Tuesday, July 21st, 2015
See how to sew a reversed applique embroidered heart
I’ve been fascinated by the idea of reverse applique for some time now. I just hadn’t ever tried it so a while ago I gave it a try.
I got out a small embroidery hoop and some cotton fabric. I chose a colorful floral and a piece of navy spotted fabric. It’s a good idea to choose highly contrasting fabrics so you can ‘see’ the design clearly. This is particularly the case when the project is small like this one is.
I placed the navy fabric face down on the back of the floral fabric. This too is important – both pieces of fabric need to face in the same direction because you’re going to cut a heart shape out of the floral fabric so you can “see” the navy fabric through it – so you want to be seeing the right side not the wrong side!
I cut a simple hand drawn heart template. I do this by folding a piece of paper in half and drawing half a heart across the fold. Then cut the shape out and unfold the paper and you have a perfect heart shape.
I pinned the heart to the floral fabric and measured it all against the embroidery hoop that I planned to frame it in. I checked to make sure it would all fit comfortably and that there would be room around the heart for some stitching to show and that it wouldn’t all be too close to the edge.
Then I threaded a needle with navy blue thread to match the navy polka dot and I stitched a heart in chain stitch about 1/4 inch outside the edge of the template area. I stitched through both pieces of fabric so they were both sewn together.
Then I took a small pair of very sharp scissors and using the template and the stitching line as a guide I cut a heart shape out of just the top piece of floral fabric.
You have to be very careful doing this – you need to cut through the floral fabric but not touch the polka dot fabric which is sewn to it! You also need to leave around 1/4 inch of floral fabric showing inside your fancy stitching line. Cut the fabric in a very neat line – it needs to be smooth and neat.
Then I took some regular navy thread (I use Clover silk thread) and sewed really tiny stitches around the cut edge of the floral fabric – I went though both pieces of fabric so the edge is very neat and tidy. You now see the polka dot fabric heart through the floral fabric.
I finished off by stitching the finished piece to another larger piece of fabric because it was all too small to fit easily in the hoop – my fault for using too small a piece of fabric (or too big a hoop!).
Once it was backed with a large enough piece of fabric I put it all in a hoop stretching it nicely.
Then I flipped it all over and finished it off with a piece of matt board cut a bit smaller than the inside of the hoop. I pressed it into place – the excess fabric is enough to keep it all nicely in place.
Labels: applique, chain stitch, clover thread, DMC thread, embroidery, hand embroidery, heart, layered heart, reverse applique
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Thursday, December 18th, 2014
Learn to make a cute reverse applique embroidery
Reverse applique is simple to do and lots of fun. Instead of stitching your shape on top of the fabric you will place it below and cut out a hole to view it through. Here’s how to do it:
Draw your design – I used a simple hand drawn cloud and rain drops design. Make sure it will fit comfortably inside the embroidery frame.
Cut out your pattern and tack it to the front of your main piece of fabric. Place your second (applique) piece of fabric behind the first – if there is a right and wrong side of your fabric, make sure both right sides are facing the same way! I used felt so this wasn’t an issue. Stitch around the shape leaving about 1/4 inch between the pattern edge and your stitch lines. These stitches will show on the final piece so do them neatly. Stitch through your main and applique fabric. I used couching stitches to run a thicker thread around the shape but you could use back stitch or even stem stitch.
Embroider any other elements – I added some rain drops using detached chain stitch.
Admire your work so far.
Using the paper template as a guide, very carefully cut the template shape out of the top fabric without cutting through the applique fabric. Take your time to cut neatly and carefully.
Make sure your piece will still fit comfortably inside your frame.
Using a suitable thread – I used Clover Silk, stitch around the cut edge sewing the edge to the applique below. Use any appropriate stitch such as a hem stitch or even blanket stitch.
I used Blanket Stitch.
Flip the piece over and trim the applique fabric close to the edge of the design.
Place the finished piece inside your frame.
Trim the front fabric to around 3/4 inch all round.
Run a loose running stitch around the edge and pull firmly on both ends to gather the excess fabric. Knot the thread to hold the gathers in place. Make a template for the back of the frame and cut a piece of felt to size using the template.
Tack the felt to the fabric all around to finish the back of the embroidery neatly.
