I have found one common denominator with most crafty people; we like to keep our hands busy at all times! I love to work on hand embroidery projects while I watch TV or riding in the car. It makes me feel more productive and keeps me from snacking. Not to toot my own horn, but I am a pretty good hand embroiderer. My stitches are fairly even; I always tie off before moving to another section and a can do a great stem stitch (I will teach you my secret, it is a quick tip that you will love).
Although I liked hand embroidery, I didn’t love it for 2 reasons: The tracing and separating the strands of floss. Tracing the design onto the fabric for me meant cleaning a window in my house, taping the design and then the fabric with painter’s tape to that window and then tracing with a pencil. This usually also meant that I didn’t get to do any actual stitching that day because I have 2 adorable little girls who only allow me about 45 minutes of uninterrupted sewing time. When I would get back to the project a few days later, I then would have to separate floss or as I like to call it, knot, tangle and curse at the floss; then untangle, curse and untie the floss so I could have 2 strands to thread through my needle. This process left me approximately 1 nerve and 15 minutes to stitch.
Then one day, my friend Ellen Osten rather nonchalantly says to me, “You know you can print your pattern onto Printable Sticky Fabri-Solvy™, put that on the front of your fabric and stitch right through it. Oh, and Sulky 12 wt. Cotton Petites™ is equal to 2 strands of embroidery floss – but you don’t have to untangle it! It comes on a 50-yard snap-end spool.”
That is when I went from liking hand embroidery to loving it and as a bonus, my stitching is even better than before! Here are the basics of hand embroidery with Printable Fabri-Solvy and 12 wt cotton Petites:
- Choose your pattern! Let’s use the free “Sew on Wednesday” pattern from Sulky Embroidery Club.
- Print onto the Fabri-Solvy (I know, it is almost disgusting how easy this is!). HINT: Use the draft setting when printing so there is less ink when you are washing the Fabri-Solvy away.
- Peel of the release sheet and put the Sticky Fabri-Solvy onto the front of your fabric where you want your design to be. Another bonus feature is you can move your design if you don’t like your initial placement and you don’t need an embroidery hoop! The Sticky Fabri-Solvy holds the fabric stable so no more marks or distorted fabric!
- Pick your Sulky Petites to sew the pattern. I am using Sulky Blendables # 4007 Red Brick. I like the random color change of Blendables. It gives me the look of changing colors without have to tie knots. I made this for my mom for Mother’s Day and her kitchen is red and blue so I thought this would work well. I will eventually make one for myself too and for that, I will stitch it out in # 4016 Peacock Plume.
- Now Stitch! I used a regular stem stitch, French knots and cross stitch. I learned a trick for stem stitch that I want to share with you. I was always told to go across the line at an angle for the perfect stem stitch, but then a teacher told me to always stay on the line instead and always keep my needle on top of the fabric. Poke down and then up in one stitch for a perfect stem! Once I used this method for my stem stitch, it was perfect every time. Watch a video tutorial of this method here.
- BONUS HINT: Just when you thought Sticky Fabri-Solvy couldn’t get any better, I have one more benefit to share with you. It helps you stitch better! Because it has a slight grid pattern (probably because of how it is made), I use that grid to space my stitches more evenly.It helps me to stay even all the time, and thus get a better end result. In case I haven’t convinced you quite yet, look at these two pictures. One is using an embroidery hoop and floss and the other is using Sticky Fabri-Solvy and Sulky Cotton Petites. Which one do you think looks better?
Whether it’s Wednesday or not, get stitching! Send me pictures of your work so we can have a virtual show and tell.