Simple Pillow Christmas Ornament

The following is a very basic pillow Christmas Ornament tutorial designed, in particular, for beginners.

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Supplies needed:

  • Stitched project
  • Backing fabric
  • Approx 6″ (15-16cm) of ribbon to coordinate with your stitching for the hanger (I normally use 7mm double-sided satin ribbon)
  • Stuffing
  • Sewing machine with coordinating thread to match your fabrics
  • Complimentary sewing thread and needle

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1.  Start off by laying your stitching piece on top of your backing fabric, with wrong sides facing, as shown below:

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2.  Now we need to cut the fabric so that all sides are equal.  The amount of margin that you leave is up to you, here you can see that I’ve allowed 3/4″ margin on each side.  I line up my ruler along the edge of my stitching, and cut the fabric with my rotary cutter (both my stitched piece and backing fabric at the same time).

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3.  You continue this same way until all four sides are cut away.  Remember that your backing fabric is underneath, so you need to be careful when you are moving your stitching around on the cutting mat that the fabric doesn’t move out of place or your pieces won’t match at the end.  Once you have finished cutting all four sides, remove the backing fabric from your stitching fabric.

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4.  Next I attach the piece of ribbon to my stitching – the ribbon must be attached to the right side of your stitching.  Adjust the size of the loop to match your own preferences, then pin in place.  I like to have a slight angle to the top of the ribbon where it is pinned in place, so that it hangs nicer when it’s finished.

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5.  Next place your backing fabric on top of your stitching/ribbon, with right sides facing, as shown below.  Pin the pieces together around the edges.

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6.  Now we need the sewing machine – once again, it is up to you to choose how much fabric margin you’d like to leave around the stitched piece.

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It’s quite hard to see the stitching threads because they match the fabric so well, so I’ve doctored the photo and drawn a line to show you the stitching line of where I started and finished – hopefully you can see clearly now that I have left an opening of about 1 1/2″.  I like to leave a long tail of the sewing thread at one end, which I don’t trim off, so that I can use it for stitching up the final seam opening.

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7.  The next step is to trim the fabric at the seams, so they aren’t as bulky when you turn the ornament inside-out.  The photo on the below left is my bottom seam – some fabrics tend to fray a lot when you are trying to pull the fabric through the opening, so I’ve learnt to leave the bottom seam a tiny bit wider than the other three seams.  The photo on the right is the usual amount that I trim back the main seams.

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8.  Then you should trim off each of the corners – once again, this allows you to get a crisper point on the ornament corners once you’ve turned it inside-out and improves the look of the ornament.  Just be careful not to snip the stitching!

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Your ornament should now look something like this:

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9.  The next bit can be a little bit nerve-wracking if you haven’t done it before!  You need to reach in and pinch a little bit of the backing fabric between your thumb and forefinger, and then slowly and gently pull the stitching and the backing fabric through the opening so it’s facing the right-side out.  Take your time when doing this, and just pull your fabric through little by little – it seems like it will never come through, but then all of sudden a miracle seems to happen and you have it all turned inside-out.  I often enlist the aid of a chopstick to help me get the corners nice and pointy once I’ve finished turning my ornament inside out.

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Your ornament should now look a little something like this.  Of course it was at this point that I realised I’d forgotten to attach my little gold charm to this particular ornament so I had to add that quickly before finishing the next stages … doh!

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10.  The final stage is to stuff your ornament with stuffing of your choice.  I tend to just use polyester fibrefill from my local craft store.  Once you it stuffed to your satisfaction (my preference is to fill it to a medium level – if I fill it too much it doesn’t sit quite as well on my little tree), you need to thread your sewing needle with sewing thread (if you didn’t leave a long tail from the seam stitching).  You should use a sharp needle here, not a tapestry needle, so that you can pierce the backing fabric easily.

I use a ladder stitch to sew up the opening.  As you can see from the left-hand photo below, I start off by slipping my needle into the seam of the backing fabric, then coming back out about 1/4″ along the seam (about 3mm) and bring my needle out.

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I then take my needle directly opposite where I just came out of the backing fabric and slip my needle into the linen and follow the seam along for about 1/4″ (3mm) and bring the needle back out again.

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I’ve left the stitches nice and loose in the photo below to help illustrate how the stitches follow along opposite each other, like rungs of a ladder.

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When you pull the thread tighter, the stitches almost disappear into the fabric, giving a really nice clean finish – this is definitely my favourite stitch for closing up openings for that reason!

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Once you reach the end of the seam opening, you need to finish off your thread with a couple of teeny stitches – I then bury the needle into the seam and come out somewhere about an inch way and bring the needle back out again – then clip the thread close to the fabric so that my thread tail does’t appear easily.

