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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Sunday, July 12th, 2015
Multi Layer Felt Cloud with Beaded Accents
This is the second cloud embroidery piece I have done lately. In this one, I layered four felt clouds one on top of the other and sewed them with embroidery stitches. The smallest felt cloud is cream, then it was dusty blue, crimson red and grey. I used running stitch on the smallest three clouds and blanket stitch on the outer one. If you’re not sure how to do blanket stitch I’ve included a small “how to” below that will show you how it is done.
I added a series of seed beads in similar colors as the ‘rain’. The beads are threaded onto very light wire and, at the end of each is a small teardrop shape bead.
The embroidery is on grey linen and uses DMC Pearl Cotton and I used wool blend felt. I like working in natural materials like linen and wool felt – wool felt in particular because it is stronger than the plastic stuff and it doesn’t disintegrate when cut in small pieces. Pearl Cotton has a wonderful luster which adds just the right amount of shine to the embroidery. The piece is small – just 4″ in size.
If you want to make this yourself, here is a free pattern. You just need to print it at the desired size and then cut out the felt fabric pieces.
And, here is how to do blanket stitch. It can be done with the thread on the outside or the inside, this is the outside version.
Labels: beads, blanket stitch, cloud shapes, cute embroidery, dmc pearl cotton, felt, free download pattern, free template, grey linen, mini embroidery, pattern, running stitch, wool felt
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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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Wednesday, October 2nd, 2013
Create a Union Jack Felt Hanging
I’ve been on a bit of a Union Jack craze lately. Not sure why but the flag has been on my mind and on my worktable. Today it is rendered as a felt wall hanging made inside an embroidery hoop.
Because the flag is a rectangle and the hoop a circle some design decisions had to be made. I decided to place the flag off center and have it fill the hoop. I started out drawing the circle on paper and then I drew the flag inside it to get the dimensions.
Once this is done I traced the shapes I need. I like to design this way – starting with pencil and paper and then using tracing paper to trace the design and create the pattern pieces. I made the pattern pieces wider and longer than they needed to be so they would tuck neatly into the hoop along with the backing fabric.
I assembled everything on blue felt so part of the flag itself is the background fabric. This left me with the red and white pieces to cut out – again these are wool felt. Once I had the pieces cut out, I used a fabric glue stick to adhere the felt pieces so they would hold still while being sewn in place. I still don’t have the glue thing down pat - I’m using a fabric glue stick but the results on felt aren’t great – I think that glue is a “work in progress” right now – not convinced that I have the right tool here.
I sewed the pieces using a fine nylon filament thread which is clear so it doesn’t show. I made very tiny stitches around all the pieces to sew them in place. One thing about using nylon is that you can’t iron it later on so, while it works on felt, I wouldn’t use it to sew anything needing ironing!
To assemble everything I undid the frame completely. You’ll need to unwind the screw so you can pull the frame far enough apart that you an get all the thicknesses of the felt into the hoop. Then tighten the screw at the same time making sure that the fabric is nicely stretched – it doesn’t have to be really tight but it does need to look flat and not bunched up.
Then decide how to hang it – my preference is for a loop of ribbon or felt through the screw fitting and hang it from that.
This was assembled in a small hoop – but you can make it as big or as small as you like.
This project would also look great done in pastel colors – like a dusty pink and blue. Remember that you don’t have to go with traditional colors – the design itself is so recognizable that it will work in practically any color combo.
Labels: color, colour, design, embroidery hoop., fabric, felt, piecing, scraps, Union Jack
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Thursday, April 11th, 2013
See how to make a quick and easy rain cloud wall hanging from wool felt
I love clouds and this wall hanging celebrates the beauty of clouds – especially the fluffy rounded variety.
Even though this is all about rainy days, it’s a cheerful wall hanging thanks to the fluffy felt and yummy colors. Looking at makes me think of being warm and rugged up safe inside and listening to the rain dropping on the roof.
This is a simple project and will keep you entertained for a couple of hours. You will need:
wool felt in white (or off white) and blue
DMC Pearl Cotton #5 thread in blue and white
pencil and paper
Start by drawing your design or download my pattern from here: rain and cloud wall hanging pattern.
Cut two pieces of white felt for the cloud and then 14-20 rain drops. I cut both sheets of white felt at once so they are identical. I fold the blue felt in half and pin and cut the rain drops both halves at the one time – again so they match. I also cut a few slightly different size and shapes of raindrops – they are only a little varied but they are a bit. I leave the paired pieces pinned together until they are sewn so they don’t part company from each other.
Start with the cloud. To add some variety I used blue thread on the white felt and white thread on the blue felt – I like being able to see the stitches. Sew almost all around the edge of the cloud pieces with a straight stitch about 1/4 inch in from the edge. Fill lightly with fiberfill – you just want it a bit puffy not a ball! and then finish sewing it up.
Now attack the raindrops. I start half way down one side and sew around the pointy bit back to the same place on the other side of the rain drop. This leaves you the rounded bit to stuff very lightly with a small bit of fiberfill. Push it into the pointy bit on the raindrop and then finish sewing around the edge. Hide the knots inside the piece. Repeat for all the rain drops.
To assemble, I used 1mm clear nylon beading elastic but you could use a .5mm size if you like or snaffle some fishing line. Thread the filament onto a large needle and then loop it through the cloud and through a rain drop. I knotted the filament at the bottom of the cloud and passed it through the rain drop from top to bottom only knotting it for the final rain drop – the filament is a bit ‘sticky’ so the drops won’t move easily. It will help you make sure the design looks good if you lay everything out on a table so you can see it all looks balanced and attractive before sewing it.
When you are done it’s ready for hanging – I added a small loop of white ribbon for this.
Labels: cloud, dmc pearl cotton, felt, felt stuffie, fiberfill, fibre fill, rain drop, raindrop, straight stitch, wall hanging, wool felt
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Monday, March 25th, 2013
Download a free VW bug crafting template
I’ve been drawing and crafting a bit lately with VW bugs and along the way I created a great template to use for your bug inspired projects.
It has been filled where necessary so you can cut it from felt or make it in paper or clay.
Here is what it looks like, and click here to download your free pdf copy. BTW I love tweets so if you’re so inclined, please tweet this link!
Labels: clay, craft template, crafting, felt, free template, paper, paper guide, pdf, vintage, VW bug
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