Posted tagged ‘embroidery patterns’

A Fresh Round of Embroidery and Quilting Books

May 5, 2017

I saw a couple of embroidery and sewing books that seemed to have a fresh approach so bought three of them for my collection.


1) Modern Folk Embroidery: 30 Contemporary Projects for Folk Art Inspired Designs by Nancy Nicholson

I have often admired Nancy’s patterns on Etsy, but thought I’d get more patterns in her book so was pleased to finally buy it when it was published. It’s so nice to see books on hand embroidery coming out for new generations who want to pick up the craft.

2) Tilda Homemade & Happy by Tone Finnanger

She is quite prolific and I’ve seen lots of her designs around, but I liked some of her reindeer and pigs and sheep in this.

3) Zakka Embroidery: Simple One- and Two-Color Embroidery Motifs and Small Crafts by Yumiko Higuchi

These are tiny motifs and I was interested in her ideas for small purses using purse frames and embroidery. I have several purse frames on hand so want to use them up. There are lots of small cross-stitch motifs around but not many for hand embroidery, so this looked good for my library.

I was able to buy a new sewing machine, the Janome 9400, and I’m hoping it will enable me to quilt about 12 to 14 quilt tops that are languishing here. I took all the quilts and quilt tops out of the Rubbermaid trunk they’d been stored in for two years while we were selling our old house and moving and they reeked of plastic.

I spent some weeks washing and airing them and bought a nice wooden blanket box to store them. As I was confronted with the old tops, some dating back to the 1980s and 1990s, I felt the imperative to finish them. I cleaned up and reorganized my sewing area and now I have the fabric cupboard to deal with.


There is another Rubbermaid container in there, so I’ll have another round of airing fabric, but I particularly wanted to get my fabrics and scraps organized by colour and sew up some simpler quilt patterns. I have been quilting since 1984 so I have many magazines and books on the subject, and I’ve given away many more but I liked the fresh look of these publications and many of the designs.


1) Sunday Morning Quilts: 16 Modern Scrap Projects – Sort, Store, and Use Every Last Bit of Your Treasured Fabrics by Amanda Jean Nyberg and Cheryl Arkison

2) No Scrap Left Behind: 16 Quilt Projects That Celebrate Scraps of All Sizes by Amanda Jean Nyberg

3) Scraps, Inc. Vol. 1: 15 Block-Based Designs for the Modern Quilter Compiled by Susanne Woods

4) Scraps, Inc. Vol. 2: 15 Block-Based Designs for the Modern Quilter Compiled by Susanne Woods

I am not in good health but things are improving, so I want ideas and projects and happier creative endeavours to look forward to. That should sort me out (pun)!


Perle Cotton for Embroidered Nightgowns

October 6, 2016

I’m having difficulty embroidering and sewing due to a shoulder impingement and attendant tendinitis and nerve pain, but I started embroidering the bodice of a nightie, and I’m chipping away at it as I can.

The fabric is a softly mottled aqua flannelette that I bought from Connecting Threads two years ago. I am using a variegated green Perle cotton #12 from Presencia to outline the motifs in chain stitch and then I’ll fill the shapes in. The motifs are a combination of the Kate & Rose embroidery patterns Faraway Garden and Bewitching Botanicals. I’m really getting some mileage out of those patterns. I hope to do a small motif on each sleeve as well as embroidering the bodice.


I bought some more Presencia perle cotton #12 threads from Connecting Threads during a recent sale and I bought two colourways of variegated DMC and Anchor floss which you can see surrounding the bodice that is currently being worked. BUT, I’ve always wanted to try the hand-dyed perle cotton threads from Lorraine at Colour Complements, so I ordered two skeins of her beautiful hand-dyed DMC perle cotton #12, just to try it.


One of the nighties I’m making is plain white flannelette, and I wanted a variegated thread that really popped. Lorraine’s gorgeous blue, yellow, red, and orange colourway will absolutely pop on white fabric. I think I’m going to hand draw my own pattern up for this one using some motifs from adult colouring books as inspiration. I tend to get bored following patterns so I want to do my own exuberant drawings for this second embroidered nightgown.

I also plan to sew myself a mid-length dressing gown from a navy flannelette, and I thought the second variegated colourway from Colour Complements would be a nice jumping-off point for embroidering motifs on the shawl collar of the dressing gown.

I hope my hand and arm settle down soon so I can get something done.




Finally That Handbag!

