Little Dorrit & Co.

The Little Elves Wall Hanging Tutorial!

The Little Elves - Little Dorrit & Co. Embroidery Pattern - In the shop now!

I don’t know about you guys, but I’m often unsure what to do with embroideries once they’re finished! I love making them into useful or decorative items, which is why we try to share ideas for turning your Little Dorrit & Co. embroideries into finished objects. If you’ve grabbed yourself our new Little Elves embroidery pattern, here’s how to turn it into an easy holiday wall hanging. After all, there’s a lot of embroidery in there – it should be a feature!

THE LITTLE ELVES WALL HANGING TUTORIAL

Finished size: 19″ square
1/4″ seams throughout
Press seams outward (away from embroidery)

Here’s what you need:

Little Elves Wall Hanging Tutorial

  • Finished Little Elves embroidery
  • Fat quarter for border around embroidery (we used an unbranded red pindot print)
  • Fat quarter for backing (we used Kona Mint)
  • Fat quarter for binding (we used a print from Denyse Schmidt’s Florence)
  • A piece of batting, about 20″ square
  • Standard (machine) sewing tools: thread, scissors, rotary cutter, etc.
  • Thread for hand-stitched quilting (optional – we used DMC Perle No. 8, color 321)
  • Curved basting pins (optional)
  • Wooden dowel for hanging, about 17-18″ long

(Before we start, I want to point out that my tutorial for our Night Before Christmas pillow is basically interchangeable with this one up to a point, but for slightly different measurements. They even have the same finished size – so you can always make the Little Elves into a pillow, or the Night Before Christmas into a wall hanging! Use the fabric cutting measurements for the embroidery you’ve done, but follow the instructions for whichever finished object you prefer!)

Here’s what to cut:

  • Trim finished embroidery to 14″ square, with design centered
  • From your border fabric: 2 strips 14″ x 3″ and 2 strips 19″ x 3″
  • 2 pieces 3″ x 5″ (for hanging tabs – from scraps or leftover from trimming border pieces!)
  • about 80″-85″ worth of binding strips, 2.25″ wide (if you cut from the shorter end of your FQ, cut 3 strips)

All we need to do to make the top of this mini-quilt is sew the border strips to the embroidery. Sew the shorter strips to the top and bottom, press the seams away from the embroidery, then do the same with the longer strips on each side:

Little Elves Wall Hanging Tutorial

Done! Now make a quilt sandwich with your backing fabric (right side down), then batting, then the mini-quilt top you just finished (right side up). Make sure everything is nice and smooth and secure layers with curved basting pins or whatever basting method you prefer.

Little Elves Wall Hanging Tutorial

You might prefer to do a little machine quilting, but I stitched ours by hand. I used DMC Perle Cotton No. 8, in color 321 – a cheerful, Christmassy red.

Little Elves Wall Hanging Tutorial

I simply went around either side of the border’s seam in a fairly large running running stitch. Yum – I do enjoy large stitches.

Little Elves Wall Hanging Tutorial

Trim away excess backing and batting to square up your finished sandwich.

Now we’ll make a pair of hanging tabs for the back of the quilt. (Please forgive that ours is shown hung with washi tape above! There’s no well-lit good-hanging spot in this crazy house!) Take your 3″ x 5″ pieces and fold them with 3″ sides together, wrong sides together. Sew along the 3″ side:

Little Elves Wall Hanging Tutorial

Then turn right-side-out and press with the seam in the middle of one side. Fold again, raw edges together (and seam sandwiched in the middle) and press.

Little Elves Wall Hanging Tutorial

Pin each tab, raw edges aligned with the top edge of the quilt, about 3″ from each side:

Little Elves Wall Hanging Tutorial

Baste in place (less than 1/4″ from edge, so the basting stitches will be hidden by your binding). Now time for binding!

I will send you over to another tutorial for the binding, because I’ve already shown my binding method in my Retro Christmas Tree Mug Rug Tutorial!
Go over there and bind away!

To hang your quilt, hand-stitch the folded edge of each tab down the same as you did your binding, then slide your dowel inside the tabs. Rest the dowel on a couple of nails or hooks and that’s it! Enjoy your Little Elves wall hanging through the holiday season!

The Little Elves - Little Dorrit & Co. Embroidery Pattern - In the shop now!

