Christmas Gifts from the Scrap Bag

Jo Newsham © 2007

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  1. Fabric scraps
  2. Foundation fabric (muslin)
  3. Fusible interfacing/ Heat'n'Bond or similar
  4. Threads, beads etc. for embellishing (optional)
  5. Cording or trim

It’s that time of year again: when the online groups start talking "ornie" swaps, and you remembered that you wanted to make small gifts for friends and workmates this year too. These hand-crafted ornaments could also be made as heirloom gifts for your family. These little "presents" can be as simple or as ornate as you like and are ideal for delving into the scrap bag.

First, mark present outline on your foundation fabric. I like to use a template; this one is 3”x3”.
I like to have a rough guide of how the block will be pieced.
The block pieced and ready to embellish, as little, or as much as you like. Remember a baste line.
I have used a disappearing ink pen to write my sister's name. It will be embroidered in stem stitch. I also embroider the year on each ornament too.
Next, use some decorative trim, ribbon, fancy yarn or cord to make the bow. Use a couple of stitches to tack it down; keep it outside the baste line. Tack down both sides. You could add ribbon here and tie it in a bow in the centre. Be creative!
Once both sides have the cord on, you can add a loop for hanging. Be sure to face the loop into the centre of the block, so that it is on the outside when you turn. You can now sew the backing on.
I recommend that you double stitch over all the cording, especially the hanging loop.

OK. Backing is on – check. Seam allowance trimmed- check. Corners clipped - check. I have sewn around the whole block. I like to use the ‘easy appliqué’ method for turning these small pieces.

TIP: when sewing an embellished item, use the zipper foot, your piece will slide right on through the feed dog.
Carefully cut a small slit in the backing; be sure not to snip any of your embellishment. Turn as you would normally. Push out your corners; finishing is everything, especially on a gift.
Here I have used the fusible lining to seal the slit. I have used white so you can see how I do it; however, think about how it could be made into a feature. I would usually use black on black fabric. You could also use Heat'n'Bond over the slit, and some light fabric and create a label. Use a Pigma pen to fill out to and from, and add the year if you didn’t embroider it on the front.
And here is the finished article - a quick and easy personalized gift.

The more ornate one for my sister was at the beginning of the article. There are any number of ways you could create and embellish these decorations.

If you make some, please consider submitting them to our Readers' Showcase. We would love to see them.

Jo Newsham (aka Jo in NZ) 

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