102: Ornaments

In Finishing Ornaments I, we looked at these four techniques:

  • Reversible Ornaments
  • Flat Padded with Mat Boards
  • Snap into a Prefinished Frame
  • Manufactured Form or Button

That was just the tip of the iceberg on ways to finish ornaments. This week we are going to look at six more ornament-finishing methods.

Finishing Flat Ornaments

  • Flat Ornaments with whip stitched closure
  • Flat Ornament with felt back
  • Flat Ornament with fringe
  • Flat Ornament on Canvas
  • Flat Ornaments on Perforated Paper
  • Small Frames

Flat Ornaments with Whip Stitched Closure

One way you can finish the individual ornaments is to whipstitch the front and backs together similar to how we finished the edge of the biscornu in our Biscornu Guide.

Backstitch around the entire design area usually in a square or rectangular pattern. If you have a border already around the design, then go out about 4 threads. Do the same thing for your back piece which may or may not have a stitched design. It is important that both pieces have the backstitching at the same stitch count so the edges will match up. Trim the ornament about a half inch past the backstitching. Clean your pieces if needed. Gently iron both pieces from the back. Fold over the edges at the backstitched line trimming the corners as needed. If you want a little padding you can cut a piece of quilt batting just a little bit smaller than your stitched piece.

With wrong sides together, edges tucked in, (and batting in place if desired), lace the two sides together with a whip stitch through the backstitches. Be sure to stitch in your hanging loop. Stitch all the way around. You can add beads as you do your whip stitching. You can also add trim or cord over the whip stitching.

NOTE: If you want a little bit of "puff" to your ornament, don’t include quilt batting. Stitch almost all the way around. Leave enough of an opening to stuff your ornament with something like polyfil. Continue stitching until the entire ornament is closed.

Here are some projects that would work well finished in this manner:

Flat Ornament with a Felt Back

The Prairie Schooler has finished some of their ornaments with a felt back. Cut a piece of cardboard to fit the size of your design. Glue a piece of batting to the cardboard. Then center your stitched piece over the padded side of the cardboard. Fold your fabric edges around to the back of the cardboard and glue them down. For the felt back, choose a complimentary color. Using pinking shears, cut out the shape you want, making sure it is at least a quarter of an inch (.25") larger on each side than your design. Glue that piece of felt to the back of the cardboard. Don’t forget to include a method to hang the ornament.

Flat Ornament with Fringe

Another great idea for ornaments or bookmarks is to fringe the edges. For this method you will need a piece of fabric and fusible interfacing the size of the design. Following the instructions for the fusible interfacing, iron it to the back of just the design area. Iron on the backing fabric (right side showing). Trim your ornament to one-half inch (.5") from the stitched area. Remove the threads to create your fringe.

Another method is to backstitch around your design and then trim around the backstitched area 1". Unravel that edge. You can re-enforce the ornament with a fabric safe glue or stiffener. Attach ribbon hangers or use them on a wreath.

Flat Ornament for Canvaswork

Trim your piece a couple of threads beyond your stitching. It will depend on how much of the canvas you want showing on your ornament. Do the same thing for your back piece so the two pieces are the same size. Insert a lining fabric if needed. With wrong sides together, whipstitch the two pieces together. This creates your edging. Determine the number of threads you use by how thick you want that edge to be. You can add beads as you stitch or you can add trim/cord along the edge when done.

Flat Ornament on Perforated Paper

One other way you can make flat ornaments is with perforated paper. This is a stiff paper usually 14 stitches (holes) per inch. What you may not know is that this paper can be ironed with a warm iron if you have wrinkles. To finish a perforated paper ornament you want to cut at least one hole away from your finished stitching. Attach a hanger and your ornament is done. You can glue a piece of felt or foam to the back if you don’t want the backs to show.

We carry several colors of perforated paper. Here a couple patterns using perforated paper.

Flat Ornaments in Frames

A couple other ways you can finish flat ornaments is with the use of frames.

Stitch a pattern:

Pick out your frame, then cut your interfacing just slightly larger than your design. Place the shiny side of the interfacing down on the back of your stitching. Use a dry, hot iron to fuse the interfacing to the back of your stitching. With the frame mat board, center your design and cut the fabric the size of the mat board. To keep the stitching from sliding within the frame, secure it with a double sided framing tape.

Another inventive way to frame your flat ornaments is within a clear acrylic key chain. Quaker Christmas Smalls is a set of six patterns and includes one clear acrylic key chain. Stitch one pattern and back it with fabric or felt. Work two of the designs and place them back to back in the key chain fob.

WOW! Almost all these techniques are interchangeable. So if you have a favorite design but it is pictured as a "puff" ornament, you now know how to make it flat.


We hope this guide makes your stitching easier and more enjoyable!

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