Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Snow White's Dwarf Ornament

Did you guess which fairy tale we'd feature this week? He's not one of Santa's elves, but he was pretty special to Snow White. Week four of our free ornament patterns brings you one of her seven dwarves. We are posting early this week, because here in the U.S., we will be celebrating Thanksgiving on Thursday.

Once upon a time, there was a young princess with ebony hair, rose-red lips, and snow-white skin. All agreed that she was the fairest in all the land. Snow White's stepmother, the queen, was also beautiful, but most vain. As Snow White grew up, the queen realized that her own beauty was surpassed by that of the princess. In a jealous fit of rage, she sent a huntsman to take Snow White into the woods and kill her; he could not bring himself to do so, and set her free. A terrified Snow White sought shelter in a small house, where she found a safe haven amongst a group of seven dwarves, who came to care deeply about her. Although they tried to protect her, when the queen discovered Snow White was still alive, she was relentless in devising plans to kill the princess. Her first two schemes were thwarted by the dwarves, but finally, the queen disguised herself as an old peasant woman and tempted Snow White with a poisonous apple. One bite rendered Snow White dead. The dwarves could not bear to put her in the cold ground and placed her in a glass coffin, so that they could still view her beauty. One day, a prince discovered her, fell instantly in love, and begged the dwarves to allow him to carry her away to his palace. As his servants carried her coffin, one of them stumbled; the piece of poisonous apple was dislodged from Snow White's throat, and she instantly awoke. She and the prince were married, the wicked queen was eliminated, and they all lived happily ever after.

I (Teri) gathered wool for the different parts of the dwarf: black for the background, brown for shoes, tan for hands and face, a dark green tweed for the shirt, and a lighter green for the pants and hat. I chose some threads that I thought I might want to use; some I did, some I swapped out as I was stitching, finding a color I liked better.

I traced the pattern onto freezer paper and cut out each part of the design. Because there were so many small pieces, I backed each with Soft Fuse for more accurate placement. Using a 3.5-inch circle template, I traced and cut two black circles: one for background, one for a backing for my ornament. Then I cut out each piece of the design, removed the paper backing, and arranged them on the background. (Quite a mess of scraps!) 

I pressed the design in place so that the pieces would be secure as I stitched them in place...

...using a whip stitch and matching silk thread.

Here is the little guy all stitched down, ready to be embroidered. He stood there for a day or so until I figured out how I wanted to stitch his beard.

I decided to start with the apple. I did all my surface embroidery with wool thread. The stem is just a small, brown straight stitch. I used red to outline the rest of the apple and filled in with white straight stitches to show the bite out of the apple. Poor Snow White!

I contemplated using turkey work for the beard, but I really wanted it to be curly rather than fuzzy. So I ended up making a series of randomly placed straight stitches, pulled tightly from the back, but leaving it a small, loose loop on the top. I'm not sure if it's a real stitch, or if I made it up, but my loose, loopy straight stitches placed in varying directions made for a nice curly, thick beard! I also couldn't decide if he would have a brown beard or a white one, so I doubled the threads and used a strand of each, for a bit of a "salt and peppery" look. Sometimes, indecision becomes a creative opportunity.

The thread is pulled tautly to the top from the back.

Varying the direction of the stitches, I made a small stitch about 1/8-inch or a bit smaller, and pulled the needle to the back.

I pulled the thread to the back slowly, so that I would leave a loose loop on the top. I knew it would be secure once the ornament was finished and the loops would not be pulled to the back. I also didn't worry about them being equally loopy; some are looser than others, but I think that just added to his charm.


His eyes are French knots, and a small fly stitch became his nose. Using a split stitch, I stitched a small line for the legs of his pants. Finally, I finished off his hat by outlining it with a blanket stitch. (Mary Corbet's Needle 'n Thread offers a superb stitch directory with video tutorials, if you need a refresher on any of the stitches.)

I stitched a small ribbon loop to a circle of Timtex interfacing, which I then dotted with glue to secure it between my two black circles. The Timtex offers stability for the ornament, and it is cut a tad smaller than the black circles.

Using Perle cotton #12 thread and #6 glass beads, I used a knotted buttonhole stitch, adding a bead between each stitch, to finish off the ornament.

We hope you have enjoyed our fairy tale pattern series as much as we have. For your free pattern, click here: Snow White's Dwarf.

UPDATE: Thank you for stopping by here! A detailed pattern will be available at a future date at www.needleseyestories.com

If you have made Cinderella's Slipper, Little Red Riding Hood, or Sleeping Beauty, we'd love to see some of your ornaments! You could share them on our Facebook or Google+ pages. Or post your photos on Instagram and tag us (@needleseyestories). 

We are so glad you stopped by for a visit! Come again soon...we may have a special surprise for you, in addition to more great stories!


  1. I have been following along with your ornament series. They are very unique and wonderful. Thank you

    1. Thank you, Linda! We are so glad you have enjoyed the ornaments. We had a lot of fun designing and making them. Happy stitching!