(Did this tutorial make you want to get your Christmas stitch on? Save 20% on Little Dorrit & Co. embroidery patterns through July with the code CHRISTMASINJULY.)

The Little Elves – New Embroidery Pattern Out Now!

The Little Elves - Little Dorrit & Co. Embroidery Pattern - In the shop now!

Introducing (or re-introducing) the first of our new Christmas embroidery patterns for Christmas in July – we’ve revamped our Little Elves pattern and popped it into the Little Dorrit & Co. shop, complete with color and stitch guide.

The Little Elves - Little Dorrit & Co. Embroidery Pattern - In the shop now!

We added some new detail to the pattern, and spruced up the colors a little. We really hope you guys like these sweet little elves!

The Little Elves - Little Dorrit & Co. Embroidery Pattern - In the shop now!

Now, this isn’t a small, quick project – the finished embroidery is 11″ across! We like a meaty project to sink our stitchy teeth into, don’t you?! But if such a large project makes you nervous, the pattern also looks adorable without the wreath – stick to the center elements and pop it into an 8″ hoop for a charming Christmas decoration.

The Little Elves - Little Dorrit & Co. Embroidery Pattern - In the shop now!

We’ve also taken the opportunity to turn our Little Elves embroidery into a simple wall hanging – come back tomorrow for a tutorial for this holiday project!

Get the pattern in our shop right here!

Don’t forget to nab yourself a special discount on embroidery patterns this month! Just use the code CHRISTMASINJULY for 20% off patterns through all of July – including these little guys!

Christmas in July & embroidery pattern discount code!!!

Put your jingle bells on, people, because today is the beginning of Christmas in July here at button button! Mom and I have been planning this for a while because we know that December is, let’s be honest, the most hellish month. We crafters know that good intentions alone are not enough to get all of those fun decorations and thoughtful handmade gifts done before the big day!

So join us this month for Christmas in July here on the blog and get an early start! We’ll be sharing new Christmas-themed Little Dorrit and Co. embroidery patterns and tutorials to turn them into lovely finished decorations – and just generally being Christmassy. :)

Our little gift to you is a month-long discount code for 20% off in the Little Dorrit and Co. embroidery pattern shop – just use the code CHRISTMASINJULY at checkout (this code will expire on August 1st)! See our current Christmas-themed patterns here and stay tuned for new holiday patterns throughout the month!

Summer Nights Stitch-along with Sew Mama Sew!

Summer Nights Stitch-along with Sew Mama Sew!

If you’re looking for a fun summer project, check out the Stitch-Along we (Little Dorrit & Co.) are doing over at Sew Mama Sew! We designed a sweet little Summer Nights pattern and are walking new stitchers through the entire project, step by step, in three parts. But I hope you experienced stitchers will join in too – we’d absolutely love to see you use your stitchy creativity to work it up your own way!

Check out ‘Part I: Prepping an Embroidery Project + Getting Started’ right here, and post your projects with the hastag #SummerNightStitch on Twitter / Instagram and whatnot so we can all stitch together!

Blog Hopping!

I interrupt this irregularly scheduled blog silence (while I work on my new blog design – I’ve not gone anywhere, promise, and I’m almost done!) to take part in a blog hop, as invited by my dear friend Carina. So a wave and a howdy to any newcomers who hopped here from Carina’s blog – and today I’ll answer a few questions about what I do, as all the hopped blogs have done before me, and send you hopping along to someone new at the end of my post. So let’s go:

What am I working on?

ALL THE THINGS. Seriously, I am trying very hard (and succeeding, somewhat) to stick to a small number of projects to focus on at a time. But even so, there’s still any number of embroideries, knitting projects and little bits of sewing floating around in various stages of completion!

Vasilisa Crewel Embroidery In Progress

But besides planning and starting new embroidery patterns for the shop, which is always happening, and a project or two that’s just for relaxation, there is usually one big thing I’m focused on at any given time. Right now, it’s our embroidered illustration of Vasilisa, which I’ve blogged about before.

Vasilisa embroidery in progress

I haven’t been able to get my greedy stitchy fingers on this as much as I’d like lately, but this is not a finish-in-a-week project. (I’m not generally that big a fan of finish-in-a-week projects anyway, to be honest, I like my embroidery to be a bit juicier!) I’ll be working on this embroidery, and then a second embroidery that will make this an illustrative set, for a looooong time. Sometimes I sit down and really move forward on it, sometimes it has to take a backseat to other work. I hope to show you all some new progress soon though!

