I've decided to post a tutorial for how to make an applique and machine embroidery Christmas card. These cards take a little while to make so they're definitely for those that you love. Not so much for the people lurking at the bottom of your Christmas card list in the oh, they've sent me one, I'd better pop one in the post to them, kind of way!
Materials you will need:
Paper to sketch shapes out or print out of template (template to follow soon)
Scraps of red christmassy fabric
Scraps of green christmassy fabric
Red and green thread (you can use specific machine embroidery thread for more of a shine but if you don't have it then any cotton or polyester will work fine)
Buttons (one for each card)
Fold the A5 card in half and run a ruler along the fold to ensure it is crisp.
Print out the template (to follow soon) or sketch out a Christmas tree shape and a heart on the scrap paper, ensuring they will fit onto your card.
Place the bondaweb over the template/sketches and trace the outlines onto the paper side of the bondaweb. Cut roughly around the bondaweb shapes (there is no need to be exact at this stage).
With the paper side up, iron the bondaweb Christmas tree on to the reverse of the green fabric and the heart on to the reverse of the red fabric. (It normally takes about 8 seconds to bond to the fabric, on a medium heat with no steam, but follow the instructions on your bondaweb.)
Cut around the christmas tree and heart, this time following the lines precisely. Now you will have the shapes on your chosen fabric, backed with the bondaweb.
Peel the paper backing off your fabric shapes. Then place the shapes onto your card in the desired location. Now is the time to play around with the positioning. Once happy with the position of your tree and heart, iron the shapes into place. It's worth making sure the iron is not too hot at this point or you may end up scalding the card. It's also important that the steam setting on your iron is off so the card does not curl up. You now have a card with pretty fabric shapes attached and you could leave it like this, but I like to add a little more embellishment...
This stage is done by using a sewing machine for a little free-motion machine embroidery. If you do not have a sewing machine, then you could use some hand stitching to embellish the card. Set up your sewing machine - attach a darning foot and lower the feed dog (your sewing machine manual will explain how to do this and it is really important to ensure the card will move freely when you start the embroidery). Set your stitch to straight. Thread your machine using the green thread.
Open you card out, then place it under the needle at the point of the heart. Lower the needle into the card using the hand wheel of the machine. Then start stitching around the inside of the card, proceeding slowly and moving the card freely under the needle. You should aim for the stitches not to be too close together - this can result in perforations in the card causing it to disintegrate! Do not worry too much about perfect stitches - the aim is for it to look a little rustic and handmade!
Once you have stitched around the inside of the heart, you can take a wiggly line of stitches up to the base of the tree. Then remove the card from the machine, pull the thread to the back of the card, tie off and trim.
Thread your machine with the red thread, then stitch around the inside of the Christmas tree, moving the card to determine the length and placement of your stitches. Once complete remove from the tree and trim the threads as before.
Select a button to complement your fabrics (I've chosen a vintage mother of pearl button), then hand stitch this to the top of the tree using doubled red thread.
Now it's time to admire your handiwork - oh, and send it to someone special of course!