I've been asked a couple of times about my embroidery, how I do things, any kinds of tips I could offer.
So, I've decided to work on a project, and along the way I'll tell you how I do things, and what options you have to make some simple embroidery have a little more spunk.
I'm not saying that the way I do things is necessarily correct, however, these things work for me, and maybe some of them will work for you too.
I always back my embroidery with a light iron on pelon (interfacing)... I have used both stitch on kind and iron on kind... in a pinch, I'll use a light muslin, and I've even just backed it with another layer of the same fabric (although that makes it quite thick but depending upon what I'm making, it can work okay)...
Why do I do this... because I like the firmness it adds... I feel one layer of fabric is thin if I am using cotton or linen and I just like the strength it adds. It especially keeps stitches like the satin stitch from puckering the fabric when you pull too tight... and even though I don't carry many stitches from one part of the design to another, on occasions like if I am doing small stitches like french knots I may carry the threads in the back from one stitch to the other and having that second layer helps hide the carried threads from showing through the front. I will make note here that the back of your work should look as good as the front, and so carrying your threads on the back is really something you should not do, but small leap overs I feel are acceptable... but that's just me.
One more thing I will mention is that I always use a hoop, I like the feel of holding a hoop and I like to have my fabric drum tight. I have several different sizes of hoops, and I have both round and oval hoops. Some people prefer to embroider without a hoop and that's okay too, I've tried it and I don't like it, so I always use a hoop.
If you have to copy your own pattern to your fabric, there are a few ways to do it... the easiest way is to use a light box. If you don't have a light box, then you can tape your pattern to a window, layer your fabric over it, then trace your pattern. This works okay for smaller patterns, however, if you are doing something with lots of detail or larger in size, you might find this inconvenient... another trick is to use a piece of glass or plexi-glass and prop it between two supports and shine a light from underneath.
When transferring your pattern it is best not to use pencil or pen... pencil and pen marks don't always wash out and pen can sometimes bleed. I use either a transfer pen or a micron pen. Transfer pens come in either thick or thin points, and can either be water soluble or air soluble. I use the water soluble because I don't know how long it will take me to finish an embroidery and I don't want the pen to fade before I finish my stitchery. The other thing about these transfer pens is that you don't want to iron them because your transfer may not be able to be removed. But my all time favourite if my micro pen, I use a .05 in a sepia shade, it is so fine that my stitches will cover it (even if I use only one strand of floss), but it is permanent, so make sure you don't make a mistake when transferring your design. There's also a transfer pen that you mark onto the back of your pattern and then you can place the design right on top of your fabric and iron it... this will transfer your drawn lines to your fabric and is permanent... I find this reminds me of the old fashioned pre-printed embroideries you can buy, but just like those the line ends up quite thick (it kind of melts with the iron and therefore bleeds a little), just like the blue lines on the pre-printed embroideries, and I find these are not normally covered up with your stitching. Finally, you can use transfer paper, it works like graphite paper but comes in a package of 5 colours... with this you place your fabric with a piece of the transfer paper on top and then your pattern on top of that. You draw directly over your pattern which, with the transfer paper underneath, will transfer the design to your fabric.
|Water soluble (top) permanent micron pen (bottom)|
One thing to remember when you transfer is to draw as "smoothly" as possible, don't use choppy little pencil strokes.. choppy strokes will cause little "blobs" where you start and finish your strokes... so try to use as much of a continuous line as possible, one trick is to look ahead of your pen to where you are going, not to look right at your pen tip.
When I transfer to my fabric I use a few different methods depending upon how I am planning my stitchery. I may use a solid line... this will allow me to just stitch directly over the lines, it acts as a border if I decide to use any kind of "colouring" technique, and also works for applique.
|Solid drawn lines using Micron pen|
|Solid drawn lines using water soluble pen (thicker tip)|
Lots of times I will just place dots around the border of what I need to stitch and just play "dot to dot".... with this method I can still just stitch, use it for placement for qppliques or any other technique I wish to use...
|Dotted outline using Micron pen|
And on other occasions I will use a combination of solid lines and dotted outlines.
|Both solid and dotted lines using a Micron pen|
Whatever method or tools you use is completely up to you, what works for you, and what gives you the results you are looking for.
In my next post, I hope to give you a few ideas on how to take your embroidery from simple to "pizazz" with just a few simple changes and by using your own imagination... but I'll need a bit of time to show you that cuz in order to show you a few different ways, I have to work on several samples at the same time... see ya in a couple of weeks!
Live, Love & Laugh!