Posted tagged ‘embroidery’

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.





Little Turtle Pin Cushion

November 20, 2014

I have been wanting to make this for months and finally found an excuse when I was reviewing a pretty deck of cards with artwork of animals. It was designed by Kathy Shaw from Shawkl Designs and is a free pattern.

I decided my turtle would be a sea turtle and chose sea green and reedy looking fabrics accordingly. I suppose he really looks more like a tortoise but that’s imagination for you. Gus is wondering about the mess on the drafting table behind him, wondering why I don’t tidy it up. It’s a mystery of life Gustifer, just swim with it, roll with those breakers of baffling human behaviour.


Gus’s underside.


His name is Gus for two reasons: When a friend’s husband was dying of a brain tumour and had gone into hospice care, he said his little dachshund Gus (who had died some time before) came to visit him. I suppose the tumour was pressing something in his brain and caused the hallucination, but it has always been my hope that perhaps it WAS little Gus and he had come to comfort his Dad.

His is also named Gus for Gus Ryder, the swimming coach of Marilyn Bell, the first person to swim Lake Ontario in 1954. My Mother had a terrible fear of water and if she couldn’t touch ground when in the water she would cry and start to shake. So every time she went in the water she would invoke a bit of swimming advice from Gus Ryder and toodle around doing the breast stroke.

Here’s to Dan and Isabel, two great people no longer with us. Gus is for you.

I wanted the pincushion to be a bit smaller so I printed it at 70%. I had fun embellishing it with silk ribbon and various silk and cotton threads and beads. The nice aspect of a project like this is that it doesn’t have to be perfect, it’s a useful object, no matter what it ends up like.


Here is Gus with the Turtle card from The Messenger Cards by Sandra Kunz, the card that inspired me to sew him. Oh, it looks like a small figure of a sea turtle has come to join him in the celebration.


Swim on in the Sea of Life Gus.




Helen M. Stevens Embroidery Books

November 2, 2014

You would never know it, but I was a passionate quilter for 30 years before I became interested in doing more embroidery, principally because quilting now hurts my back and knees. I still quilt but not as passionately; I will always quilt.

I’ve been looking for embroidery books by Helen M. Stevens because she does so many animals, birds, plants, and insects. Some of her books are quite pricey, even on the secondary market. Her book on embroidering birds is an astronomical price. That’s the one I wanted but it’s not available at a reasonable price.

One of my new embroidery books recommended two of her titles on the inside back cover, and when I looked them up I found older editions for about $1 from various UK booksellers. So I ordered the two for a total cost with shipping of $13 CAD. As I found with several other titles I recently bought used, older editions are available at a much, much lower cost.


I have bought several art history books in older editions. It doesn’t matter to me as long as I’m not paying a premium price for them. I find it uplifting to look at history and creative books but the edition isn’t important for my purposes.



Embroidery Progress and New Threads

September 4, 2014

I am doing well on my purse flap. I just have to outline the motif on the left and then I can start filling it in.


The woman I was trying to order some variegated Presencia Finca #12 perle cotton kindly reduced the shipping price so I could afford to buy three balls that I special ordered.

I tried them as soon as they arrived and really like the thread. I think I like it slightly better than the Valdani I am using in my purse flap. The spacing of the dye seems better in the Finca, less subtle and the thread definition seems better too. It’s a shame that it is so hard to find.

This is an old piece of quilting cotton that I am filling up with trial runs of various threads and stitches. At some point when it’s filled up I will use it for a purse of some sort. I have marked the respective trials of the Finca in this image.


I am gradually chipping away at these projects, but I make a lot of things in several disciplines so it might take a while to complete, or not.


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.


Did I Buy Another Book?

June 18, 2014

Yes, I did buy another book, showing much restraint by not buying two. Needle Painting Embroidery: Fresh Ideas for Beginners by Trish Burr was the book I ordered.


Yikes, old Trish has many books out it took me a while to decide. I did have one of her books on my wish list last year but decided against it, not sure if I would actually sit down and use these techniques.

After overhauling my floss palette though, I decided I had so many shades that I could do needle or thread painting without going out to buy a whack of supplies. I want to avoid having to buy yet another specialty supply or any fancy threads. I can’t keep up with that sort of thing either financially or emotionally; I don’t need anything!

What convinced me about this particular title was the birds. Coming in at the end of the book in the advanced section, I figured it was something to aim for. I have tons of bird drawings and flora that I could translate these techniques to. It’s another way of looking at things I’ve had in my mind for a while.


Always Something New To Do

June 13, 2014

I’m all over the place as usual.

Finding that I need some Cadmium Red for painting my tutorials, I have had to wait until this weekend to get to Curry’s to buy some. I’m also tired of knocking over glasses of water when I’m trying to paint, so I’m going to investigate some kind of water bucket with a flat bottom and compartments. They don’t have a great selection in little brush basins but they have a couple for about $6 to $7.

I have a few projects in mind and decided I needed a small boost in informational books. It’s hard to believe but I bought one more embroidery book. I liked this one because it is set up like a textbook where you follow each exercise chapter by chapter. Crewel Embroidery: A Practical Guide by Shelagh Amor has been ordered but will take a few weeks since it’s coming from Book Depository.


I am doing a small knit-along for a doll outfit for my Les Cheries doll Poppy.The first version of the top was too big and I’ve just finished the second one which looks like it will fit, so it’s on to the dungarees/shorts.

I like this because at the neckline I bound off in rib stitch as instructed but I mixed them up so instead of knitting the knit stitches and purling the purl stitches I did the opposite. It gives it rather an eyelet-y look that I like. It seems to suit this shorter top.


Lots of plans, lots of dreams.