April 18, 2011
Guest blogger: Freehand machine embroidery by Paunnet
Hello, everyone! I’m Paunnet (but you can call me Anna) and I’m very happy to be here while Chie takes care of lovely little Sophia.
Today I’d like to talk to you about a technique I was introduced to about two years ago and that has been inspiring me a lot, lately. It is called freehand machine embroidery (if you’re a quilter you probably know it already) and it allows you to put your designs on anything you want without an expensive embroidery machine.
This is what you’re gonna need:
1. A darning foot (sometimes called quilting foot): mine didn’t come with my machine, but I bought one for a few euros at my machine dealer. This allows you to move the fabric while you sew and to stitch in any direction you want.
2. Water soluble stabilizer: it’s a plastic-y film on which you can draw you design. When you are done, you just wash it and will dissolve. I used Madeira’s Avalon, which comes in a roll of 5m x 25cm.
3. A permanent marker: make sure it’s water resistant or the ink will bleed on to your fabric when you wash it.
4. Tape: to tape the stabilizer on the fabric, so that it doesn’t move around.
5. (Optional) Embroidery thread: I had some in my sewing box, but regular thread works great too.
Now you can choose your design and transfer it or drawing it on the stabilizer. I chose this sketch of three little girl dresses that I found a long time ago on the Internet.
The next step is to prepare your machine: put on the darning foot, set a low thread tension and lower the feed dogs (my machine has a button on the back, check your machine’s instructions if you don’t know how to do it).
Now start following the lines of your design. You’ll need some practice to adjust the movement of the fabric and the speed of the pedal, but it’s not too hard to get a good result. If you really can’t figure it out, there are a lot of Youtube videos in which you can see the machine in action, which might be more useful than my written explanation.
In the picture you can see I finished the the first part and I left a long tail before cutting the thread and moving to the next little dress.
Once you have finished, turn your fabric, with the help of a seam ripper, pull the threads on the wrong side and knot them, so your design won’t unravel.
Now you’re almost done! Rip the stabilizer and wash away the remaining.
I used my little dresses to make a zippered pouch (and I made a matching pencil case with an ice-cream design that I found here).
Aren’t they cute? They are for sale in my Etsy shop.
I also decorated a plain t-shirt with some butterflies going from the front to the back.
I hope this little tutorial will inspire you to create something beautiful. If you try it, I’d be delighted to see your results!