I thought I’d share with you some variations on creating the appliqué Christmas tree as well as some embellishment ideas.
Firstly, there’s a lot that can be done with this pattern just with fabric choices alone. Both my versions of Candy Christmas use a fabric with a ditsy-type print for the Christmas tree. The small scale patterns are a bit of a “cheater print” for Christmas decorations.
Just about any small scale print fabric would look great. You can see various colours of the Alison Glass Sun Print fabric I used above here*.
And pretty much every one of these adorable Swedish fabrics* would look fabulous.
Don’t forget your background fabrics, too. Solids work really well when you want your colours to shine, but pattern can also be used to great effect. Stars, bubbles, dots, ombré and stripes can all add interest to the background.
These new Lizzy House Constellations fabrics* have lovely, saturated colours that play well together.
My new favourite for a background might just be this Birch collection called Wink*.
So I hope that gives you some ideas with regards to fabric choices.
Patchwork Your Tree
Another fun way to create your tree is to hit your scrap bag. You can sew a patchwork piece any way you like that can then be used to cut your tree.
In this version I used some larger strips pieced together to form my “fabric”.
Then I cut out my tree with the template (from the pattern).
Another option is to use up all your smaller scraps by frankensteining them together:
When you cut out your tree, just try not to let any of the tree points fall on a seam.
Christmas Embroidery Designs
There’s lots of scope for embellishing with Christmas embroidery designs or other trims you might fancy.
I knew I wanted to do some embroidery, so I marked out a rough plan on the back of my appliqué template. I could easily adjust my garland and ornament spacing before I started on my actual mini quilt.
When it came to choosing thread colours, I went with tones that matched my background fabrics. I think it helped tie the whole thing together.
I also recommend completing your embellishment after quilting the top to the batting, but before you put on your backing. That way you don’t have to worry about being overly neat on the back of your piece, as that will all be enclosed in the quilt sandwich. As I embellished after the mini quilt was complete, I had to pop knots through into the backing, etc, to try and minimise the mess on the back. It wasn’t much fun, so benefit from my hindsight!
For those who might be worried about affixing your backing after you’ve embroidered, don’t worry. You can quilt a line outside each edge of the tree to hold your backing in place – this is plenty for a mini quilt. If you’d like to put a line of quilting on the tree but don’t want to sew over embroidery, just mark a line before you embroider so you know where to leave a clear path for later quilting.
Right. Back to the stitching. Firstly, if you’re looking for a straight forward, photo laden book on embroidery stitches I’m a fan of the book below (which you can find on Amazon here*).
I started with the tree garlands, which I marked with an air-erasable pen on my tree. However, I found my line wasn’t sticking around long enough for me to get my garland sewn before it faded away (it’s very humid here at the moment).
To counter that problem I cut my appliqué template along my drawn garland lines and pinned the sections to my tree as I sewed. I was able to use the cut edges as a guide for my stitching lines. This also worked really well for night time sewing, when I find it harder to see the air and water erasable pens against dark fabrics (old eyes!)
So back to the garlands. I started with a single line of chain stitch but felt it wasn’t hefty enough, so I did a second.
And then I thought it was a little plain for a garland, so I went back and whip stitched the two lines together with another colour thread. (If I’d had a metallic thread* I would have used that here, I think it would’ve looked fantastic).
I also scattered some gold and navy stars across the tree.
Other Embellishment Ideas
The sky’s the limit! What do you have lying around in your drawers? Ribbons, pom-poms, lace, doilies, beads and sequins – any sort of trim is fair game. You could machine sew garlands if your machine has fancy-pants stitches.
(Just remember to sew hardware down very securely if little hands are likely to be handling your mini quilt. Large beads, etc, can be a choking hazard.)
Alright, I think that’s more than long enough for a blog post. Thank you for reading and I hope this has sparked some Christmas embroidery design ideas of your own.
If you’d like to make your own Candy Christmas, you can find the pattern in my shop.
Happy embellishing and happy holidays!