Tutorial

How to make a Cross-Stitch Flat Ornament

It’s only a few weeks ’til Valentine’s Day and I hadn’t quite found a good gift for my boyfriend yet. So I decided to make one! It wasn’t until I saw QuaternionCreations’ new pattern that I knew what I wanted to do. But I put together a flat ornament that he can hang in his office. Or that can be re purposed as a Christmas ornament next year! And now I’m gonna show you how I did it!

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Picking your design

When I first saw QuaternionCreations’ “I love you” in Klingon pattern, I knew I wanted to stitch it. And that says a lot, as I don’t often have time to stitch other people’s designs. But the boyfriend and I have watched so much Star Trek together it absolutely felt necessary.

Their first design was using the phrase bangwi’SoH, which essentially translates to “You are my loved one.” But we’ve always been partial to an alternate phrasing of ‘I love you’ which is basically “I don’t hate you.” So I reached out to Quaternion to see if they’d be willing to make an alternative with qamuSHa’ and sure enough, here we are! This was posted literally yesterday and I just could not wait to stitch it! I did edit it a bit to leave out the latin lettering, though.

That said, I don’t typically finish designs in hoops, so I just don’t keep many on hand. I’m constantly looking for new ways to finish my designs, as evidenced in the work I did for the Undertale cross stitch book.

This time though, I decided to make a flat ornament pretty early on due to the pattern’s circular nature. However, the full design on 14 count would be 5.9″ x 4.7” (15cm x 12cm) which is a bit big for a flat ornament. So I pulled out an old trick of mine to keep it small.

Close up of the ornament showing half stitches instead of cross stitches.

If you zoom in close you’ll notice this isn’t cross stitch at all! Technically it’s petite point, but still. Basically, I found a scrap of leftover 28 count evenweave that was big enough to fit both the pattern and some extra space to finish it with. Then stitched the design using two strands of thread but only stitching half stitches, or tent stitches. As an added bonus this means it also stitches up much faster, so I was done in the space of 2 hours~!

Materials

Once the stitching was out of the way, I gathered my materials. Basically, you need the following:

Flat lay photo of all the materials needed to make a flat ornament.
  • 2 circles of thick cardstock or thin cardboard cut to the size you want your finished flat ornament to be. I used some leftover packaging from an Ikea box. It’s just a bit of cardboard thin enough to be easy to cut and work with, but thick enough to hold its shape.
  • 2 circles of cotton batting or craft felt. For this one, I used felt. But it depends on what you have on hand or how padded you want the ornament to be.
  • A larger circle of fabric to be used as the back of your ornament. I used a random fat quarter I had that I felt matched the red in the design.
  • Your cross stitch finish, ideally cut to the same size as the backing circle (unlike me).
  • Some decorative ribbon or cording to go around the edge of the ornament.
  • Some twine or ribbon to be used to hang from. (Not pictured above)

How do you get these perfect circles though? Well if you’re lucky enough to own a circle template, you could just use that. Or, you could improvise like me.

Demonstrating how to trace out circles on cardboard and cloth.

With my design now stitched on 28 count, it was about 3″ (7.62cm) in diameter. So I wanted a circle just a little bit bigger than that to give it some room around the design. Luckily for me, the ribbon I was planning to use was on a spool about 3.5″ (8.9cm) in diameter. So using it as a template, I cut my cardboard and felt. Felt wouldn’t quite pick up pencil marks, so I used a water soluble pen to trace my circle.

Demonstration of using a mug to trace out a circle on fabric.

Finding a slightly larger circle was a bit trickier. It needed to be at least a half inch (1.3 cm) of fabric larger than the ornament would be. Luckily I had this large mug nearby with a 5″ (12.7cm) rim. So I used that to trace out my backing fabric.

The square scrap of evenweave I had stitched on was a bit smaller than this mug, so I ended up just rounding the edges a bit so they wouldn’t get in my way.

Assembling the discs

Now that you’ve got everything cut out, let’s get to putting this together.

Demonstration of a basic running stitch.

I started by knotting the end of my thread and doing a very loose running stitch around the edges of my backing fabric. The thread color doesn’t matter much for this part, but I used white because that’s what I’d be using to attach my cord later. None of this will be seen, so it doesn’t have to be neat or even. This is just to cinch the fabric into a proper circle later. Don’t tie off the string just yet though!

Sandwiching the circles into the fabric circle.

I then carefully laid one of my felt circles in the middle, placing one of the cardboard circles on top. Then lightly pull the end of the thread so that it starts to ruffle up and conform to the shape of the cardboard. Then start stitching across the cardboard to pin down the edges.

Demonstrating how to secure the fabric in place around the cardstock circle.

For some fabric patterns this doesn’t matter, but this is the best time to center any designs around the circle as you can still slide the fabric around a bit while you stitch. Pay close attention to how it’s looking on the back if you want the fabrics’ design to line up.

When you do this with your cross stitch, you’ll want to make sure that’s properly centered as well, so now’s a good time to practice. But keep stitching across, slowly going around the edge of the fabric until it’s all been secured down.

Showing the two finished fabric discs together.

Now do this with your cross stitch, too. You can see where mine wasn’t exactly circular, and some areas were thinner than others. But ultimately, this doesn’t matter as it won’t be seen. The main things you should focus on are making sure the pattern is centered on the front, and that your fabric is secured tightly.

Demonstrating how to sew on a ribbon loop

Now is also the best time to attach your hanging ribbon. As you can see I used some washi tape to stick it in place so that I could look at it from behind, hold the other piece in front of it and see if I liked how it looked first. Finally I double checked it was properly centered and then sewed it into place.

Not pictured here, but I also sewed the beginning end of my edging ribbon in the same place. That way the end would be safely tucked away inside the flat ornament.

Putting it all together.

Demonstrating sewing together the fabric discs around a decorative ribbon

Sandwiching the two discs together, I started carefully stitching the edging cord between the two. I would carefully make sure it was piercing both the evenweave and the backing fabric. Sometimes a bit of the felt as well. I would then pull it tight, trying to line up the thread with the grooves of the braid so they would be hidden.

Demonstrating sewing together the fabric discs around a decorative ribbon

Just continue stitching it around the edge, taking your time so your stitches are spaced evenly apart and as hidden as possible. Once I got back around to the top I cut my ribbon to size and carefully tucked the end in between the two discs with the tip of my needle.

Showing the back of a flat ornament.

And there’s your flat ornament! Here’s the back so you can see how I centered the fabric. You can make these in most basic shapes using the same basic techniques. So be sure to pick out a shape that works well with your design!

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