Things you'll need:
Large gridded ruler
Interfacing, I use lightweight fusible craft interfacing
Fiber to make cording
BEFORE attempting this tutorial, please read through the steps to familiarize yourself with the process. Remember: Measure Twice Cut Once!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Determine your ornament dimensions using your large gridded ruler.
Hint: Most sewing machines have a presser foot that has a 1/4" seam allowance. I have found that a large majority of stitching looks best if the seam margins are smaller, thus showcasing your work. I cut down most of my sides to 1/2 - 3/4 inch margins. It's a scary thing to do, but just remember, as long as you have 1/4 inch to sew...you'll be fine.
Trim your margins down to your determined size by using a rotary cutter. (for this example I trimmed down to a 3/4 inch margin. Which when sewn will leave 1/2 inch margins on all sides, because I use a 1/4 seam allowance.)
Remember: Measure twice, cut once! Get those margin cuts straight! Don't mess up on this step or the project could be ruined.
**CUT** a piece of complimentary backing fabric to the size of trimmed cross stitch piece.
Take your fusible interfacing (picture shown for kind I prefer) and cut out two pieces to size of stitched piece and backing material piece. Following your chosen interfacing directions, iron as directed to the backs of complimenting fabric and stitched piece.
HINT: why I use interfacing for ornaments? Ornaments hang on a tree (or door knob, etc) and I want them to hang straight, be perfectly smooth, with nice square corners for some reason it irritates me if they do not hang that way. I have found over the years, that those ornaments that I have made using interfacing store better (I've been making ornaments for 25 years) look better and age better. You may eliminate this step if you prefer otherwise.
Putting right sides (or pretty sides) together, pin and sew using a 1/4 seam allowance; leaving a space for turning (about 2 inches wide) at the bottom.
HINT: I always start at the bottom just above the corner...sew to the corner, leave needle down, turn, sew up side to top corner, leave needle down, turn, sew to next top corner, leave needle down, turn, sew to final bottom corner, leave needle down, turn, sew just beyond corner leaving the space for turning.
Clip your corners! This makes for crisp, clean, perfectly pointed corners after turning.
UPDATE: After clipping corners, I have started ironing my seams open before I turn out the pieces. This makes a huge difference in the overall appearance of the piece.
*don't forget to use your corner tool for gently poking out your corners.
Once all turned out; roll in the turning space seam then iron with steam.
Stuff with your choice of filling (I use Mountain Mist polyester stuffing) It is firm and really is great for getting down in the corners of the piece.
HINT: Pay special attentions to the corners...pack those extremely tight so that they don't fold over or look whimpy when finished. Also make sure the stuffing is tight along the seam edges too...this gives support to the overall ornament structure. The middle may be stuffed tightly or loosely whatever you prefer, however if you pay attention to the stuffing along the seams and corners, you'll thank yourself years from now.
Thread a needle with thread that compliments your stitching fabric and blind stitch hole closed.
Don't know how to blind stitch? See this wonderful tutorial: BLIND (Ladder) STITCH
Embellishing with ONLY hanger and bow...
At this point you could add a loop of ribbon and a bow and call it good. OR you can use cording, chenille, ribbon, whatever you want to jazz up the sides.
IF you want to call it good and leave the sides plain, simply get a loop of ribbon or cording.
A. CUT it about 5- 6 inches long.
B. Fold it in half.
**If it is ribbon, take a butane lighter and fire the ends to seal the ends and keep from unraveling**
C. Get a button that compliments the design (like in this instance I would have used a green or white or red button)
D. Thread your needle with complimenting thread and knot the end.
E. Make a bow SEE THIS TUTORIAL for BOW MAKING
F. At top middle of the ornament seam, insert your needle and take a very small stitch, get your loop of ribbon for the hanger, and your button, with the needle and thread at the BACK of the ornament go through the button, through the hanger (you want it about 1/4 inch up the bottom of the ribbon) and then through the ornament - just at the very tippy, tippy top all the way through the front) Pull.
G. Push the needle through the center of the bow, turn and come back down through the top of the ornament, through the ribbon and out the other hole in the button, pull.
