Merry Stitches Ornaments

on December 7 | in Sewing Tutorials + Patterns, Sewing With Kids | by | with 28 Comments

Gabrien from Dahlia Handmade and our Sew,Mama,Sew! Editorial Board is back with a crafty project you and your kids can work on together. Take a breather from your Christmas To Do list and teach a young one the goodness of handmade!

My kids love to hand sew when it’s simple and produces a finished product quickly. We made these ornaments during our first snow day with materials we had on hand and in our pajamas, of course. There are options for older kids as well as for the younger child, or one who is just learning to sew. You may need to help your child with a step or two, and please observe your child closely since the project requires a needle and scissors. So if you get the whiny, “Mom, I’m boooorrred,” grab some supplies and find a cozy spot near a fire for some good old fashioned stitching. They will be so proud of their work and you will have a little keepsake to hang on the tree for years to come.

Here are the supplies you’ll need:

  • scissors
  • pinking shears
  • large needle
  • chalk or disappearing ink pen
  • embroidery floss
  • hoop (not mandatory but really helpful)
  • wool, felt or linen (loose weave fabric is easier to push a needle through)
  • holiday fabric for backing
  • ribbon or rick rack scraps for hanging

First take your hoop and eyeball about 2 inches larger to make your cuts. If you stack your felt and backing fabric, you can cut them at the same time.

Set the backing aside for now. If your child is adept at embroidery or hand stitching, have him or her draw a design directly on the felt fabric with the chalk or disappearing ink pen. Explain that each line will be stitched over so draw something that is in one dimension with easy lines. A simple tree or mitten outline would be fairly doable, but a poinsettia or Santa could get tricky for a young embroiderer. Also, keep in mind the colors of floss you have on hand before choosing your design. My daughter chose a snow man with a simple hat for one and a snowflake ball ornament for another.

Now just get the needle loaded and stitch along those lines. My daughter, at nine, still needs help threading the needle and a reminder to leave a sufficient tail to tie off. If your child is new to embroidery, you may need to give more instructions as needed. (Knot goes on the wrong side and work from front to back and back to front, etc). When I’m loading a needle for either of my kids, I separate the strands into groups of three strands. I double the strand and knot it off at the tail so they don’t loose the needle. Standard embroidery floss is made up of six strands twisted together. If you separate them before you knot off, you won’t have a super thick strand which would be too hard for them to push through the fabric. You can also separate them into groups of two if you are using a smaller needle or want thinner lines.

For the younger child or one who’s new to embroidery, cut a simple shape out of a felt scrap and have them stitch it down to the main piece. I cut an outline of a tree, but a mitten or star would be cute as well. After you cut out the shape, use chalk or disappearing ink pen to draw a line about a quarter of an inch in from the edge of the felt. I’ve found that it’s easier for them to follow a line. Now thread the needle, knotting off at the tails so the needle is secure, and let them stitch along.

Let them choose some holiday fabric for the back side and cut with the pinking shears through both layers to prevent fraying. For the next step, I knotted the floss and made sure the knot was in between the layers so you don’t see it on the back of the ornament when you’re done. Attach the layers together by stitching around the outside. Have your ribbon ready during this step so when you get to the top you can tuck it between the layers and stitch through it.

I love to see their little stitches and will cherish these ornaments every year when they are hung on the tree.

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28 Responses to Merry Stitches Ornaments

  1. Love this idea…we shared it on our blog today as part of our Christmas Craft Roundup!

  2. Heather says:

    thnaks! my older girls loved this! we made some this weekend! I think I’ll write their name and date on it somewhere

  3. Sally says:

    So cute! Did you write the date on them? I’m thinking a thin permanent marker like Micron?

  4. Andrea P. says:

    Great idea! I’m going to try this with my kids.

  5. ~Helena~ says:

    Such a great idea, wonderful way to use up scraps to.

  6. Cynthia I says:

    Love it. I think this would be fun. Perhaps a Christmas break activity.

  7. Susan says:

    So sweet. What I find funny in our family is we have a 7 yr old girl who would rather use a sewing machine but the 10yr old boy prefers hand stitching, he always looking for something to hand stitch. His favorite site for patterns is a star wars site. You can make yoda dolls, and other finger puppets , lightsaber type stuff, etc.

  8. Sue says:

    My granddaughter would love this.

  9. Rosa in The Antipodes says:

    So cute!

  10. Java Jane says:


  11. Holly says:

    So sweet! My people will *love* this.

  12. Lauren says:

    These are so adorable!!!!! Thanks for sharing =)

  13. pasaila says:

    Great Information as always!

  14. Leah says:

    What a great idea! I’m going to keep this in mind for my children. I’m sure they will love this.

  15. My kids were just begging me today to do a christmas craft – thanks Gabrien!!

  16. Marcia W. says:

    cute idea for kids

  17. Jennifer Cheek-Payan says:

    This is such a great idea. I think my son would really like doing thios with me! Sounds like we have some stitching to do this weekend! 🙂

  18. Lorrie Orr says:

    Little ones generally love to learn to sew. What a great skill to have. And such a sweet project.

  19. Christine says:

    How cute! Your children are doing a great job of embroidering!

  20. Julia says:

    SO sweet! This could be a geat classroom project, too 🙂

  21. Greeblygreebly says:

    Very cute!

  22. Jess says:

    This is adorable! I have been thinking of teaching my kids to embroider/sew this year and letting them make stuffed felt ornaments. We may have to try this one, too! Thanks for the tutorial. 🙂


  23. Emily says:

    Cute idea! I’ve been helping my daughter make ornaments by needle felting wool inside Christmas cookie cutters this year. She really enjoys it and is excited to give them to all her family and friends this Christmas.

  24. Penny says:

    Those are adorable! I think those may be a great thing for today while staying home for day 2 with my sick little man!

  25. deanna says:

    These are very sweet!

  26. So cute! And I think my oldest daughter might finally be at an age where we can try this! YEAH! I can.t wait to get her sewing 🙂

  27. So cute!

  28. Alice S says:

    I love this idea and can’t wait to try it with my little ones.

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