Friday, September 9, 2011

Have you ever seen anything THIS amazing??

OK, We're off with a BANG!!! Quilt Class 101 Part 2 Starts Tonight!!...
Well, just as Quilt Class 101 Part 1 taught you the steps you needed to know about making a quilt start to finish... You can see the list of Tutorials HERE....
Quilt class Part 2 is going to teach you a few Quilt Blocks and different techniques some of you may not have tried before...  New Quilter or an Oldie... I hope this second part will expose you to something new!
AND starting this first week... I'm definitely learning something new!!
The amazingly talented Nova from A Cuppa and a Catch up is kicking our class off with a little Embroidery.....
Thanks Nova!!!
How to Turn a Favourite Object into an Embroidery Design
key embroidery
Over the months, as I was documenting the blocks I was making for my redwork quilt via my blog & flickr, I was often asked “where do you get your designs from?” or “how did you get that design onto the fabric to embroider?”
redwork quilt
The answer :: I either drew, traced or used this super quick and simple way to create a design to embroider. An example of this technique is my favourite walking boots…
shoe embroidery
I’m not a great drawer - I can get by on the most basic of shapes etc but I knew I needed to work out a way to translate my fav objects into simple designs that I could then embroider, without the frustration of trying to draw them & not being happy with the result.

If you have a favourite object or item around the house that you would like to translate into a design that you can stitch up, then grab your camera, take a snapshot and follow these easy steps to transfer a photographed object into a fun & unique stitchery.

Once you see how easy it is, the embroidery design world is your oyster, from everyday objects like scissors, camera, kitchen utensils, tools, shoes, child’s toy, to yourself & your family (take a snapshot of your profiles and embroider around), to your car, a piece of furniture, your house, a boat or caravan, your pet… From simple to more detailed designs, if you can take a photo, draw an outline & trace, you are set :)

I’ve chosen an easy object, a key, to show you how I do it & to give you the basics. I am sure there are better ways and probably easier ways but by sharing with you how I did it at least you can tweak and adjust and find shortcuts to suit your way (and if you do, please share with the rest of us ;)!) I am rubbish at any type of computer graphics, nor do I own a light box - so if I can do it, you can do it!
What you'll need
  • A favourite thing that you would like to turn into an embroidery
  • Digital camera, computer & printer
  • Tracing paper
  • Window
  • Heat transfer pencil (available at quilting stores & Spotlight etc)
  • Fabric
  • Iron
  • Embroidery supplies ( hoop, thread, scissors etc)
Step 1
Photograph your object. If possible it’s a good idea to shoot it against a solid background so you don’t have any distractions.
key embroidery
Take a few pics, try different angles etc. It’s better to have too many than too few and have to go back and re take.
Step 2
Transfer your images to your computer and select the one you want.
As I already mentioned, I am next to useless when it comes to graphics programs (like photoshop etc) so I rely solely on the free to use Picnik . You can get a few more bells & whistles for a small fee but quite honestly the free version is just fine.
Upload your selected image to Picnik.
Flip your image. To do this go to the ‘Rotate’ tab in the editing section and hit the vertical flip button
embroidery tutorial
Your image magically appears as a mirror image of the original.
embroidery tutorial
It’s important to flip if you want your image to come out the ‘right way’(ie the way it was photographed and not a mirror image) when you come to transfer it to your fabric, particularly if your design includes any words, numbers or logos.
Step 3
Strip your image down to the basics with the Pencil Sketch tool. You will find this in the ‘Create’ tab, under ‘Effects’
embroidery tutorial
You can play with the radius, strength and fade (this is a drop down menu that appears when you select the pencil sketch tool) until you are happy with the ‘look’. You are aiming for a strongish outline and an idea of where the shaded areas are. It’s not an exact science so don’t get hung up on this bit, it really is just to strip your image down to outline and shading to make it easier to trace and translate to an embroidery. It might save a bit of printer ink too :)
embroidery tutorial
Save & print to desired size.
embroidery tutorial
Step 4
To assist in the tracing stage, I grab a black pen and draw over the outline. This just makes the parts you want in your design stand out clearer through the tracing paper in the next stage. It doesn’t look very pretty at this point but don’t worry about that too much.
embroidery tutorial
Place a piece of tracing paper over the print out and tape in place (please note:: oops! I took the following pics before I drew around the design as shown in above image but to save retaking the images you get the drift...;))
embroidery tutorial
Go to a window and using a heat transfer pencil, trace over your design.
trace embroidery design
I tend not to go into too much detail as I keep the print out image of the design beside me when I am stitching and add in shading etc by eye from the image. You might prefer to shade the areas you need to stitch at this stage and I am sure that will work just fine too.
trace embroidery design
Using an artistic license is fully encouraged! We’re aiming for a ‘hand drawn’ look so wobbles & a sketchy feel are all part of it ;) Just relax and enjoy the process, it’s all about creating a unique piece that has ‘you’ stamped all over it :)
Step 5
Remove the tape that is holding the tracing paper to the printed design. You now have a transfer design ready to iron on to your fabric.
diy embroidery design
Take your transfer and your fabric
diy embroidery design
Place the transfer right side down (the side you traced the design on) onto right side of fabric.
diy embroidery transfer
Following the manufacturer’s instructions for your heat transfer pencil, iron over the tracing paper pressing firmly. I have my iron on the ‘cotton’ heat setting & I don’t use steam. I iron the fabric first before placing the design on so that the fabric is warm to receive the transfer. I’m not sure if it makes a difference but it’s just the way I’ve always done it.

