Monday, 12 December 2011

Unique Heart Ornaments, Tutorial

As a child my mother every year got my sister and I to make Christmas ornaments in the weeks leading up to Christmas. We had little store bought ornaments and I believe that my appreciation for unique handmade ornaments started there. I cannot help making Christmas ornaments, and being able to list them in my Etsy shop: SewDanish has been great. I love giving the old Danish/Scandinavian traditional ornaments an updated twist as well as designing new.

I developed the technique for these Christmas ornaments, while I was having fun experimenting and making samples for Fibrefusion recently published book ‘Muslin’, which is an inspirational and experimental work book about creating lovely fiber art using thin, inexpensive, loose weave fabrics.  

For the hearts start by layering 10 -12 layers of muslin/calico/turbin cotton in approx. 6 x 8 inch (15 x 20 cm) oblong. The muslin can be any colour you like. If choosing white/off white you have the option of coloring the hearts after stitching. 

Draw 2 hearts (or any other simple shape) on a piece of cartridge paper or ‘stitch and tear’. Don’t cut out. Pin the pattern along the 4 edges of the muslin bundle. If stitching the hearts free hand on the machine, you may skip drawing a pattern.

Thread your sewing machine and stitch the hearts either by following your pattern or drawing the  shape in free motion on your machine.

When free motion stitching lower the feed dogs, release the top thread tension and zero the stitch length. Now you are in control of moving the fabric creating the stitched lines.
OR you can leave your machine ‘normal’ with the feed dogs up, normal top tension and stitch length 2.5 – 3. Both will work. I prefer free styling it for a more relaxed look, but have a play and see what suits you.

Stitch, following your first out line, by going over it at least 4 times. You can stitch these bands as wide or as narrow as you like. The stitch lines need to be very close and partly on top of each other.  Now repeat these stitch lines inside the heart. Depending on the size of the heart repeat once or twice (or more).

Remove your fabric from the machine. With a pair of scissors cut very close along, but not into, the outermost stitched band.

Now look at your heart and decide what areas you would like to cut away between the stitched lines. The aim is to create higher and lower areas. With a fine pointed pair of scissors carefully cut through only the 5-6 top layers of muslin. It is easier to cut a few layers at the time than doing it all in one go.

The heart can now be further embellished with hand embroidery and or beads. Add a piece of string, twine, raffia or ribbon to hang your hearts.

If you aren’t too keen on the slightly raw, frayed edges, you can seal the edges with a bit of acrylic paint like shown on the stars.
These stars have a different look to the hearts, as they were sewn on white muslin/calico and dyed afterwards. The stars were then embellished with hand embroidery and the surface was ever so lightly dry brushed with acrylic paint for added texture.

Please note the boring bits:
These instructions are for personal use only. You are however welcome to use a single photo and a brief description, linking them back to where you came across the instructions.
These instructions may not be republished in their entirety without the permission of me, the author, Birgitte Hendricks. I can be contacted here  J


Sheeprustler said...

They are lovely!

ale balanzario said...

Beautiful work, thanks for the tutorial