Monday, April 8, 2013

framed embroidery tutorial, part one.

some friends of ours got married (named jenny and nathan, if that wasnt obvious already) last weekend, and i made this little framed embroidery piece for their gift, and i thought id share how to do it sinc its a holy trifecta of simple, inexpensive, and handmade without looking, you know handmade. this is kind of a long project (it took me two afternoons, a couple hours each), so im breaking up the project into two parts, first the embroidery part, then the framing, since thats how i broke it up when i made it, embroidery the first day and framing the second. 

heres what youll need:
(note: if youre the crafty type, you probably already have most of this, the only part i had to go out and buy for this was the hoop, but even if you had to buy every single thing it should run less than $20)
a six-inch embroidery hoop (joanns just got these really fancy black ones for $2.50)
evenweave embroidery fabric (about $6 for a package that will make 3 six inch framed pieces according to these directions)
embroidery floss in the colors of your choice
embroidery needles
disappearing marker
tacky glue
thin batting (i had leftovers from a blanket i made years ago, you only need a tiny bit)
thread snips
thin cardboard (not pictured, like from a cereal box or something) 
iron, ironing board, and towels (also not pictured)

and heres how you do it: 

step 1: start by tracing the inside of your hoop and sketching out your design. adding crosshairs will help with composition and symmetry. its ok if its not exactly perfect because theres LOTS of opportunity to refine it as you go. 

step 2: once youre happy with your design, stretch your fabric into the hoop, making sure the grain of the fabric is straight, and copy your design (and crosshairs if necessary) onto the fabric with your disappearing marker

step 3: cut a length of floss and begin to stitch over your design using a backstitch (or whatever stitch you choose), leaving a small tail of floss on the wrong side of your hoop and MAKING SURE NOT TO EVER KNOT YOUR FLOSS. if you make any knots theyll be super obvious when you frame it, so you need to be careful. 

 step 4: keep going...

and going...

until youve finished your first shape, like so:

step 5: trim your floss leaving a small tail, just like in the beginning. the back of your piece should be very neat and look almost the same as the front. 

repeat steps 4 and 5 with the rest of your piece, one section at a time, refining your design as you go...

starting a new piece of floss for each separate section, DONT use the same piece of floss to do two separate shapes, the little connecting piece WILL show when its all done. (note: you need to use VERY small stitches along curves)

keep going until youve embroidered your whole design, like so:

 step 6: when youre all done youll have a whole bunch of little tails hanging off the back like this:

so youre going to trim them close to the fabric (but not TOO close, about 1/8 of an inch will do) and secure with a dot of tacky glue, like this:

and give it a half hour or so to dry

step 7: remove the fabric from the frame and gently rinse the disappearing marker from the fabric with cold water, so the color from the floss doesnt bleed. be careful not to agitate the fabric either, since that could pull out some of your embroidery. 

step 8: let fabric air dry and take a much deserved break, and stay tuned for part two!

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