He’s Here, He’s Here! The Santa Claus Block is Ready!

I’ve gotta admit it was a race to the finish, but my paper-pieced Santa Claus is ready for his premiere. He’s standing alone for now, with his unfinished clones stacked on my sewing table. I’m determined to sew something “quilty” with all the completed blocks. For you, though, I’ve got PDFs of the Santa and the Christmas Tree blocks available for printing in our Pattern Library.

So, without further ado, Santa Claus . . . however, you need to scroll all the way to the bottom cuz Santa’s got a brand new smile after a lucky trip to the bead store today!

A paper-pieced Santa Claus with beaded details for his face–his spectacles are German glass beads that are circular and clear just like old-fashioned eyeglasses.

I’m including a few photos so you can see how I tackled the paper-pieced Santa and the inset mustache. FYI:  before I jumped in with the sewing, I cut the pattern into subunits. Ditto for the tree blocks as well.

Cut the pattern into subunits: 2 arms, hat/face, mustache/body, and feet.

Then, to simplify building the Santa block, I prepped the arms, the hat and trim, Santa’s robe, and his boots.

Preparing to sew the subunits.

I made the mustache from a 1″ x 2″ rectangle sewn closed with a scant 1/8″ seam. I cut the rectangle on the diagonal, turned the 2 resulting triangles to the right side, and pressed them carefully. (You’ll find instructions on the pattern PDF.) Do make sure your iron is clean because the white fabric of the mustache stains easily. Turns out Michael Miller’s fairy frost fabric is an ideal choice for Santa’s beard and mustache.

Mark the center point of the beard (use the printed guideline on the pattern) and then pin the 2 triangles in place.
Match the hat/face unit to the beard unit by aligning to the guideline. Pin to secure and sew.
Santa’s mustache before sewing the side units to the body (it’s my photo that’s askew, not Santa).

I completed the block by sewing on the arm units first and then the boot unit. My key for a successful paper-pieced Santa block, following my so-so prototypes, was using very generous seams (3/4″ typically) and then trimming to 1/4″ just prior to sewing the subunits.

As I mentioned in the Tuesday post, Back Porch Fabric in Pacific Grove, CA stocked the wonderful tonal winter print that I used for my blocks.

Refer to the selvage for the fabric information.

After a bit of internet research of Santa Claus faces,  I decided to plumb the depths of my bead collection for my Santa. For me, well-drawn eyebrows are crucial to creating an expressive face, and, until I found a string of tiny seed pearls in my stash, I was at a standstill.  Yeah, they look like tiny marshmallows on Santa’s forehead, even so, I like them.

Santa’s face composed with a variety of beads from seed pearls to German glass beads.

Here are the blocks I’ve got so far. I’m thinking about making a table runner with three Santa blocks and two Christmas tree blocks set on point. Do consider sharing photos of your completed holiday blocks–we SHWS bloggers would love to see your creativity. Oh yes, don’t I have a giveaway winner to announce?  The lucky winner of a copy of Winter Wonders is Pamela Wall who hopes her Navy son will be home in time for the holidays.  We hope so too, Pamela!

Here’s a last-minute addition to the Santa block courtesy of a stop at House of Beads in Walnut Creek, CA today.

Hot off the press: Santa’s got a brand new smile. I found the perfect smile at the bead store today–again, German glass beads. I just love quilting serendipity–the design answers are out there . . . keep the faith.

Blog update (9/22/15): To purchase the complete pattern, go to https://chasingbrightshinyobjects.wordpress.com/project

Let the holiday season begin!

29 thoughts on “He’s Here, He’s Here! The Santa Claus Block is Ready!

    1. Faces are a challenge. One thing I did before deciding to go for beads was to do a Google Image search of Santa faces. That really helped me decide what features I wanted to include–my Santa was going to go eyebrow and mouth-less until I did my research. Beads are a great option to avoid the challenges of drawing.


  1. Hi Jennifer,I didnot look at your blog until this morning and was stressing out because I have so much to do for Christmas, but your Santa is so happy,fun and cute that he made me feel good!!!!!!!!!!
    Why am I stressing, thank you.Linda.


    1. Excellent! I’m so glad Santa brought a smile to your face. Gotta admit, makes me happy that you like my guy! It’s a great way to start the Christmas season. Thank you!


  2. He is beautiful!!!!! I cannot make a decent paper pieced block for the life of me – I keep trying and keep failing. Very kind of you to share your tutorial.


  3. LOVE the expressive face! The smile is perfect. This is a very cute block, and I love the trees too. I already have more sewing to do than there is time for, but even so — these are tempting!! What size is the finished block?


    1. Hey Carol, the FINISHED size is 8″–I found that if I cut very generous seams, especially on the outer borders, I could trim the block very easily to the 8 1/2″ unfinished measurement. The prototypes didn’t work out that well because I kept trimming the seams to the standard 1/4″ and they ended up to skinny to yield a finished 8″ block.


  4. Oh! my goodness I think I just found an expert with paper pieceing. Wish I could do this. I tried many times but, just not into it. I am so happy for you.


    1. Oh Jan, you are so kind. Expert, no–I don’t do paper-pieced blocks all that often. I do like them for blocks that have sharp angles like these holiday blocks. Working steadily and slowly generally yields successful paper-pieced blocks. Try it, you’ll like it . . . to quote a very, very old TV commercial.


    1. Thanks Martie and all the visitors: do email me at the blog if you’re interested in any of the beads. Not that I have a huge supply, but I do have some extras or I can put you in touch with Venus at the bead shop here in California.


    1. Hola Margie, many thanks! I’m so happy you stop by for a visit. Hope you and your neighbors are all back in your houses with the storm damage cleared.


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