Several years ago, when first asked to present a machine embroidered paper project, my initial thought was…. “why?” Why invest time, not to mention the cost of materials, into a “disposable project”? Seriously? However, once the experimentation began, it was then I realized that paper is not only a fun foundation for machine embroidery, but it presents many wonderful possibilities, which I guarantee will never be thrown away! Some embroidered items, such as a card, may be treasured for the time taken to honor a special occasion. Other embroidered paper items will be recycled from the original intent, like a Christmas gift tag, into a tree ornament, gracing tree limbs for many years to come. Other gifts, such as a bookmark, will be appreciated daily.
It is amazing how many wonderfully, unique paper products are available and most are compatible with machine embroidery!
Hand-made papers provide a small advantage over manufactured ones in that they use the longer fibers from type-specific plants when processed into paper which often yield interesting designs or add textures into the overall appearance. More importantly, the longer fibers mimic “fabric-like properties”.
One might think that the paper foundation is the restrictive factor in successful machine embroidering, but thanks to the many choices found within the Sulky® stabilizer family
, the type of paper almost becomes irrelevant as witnessed by this embroidered piece of sheet music; later used in making a Valentine!
The key factor for successfully embroidering on paper is the design. Professional digitizers understand the properties of paper and many offer collections specifically for this type of project. Paper is a non-forgiving surface; meaning, once a hole is made, it is there forever. Not only must every stitch matter by being part of the actual design, needle punctures cannot be too close together or the paper will tear. Redwork, stippling and line designs may prove to be a good choice, providing you understand the design’s stitching process. You will need to skip over any jump stitches outside the outline and avoid line designs which include closely placed stitches.
is the natural choice for paper embroidery. Obviously, paper cannot be secured directly in the hoop. Securing Sticky+ in the hoop allows decorative paper to be stabilized by firmly pressing it to the exposed sticky surface.
If a design needs to be stitched in a specific location on the specialty paper, mark a small piece of painter’s tape and gently press it in place.
For this card, the lower right quarter of a large piece of scrapbook paper was centered in the hoop and pressed to Sticky+. Since this paper has a prominent linear pattern, it is important to keep the paper straight in the hoop.