November 15, 2016

Free Motion Quilted Ornaments - a Tutorial

Most years I make special Christmas ornaments to give to some friends and family members. I've tried a couple of different versions of quilted ornaments, including these ones two years ago, but I've never been able to come up with a way to finish the ornaments that was fairly quick (so no binding!) and that left me completely pleased with how it looked. Then last year I made these play alphabets, finishing the edges with pinking shears and I thought that would be perfect for finishing ornaments. Unfortunately, I then waited a full year before trying it...

But, finally, here is a tutorial for these fantastic free motion quilted ornaments!
Tutorial for making ornaments featuring free motion quilting | DevotedQuilter.blogspot.com

Gather Your Supplies

Tutorial for making ornaments featuring free motion quilting | DevotedQuilter.blogspot.com

* Fabric for the front and back of the ornaments, slightly larger than your finished ornaments will be. I recommend solid fabric to allow your quilting to shine. I'm using white yardage for my ornaments, but you could easily make them from scraps in any colour you want.

* Something to create the circle outline. I used the rim of a mug, but you can use anything you have that is the size you want. I wanted mine to be pretty big (as ornaments go), to allow for lots of quilting. Of course, your ornaments don't have to be circles, so play around and use whatever shape you want.

* A hera marker or removable fabric marker. You'll use this to draw the outline of your ornament, so you want to be sure the line will disappear. If you'll be mailing your ornaments, I don't recommend a Frixion pen as their ink tends to reappear if exposed to cold temperatures.

*Ribbon for hanging the ornament. I'm using my quilt labels, but any fabric ribbon will work.

* Scraps of batting slightly larger than your finished ornaments will be.

* Basting pins

* Thread. This is where you can have a lot of fun playing around. Use thread to match your fabric if you want only the texture of the quilting to show, or use thread that contrasts to allow the quilting to take center stage. Use red and green for a traditional Christmas look, or go wild with whatever colour appeals to you.

* pinking shears

Making the Ornaments


Layer your fabric and batting just as you would if you were basting a quilt. Use the hera marker to trace the outline of the circle onto the fabric.
Tutorial for making ornaments featuring free motion quilting | DevotedQuilter.blogspot.com
My camera really struggled to take pictures of all this white!
Cut your ribbon to size and place it between the top fabric and the batting, with the ends extending at least 1/4" inside the drawn circle. Pin in place.
Tutorial for making ornaments featuring free motion quilting | DevotedQuilter.blogspot.com
Pin in a couple of places to hold all the layers together. Because I'm using yardage, I have my fabric cut into strips and circles drawn along the length of the strip.
Tutorial for making ornaments featuring free motion quilting | DevotedQuilter.blogspot.com
Now quilt along the drawn line to outline the ornament. Try to keep the outline neat, but don't stress about little wobbles in the line. They will be much less noticeable when the whole ornament is filled in.

Yes, using the red thread on white fabric is scary, especially when there's only a bit of stitching done. Wobbles seem especially glaring when there's so much contrast! Once the whole ornament is finished, the red feels much less stark.
Tutorial for making ornaments featuring free motion quilting | DevotedQuilter.blogspot.com
Then start quilting! I used flow quilting for this ornament, but you could do anything you want. What motifs are you comfortable with? Pebbles? Swirls? Whatever it is, you could fill your ornament with beautiful free motion quilting. Plus, since the ornaments are small, you could use them for practice.
Tutorial for making ornaments featuring free motion quilting | DevotedQuilter.blogspot.com
When your ornament is filled in, sit back and enjoy it for a moment :)
Tutorial for making ornaments featuring free motion quilting | DevotedQuilter.blogspot.com
Now it's time to trim it using the pinking shears. Leave a few threads to the outside of the stitched line. When you come to the ribbon, you'll need to separate the layers so that you don't cut the ribbon. Start by pulling the top fabric away from the ribbon and trim that.
Tutorial for making ornaments featuring free motion quilting | DevotedQuilter.blogspot.com
Then pull the ribbon to the front and trim the batting and backing. Once you are past the ribbon, continue trimming all three layers together the rest of the way around the circle.
Tutorial for making ornaments featuring free motion quilting | DevotedQuilter.blogspot.com
Tutorial for making ornaments featuring free motion quilting | DevotedQuilter.blogspot.com
 And that's it! Simple, isn't it?
Tutorial for making ornaments featuring free motion quilting | DevotedQuilter.blogspot.com
So far I've made 6 and I'm having a lot of fun playing with different quilting motifs. I plan to make about a dozen more, if possible.
Free motion quilted Christmas ornaments tutorial | DevotedQuilter.blogspot.com
The light green ones were made using my first ever spool of Aurifil thread (colour 1231) and I have to say, I really like the thread 😊 (Hey, look, Blogger has emojis all of a sudden!)
Free motion quilted Christmas ornaments tutorial | DevotedQuilter.blogspot.com