And here’s the final seam all finished off – see now nice and tidy that ladder stitch is in the opening? 😀

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Your ornament is now finished, and ready to hang on the tree 😀

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I hope you’ve enjoyed this tutorial, and found it useful.  I would love to see any photos of ornaments you’ve completed using this tutorial so please do drop me a line or leave a comment with a link to your pictures 🙂

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Christmas Ornament tutorial

I personally don’t think the Just Cross Stitch ornie magazine is very clear with their finishing instructions for ‘newbies’ so I thought I’d make one up myself to help people out that haven’t done this type of finishing before – and show just how simple it is 🙂

This will also hopefully kickstart me into preparing a few more tutorials in the upcoming months … just need to get some stitching finished so I have some smaller things to finish! LOL. Anyway, without further ado, here’s the latest tutorial – hope it will be useful to someone 🙂

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CHRISTMAS ORNAMENT TUTORIAL

(The Prairie Schooler finishing style)

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Materials needed:

  • Stitched ornie
  • Felt in coordinating colour
  • Cardboard (I use mattboard)
  • Batting
  • Ribbon for hanger
  • Glue
  • Thread for lacing (I use crochet cotton or pearl cotton)
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1. Firstly measure your stitched ornie for the size that you want the cardboard to be.

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2. Next, cut out your cardboard/mattboard to the desired size. Add glue to one side of the cardboard, and place glue-side down on your batting. Even though I don’t show it in the photos, I actually smooth down the glue with a little offcut of mattboard so that the glue covers the cardboard evenly – that way you don’t feel ugly bumps on the front when it dries (my mattboard is black on one side, it just happened to be the piece that our local framers gave me).  If you prefer to have your ornament more padded, you can add additional layers of batting in the same way, but make sure you only use glue sparingly on the additional layers of batting.

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3. Once the glue has dried, cut around the cardboard shape and cut off the excess batting.

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4. Now it’s time to attach the stitched piece to the padded mattboard.
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Turn the stitching over so the good side is facing down – place the padded mattboard padded-side down on top of the stitching.

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5. My instructions for the next part are in relation to lacing the ornie together – I’ve found that this gives a much cleaner finish on the front of the ornie, and in particular in the corners. If you don’t want to lace, you can just use glue to stick the sides down in the same way – you’ll just have to be careful that the glue doesn’t dry before you have the stitched piece nicely centred on the front.
6. First of all I start by folding over the corners, then the sides. This ornie was stitched by my Mum on Aida, which is quite stiff and stays put, which is great 🙂

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7. Next I start lacing – I usually start with a couple of little anchor stitches at the start, and use a waste knot to start with (this can be cut off later once the lacing is finished) – then you just work from one side of the ornie to the other, as you can see from the series of photos below.

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8. At this point turn the stitched piece over and check that the stitching is sitting nicely centred over the mattboard. If it’s not centred perfectly, just give it a little jiggle around until it is nicely centred.

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9. Turn the ornie back over again, and continue to lace the remaining two sides. Now I usually stitch up the mitred corners, as this really tidies p the corners and gives nice clean points.

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10. The finished version should look something like this if you’ve laced it according to my version.

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11. You now have the choice of adding your ribbon hanger now, or at the end. I always used to add my hanger at the end, but decided to try it this way for the tutorial, and have added the ribbon prior to adding the felt backing.
Cut a piece of ribbon to your preferred length – I ‘twist’ my ribbon to give it a nice loop, if you just fold it in half the ribbon doesn’t sit quite as nicely. Hopefully that makes sense, and you can see what I mean from the photos! Attach the ribbon with a couple of little stitches to attach it to the fabric – I prefer to stitch it rather than just gluing to ensure the ribbon hanger doesn’t fall off in a hurry.
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12. Next, turn your ornie over and add glue to the back – I usually use Tacky Glue and once again I use a little offcut of mattboard to spread the glue out all over the backing, but this isn’t essential. I figure this will help to keep the glue stuck down for longer than just having a little bit on the edges 🙂
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13. Now place your glued ornie down on the felt backing and ensure the felt is pressed down nice and evenly onto the glue. Then, using pinking shears, cut around the ornie shape – don’t forget to hold your ribbon hanger out of the way so it’s not accidentally lopped off!
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14. If you prefer to add your ribbon hanger at the end, this is an example of one of my older finished ornies that I completed this way 🙂
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15. And you now have a beautifully finished ornie – all you have to do is to hang it up on your (or a loved one’s) tree! 😀
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I hope that’s easy enough to follow – if you have any questions, don’t hesitate to scream out and I’ll try to answer them.

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