Crystalize Your Embroidery for the Holidays

It’s not too late to stitch up some quick ornaments for your tree or as table decorations! Learn how to customize an embroidery design into an in-the-hoop project.

A Simple Project – Even Without Software!

I loved this clipart when I saw it and knew it held lots of fun possibilities. With just a few simple changes you change the character of a design quite easily.

For example, even with the most basic embroidery machine, you can skip colors. These designs are all three-color designs. Skip colors 1 and 3 and you just have the swirly bits that make up the tree. Then you can cut out a tree shape, stitch a back onto it, embellish it with crystals, stuff it and hand-stitch the opening shut.

These designs come in two sizes. I used the smaller ones for tree ornaments and the larger ones to create a table decoration. 

If you’re feeling really crafty, use the table decorations for your holiday dinner centerpiece and make a small tree ornament to place on each guest’s plate as a small gift!

These designs come in two sizes. I used the smaller ones for tree ornaments and the larger ones to create a table decoration. 

These designs use motifs and may not resize well depending on how your software interprets those stitches. Two sizes are provided for your convenience.

If you’re feeling really crafty, use the table decorations for your holiday dinner centerpiece and make a small tree ornament to place on each guest’s plate as a small gift!

Digitizing: Turn a Basic Design into an In-the-Hoop Project

BUT – if you have digitizing software, you can turn it into an in-the-hoop project very simply. 

Basically, you’ll delete colors 1 and 3. Then you’ll digitize a placement line and tack down and move them to the beginning of the design. Then you’ll digitize the seam line. 

I’ve used Hatch in the video. If you have digitizing software, you’ll likely have similar tools to do the same thing.

Watch how in the following video.

Digitizing Doesn’t Have to Be Complex!

I think you can see from this simple little project that learning just a few digitizing tools can really open up your design stash to a many creative projects!

Now Let’s Sew!

First, we need a few supplies.

Supply List

  • Fabric: Both the small and large versions of these designs require only small bits of fabric that you likely have in your stash. I used quilt-weight cottons and matched the back side to the front. 
  • Hanger for ornament: Short lengths of ribbon or thin metallic cord works well. 
  • Batting (optional): I used a thin cotton batting (Warm & Natural) leftover from other projects. I like the extra dimension it gives when using it behind embroidery.
  • Stabilizer: No-show cutaway mesh. I used Sulky Soft N Sheer.
  • Thread: I used SoftLight Metallic thread for the tree (Jade and White Shimmer) and poly embroidery thread for the utility stitches.
  • Embellishments: Hot-fix crystals (3, 4, & 5mm) in red and irridescent, plus some buttons for the toppers on the larger trees and metal stars on the small ones. 
  • Stuffing: Polyester fiber fill to stuff the trees
  • Tree stands: I use purchased wood shapes from the craft store plus a dowel rod. Cut the dowel rods to the desired length and drill a hole in the base to securely hold the dowel. Stain or paint the wood or leave unfinished.

Stitching the Trees

  1. Hoop the cutaway and make sure it won’t slip in the hoop. I’ve used duct tape on the back to secure it.

2. Sew the placement line onto the stabilizer.

3. Place the batting and then your fabric, face up over the placement lines. I don’t precut the shapes here because the excess will be removed when when we trim the seam allowances.

 

4. Stitch the tree design.

Note: If you want a two-sided ornament, stop here and trim around the placement line. Then, repeat the steps starting back at #1.

5. If you’re making a hanging ornament, place the ribbon or cord now. Fold the cord in half to make a loop and place with raw edges extending slightly above the placement line at the center top of your tree. Tape the loop in place keeping it well within the placement lines.

 

6. Place the backing fabric face down and stitch the final seam. 

5B. Alternatively, if you want a 2-sided ornament and you’ve stitched and cut out your piece, place it now. Secure it in place with painter’s tape.

7. Remove the project from the hoop and trim around leaving about a quarter inch seam allowance. Trim a little more closely around the corners and leave a slight longer extension at the bottom to make it easier to tuck in the opening later.

8. Turn right side out and press neatly.

Now We Decorate!

Decorate your trees as desired. I used the original designs as a guide. 

The smaller trees work best with 3mm crystals to replace the original red ornaments with 4-5mm crystals replacing the stars. You’ll have more decorating space on the larger trees.

I added more crystals than there were embroidered balls and stars on the original desins.

When it looks “done,” lightly stuff your tree with the fiber fill batting.

 

It’s hard to capture the sparkly nature of hot-fix cyrstals with a still camera.

While they do take time to place and secure, the results can be stunning!

I made the larger trees into table decorations by inserting one end of a dowel rod into the tree and the other into purchased base. Paint or stain the wood as desired.

You’ll need to close the bottom opening with a small bit of  hand-stitching.

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