Betlehem applique

After the Nikolausmarkt last weekend I decided to make a present for a very nice couple who helped me a lot on the market. But they are a bit older, so giving them something from what I already made just wasn’t an option. They don’t need kids stuff. But they did appreciate my sewing skills and my fabric pictures, so the idea of making them a nativity themed applique picture seemed right.

First, I made a sketch how the thing should look like and also how big it should be, so that it will fit to the frame I had.

Top.bmpThis is an A/4 sized paper (you can download and print it, if you want to make a picture like this!)

Next step was to decide on the fabrics, colors and cut them out fitting to this sketch. For that I went to the window, held up my sketch and put the little piece of fabric on top of that (with vliesofix on the back side), and just traced the lines from the sketch to the fabric. Once all the pieces were cut out, I had to decide what pieces sew first, and what next. I planed the layers like this:

IMGP89341. First I sewed the star onto the base fabric in the middle and a few rays toward the edges. 

IMGP89352. Next came the “bodies” of Mary and Joseph, his crosier and baby Jesus’ outer halo. Oh, and of course the heads.

When I was cutting out the pieces, I cut out a bit bigger where I knew that the layers will overlap each other. This way the thread in the seams doesn’t bulk up.

IMGP89373. Third came Joseph’s vest, baby Jesus’ inner halo and Mary’s arm and hand. See, now you probably understand better what I meant on planning the layers. It is the key to this project!

IMGP89384. Then came Joseph’s arm and hand, bird, baby Jesus’ body and Mary’s veil.

IMGP89395. Next were baby Jesus’ head and Joseph’s headscarf, then finally the crib. At each step I ironed the fabric and of course all little piece had vliesofix on the back, so first I ironed those to the base fabric, sewed them, and then iron again. Repeat each step, until you are done. At the end I also ironed the edge-lines to fold them back.

6. Hand stitch the eyes, mouths and hair. I forgot to stitch the band on Joseph’s headscarf. Don’t do that. If it is necessary, make a list of all the steps before you start!

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IMGP8940Already shaping up, right?

7. Turn the whole thing over and hand-stitch the corners. First stitch two corners on one side, then slip the plastic (or glass) from the frame inside the fabric, then stitch the two other corners on the other side. First I stitched all four corners but then it was impossible to slip the plastic inside and I had to rip the seams.

IMGP89448. It’s done. Put the picture into the frame, cover up with the paper back and tadaa!

IMGP8946Put it on the mantel, in the window, or up to the wall, anywhere. I really like what I achieved in this project because I was afraid, it won’t work because of it’s small size. I am not saying it is an easy project but it can be done in 3-5 hours. Maybe a little more if you decide to do it by hand. Don’t forget to change the thread with each piece of fabric! I might make an other, bigger one for us: with shepherds, sheep, donkey, angel, camel and the three wise men etc. Probably it will take more then 3-5 hours but anyway, Rome wasn’t built in one day and it is amazing. So will be my next picture!

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One thought on “Betlehem applique

  1. Pingback: Rita's Design

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