Labels: applique, blanket stitch, chain stitch, cloud, couching, detached chain stitch, embroidery, embroidery hoop., felt, finishing techniques, reverse applique, running stitch
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Friday, December 13th, 2013
Simple shapes and mini embroidery hoops add up to a quick and fun project
I am a big fan of small embroidery hoops – they are inexpensive, cute, fun to use and they let you make a project in a short time. Don’t get me wrong – I love longer projects – it’s just sometimes I only have a short time. In fact I made this project in about an hour, while chatting on Skype with a friend in New York.
The embroidery hoop is an interesting one. It has a hook at the top but it is so small it doesn’t have a screw to hold it together – instead the outer rim is a bit elastic so it stretches over the inner ring. This might sound like it is insecure but I’ve found the fabric gets held tighter with this hoop than many of the screw to tighten ones. I got these faux wood ones and some colored plastic ones from an Etsy shop.
The base fabric is from another Etsy shop. I bought a few stacks of 3 inch square fabric pieces for using for small projects and this fabric was one of the pieces in that stash. Since the embroidery hoop is a tiny 2.5 inches – the fabric fits perfectly.
The sail boat is felt – I buy wool felt when I can. It’s more robust and it is natural – it’s made from sheep wool! This too is from Etsy – can you see that I love Etsy? The shop owners there catch onto trends more quickly that many bricks and mortar stores and, when you support them, you’re supporting small business not big business and I like that.
To make the boat, place the backing piece for the embroidery into the hoop so it is held securely. Cut the pieces from felt for the boat – here I used a complementary color scheme – colors that are opposite each other on the color wheel. They provide a vibrance which works well for such a tiny project – if it is going to be noticed the shapes need to be simple and the colors need to attract your eye.
Here is a template you can use to trace and cut your felt pieces for the sail boat:
Sew the shapes onto the backing fabric using a simple running stitch and a matching color thread.
Then, when you are done, flip it over and cut another piece of felt slightly smaller than the inside of the hoop – I used a spare hoop as a template to cut the circle but you could make a template and cut the backing felt before you begin.
Finish the back by sewing around the felt backing to cover up the uneven edges of the fabric and the stitches and make it all look neat. A mini project like this really calls out to be finished neatly. It might be small but it’s not like we should be cutting corners with it.
Labels: applique, boat, complementary color scheme, cotton, embroider, embroidery hoop., free download, gift project, mini embroidery, pattern, sail boat, sailing boat, sew, simple sewing, wool felt
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Sunday, October 6th, 2013
More Union Jack goodness – this time an embroidered pouch
I’ve been thinking all things Union Jack lately and in my research I found a wonderful pouch from my favourite store – Accessorize. It was from their catalog over a year ago so you’d never get one new. However, I was only looking for ideas so I decided to make my own knock off. Here’s the original design:
I used a burlap pouch from Target. They had these in the $1 area about a year ago. I bought a lot of them – but it turns out too few of them because they are awesome. And of course, you can’t get them any more! I did a post here on making your own if you need to make one to use.
I managed to find one that hadn’t been used so I had a good starting point. What I gleaned from the Accessorize pouch was the idea of using different fabrics for the ‘blue’ in the flag. I had some great 3″ squares I had purchased from Etsy which gave me plenty of good fabrics to use. A search of my ribbon stash turned up a yummy pink velvet ribbon and some pink satin ribbon.
I also planned to use some beads or something dimensional – I ended up using some faux pearls that I bought years ago – they are permanently fixed to the string base so they are easy to sew on – I’ve used them here and there for projects and I’ll be sad when they finally run out – right now there is still a few feet of them to go.
Like the previous Union Jack project I made a template by measuring around the burlap pouch and then I drew the flag onto the shape allowing around an extra 1/8 inch just to be sure it all fit. I cut the fabric to the exact size – no seam allowance as I didn’t plan to turn under the edges – rather just sew it roughly to the pouch. What I did do was to use an iron on fabric adhesive which is a filament with glue both sides. It is great for applique and fixes everything in place while you sew and also ensures that the piece will be a bit more resilient in use.
I ironed on the fabric pieces and sewed around each of them. I then added the ribbon pieces and sewed them in place. I finished off with the pearls.
The final result is a bit shabby chic – way more so than the original – but since it is built on a burlap base it seems to work.
Labels: applique, burlap, faux pearls, pattern, pouch, purse, satin ribbon, sew, Union Jack, velvet ribbon, zipper pouch
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