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The challenge of this year’s Christmas card

Every year I make a machine embroidered card for my sister. It has become a tradition and often times it is based on my most recent Christmas collection. With each passing year the cards become more of a challenge for me and this year it was even more difficult to create something unique.

After releasing my Romantic Crazy Quilted Christmas tree, I had several stitch outs that needed finishing off as they were too precious to be pushed into a drawer. It was quite obvious that at least one of them needed to be made into seasonal wall hanging, but what to use for the borders around it. I was convinced that none of the designs from any other collection would be suitable. It needed borders and corners created with elements from the tree.

The Christmas Decoration set features many of the baubles from the tree. I took the pine leaves from the candle and created swags with these for the vertical and horizontal borders and corners along with a wreath.

After stitching the wreath out I knew this was going to be the basis of this years card, but it was too big so I made a smaller one.

The second stitch out was also too big and an obvious problem began to emerge when I checked out my blank folded cards – I did not have one with a circle aperture! It would be impossible to cut the aperture nicely myself and as the wreath is quite detailed I did not want to put braid or something similar around it. After several days mulling over this I wondered if I could attach the embroidered design to the card on my machine. I have seen some open work designs machine embroidered on card but not a dense satin border, but knew that I had to test it out to see if it was possible.

I created a narrow circular border in my software to fit around yet a smaller wreath, which was about 120mm wide. This is the outline which was stitched on just hooped stitch and tear.

Then I marked the centre of the card so I could position it on the stabilizer. I stitched the outline again with the machine at its slowest speed. That worked OK.

Before attempting to attach my embroidered wreath, I removed the stitch and tear and trimmed all the jump stitches etc. Then I pressed it from the back onto my soft ironing board. When I press embroidery I really apply pressure, so much so that it leaves an indentation on my board.

I prepared a circle of batting to go under the wreath to give it a cushioned appearance and force the embroidery to stand out. Embroidery in cards without this can be too FLAT. The embroidery needs to be applied with some fabric glue so it will not move, which I failed to do!!!! I used temporary adhesive but think that over time the batting may move.

I positioned the embroidery over the outline circle and could just about see it through the silk to check its alignment. Now came the scary bit!

I decided to start with the outline again at the slowest speed. That went OK, even though it looked as though the card was coming away from the stabiliser.

Keeping the card in the hoop I trimmed away my excess silk in readiness for the border. The first border went well but was a little narrow and the stitches were too open.

With much more confidence I quickly created another wider denser border and even turned up the speed for that stitch out.

If I did this again I would float something underneath to cover up the underneath of the border, or use a three folded card. There were a few little tufts of silk sticking out which needed to be carefully removed.

Lastly I added some gorgeous dark orange crystals to the embroidery. This is my completed card which went reasonably well. Alignment is very important and you can never make enough markers to help in this. These designs, Christmas Decorations, including the border with a Happy Christmas message for next year, will soon be available at Graceful Embroidery or they are free if you purchase a design set which has been reduced in my 12 Days of Christmas event that finishes on January 6th, 2020.

A very Merry Christmas to you all and a Happy new year filled with embroidery from Hazel

14 thoughts on “The challenge of this year’s Christmas card

  1. You really are a can-do lady! You work and work until everything is perfect. The card is beautiful and I would bet your sister loved it.

  2. Hazel, Not only super fabulous but so much nicer than a bought card. This one is stunning but making it even more difficult for next years card yet again. ggg Thank you so very much for all your beautiful designs you create for us.

  3. Simply beautiful. It was fun to watch you develop your wreath for a wall hanging, and then a smaller version for your sister’s card. Giving her a gift of love. Thanks for sharing.

  4. Its the old saying Hazel ‘where there is a will, there’s way” Well done.
    Happy New Year
    Keep up the good work

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