Christmas Cards


Well, since our Christmas cards have all been released into the hands of the Royal Mail, I know some early recipients are interested to learn a bit about how they were made.  I always make our cards and spend much of September refusing to give them a second thought, most of October wondering what on earth I’ll do this year, a good part of November hoping inspiration will strike and then December is a time for telling myself to make them in January next year.

2014 was no different.

Whilst in Washington, I bought a couple of seasonal magazines and in one, my eyes fell upon a cute little Father Christmas on skis.  Immediately before we went off to Washington, I’d spent those two days at Bogod in London, learning about my sewing machine, so of course, that was the technique which was uppermost in my mind.  Maybe I could do something along those lines for our card?


Fullscreen capture 11122014 163625


I opened the software and drew the small figure as I remembered it, then digitised a few stitches around the outline.  Had I been making just one card, then I could have included some fancy fills, a few sparkly baubles on the little tree and so on, but I was making quite a few of these and so I’d better keep it simple, I thought.




So I simply saved it to a USB stick, transferred it to my sewing machine and tried a few options.  Hmm.  Not bad but a bit, well, dull, when placed on the card. 




I wondered about pinking the edge for added interest, but still, it didn’t really work for me.  Perhaps it was too big?




So I tried stitching it out smaller but it was still not really floating my boat.




Then I remembered.  I could draw directly on the screen and create a sewing stitch (as opposed to an embroidery design).  Not quite confident of my ability to draw a skiing Father Christmas at 90 degrees (I’d forgotten that I could have drawn it straight and then turned it around later)  I taped my drawing to the screen and carefully began to draw on the screen using the stylus.




Once I’d got the basic shape down, I could fiddle with each individual stitch to get it into place.  It was important, too, to make sure the stitch ended at the same level as it started, to make a continuous line of sewing.




Hee heee… we’re talking!  Each little row of skiing Father Christmases was formed beautifully and I was pleased with it so far.  But was it enough?

I decided to sleep on it and woke with a small development.  What if Father Christmas skiied a few words.  Like  “Happy Christmas” or  “ho ho ho” ?  I quickly came down and wrote “ho” on the screen, then stitched it three times.

Ho Ho Ho!!

I decided one Father Christmas and one HoHoHo was enough for each card and drew a bit of bumpy snow as a kind of filler stitch.




I linked them all together – {filler stitch + ho + ho + ho + Father Christmas + filler stitch} and saved it all as a pattern in the sewing machine.  I saved it on the USB stick as well, just in case!




My goodness, I couldn’t believe that our card had come together quite so easily!




But actually, when I came to sew out a few, another dilemma struck me.  If I sewed on plain fabric without a backing, the fabric distorted and it didn’t look good.  Yet if I used a backing of some kind, then the whole thing was a bit thick and lumpy.  Anyway, it would be the backing fabric which would be stuck down not the top calico layer, and then the whole thing was messy.

Back to the drawing board?




I slept on it (again).  Sometimes, these things take time to percolate through the grey matter!




The next day I looked again at some of the backing fabric – stabiliser – I was using and the thought struck me that it looked kind of frosty.  Of course that wouldn’t distort at all (well, not  much) if I sewed on it directly, so I gave it a try and liked what I saw.




I cut a few strips of the stuff and found I could sew three pattern repeats on each one.  So, I set the machine to sew three repeats, pressed the button and sat back, offering a hand from time to time when it needed a little guidance.




A bit of a trim and a lick of glue later and our card is done.  The strip of sewing wraps around the back of the card a short way, too.

So there we are.  Here’s wishing all my friends a very Happy Christmas!


And if you made it this far, then surely a reward is in order?  Maybe you’d like to download the stitches?  They are all .exp files, suitable for Bernina machines (of course) but I’m happy to try and change the file format for friends with different sewing machines.

Bumpy snow

Ho  (repeat three times!)

 Father Christmas

Let me know how it goes x


PS  I discovered since I did my card that I could have designed the sewing stitch in the software on my PC and wouldn’t have needed to draw it out on the screen, but hey, who takes the easy route?

Clever women

In which the parish magazine leads me astray