If you make ornaments using this tutorial, I'd love to see them! Leave me a link to a blog post in the comments or email a link or a picture to devotedquilter at gmail dot com. Or you can tag me (@devotedquilter) on Instagram.

Happy stitching!

32 comments:

  1. Such a nice idea. I'll present them when I'll be doing my FMQ workshop at my guild next Spring.

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  2. I am so excited for this tutorial, Leanne, and thanks for linking up. I might need to go purchase some pinking shears soon! :)

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  3. This is a great idea, Leanne! We just talked about an ornament exchange at our guild meeting last night and I was going to pass. I think I could do this pretty easily.

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  4. I'm always looking for new ideas for ornaments. This one is a winner! And no binding. Yea!

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  5. These are really beautiful. I'm not sure that my quilting will look as good as yours but I might try this.

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  6. These are lovely Leanne, you have a real factory line going there too :)

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  7. This is fabulous. Need to make, especially for my quilty friends. Your stitching is lovely. Thank you! Also... emojis?! :O

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  8. Those are amazing and great tutorial! Simple, yes...except for that FMQ part! Love the pinking shear idea!

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  9. Neat idea. I wonder if I can do that nice of free motion stitching!?

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  10. Great idea! Did you make the personalized ribbons yourself? Or did you buy them? I'm intrigued by what difference the Aurifil made too.

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  11. Your ornaments are beautiful! Thank you so much for sharing the tutorial.

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  12. Those are wonderful, what a great way to do some practice FMQ!

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  13. lovely! What a wonderful way to practice that micro- quilting!

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  14. These are absolutely darling. Your tiny quilting is so impressive.

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  15. They are so pretty! Thank you for sending one to me!

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  16. What a great way to get more comfortable with free motion quilting. I'll have to try it! Thanks.

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  17. These are awesome! Perfect gifts and great FMQ practice!

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  18. Perfect idea! I'm thinking that they will make nice stocking stuffers, Secret Santa gifts, gift decoration toppers, and lots of other ways to use them. Have you made them in different sizes or shapes? I think I'll have to try that. You know, I can't leave well enough alone!

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  19. What a unique and beautiful idea, Leanne. This would be perfect for me to practise FMQ. Pinned. #hohohoandonwesew

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  20. Great idea for getting FMQ practice in while still making a nice, usable project :) Very cute.

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  21. These are beautiful, Leanne, and the absence of binding is my idea of a perfect quilted project)))

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  22. Hi I have just found your Blog and I am so excited. I have promised myself that after Christmas I would teach myself FMQ and lo and behold here I am reading your FMQ Ornaments tutorial, I am in heaven. Thank you so much, I can't wait to get started.
    Regards Catherine

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  23. Love this,,,great ornaments for our little tree....thank you for the tutorial...and thank you crafty quilter for sharing her tutorial......

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  24. These are beautiful and what a great idea! I think my daughter would love some of these. Thanks for sharing.

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  25. I think I am going to have to try this after Christmas, I need to practice my fmq and these would be perfect for gifts for next year! Thank you, I need to go purchase a pair of pinking shears also.

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  26. These are so pretty. Thanks for the tutorial.

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  27. Popping over from The Wonky Press... love these! The process looks like it could work for making coasters, too, since the quilting is so dense and even and they'd lay flat.

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