H. Continue sewing back and forth at the very top of the ornament until the hanger and bow is secure.
I. Once ready to end off, I come up through the ornament (in between the ribbon and the button. I hold about a 2 inch piece of thread (on the needle) to the side, wrap my thread around the button threads connecting it to the piece a couple of times and loop twice through the loop I've held off the side and pull (this makes a knot in between the ribbon (hanger) and the button thus hiding the knot). I then clip my ends and the ornament is done.
Your ornament would look similar to this one, at this point.
NOTE: the button at the back is just to make the piece look polished and finished neatly
Embellishing with Ribbon, Cording or Chenille...
In this tutorial I use cording I have made ~ See this tutorial to learn HOW TO MAKE CORDING
If you use purchased cording, cut the length you will need and seal the ends with a butane lighter OR take a little bit of white craft glue and put a dot on the end and let it dry OR thread a needle and sew the ends together and knot so that it won't unravel/fray. That is what I do.
If you are using ribbon, I like to rusche it ~ See this tutorial to learn HOW TO RUSCHE RIBBON you will sew it on just like I say to sew on cording below. Start the end of your ribbon at the TOP CENTER, because you will hide the ends of it with a bow and hanger. You will add the bow and hanger as described in the step above "Embellishing with only hanger and a bow..."
If you are using Chenille, you don't have to prepare it at all, it will not unravel. To learn how I sew chenille on, please see STEP 8 on THIS TUTORIAL
NOW...sewing on cording:
A. Place the middle of your cording in the middle at the BOTTOM of your ornament.
B. Thread a needle with thread the SAME COLOR as your cording and take a stitch "in the ditch" meaning the seam of your ornament to secure the knotted end of your thread at the center bottom of the ornament. Come up through the cording. PULL. This is the first stitch and will secure your knot in the ditch (seam) and will attach the cording the the ornament.
C. Taking small stitches tack along the "ditch" (seam) or your ornament all the way to the TOP CENTER of the ornament. (stitches are: up through the cording, over small step, down through the cording into the seam over small step, and so on ~ UP AND DOWN)
D. Make a knot about 1/2 inch from last stitch.
E. Bury your knot in the seam and clip the thread.
F. Make a new knot on the end of the thread.
G. Go back to the BOTTOM CENTER of your ornament ~ where you began.
H. Taking small stitches - do the same small stitches up and down along the "ditch" tacking the cording down all along the ditch. (up through the cording, over small step, down through the cording into the seam over small step, and so on UP AND DOWN)
I. DO this until you meet at the TOP CENTER of your ornament.
Now like anything with finishing, this tacking the cording down TAKES TIME, don't pull tight, just enough to tack the cording down smoothly. Don't rush, life is a rat race, you want perfect finishes.
Ok, so now your cording has met at the top CENTER of your ornament. Thread your needle and knot your thread end. take a few stitches through the tippy top of the ornament going through both legs of the cording to secure. End off by burying a knot in the seam.
Hold both legs of the cording at the top. Go up about 3 inches from where it met on the ornament and tie a knot and cut the ends. This effectively makes your "hanger" and the finish look will look like this. The ends of the cording are hidden in the branches of your tree:
If you want to add a bow to the mix, your ornament will look like this:
For this look: start tacking your cording down on the corner leaving about an 8 inch "tail" go all the way around until you meet where you started. Place a couple of stitches catching the corner of the ornament and both legs of the cording. Make loops on both legs, tack together and now you have a pillow tuck ornament with a bow on the corner...that's how you achieve this look:
(note: the ends of the cording are hidden because they become part of the overall "look" by being tied into knots and then clipped to make a frayed tassel look):
For this look: Start your cording on the corner and tack it all the way around until you meet where you started, take a couple of stitches to attach the beginning of the cording to the place on the cording that meets it, then make a knot, tack it to the corner, loop the cording to the opposite corner, make a knot and tack the knot down at the corner for this look:
(ends are hidden by the becoming "knots" on the corners)
(ends are hidden by the becoming "knots" on the corners)