August 21, 2014

I bought the purse pattern A Pocket Full of Sunshine by Natalie Ross in April 2013, and hauled it out again in May 2014. After buying embroidery patterns from Kate & Rose, I realized I wanted to use them instead of the pattern that came with the the Natalie Ross pattern. Then I got sidetracked making practice pieces and a birthday present but I’m back to this now since I need a new purse for winter.

I felt the patchwork and ruffles were a bit cutesy for what I wanted, so I’m cutting the purse in two main prints only. The main black print with the grapes and leaves is a lovely, heavy polished cotton I bought to make decorative pillows ten years ago. I never made them because I knew the cats would wreck them, so it sat until a recent re-discovery. It’s perfect for an autumnal purse.

I found her flap pattern slightly off in symmetry from left to right, so I scanned the right half into Photoshop and flipped it to get a second side, and re-did the labels and got rid of the distracting linework for the embroidery. After printing and taping the two sides together, I glued it to a heavy board for tracing onto fabric and batting.


I outlined the template onto tracing paper so I could use the printed motifs from the Kate & Rose Bewitching Botanicals, and move them around to decide how to place the embroidery on the flap.


Having finished, you can see that it’s less twee, a bit more classic than the original embroidery design. I’m in my fifties, I don’t do cute.


Serendipity: I decided to flip the design when tracing it on my flap fabric, a softly monochromatic botanical print. I traced the outer line in a fine permanent marker since it will eventually be cut off and I used an HB pencil for tracing the motifs. I needed a fairly dark line in order to see it on the coloured fabric. I placed it to get the print of the fabric to fill in some of the open areas at left and right to balance the entire look of the flap.


The soft green is a quilting cotton but it seemed a bit light so I decided to baste a layer of thin cotton batiste under it since this will be fairly heavily embroidered. I basted around the motifs and edges of the flap to keep it from puckering.


I tested it in my embroidery hoop and it seems to be nice and flat, so I’m ready to go. I will be trying out my new Valdani perle cotton for outlining this, so it’s exciting to finally get going.


I use a 6-inch hoop because I’ve tried larger ones and just don’t get the tautness and control I need. Embroidery frames are hard for me to use with my tendinitis, so I use what works for me. This little hoop and I have created many interesting things over the last two decades.



Handmade Coin Purses in Metal Frames

August 21, 2014

I’ve been working on these since June. I bought some frames, but you have to make your own pattern and I used some excellent tutorials from U-Handbag for that, and then browsed several other online tutorials for advice on sewing the purse into the frame.

I had to make a prototype to test the pattern and practice sewing into the frame. I also practiced some embroidery for the motifs I was using for the purses. I used the Bewitching Botanicals patterns from Kate & Rose which are so wonderful for mixing and matching.

After practicing I realized that I would need more frames so bought more from Willie at SugarCarousel on Etsy. She has a nice selection and good prices and shipping which is so rare when you want to buy supplies in Canada.

I thread basted the purse into the frame and found this really helped to keep it from slipping while sewing it in.


For the gift, I used a modified section of the front motif as an accent on the back of the bag. The lining fabric is a beautiful red fabric from IKEA.


My initial prototype is on the left in this image and the “good” bag I made for a birthday gift is on the right. I raised the seam slightly on the blue one, since I found the gap showed below the purse hinge on the first one. I also used a lighter interfacing as the first one was very stiff.

As well as sew-in interfacing, I used thin cotton quilt batting to give the bag some body and padding between the main fabric and the lining.


These were both embroidered with 2 plies of DMC floss and I used red Conso thread, which is a twisted nylon upholstery thread, for sewing them into the frames. You can buy this thread on small bobbins from jewellery supply stores in different colours. Many people use embroidery floss to sew them in but I was worried about that fraying or wearing with use so I used a stronger nylon twist.

Here is the blue purse opened up; I love the pop of red when you open it. While boxing the corners on handbags is usually easy, I found I really needed to line up the seams with several pins through the centres and sideways before sewing. On my first one the thick layers shifted a lot, which made the bag a bit crooked. With lighter interfacing on the second one I was careful to pin well to line the seams up for boxing the corners.


The embroidery stitches I used were chain stitch, stem stitch, fishbone stitch, fly stitch, and French knots.


Years ago I wanted to make a purse in a frame with crazy patchwork. Now that I have some frames and know the technique for drawing my own patterns to fit, I hope to do up some small gems to go into some regular handbags I am making.