Friday, July 11, 2014

Intro to Embroidery

Hello all!

This week, we're going to take a little look into the fun world of embroidery!  
.... If that sounds awful, hang in there... I promise it will be fun!

So, do you remember cross-stitching an owl in your 6th grade home economics class? (Does home ec. still exist??)
If you do remember it, and hopefully it brings back happy memories ;), then congratulations!  You already know the basics of embroidery!  

For me, embroidery is a way to make things more beautiful, more personal and more special.  You can create something to embroider, or embellish something beautiful that already exists!  Today, I'm going to give you some resources for learning how to embroider and a quick intro to what you'll need to make it happen.  

Note: There are so many hi-tech sewing machines available that make detailed embroidery quick and simple, but I have to admit that I'm partial to hand-done embroidery.  I promise, it's easy (and way cheaper than buying a machine to do it!) ;)

First, I want to share with you some books that have been incredibly helpful (and inspirational!) to me. I have a wonderfully talented friend who inspired me to jump into embroidery, so I have to say that she is my greatest resource!  But, since I couldn't text her questions 24/7, I checked out a few written resources. :)  
I think these books are pretty fantastic.

Embroider Everything Workshop, by Diana Rupp
This is the first written resource I came across in the book store. The cool thing about this book is that the author does a fantastic job of breaking down and explaining each type of stitch, and even includes reusable iron-on transfers with the patterns for her fun project ideas.  I LOVE this book--- if you're interested in embroidery, please check it out! If you live near me, you can borrow mine!

Stitched for Fun, by Fiona Goble
Seriously?  I'm totally sold by the cover.  :)  This book is full of completely adorable embroidery ideas for home decor projects and gifts.  I love her creativity!

Sew & Stitch Embroidery, by Alyssa Thomas
Oh.  My. Goodness.  I cannot handle the cuteness in this book.  Check out the table runner on the cover.  Don't you need a fox table runner??  
I absolutely love her ideas--- this is proof that embroidery can be modern, fresh and incredibly fun.  You're only limited by your imagination!

Ok, once you have your books and your inspiration, you need supplies!


Embroidery floss is so good for the soul.  You can find it in every color of the rainbow.... and it is incredibly inexpensive... like $0.30 inexpensive.  So go ahead, stock up.  :)
The colors are numbered, so if you have a specific project that tells you what colors you'll need, you'll be able to find them easily!  If you check out the first book I mentioned, she does a great job explaining the kinds of thread/floss you can find and what to do with them.

Ah, the possibilities. 


Hoops!  These come in all sizes, oval or circular, made of wood or plastic, to secure your project and suit your needs.  These are pretty inexpensive, especially the wooden hoops. Bonus--I love embroidery as art, hung on a wall in a hoop. Lovely!  You can totally make one of these!


Embroidery needles are another piece of the puzzle, and, of course, they come in a variety of sizes for different project.  These are the needles I use the majority of the time; they are just a bit more dull and have a bigger eye than your typical needle for sewing.


Next, you can check out the embroidery/ needle arts section of your local craft store for some awesome iron-on transfers.  You can always trace or draw your own pattern with a fabric marker/pencil (I do that a lot); or you can use these super fun, ready-made iron-on transfers.  I remember my mom using these Aunt Martha's transfers when I was a kid for all kinds of projects, so they're definitely sentimental to me.  You can still buy Aunt Martha's retro-fabulous patterns, but there are even more available on the shelves now... be inspired!  All you need is an iron, and you're all set!  Obviously, these iron-on transfers work better on lighter-colored fabrics.  Once you iron the pattern, you just have to "trace" over the lines with your needle and thread!


Now, there are certainly more fun tools you may want, but with these basics (plus a pair of good, sharp scissors), you're ready to get started and try your hands at embroidery!  Check out the books I mentioned for more information about the tools of the trade. :)


Now you're ready to give it a try!
Here are some good you-tube instructions for some basic stitches, if you're interested!

Running Stitch:


Split Stitch:

Chain Stitch:

Stem Stitch:

Satin Stitch:

French knot:

Ok, that's a lot of information, but hopefully it will be a good reference for you!
Get creative, and start playing around with embroidery-- you'll love it!  
It's one of my favorite ways to "unplug" and clear out my frantic spaghetti brain. :)

Here are some examples of fun and relatively quick projects I've worked on lately!
Monogrammed Napkins, Personalized Baby Blanket,
Wedding Handkerchiefs

Apron Embellishment

Pillowcase Personalization 

Thanks for reading!  We'll be working on a fun gift next week!

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