on the software, embroidery designs can be enlarged or reduced in size up to 20 percent without significant changes to the stitch density.
A work of heart
The heart shape is so versatile you can use it in many ways. It is easy to stitch a monogram in the center or add a date to commemorate a birth, wedding, or other special occasion. You could also add sparkle with Angelina fibers and hot-fix crystals (see the full tutorial here).
When stitching is complete, remove everything from the hoop and carefully tear away the stabilizer. Glue the embroidered front piece to the back piece and insert a hanger. These ornaments also make great gift tags!