Tuesday, November 10th, 2015
Turn a Paper Mache Ornament into a Felt Embroidery
One of my recent embroidery projects started out simple and certainly didn’t end that way! I had a cute papermache Christmas ornament blank that was curved on the top and squarish on the base. I planned to cover it with felt embroidery so I made patterns for the base and top – four pieces in each and cut them from wool felt – I cut two pink tops and bottoms and the same in blue so they could be alternated. I then cut out some small paisley shapes in the same pink and blue and some dark blue felt – there were two sizes of paisleys so they stack.
So, with pieces in hand I embroidered the paisleys and stitched them to each piece. I also added some small glass beads with silver lining which I had recovered from a sweater I bought from St Vincent de Paul.
Then I sewed up the bottoms using more beads on the edges and I did the same for the tops. I put them over the basic shape, added some fiberfill padding between the paper mache and the felt and sewed the two halves together over the papermache shape.
It ended up being a huge project – something simple just took off and grew and grew and grew! Then it got more glittery and more over the top with the beads. The thread I used for some of the embroidery was variegated color so that made it look more colorful too.
It was a fun project and the result is pretty cute, if well over the top.
If you find paper mache shapes in the shops before Christmas – check them out – as a base for embroidery they are a great idea. Make them simple or go for broke, just have fun!
Labels: chain stitch, covered ornament, DMC thread, embroidery stitches, felt, glass beads, ornament, paper mache, papermache, variegated thread, wool felt
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Sunday, July 26th, 2015
Weave thread to add depth and interest to running stitches
It’s been a while since I posted some of my felt circles. I love sewing these because they are small enough that you finish them pretty quickly and you can assemble them into other things like needle books and use them to embellish small pouches.
This one is layers of brown and blue felt and brown and blue threads. I always use wool felt or a blend that has a high proportion of wool and DMC Pearl Cotton thread because of its great handle and its lustre.
Here I stitched a simple blanket stitch on the inside, chain stitch in pale blue thread and then multiple rows of woven running stitch. So here’s the low down on weaving stitches – if you do it as I have and thread through each stitch the same direction it doesn’t matter whether you have an even or odd number of stitches to thread through. If you do a full loop type of stitch in a full circle then you have to have an even number of stitches which means you need to count – for me that is so NOT happening!
So, to get this awesome result, plan to thread your second thread the same way through each stitch, such as come down from the top and you get a lovely even weave and it works the same on even and odd numbers of stitches.
This is the woven stitch I use – it doesn’t need any special stitch count:
This form of woven running stitch requires an even number of stitches for it to be used around a shape:
Labels: blanket stitch, chain stitch, circle embroidery, felt, running stitch, stitch count., weave, whipped running stitch, wool felt, woven running stitch, woven stitch
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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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Tuesday, July 7th, 2015
felt cloud, embroidery stitches and beads
Felt cloud with embroidery stitches and beads
I’ve been playing around with some different embroidery projects lately and combining felt with embroidery. It’s a great idea because it lets you get a lot of color without having to do a lot of sewing. Here I’ve used rows of colored stitches including a row of chain stitch, and 3 rows of back stitch. When you mix the colors over felt you get lots of wonderful dimension.
For the rain drops I’ve used a series of wired beads. You can make these yourself using a very light wire and glass beads. I used pieces from an ornament I pulled apart. I am always on the lookout for things I can pull apart when I shop post Christmas at the craft stores and at Cost Plus. I prefer Cost Plus because it is a great source of things when you look past the item itself and look to what you can get when you break it into little pieces. These beads came in longer strings, all I needed to do is to open up the wired loops using pliers and pull them apart into ‘right size’ lengths. Then I sewed them in under the edge of the cloud.
The embroidery is done on linen fabric which I find at Joann’s. I love sewing on linen and this one is a great dark grey color with a narrow cream stripe. It gives projects just the right amount of sophistication. I also prefer to use DMC Pearl Cotton – it is a thickish embroidery thread and it is nice and soft to work with. Since it is a single thread and not designed to be pulled apart, it has a great luster which makes your project look awesome.
Labels: back stitch, chain stitch, cloud, cute, dmc pearl cotton, embroidery, felt, linen, ornaments, running stitch, wool felt
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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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Saturday, February 9th, 2013
This is another of the felt circle projects that incorporates a flower center used to sew on the bead. I also used a whipped running stitch all around the larger circle in brown and tan cotton that looks just so amazing and is so simple to do.
The color scheme is an old favorite you just cannot go wrong with brown and blue – or pink and brown for that matter, they were made for each other. This scheme is brown and tan and two blues – one light and bright one and one sort of dusty turquoise. The thread are, as always, DMC #5 pearlized cotton – it is a treat to sew with and way worth the price.
Row 1: Blanket stitch – the edge of the stitch is on the outside here. The uprights for the stitch have been used to help anchor the stitches which attach the bead in this amazing flower shape.
Row 2: Chain stitch. Another simple stitch that looks great in a contrasting color.
Row 3: Lots of rows of whipped running stitch – first sew the running stitch then whip it by looping a thread in and out of it as required. The whipped effect lifts the running stitches and gives the project some extra dimension.
Labels: blanket stitch, chain stitch, circles, dmc cotton, embroider, embroidery, felt, stitches how to, whipped running stitch, wool blend felt
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Wednesday, January 16th, 2013
Chain stitch is a simple stitch to make and it can be used to join pieces and as a filling stitch.
To make it, come up through the fabric and then make a stitch that starts in the same place or very close to where you came up and comes out a short distance forward. Leave the needle in place while you wrap the thread around the needle as shown in the picture. Then pull through and ease the loop so it looks nice.
Continue to do this until you are done.
Here is a piece that features chain stitch as a filling stitch:
It looks good in multiple colors and in a single color.
Labels: chain stitch, embroider, embroidery, embroidery 101, felt, how to, sewing, stitches, tutorial, wool felt
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Monday, October 8th, 2012
This color scheme is one I love, a mix of pale blue, sand, blue grey and grey. I think I love grey because our school uniforms were grey when we were growing up and I learned to love its possibilities – it’s a soft and warm color for me and this wool felt is beautiful to sew – the dark grey color felt is very textured with light fibres in it – like the wool hasn’t taken the dye so it has more interest than just plain felt.
Here I sewed a wheel of stitches to fix the bead – each was finished with a french knot.
Row 1: This is (I think) blanket stitch done not on the edge but stretching over the edge and arranged so the ‘bar’ is n the middle. Well, I think it is this but I’ll have to try it again to see if I can duplicate it. If it is not that, then it is probably Open Cretan Stitch – need to sort this one…
Row 2: Blanket stitch – an old standby stitch which never loses its attraction – though I did read a post recently which suggests you use it on bigger pieces and not on small ones because it doesn’t do sharp corners very well – a plain straight stitch is actually better around corners – I think I agree, but here it works just fine.
From here I added some chain stitching as a filler. I think it’s nice and in future I will probably do one with more chain stitching still in varied colors and perhaps even lace it.
Row 3: This is feather stitch, arranged so most of the stitch is on the outside with only one of the stitches catching the inside piece. I haven’t used Feather stitch much as it isn’t technically a stitch you would use to join two pieces of fabric butI think it makes a nice edge stitch here.
Labels: blanket stitch, chain stitch, embroidery, embroidery stitches, feather stitch, french knot, open cretan stitch
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