Saturday, February 20, 2010

a first for me and a tutorial for you

i had the everlasting gobstopper of colds this past holiday season so while i was home in michigan for christmas, my dad gave me one of his hankies to use. after giving it a good wash, i was about to package it up as i was sending out packages for the shop today when i thought to myself a crafty and clever thought...i'll wait and send it back after i've upgraded it!

i've been attempting to polish up on my embroidery ever since i received these lovely dishtowels from my nana who is a master of the art herself. i've learned a lot just from studying the towels themselves but have been a bit intimidated by the satin stitch. SO i went right ahead and tried it for the first time on my dad's handkerchief: i decided to put his name alongside a little handlebar mustache. not because he's into cute little etsy fads, haha, but because the man can grow serious mustache! we were calling him wyatt earp at the time this photo was taken but i think he may even have him beat. i give you exhibit a:

(this was taken the day of my senior hs grandmother and i made the dress together
and i got all my accessories from the antique shop i worked at.)

OK. so here's the embellished handkerchief that i managed to start and finish this afternoon (don't you hate it when people say s*#t like that? lol). i'm sure there's a proper way to do a satin stitch and that that may very well be a far cry from what i'm showing you here, but these photos and instruction should at least give you a general idea of what it should look like and how to do it yourself!

1. lightly, with a fabric pencil (the kind that washes out), draw out your design. there are bajillions of iron-on transfers you can use for embroidery too if you want to leave the drawing to a pro. i usually draw mine on very lightly but adjust as i go with the thread as it is kind of like going over a thin line with a fat marker. i'm not totally happy with that last "b" but that's what i get for trying to freestyle my way through the letters. i think bob will be ok with that though ;)

2. TOP LEFT PHOTO: a satin stitch is used to give a smooth raised effect to your embroidery and to fill in larger areas. the first step here is to outline your design with the thread, pulling your needle up through the middle of each previous stitch so that they are all connected together and you have a clean line.

3. TOP MIDDLE PHOTO: once you're done outlining, you'll want to come into the middle and fill it with a few lines or x marks. these are for your final stitches to sit on top of and what will help to give it an evenly raised look. they will not be seen in the finished product except on the backside of the piece. a clean backside is one of the true markers of an experienced embroideress. yeeeah i don't know if embroideress is a real word either.

4. TOP RIGHT PHOTO: starting on one side of your design, bring your needle up through the material right at the point above your outline. pull through and then bring the needle down to the outer part of the outline across from where you started—top to bottom, bottom to top, so that all of the weight of these longer stitches sit on top of your material and not on the backside where they won't be seen. continue until you reach the other side of your design and WA-LAH! POOF! you've done the satin stitch!

if you're interested in learning more about embroidery, check out any of these three great books:
Doodle Stitching: Fresh & Fun Embroidery for Beginners, By Aimee Ray
Complete Guide to Needlework, Reader's Digest
Sublime Stitching: Hundreds of Hip Embroidery Patterns and How-To, Jenny Hart


maureencracknell said...

I am new to embroidery, but am having fun teaching myself. I am not quite sure on what stitch is what and have never thought about drawing lightly in fabric pencil, the design first. I have been doing everything free-hand, but that idea should make sticking to the original design easy. Thanks! Good work, cute idea. ;)

geschichtenvonkat said...

thanks maureen! i am definitely experimenting as i go too, love your work!!