It’s time for a holiday freebie!! This year I’ve got this delightful orange slice and evergreen wreath free Christmas hand embroidery pattern, with 5 different options for the text in the middle! It’s sweet and whimsical and perfect for decking the halls or gifting to someone special.
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It’s the most wonderful and the busiest time of the year! I gotta keep this post short and sweet because (like you, I’m sure) I’m swamped with Christmas shopping, food planning, kid activities, Etsy shop ornament orders to fill and trying desperately to find a few minutes of quiet time to breathe.
But I was determined to get a free Christmas hand embroidery designed for the blog and I’m a little proud of myself that I got it done amidst the chaos of my life! I’m also OBSESSED with the little orange slices! I couldn’t be happier with how they turned out. I hope you love them too!
Firstly, don’t be intimidated. This pattern is not as hard as it looks. So if you consider yourself a beginner sewist, you’ve got this!
I’ve also included a second page of alternate phrases that are sized for the center of the wreath. Just in case Mariah isn’t your vibe. 🙂
They include; “Merry & Bright”, “Joy to the World”, “a weary world Rejoices” and “Joyeux Noël” to choose from.
All the stitches you’ll need are included in a stitch guide file you’ll get with the pattern. The only stitch missing is the chain stitch, so I did a little video showing demonstration of that below.
This pattern is sized for a 7″ embroidery hoop if you print it at 100%. While I wouldn’t recommend shrinking it down, you could definitely enlarge it for a bigger hoop if you prefer.
And if you’re looking for even more free Christmas hand embroidery patterns, check out this round up post of 15 free patterns that I found.
Here’s what you’ll need to complete this free Christmas hand embroidery:
Printed pattern (find it at the bottom of the post)
7″ Embroidery hoop – I like these bamboo ones
Fabric – 9″x 9″ I used a quilting cotton
Felt – in a colour similar to your fabric – 9″ x 9″
Light Source – I love this light pad, but a window on a sunny day works fine too!
Embroidery Threads in Orange, Cream, Cranberry Red, Dark Green, Light Brown and Gold
Embroidery Needle & Scissors
Hot Glue Gun – this Surebonder detail tip is my fave
Some Christmas tunes or a cheesy Hallmark movie!
Easiest Way to Transfer an Embroidery Pattern
Using an inexpensive light pad to trace your embroidery pattern to your fabric is the easiest way to transfer the design.
Simply print the pattern at 100%, lay the pattern page on your light pad (tape it down if you prefer) and layer your fabric on top.
Turn the brightness up to maximum and use a pencil and a light touch to trace the design onto your fabric.
I’ve even used this technique on dark, opaque fabrics and it works super well!
You can also simply use a window like I’ve shown in this post. But a light pad can be used no matter the weather or time of day. I use mine all the time now for pattern designing and I don’t know how I lived so long without it!
Get Ready to Embroider
Now you can layer your fabric onto your felt and secure them in the embroidery hoop.
Select your colour palette.
I picked traditional colours, but this would be fun in non-traditional blues and pinks too!
How to Embroider Orange Slices
The segments of the orange slices are worked in a modified satin stitch.
Step 1: Use 2 strands of thread and start by making 2 long straight stitches from the bottom corners to the top point of a segment. Add a third stitch right down the middle of the segment to divide it in half. (As seen in the left most segment below.)
Step 2: Continue similarly by dividing the segment into 4 sections by adding 2 more long stitches (as seen in the middle segment below). These stitches however will not go all the way into the point of the segment.
Step 3: Now, fill in the gaps with more straight stitches, always splitting the remaining gaps in half and making the stitches shorter and shorter in length as the segment fills out.
Next, use 3 strands of orange thread to do a curved line of chain stitches along the outer edge of the orange.
I’ll try to explain a chain stitch:
Bring the needle up through your fabric at point A and pull the thread all the way through.
Put the needle back down through point A but only pull the thread part way through, leaving a loop of thread on the top of the fabric.
Bring your needle back up at point B, a stitch length away from A and inside the thread loop. Pull the thread taut, creating a small loop chain that your threaded needle emerges from. Repeat.
Here is a short, low quality video showing how to do it. (I promise I’m working on my videography skills, but yikes it’s a learning curve! Does Gen Z just know how to do these things?! Send them over to teach me please?)
I hope this photo helps.
Next, do a second row of chain stitches right up against the inside of the first row.
Now take 2 strands of cream thread and fill in the spaces between the segments with a few, long, straight stitches.
Do 2-3 shorter straight stitches across the top of the slice (as shown below) to fill in the space and create the bit in the center of an orange that everyone picks out. haha
Use 2 strands of cream and create 2 rows of chain stitch to fill in the space between the rind and the segments.
Ok, moving on to the branches.
Use 2 strands of brown thread and a small back stitch to embroider the the branch lengths.
Here you’ll notice that I didn’t trace the needles of the branches in pencil, only the sticks. I do that for 2 reasons.
One, I try to create as few pencil markings as possible since they aren’t erasable afterwards. So I only draw the lines that I’m 100% positive will be covered up by thread.
Two, I like to give myself the freedom to change the placement of the greenery if I so choose. Not everything translates from the paper to the fabric. What looks good on paper might look a little odd done in thread. So this way I have flexibility to add more or less pine needles as the mood takes me. 🙂
But feel free to use as many markings as you need to feel confident.
Now use 2 strands of a dark bluey-green to create the pine needles. Use a straight stitch and do 2 together in a V shape. Don’t be afraid to let your needles overlap each other and the orange slices.
Use 2 strands of cranberry red and a satin stitch to make the berries.
Finally, use 2 strands of red and a tiny split stitch for the text.
Oh yes, and 2 strands of gold to make the trio of stars in a straight stitch.
How to Finish the Back of an Embroidery
There’s lots of different ways to finish the back of an embroidery hoop.
My preferred method is simply to trim the felt layer down so it is flush with the hoop.
Then trim the fabric so there’s only about 3/4″ of overhang.
Working in sections, use hot glue to secure the fabric to the inside of the hoop.
If I’m keeping the hoop for myself, then I call it done at this point. If I’m giving it away, I’ll cut a circle of quilt batting slightly larger than the inside of the hoop and glue it in place to cover the back of the embroidery.
Isn’t it charming?! I’m so pleased with how it turned out. Plus the orange slices were relaxing and therapeutic to stitch, it was a nice change from the frantic sewing I’ve been doing the last couple of month for filling orders.
Sign up here for your free Christmas hand embroidery pattern:
So, what do you plan to do with this pattern? I’d love to know, tell me in the comments!
Happy Holiday Crafting!