Friday, July 25, 2014

Embroidery Hoop Art

Hello again!

Today, we're using the same, simple embroidery stitches to make some wall art!  The possibilities are completely endless here.  With fun fabric and incredibly inexpensive wooden hoops, you can make a lot of super fun art for very little cost and effort.  

Check out Pinterest for endless ideas and inspiration!

Like these!...

This was my inspiration this week, from some hoop art I found on Etsy:

Good.  Grief.  

Can you resist the warm, wonderful feelings from Disney's UP?  I can't.  If this doesn't make you want to cry, then we may not be able to be friends.

*Sniff.  I absolutely adore this sweet movie.  It reminds me how lucky I am to be married to an adventurous "Ellie". 

So, after wiping my tears, I looked at the "inspiration art" and thought, "I can make that!" (And for way less than $28.)

Here we go!

For hoop art, you need:

-Hoop (*Note: These wooden hoops are super cheap, but less sturdy than the plastic ones.  I would recommend doing the embroidery with the fabric secured in a plastic hoop, and then transfer it to a wooden one for display.)

-Embroidery floss/ embroidery needle

-Scrap fabric (or buttons) for balloons

-Washable fabric marker

-Sharp scissors

-Fabric glue

-Felt for backing (optional)

Ok, first, select your fabric.  I had some scrap light blue fabric, but you could also find a printed fabric to use.

Next, you need to decide on your design and use an iron transfer to get your design to the fabric or draw it directly on to the fabric.

Here is my sophisticated technique:

Yes, I hold up the fabric to the computer screen and trace.  But hey, it works!  I use a washable fabric marker.  If any blue still shows after the stitching is complete, it will come out with just a little water.  If your fabric can't be washed, use a disappearing ink fabric pen or a fabric pencil, whose lines will be more difficult to see.

Once the design is in place, get to stitching!

I used a back stitch to make the outline of the house.

I used a chain and split stitch for the words, with a small area of satin stitches in the "A" of adventure.

Side note: You can either knot your thread when you're done, or weave the ends under your other stitches.  Since this won't be worn/washed, it doesn't need super secure knots for the thread.

I used a little warm soapy water to get rid of the extra blue fabric marker, and tossed it in the dryer with a couple of towels for a few minutes.  It didn't really need it, but I gave it a quick ironing.  I also sprayed it with a little starch, since this blue fabric was really thin and wrinkled easily.

Next, I used one strand of the embroidery floss to make the balloon strings.  (I also added some clouds with a running stitch.)

Now for the balloons.... I didn't have enough beautiful buttons to make the balloons, so I pulled the scrap fabric back out the bin.  I used a nickel as my template, and cut circles from brightly-colored fabrics.

You could, of course, stitch each of these on.... but let's be real.  I used fabric glue and positioned the circles, some on top and some behind the strings.


At this point, I transferred it to the wooden hoop, pulled the fabric as tightly as I could, and cut/glued a circle of felt to cover the back.    You could also just trim the fabric and skip the backing.  

Ready to hang!  You can use the clamp on top of the hoop or glue a small loop of ribbon or fabric onto the back for hanging.

*Note: I didn't see this idea until I was done, but I'm remembering it for next time!  Cut a strip of fabric and wrap/glue it around the outer hoop for a fun framing effect.  I love this idea!

All done!  Now it's your turn!

Thanks for reading!

Friday, July 18, 2014

Embroidered Critter Pillow :)

Welcome back!

I hope you've all been practicing your embroidery skills, because this week we'll be making a super fun embroidery project. :-)

My project inspiration came from an adorable skunk pillow 
I found in Sew & Stitch Embroidery, by Alyssa Thomas. 

Cute, right??  I love the idea of a basic shape, requiring basic cutting/sewing skills, with the details coming from embroidery.

I decided to combine this idea with the little fox I made earlier this year.... Every pillow needs legs, right?

I made this project for a special little lady who turned 1 this week... I figure if your nickname is "Goose", you should also have a soft squishy goose for a friend.

So, here we go!

First thing's first... pick your fabrics.  I raided my fabric stash for this one to avoid the risk of going bananas in a fabric store. :)

I wanted a sturdier cotton fabric for the embroidered side of the pillow, and a soft minky fabric for the back.  You can embroider on any fabric, but some are easier than others.  Soft or stretchy fabrics like minky require stabilizers to keep your stitches from becoming uneven and wrinkled.  The books I mentioned last week have good information on the different stabilizers available if you go that route.  When I can't figure out what I need, I also find the staff in fabric/crafts stores to be really helpful. :)

Ok, with your fabric selected, it's time to draw your design.  I looked at some clip-art photos of geese, and drew the basic shape with pencil on the fabric.  You can use a washable or disappearing ink fabric marker to go over it.  Since I had to draw it a couple of times, I decided to use a permanent marker to go over the lines, so that I could embroider on the opposite side of the fabric.  That way I could hide all of my pencil lines.

Now, pull out your hoop--it's time to stitch!
(I used crochet thread for the white outline and embroidery floss for some of the feathers, the beak and the wording.)

I used a split stitch for the outline and beak:

Chain stitch for the wing outline, and single chain stitches for the feathers (this is the same stitch to make a lazy daisy stitch):

French knot for the eye:

Backstitch for the "goose":

Now it's pretty much done!

PS: Check out the post from last week for a refresher on these stitches!

*Note: I used an iron to remove the creases from the hoop, but try not to iron directly over your stitches. If you do, you might lose the pretty 3-D effect of the stitches. :)

Of course, she needs an accessory.... sew on a ribbon bow, and she's perfect!

Now for the legs.... (this is exactly what I did for the legs in the stuffed fox post. )

Draw and cut 4 identical pieces.

Sew them with right sides together, leaving the top open.

Turn inside out, stuff, and done!

Now you're ready to assemble!

Cut out the fabric for the back of the pillow, making sure that the right sides of the fabrics are not facing in the same direction when you trace.

Pin your fabrics together, right sides together, and also pin the legs.  Make sure the "toes" are on the inside of your pillow, so that when you turn it out, the legs will be going the right way.  

Sew away!

Remember to leave an opening as you sew the perimeter, so that you can turn the pillow inside out.

Stuff the goose!

Now you just need to sew it closed, and you're done!  I decided to try to use the machine to close this seam, but I definitely would have gotten a straighter seam if I had hand-sewn it.  :)  Laziness has its draw-backs, but I'm ok with that. :)

Ok, she's done!

You can make a fun pillow friend with any shape, and any animal embroidered on the front!  Be creative and have fun!

Also, before you get started, find yourself a great, supportive chair with lighting to shine over your shoulder as you embroider!  Otherwise, you can be sure you'll need to visit your chiropractor after you're done. :) Trust me.

Thanks for reading, have a great weekend!