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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Monday, June 8th, 2015
Learn to cut & sew felt oranges, lemons and limes
Citrus shapes are shapes you see around a lot. I think it is the color – the combination of yummy orange, yellow or green with the white of the fruit’s pith is a great contrast. The colors and shapes of a sliced piece of fruit lends itself to be rendered in felt. These projects are quick and simple enough for the beginner to sew which is great because you get a lot of dash for a minimal expenditure of time and learning. They also don’t take up a lot of product so you get quite a bit of sewing from just a couple of sheets of felt.
Now I like to use wool felt or at least felt with a high proportion of wool in it when I sew. It’s important that you use good quality felt for this project because the pieces are so small and you really need to be able to cut them neatly and to ensure when you sew them that the felt doesn’t pull away from the stitches. Cheap felt tends to fall apart when it is cut into small pieces and when you have to sew close to the edges. Good quality felt will stand up to being cut into small pieces and being sewn using small stitches.
Start by making a pattern by drawing a set of concentric circles. I find it easiest to draw the pattern on paper and then use the pattern as a template for cutting the felt. I start by drawing and cutting the outer piece, then I cut it a bit smaller each time until I arrive at the middle piece. I call this a lossy pattern because the pattern gets destroyed in the process but it’s easy to do. I’ve given you a template here that you can use if you need to do so – just copy it at the size you want it to be.
When cutting the smallest pieces – gently round the edges so they aren’t pointy – they look better rounded and they are easier to sew this way.
I like to glue the felt pieces together using a fabric glue stick – it helps stabilize everything while I sew and saves having to use a lot of pins. I hate using pins because they always seem to stick into me so I end up feeling like a human pincushion.
Then start sewing – I use white thread on the white pieces and a matching thread on the color pieces – sometimes the color thread I use is a bit lighter or darker – I find that a difference in shade matters less than getting the wrong color. Get the wrong orange or the wrong green and it looks bad. Get a lighter or darker version of the same color and it all looks just fine.
Here I’ve sewn split stitch around the lemon pieces and around the edges in the orange. In the orange segments I stitched a very simple seed stitch with the stitches all going in pretty much the same direction.
Here the felt pieces have been sewn to a backing fabric and embroidered with blanket stitch, running stitch, seed stitch and split stitch.
And then the finished piece is assembled into a flexi hoop – I love these cute hoops which I get from an Etsy seller – these hoops are faux wood (although they also come in red, pink and white). You just put the embroidery over the backing ring and then push the flexible outer ring on top. Everything gets held in place nice and securely.
I finished this one off with a piece of matt board cut into a small circle – it was small enough to fit inside the inner part of the hoop but large enough to fit securely so it stays in place. It’s a very simple finishing technique – I don’t usually do this but it certainly worked well for this piece.
Another option is to cut the inverse out and design the citrus from there. Then fill the inner bits with your embroidery.
Labels: blanket stitch, cute embroidery, embroidery, embroidery pattern, faux wood hoop, felt, flexi hoop, free, lemon, lime, mini embroidery, orange, running stitch, seed stitch, stem stitch, template
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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 12th, 2014
Make this seasonal embroidery in just minutes
There is something to be said for personal gifts and I love to make things to give at Christmas. But when time is short it’s tempting to go out and buy something just because it is quick and easy. That’s why I love this project – it is simple and quick to make. In fact, once the holly is done, I can do the rest in a few minutes while watching a good movie after dinner!
To make this you will need a small embroidery frame – I get mine online – generally from Etsy and these are a tiny 3.5-4 inches tall and they are flexible so no screws. Inside them I use white or off white burlap – it’s inexpensive and much nicer that traditional embroidery fabric as it has a neat texture. Cut out the holly leaves from green felt – if you use good wool felt the edges will stay nice and the whole thing is easier to sew. Make the holly berries using a small amount of crimson felting wool and felt the wool into 3 balls. Mine look really plump in the photo but in reality they are flatter as that uses less wool and they sit better on the final piece. Using matching thread, sew the leaves to the burlap then attach the red berries. I finish off the back of my pieces with red felt cut to just smaller than the back of the embroidery. Trim the burlap to 3/4 inch all round, tuck it in and tack the felt over the top. It takes just minutes and it really makes the piece look much more professional.
So, there you have it – a simple holiday felt embroidery project.
Labels: back stitch, embroidery, felt, felting wool, finishing technique, holly, holly berries, wool felt
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Saturday, December 21st, 2013
Celebrating a fellow crafter’s legacy
A friend of mine recently lost her mum. I had never met her mum but, after she died, her daughter offered me some of her craft supplies. I said a resounding “Yes” and, in time, was given a couple of big boxes of bits and bobs and four containers of thread that you can see above.
Now I am a sort of organized person. I know where most things are but I’m a bit of a “stuff it all in and close the drawer” kind of person. And my friend’s mum was not. She was seriously organized. The bins of DMC thread I was given were all boxed neatly, each thread was wound onto a paper bobbin, numbered and stored in bins in number order. The bins themselves were numbered too. Wow!
