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How-Tuesday: Stitched Snowflake Ornament

Nov 20, 2012

by Jessica Marquez

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We’ll be crafting in a winter wonderland with this week’s How-Tuesday post. Jessica Marquez from Miniature Rhino is here to lead you through a project glittering with seasonal cheer from her beautiful new book, Stitched Gifts.

A winter snowfall is something I never thought I’d look forward to. Growing up in perpetually sunny Southern California, I hardly experienced the seasons — I thought winter ended in December when all the TV programs stopped airing their holiday shows. When I moved to upstate New York, I learned that this is not at all the case. While I may never fully acclimate to blustery winters, I do love the snow. Nothing is more seasonal for me than white, blanketed streets and snowy days. Celebrate the season with this little snowflake ornament, and if you’re on the sunnier side of things, these will help you create your own little bit of winter. You can also find a ornament kit with all the materials you need to make this project in my Etsy shop.

You Will Need:
Ornament Template
Tracing paper
Pencil and eraser
Extra Fine Point Sharpie
Ruler
Transfer method (transfer paper or tear-away stabilizer suggested; see pattern instructions)
Water-soluble pen or hot iron transfer pen (optional)
3″ (7.5 cm) embroidery hoop
5″ x 5″ (12.5 x 12.5 cm) square of fabric, ironed
4″ x 4″ (10 x 10 cm) piece of Sulky Stiffy, or Pellon Stitch-N-Tear stabilizer (optional)
Sewing pins
Embroidery Thread (DMC brand thread shown in #3865/off white)
Size 5 embroidery needle
Fabric glue
Ribbon

Directions:
1. First, do you want to create a custom date? If yes, use the template to create the date on a piece of tracing paper. Trace the snowflake and the dashed lines under where your numbers will be to help with spacing. To add numbers for your custom date, line up the straight dashed lines with the bottom of the desired number and trace. You can use a pencil to make the initial marks, and then trace over with an Extra Fine Point Sharpie.

2. Choose your transfer method. If you are going to stitch onto a dark fabric, use transfer paper
method or tear-away stabilizer. For lighter fabrics, any transfer method will work well (water-soluble pen, transfer paper, or iron-on transfer pen or pencil). Transfer the pattern in the medium that is best for you.

Transfer Paper Method:
Transfer paper is a general-purpose crafting material, and itt works much like carbon paper. Layer the template over a sheet of transfer paper face-down over your fabric. Make sure all the layers are securely in place by taping them down to your work surface with painter’s tape. Then, with a dull pencil, pen, or tracing stylus, trace over the lines of the template. I like Loew Cornell and Saral transfer papers, which both come in a variety of colors, are easy to transfer, and are reusable. Do not use a graphite transfer paper, because it is permanent and won’t wash out.

Tear Away Stabilizer Method:
For this transfer method, use Sulky Tear-Easy, or a light T-shirt stabilizer. Usually, this material is used under your fabric, but here we use it on top of your fabric as a light, transparent medium. This might seem a bit strange, because you will stitch through the stabilizer over your fabric. But I use this method all the time, because it is fast and easy. Just trace your pattern onto the tear-away material, pin it with sewing pins onto your stretched fabric in the hoop, and just stitch as you normally would. Tear away the stabilizer from your image when you’re done stitching.

For the tear-away method, trace the template with an Extra Fine Point Sharpie onto a piece of Sulky Tear-Away Stabilizer. If you made a custom date, trace that too. Set aside.

3. Mount the fabric in the embroidery hoop. If you’d like a sturdier stitch surface, use a backing stabilizer (such as Sulky Stiffy or Pellon Stitch-N-Tear) behind your fabric. Both the fabric and stabilizer should be pulled smooth and taut in the embroidery hoop. If you are using the tear-away method, pin your pattern to the mounted fabric with sewing pins, which is how I transferred this pattern.

4. Now let’s get to the stitching. The thread I’m using has six strands, or plies, which can be easily separated to create stitches of varying thicknesses. Here’s what I did:

  • Snowflake: 4-ply back stitch. Start from the outermost point of one of the snowflake’s arms. Because this shape is not a continuous line, it’s okay to jump around a bit. Plus, if you’re going to mount it in the hoop, who is going to see?
  • Date: 4-ply back stitch.
  • Small stars: 2-ply cross-stitch and star stitch. Create dimension by varying the length of the star arms and the thread count for a few stars. Do some 4-ply, some 3-, some 2-, and so on. Try different colors, too.

5. A 3″ (7.5 cm) embroidery hoop makes the perfect frame for this piece and is easy to hang as an ornament from the hoop’s hardware. To secure the fabric to the hoop, cut a 1/2″ (12 mm) fabric allowance from the back of the hoop and cut away all stabilizer. Cut the fabric edges into small sections, like tabs about 1″ (2.5 cm) or so apart.

Secure the tabs to the inner wooden hoop with fabric glue, or for a quick fix, use a glue gun. Paint on the fabric with a small brush and push the tabs of the fabric down with your fingers. While fabric glue will dry clear, it can darken the fabric. Make sure to keep your fingers off of the front of the piece and that your work surface is clear of any glue. Fabric glue takes a few hours to dry.

Attach a ribbon and hang up your ornament!

If you stitch your own snowflake ornament, share a photo with us in the Etsy Labs Flickr group. Thank you to Jessica Marquez and Chronicle Books for sharing this project with us. For more projects like this one, check out Stitched Gifts, available from Amazon or an independent bookstore near you or right here on Etsy.

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