Hammock Project: Hand-Stitched Ornaments

Ornament Doodles

I found a great resource for hand-stitching from 1901: Hand Sewing Lessons: A Graded Course for Schools and for the Home by Sarah Ewell Krolik.It contains a lot of interesting details about hand sewing, different stitches including a section on how to draft children clothes. Best thing is that it’s in the public domain, so you can download it for free.

It was written during the transition between the Victorian and Edwardian Eras: “Pupils sit erect while sewing, with their feet on the floor and the lower part of the spine against the chair back.” Yep, that’s me. With my nice erect spine leaning against the chair back.


It also includes a fine little section for mothers on how to train your child to sew. “A girl of three or four years of age is pleased to sew daily.” Mmmmh? …”Allow her to sew often, but not more than fifteen minutes at a time. It may be a year before she can sew a seam well, but all the while she is learning to concentrate her mind.” Really now? Wow!

It does, however, contain a lot of useful information and an interesting look at the domestic customs at the turn of the last century. 

Ornament Doodle

If you liked the little stitched doodles above, here’s how to make one yourself. It looks much more complicated than it is and with a little practice, you can make a few and join them together for necklaces, or use them as christmas tree ornaments. (I’m sure you’re all thinking Christmas when it’s 90F outside.) They also make unique gift tags.

I stitch these freehand by starting in the center and circling out. This one started with a blanket stitch and includes chain stitch and french knots to keep it simple. Each one is unique.

Tutorial: Ornament Doodles 1
Tutorial: Ornament Doodles 2
Tutorial: Ornament Doodles 3
This is how far I was able to get for the moment. Finishing up is fairly simple: You just cut out the circle with a generous seam allowance, place them right sides together and stitch around leaving a small opening to turn the ornament inside out. I always stuff it with a felt circle slightly smaller than the doodle. Close the opening and you are done. I’ll post a few more pictures of the finishing steps shortly!
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18 Responses to “Hammock Project: Hand-Stitched Ornaments”

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  1. Anairam says:

    Oh, this is too beautiful! I went to an embroidery course (it was one morning) earlier this year and we learnt to do all the basic stuff like blanket stitch and chain and those little french knots, but sadly I have forgotten it all. But I would love a necklace made like this. Or maybe to sew them on a sweater or skirt. Thanks for inspiring.

  2. Rowena says:

    This is delightful. And just by coincidence, I just did a little lucky charm doodle last night, on a whim, made of felt and printed cotton. Although upon retrospection, I think I'd like the cotton to fray a little, like a fringe for the felt.

    I also find it interesting to discover that my 3 year old could, even should, be sewing every day.

  3. Charissa says:

    Gasp! How lovely. I really love hand sewing, too, but have always felt it was somehow 'less' than sewing by machine (less professional, less legitimate). Your posts and projects are helping me see it's a-OK to love hand sewing just on its own. Really appreciate it.


  4. Sarah {The Student Knitter} says:

    so incredibly cool! Thanls for the link!!

  5. Sharon says:

    oh my goodness i love this…! i loved those you made the necklace from and was so anzious to know exactly how you did it…now i know what i will do over the long weekend….on the porch….iced tea close at hand…a magazine…a book…needle…thread…ha! i'm sure there will be work too, but the dream is good!…thanks for the tutorial…i'll let you know how it goes…sharon

  6. boatx2 says:

    Woman of the early century, I tried to get my teenage nieces to use a sewing machine for fifteen minutes and they were practically bored to tears.

    Their minds wandered and eyes fell to the Disney Channel to save them.

    *snaps fingers* I should have got them when they were toddlers.

    Kathrin, you always have the best posts! love it and love these.

  7. kampinga says:

    What a great book! I'm starting to pack my going-on-a-long-summer-holiday-sewing-kit, and this will just be perfect: my small beginner's footsteps on a path beaten by generations of incredibly talented, patient (as well as frustrated, I bet) and resourceful people before me. Thank you!
    Also, really like your stitching..

  8. lurban says:

    These are lovely. What a sweet way to spend an afternoon.

  9. Cami says:

    These are great. Thanks for sharing.

  10. Jesse says:

    This is so pretty! I followed the link to the book, though, and can't find any way to download it to read.

  11. muralimanohar says:

    Wow, that book…times change, huh? :lol: I have an ancient sewing manual for a school, and it's really interesting…reading the first paragraph, you would never guess it was from 1914! I blogged about it a little, if you want to see what I mean:

  12. celebi74 says:

    its very good

  13. SidwellDesign says:

    Love it! Thanks for posting! I wonder what my book would say…lay in bed with lower part of the spine on the mattress, prop head with pillow, watch netflix or hulu in between stitches.

  14. Conny's Cottage says:


    you make very very lovly thinks.
    I love your styl fabriks.

    greatings send you Conny

  15. Siany says:

    too adorable!

  16. Bonnie says:

    What type of fabric are you using?

  17. annekata says:

    @bonnie: I usually use linen or cotton fabric, usually recycled. I find soft fabric works better for me. Hope this helps!

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