For this post I thought it might be fun to show a time lapse of design-to-finish so you can see how to create a hand embroidered felt elephant ornament. The process has been a discovery on what works well or less well.
First of all, opt for wool felt over craft felt. Craft felt is fine, and I tried it for the first few ornaments I made, but given then amount of effort involved with these little guys a nice wool felt is worth the extra few cents. I trace and draw my designs on Sulky Sticky Fabri-Solvy or Pellon Stick-N-Washaway, then stick in onto the felt. Embellish with an array of hand embroidery stitches and decorate liberally. 🙂 Satin DMC floss with metallic accents give it that “ornament” look. Originally I used craft felt and cotton floss, while the results were okay, I think the shiny options make it more holiday-esque. After embroidering, trim the shape with about an 1/8″ allowance outside of the profile outline. Soak in warm water for 15 minutes and rinse away any of the Sulky or Pellon that has not already dissolved. I recommend soaking the felt to be used for the back of the ornament as well since some shrinkage will occur and the felt will get a little stiff. I do not pre-shrink the felt for the front of the elephant prior to embroidery since my stitching tends to pull and pucker the felt. So far the felt seems to straighten out when it is soaked and shrinks. Finally, I use DMC perle cotton 5 for the outline with very small running stitches and thread DMC perle metallic gold or silver size 8 floss through the seam on the top before adding stuffing and sewing the ornament closed.
The ornaments are a lot of fun to make and a good creativity binge that doesn’t require commitment to a larger project.