Tips for Classy Holiday Projects: Choosing Embroidery Colors and Fabrics

Traditionally, we think of holiday colors as red and green with hints of silver and gold. Step out of the norm and embroider some extraordinary holiday projects just by changing up your fabrics and thread colors (and get these designs while they are on sale)!

Dark Backgrounds for Big Impact

Black. For Christmas? Black is the new neutral and embroidery designs really pop when stitched on a rich, black fabric.

Snow Buddies would get lost if embroidered on a lighter background. Bonnie’s canister wrap project is perfect for any season. Here, embroidered on black, it is plenty festive with the addition of a colorful border and red bows.

Angels stitched on a dark background really stand out. Here, metallic thread and glitter fabric help reflect light for just the right amount of sparkle.

Christmas Cookies stand out when appliqued on black blocks. Traditional red and green fabrics in the sashing and borders complete the holiday theme in an adorable table runner.

Even delicate stitching of the Nativity angels makes a big impression when embroidered on a black background.

The two-tone blue fabric adds a bit of dimension while still having plenty of contrast.

Tone-on-Tone for Elegant Appeal

Bonnie’s Vintage Deer stockings are super classy without screaming “Christmas!” She used a neutral palette for her threads and coordinating fabrics. That gave this project a nostalgic feel that is sure to become a treasured heirloom.

Filigree Christmas Trees embroidered on these neutral dinner napkins are very versatile. Whether they are gold, red, or green, the addition of colored napkins helps to provide a framework for colors in the embroidery.

When stitched on a translucent organza, the Nativity designs take on a completely different look. Add them to candles for a statement that you cannot make with fabric.

Combining the open areas of  Vintage Deer with the delicate stitching of Painted Poinsettias worked beautifully on Bonnie’s tree skirt. Glitter in the neutral background fabric sparkled just enough to give the project true holiday charm.

Painted Poinsettias don’t have to be red and green. Here, they coordinate with dinner ware in gorgeous shades of gold.

Don’t be afraid to be nontraditional. Try using different fabrics, a touch of glitter, organza, and metallic threads to add interest to your holiday embroidery!



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  • Bonnie Welsh - November 14, 2018

    Brenda—Thank you very much! I created one for everyone in my immediate family (and grand kids). They’ve become family favorites.

  • Brenda - November 14, 2018

    That stocking with the Deer is gorgeous!

  • Bonnie Welsh - November 12, 2018

    Tracine—You’re most welcome and hope you found an inspirational idea or two to make your own. My big takeaway is that I don’t have to have specific Christmas fabrics/prints to create a Christmassy feel and this is one time of the year where you can really bring on the glitz and glam to the max if you want or keep it simple with a burlap feel. Anything goes and let your imagination run wild! =)

  • Bonnie Welsh - November 12, 2018

    Susan—Thank you for the kind words. The stocking has become quite a favorite around our home and my girls want some for their own home. Fortunately I bought some extra fabrics as our family grows, I can add a new stocking.
    The trees were actually done on white napkins and I just found some green napkins (so they’re two separate napkins) to add an extra pop of color. I can change that secondary napkin color as the mood strikes me—red, gold, or none at all to match my table setting.

  • Tracine - November 12, 2018

    Love your ideas to use a darker background. The stocking is beautiful. Thank you for the tips

  • Susan - November 12, 2018

    Bonnie, great ideas today. Really like your examples for the tone on tone on the stocking (and more) and the filigree Christmas tree with 2 tone napkins. Thanks for the ideas.

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