Felt Dove – Handmade Christmas Ornaments
In this post I share one of my many free patterns for handmade Christmas ornaments. However, whereas many of my patterns teach you how to make glass Christmas ornaments, this pattern is for a hand sewn, felt, do-it-yourself Christmas ornament!
Recently, I have been contemplating what type of do-it-yourself pattern I could create and sell to raise money at my daughter’s school fair. I decided to devise a do-it-yourself Christmas ornament pattern and to sell a kit with the pattern. The kit would contain all of the materials needed to make the ornament. I wanted the instructions in the kit to be easy to understand, and the ornament to be easy enough to make such that a parent and a child could build the ornament together. I obviously wanted to make the pattern suitable for many age ranges, but I wanted to devise a pattern that would also be interesting to advanced crafters. I needed a pattern that could be dressed up or dressed down.
The focus of this post is the pattern that I came up with per the design criteria above. I hope that you enjoy it!
In the end, I chose to work with wool felt. Felt is easy to find. You can pick up supplies to make this felt dove ornament at your local craft store. However, I highly recommend using felt that is at least 70% wool (consider ordering the felt online). Note that I also use bamboo felt from time to time. The natural wool or bamboo felt has a much nicer texture and feel when compared to inexpensive craft store felt. I buy my felt from Weir Crafts (note that I am not an affiliate of this site). They are a great business that is based in Michigan. One of these days I hope to visit their store!
I love handmade Christmas ornaments. It is always wonderful to sit down with another member of your family and create something together. So please use the pattern below as a guide, and create a handmade Christmas ornament with a friend or loved one this holiday season!
Materials (for two handmade Christmas ornaments):
- Wool felt in white (assuming that you want a white dove!)
- DMC metallic gold embroidery floss (precious metal effects)
- 4 small black glass beads
- White feathers
- 1/8″ gold ribbon
- Wool roving
- Embroidery needle
1. One option for printing this template is to print this post to PDF format. The template should print as a single page in the PDF file. When you then print the PDF file on paper you may size the template to your preference. When I made my ornaments the felt body of my doves are about 5 1/2 inches in length. If you are confused about how to print to PDF you can simply copy the template picture in this post and then paste it into Word, PowerPoint or your favorite image editing software and print the template in that manner! While this all sounds complicated, it really isn’t! I promise.
2. Cut all pieces in the template out of your felt. You should have two body pieces and two wings for each dove.
3. The embroidery floss comes with 6 strands. Separate to 3 strands for all sewing. Thread 3 strands onto your needle and make a knot at the end of the floss. Line up two of the dove body pieces.
4. Starting at the tail and holding the two pieces vertical with the tail facing the ceiling, stick the needle through the left felt piece from the inside (meaning the space between the 2 felt pieces) to the outside. This will conceal the knot. We will use a modified button hole stitch to attach the two pieces of felt. If you are working with kids and want an easy option you can also use a simple whip stitch.
5. Now bring the needle around to the outside of the right piece of felt. Pierce the felt directly across from the first stitch. Go only through the right piece of felt and bring the needle up between the two pieces as shown in the image below. If you are holding the felt pieces vertically as in the picture, your needle should come up above the horizontal wrap created when you brought the floss around to the second piece of felt. When you tighten the thread you should see a stitch pattern as shown in the image in step 6.
6. Bring the needle back around to the right piece of felt and make a stitch through both pieces of felt.
7. Before pulling the stitch tight catch the loop, by bringing your needle through the loop from the left to the right. Pull tight.
9. Repeat steps 7 and 8. Working around the dove body.
10. Stop stitching when you are about an inch from the dove tail. Then stuff the dove body with wool roving.
11. Choose 2 nice feathers for your tail. Line up the 2 feathers together so that they are arranged exactly how you want them to show when attached to the dove and trim the quill ends of the feathers so that they are even. You need about 1/2 inch of quill section to secure the feathers in the dove body. Trim off any extra. Trim the fuzz from the 1/2 inch end.
12. Hold the feathers in place and stitch up to them. When you reach the feathers make two extra stitches around the feathers to secure them in place. Make a knot to hold the stitching. Use the needle to thread the end of the floss into the body coming out one side. Pull tight and trim the end so that what is left is pulled back into the dove body and hidden.
13. Use a basic buttonhole stitch to embellish the dove wings. (Photo from Embroiderer’s Guild) Start at the bottom rounded edge of the wing so you can use the same floss to attach the wing to the body.
14. Tie off the extra floss on one of the wings and hide the end by running it through the middle of the felt and trimming. Use the floss on the second wing to attach to the dove body. Place the wings at the desired location. Bring the needle through the dove body coming out at the second wing. Make a single stitch, bring the floss back through the dove body at the first wing making a single stitch. Repeat this process once creating an X at the base of each wing to hold in place. Knot the floss to secure, hiding the knot under the wing. Hide tail and trim.
15. Use a small piece of black sewing thread to attach the beads for eyes. Again you should go back and forth through the dove body (or in this case the head). When you knot your thread create a little tension between the eyes to create an indent where the eyes are attached.
16. Use a ribbon or fishing line to attach a small loop as an ornament hanger.
For other ornament ideas please visit my posts regarding:
- How to Make Glass Christmas Ornaments – Glass Airplane
- How to Make Glass Christmas Ornaments – Butterfly Clip
- How to Make Glass Christmas Ornaments – 3D Bohemian Star
- How to Make Glass Christmas Ornaments – 2D Star