Well, I felt just a wee bit guilty about my DMC stash when I saw hers. So, I got out my paper bobbins and started winding, numbering and sorting. Seems as though my friend’s mum and I shared some color preferences and I now have multiple bobbins of some thread colors but there were others that I had and she didn’t and vice versa.
I’ve now added all my colors to her boxes and I still have a little bit of room to grow. I am staying organized too – when I finish with a color it gets put back into the right box in the right order.
It’s lovely to be able to pull out a color of thread and use it – I now have so many colors to choose from and some have her writing and some have mine. Her thread has found a new home and will be used and treasured as the legacy of one crafter to another.
I think that’s something worthy of being celebrated, don’t you?
Labels: arrange, box, dmc, embroidery, floss., legacy, numbered, organize, paper bobbin, sort, stash, thread
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Tuesday, February 19th, 2013
The big challenge with this color scheme is that it is white on white on white on white! Needless to say I didn’t pick the colors – someone else did for me. I always get a challenge when someone else picks the colors and this was a big one. I wanted to use edge stitching that drew attention to the edges because precious else would.
Row 1: Blanket Stitch – the outside edge is along the felt edge.
Row 2: A mini sort of edging stitch started out being scroll stitch but ended up being a small blanket stitch. There are limits to just how close you can get to the edge of a circle of felt even when it is wool blend! Looped around the outside of this is a set of loop stitches.
The filler stitch is alternating colored french knots.
Row 3: Cross stitch – each stitch is bumped up against the next.
The center is my floral stitch – lines of stitches pulled into a flower shape.
Dare I say it, I think I’ll be cutting out another set of white circles later on and trying this again. It was a great challenge and I think I can do better still.
Labels: blanket stitch, circles, cross stitch, dmc cotton, embroider, embroidery, felt, flower center stitch, french knots, stitches how to, wool blend felt
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Thursday, February 14th, 2013
This is my newest felt circle project and it is so amazingly beautiful. I’ve been experimenting with stitches again and this has a Double Knot stitch and a Rosette Chain stitch. The Rosette Chain stitch is such a cute and lumpy edge stitch and it gives the pink layer the look of a raised edge. It is, however an unforgiving stitch and it’s not easy to get it looking beautiful – I found I had to make each stitch very carefully – tweaking it into place with the needle. The result is great and worth the effort but it is that – quite a bit of effort because it really doesn’t want to form that nice loopy look!
The color scheme here is lovely – soft pinks, light tan and a dark olive green. The pink felt is quite bright but it gets tempered by the other colors so it doesn’t look so over the top.
Row 1: A sort of triangle stitch – just straight stitches make into a triangle shape. Interestingly I can’t find this stitch in any reference book – I’ll have to do a how to for it.
Row 2: Double Knot stitch – this is a stitch with a knot on one end and then another small stitch added to it to make it balanced. It’s quaint.
Between this row and the next is seedling stitch – I usually make it with one stitch at a time but this is two side by side – it’s very pretty and you need less of them to make them look right.
Row 3: Rosette Chain stitch – a wonderful stitch with a raised look to it.
The bead is held on with one of my new flower stitches. I did this in two colors – you can see the green stitches are the ones which hold the bead on and the tan ones are the loops that make the flower.
Labels: circles, dmc cotton, double knot stitch, embroider, embroidery, felt, Rosette chain stitch, seedling stitch, stitches how to, triangle stitch, wool blend felt
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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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Tuesday, February 5th, 2013
This is the latest in my felt circles project. If you’ve been following my blog you will know that I have been embroidering felt circles for some time now. This one marks a slight change in direction. With this one I discovered that I could make flowers on the bead by stitching the bead on using pairs of stitches all around. Then between the pairs I looped some thread around the stitches and pulled it a little bit and voila! a flower – it is totally awesome. I plan to do a post on this process but for now, here is this project.
I didn’t pick the colors for this – someone else did but I really like them. They are bright without being over the top and the stitching came out looking great.
Row 1: Trusty blanket stitch. Depending how you start it the line can be on the outside or inside edge of the stitches. Here it is on the inside and I used it to catch the stitches anchoring the bead to make the flower.
Row 2: Double chain stitch. This is a good stitch for going over the border of two pieces of fabric and, when you look at it you can see the double chain bit – the chains are laid down almost side by side instead of one in front of the other.
Row 3: Love this. It is a filling stitch called Cloud Filling. You make a set of offset very small straight stitches in two rows and then loop a thread through them – I used a contrasting thread and the effect is a sort of curvy stitch. These filling stitches that have multiple colors aren’t much more effort than a regular stitch but they look great and they are well worth the effort of making them.
Labels: blanket stitch, circles, cloud filling, dmc cotton, double chain stitch, embroider, embroidery, felt, stitches how to, wool blend felt
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