How does my work differ from others of its genre?

I’ll answer this one on behalf of Little Dorrit & Co., because that’s what I think of when I think of ‘my work’. So far, the stuff I do on my own is mostly dabbling and trying and seeing what’s what – in fact, the whole point of my Year of Samplers project.

Pippi Longstocking Pattern

So from Little Dorrit & Co’s perspective, I think the main difference is that we think of ourselves as an illustrating team, who happen to use embroidery as our medium. Our design focus is on illustrating a story, making sure the best details are included.

Lizzie & Darcy

Our Lizzie & Mr. Darcy Pride and Prejudice-themed pattern is by far our most popular, and I honestly think it works so well because of the tiniest detail: Lizzie’s facial expression. Close enough to touch, but looking away from each other, these two are clearly the always-at-odds romantic leads from Jane Austen’s classic. But Lizzie’s worried expression really makes the whole thing, if I say so myself. It’s just so Elizabeth Bennett! The details make our designs successful as story illustrations, and we get such pleasure out of getting them right!

How does your writing/creating process work?

As Little Dorrit & Co., Mom and I have a very semi-structured work pattern. When it comes time to work on a new design, Mom and I both read our subject book, then meet for a brainstorming session. Together we will come up with a general design plan and determine what exact details from our source should be included. Then Mom will go away for a while, work some kind of wizarding art magic and come back with a beautiful design plan. (Although Vasilisa is not a pattern in development, we’ve still worked the same basic way. You can see a bit of Mom’s original Vasilisa drawing below, littered with our notes on thread colors and stitch placement.)

Today I'm watching Noir and working on our Vassilisa crewel embroidery. Cozy!

Then I will take her sketch and turn it into a pattern with Adobe Illustrator, until recently, but now Inkscape. I love dem tools. The design will be tweaked and stretched and prodded until it’s juuuuust right, then stitched up. I do most of the embroidery, because it’s the part I love and, I like to think, excel at – and the part I want to always continue to improve. The design may be adjusted slightly as I stitch, if something doesn’t work right, and I try to pick stitches that make good use of the design elements and keep the customer interested in what they’re working on. Basically, I want the finished pattern to make a fellow embroiderers’ stitchy fingers twitch!

Why do I write/create what I do?

This answer, as a general needleworker (not specific to embroidery patterns or any one project) is so simple: because I don’t like doing anything else half as much. Sometimes people comment that I’ve done so many projects over the years, or that I have tips for nearly every needlecraft, and I have to remind them that I barely do anything else. My friends all have other hobbies, things they love and split their crafting time with – I don’t have that. I stitch and sew and knit – or write about them, or plan for them – with every possible waking hour, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Always Stitching!

Ok, I do love movies, and hunting for the perfect vintage pin dish and learning about music from the 1930s – among loads of other other things that interest me. But if I do give those things some attention, I’m probably knitting at the same time. I think about thread (or yarn) and fabric, and what I can do with them, with at least 80% of my brain at all times. I don’t really know why anyone does what they do, except that perhaps everyone has something that just seems to make sense to them, above anything else. I see a ball of yarn, a skein of thread or a fat quarter and it’s almost as if my mind becomes clear and focused. I just get it, you know?

Eels Lyrics Embroidery - WIP

Not to say it’s some sort of natural skill! I made a lot of really crappy crap before I started making anything nice, and my unspoken goal of every day is to learn more about the needlecrafts I love. I work my ass off at it and over many years, it’s started to pay off. I’m only now starting to make things that are as good as I want them to be – but I doubt I’ll ever stop trying to make them better!

* * * * *

Thank you so much to the lovely Carina for her kind introduction to me last week, I hope you’ll go check out her blog if you’ve never been there before, she makes such wonderful, colorful and happy things!

So many people have already been included in this hop that I only have one person to carry on the blog torch from here: the ridiculously talented Cate Anevski, the creative brains behind Bee’s Knees Industries (which is just so fun to say, don’t you think?!). I took a slightly embarrassed leap asking Cate to blog hop with me, because we’d never officially met, but I think her illustration and embroidery designs are simply wonderful! I’ve been a silent fan of hers for a long while, so I’m very happy to pass you over to her!

Take it away, Cate!

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