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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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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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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