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Friday, December 5, 2014

Tutorial: Quilted Tree/Small Gift Holder Ornament

Right now I am promoting a historical western novelette. I decided to make some western-themed ornaments in which to put my gift cards prizes. I'm not all that crafty (glue guns and I don't get along), so that left creating something using sewing and quilting.

I decided to start taking pictures in order to turn this into a tutorial about halfway through. So, if this is a little sketchy, hopefully you can figure enough out to fill in the blanks.
Gift card-size ornaments need to be about 3 inches wide minimum, and can be up to four inches wide (finished size). If you want to make one for a slightly larger small gift, adjust the size accordingly.

For this set of ornaments, I cut my cotton fabric as follows:
  • Width - 3-3/4 inches
  • Length - 5-1/2 inches.
Except for quilting or finishing, all seams are 1/4 inches.

I fussy-cut just a bit in order to get fairly decent placement of the boots on my ornament. For each piece of my main design for the front, I cut two pieces of my backing fabric the exact same size. A lighter weight cotton fabric works best for the backing and pocket. One of the backing pieces I folded in half and pressed to use for the pocket.
 Back to the front piece. Since this was a sparkly fabric, I chose a gold metallic thread for quilting around the design. I have learned from experience that it pays to invest in and use needles designed for metallic thread.

For the backing, I used scraps of batting and thin muslin, just enough to stitch the design I wanted quilted. Afterwards, I trimmed away the excess. This is important so that when stitching the front, pocket and back layers of fabric together, you are not also stitching through the thickness of the batting and scrap muslin.
Choose a stitch that will enhance the design in the fabric. I kept it fairly simple.

Next consider how to embellish the ornament. You can choose from bias tape, fabric craft ribbon, buttons, beads, bells or other small ornamentation. For my first design, I chose cloth of gold bias tape and stitched it across the top above the quilting.
After that, choose either cording or ribbon to create the hanging loop. Cut a piece about seven inches long if you wish to loop it over a tree branch, or slightly shorter if you only wish a loop on which to attach a hook.
To position the loop, fold the fabric in half lengthwise. At the top, pinch the fabric on the fold to "finger press" it. Insert a pin on the fold. Position the ends of either your cord or ribbon on either side of the pin and secure it in place. For cord or ribbon that unravels easily, place the ends about 1/4 inch past the edge of the fabric. With ribbon, you may wish to use a dab of glue on the edge to help hold it straight. With cord, use straight pins to hold in place.  Less than a quarter inch from the edge, stitch the ribbon or cord to secure it to the front fabric piece.

Layer the fabric in order to create the pocket and attach the backing. If necessary, before layering the fabric, secure the loop to the front fabric using a small straight pin. Place the folded piece on top of the front fabric. 

Next, place the back fabric on top of the pocket and the front piece so that right sides are together.
 Stitch three sides together using a 1/4 inch seam and leaving the top open.
 Trim the corners and turn right side out, placing the pocket in the back of the ornament.
Use your pointy tool to form squared-off corners. If necessary, trim a bit of the seam at the top on each side.
Turn the top seam down front and back about 1/4 inch and press into place.
About 1/8 inch from the edge, machine-stitch the top closed, making sure the loop stays centered and well secured with no edges showing.
The ornament is finished. The finished size is approximately 5 inches high by 3-1/4 inches wide. Since this is intended to be mailed in a regular envelope, I kept the design flat.
Here is the back showing the pocket for a gift card. These pockets are also great for a packet of needles, a card of earrings, batteries or other small gifts.
I am not overly talented when it comes to embellishing, but there are a multitude of ways to add decorative value to your quilted tree/small gift holder ornament.

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