Be sure to hold the tracing paper in position with your free hand (keeping your fingers away from the hot iron!) so it doesn’t move while you’re ironing or you will have a smudged or ‘double vision’ design when you remove the tracing paper.

I like to have a little peek under a corner of the tracing paper to make sure the design has transferred to the fabric before I remove it entirely as it would be almost impossible to reposition it exactly if you missed a bit.

The harder you press with the heat transfer pencil when you are tracing the design, the stronger your design will be when you iron it on to the fabric. I pressed quite softly; hence my design came through quite light, which for this simple design without much detail is fine.
embroidery transfer
Step 6
Add embroidery hoop, needle & thread of choice and get stitching! I usually use a simple back stitch, not very even or overly neat either I might add! I think my technique is best described as 'doodling' with needle & thread, ( aka 'scribble stitches') adding in shade and shadows as I go.
When your stitching is complete, you have a personal & unique embroidery to add to a quilt, a cushion, a pillow, a bag, purse, pouch, clothing, table runner, place mat, frame it, use it as a quilt label... the possibilities are endless!
key embroidery design
The end result - an (almost) life size stitchery of an old key that looks like it’s been hand drawn and stitched over.
key embroidery design
Thanks so much Rebecca for inviting me to share this little tutorial with you today x
Have fun with it & happy stitching :)x
*Please note that there are other ways to transfer your design to your fabric, eg:: trace directly to fabric with pencil or fading ink or water soluble ink fabric pens etc, but for the purposes of this tute I’m just sticking to the heat transfer pencil method I used in my redwork designs.
HOW COOL is that??!!! Thanks so much NOVA...


  1. This looks great - thanks so much for sharing and can`t wait to see what else you have in store for us!

  2. I LOVED this tutorial! Thank you so much. I feel in love with Nova's redwork quilt and have been thinking about doing one with my daughter who's away at college. Now I know how to do it!! I am so excited. Thanks again!

  3. How cool is that??? I saw Nova's redwork quilt, too! I loved the idea that she and her mom both worked on it. My favorite blocks are the N and A.

    I'm definitely following along with this 'class', Bec! Thank you so much for your time to put these classes together!!

    Hugs ~~ Suz

  4. Oh that is fab, thank you so much! Definitely pinning this for a closer look later

  5. That tutorial is so cool! Thanks for sharing Nova's talent with us.

  6. This is AWEsome!! Nova is a genius! Thanks for sharing her with us Bec!

  7. yea! I'm so glad class is back, I've been wanting to get back into embroidery but I have to re-buy supplies since it's been forever. Those sneakers are too cute! thanks to Nova!

  8. This is brilliant! I can't wait to see what other ideas will be shared in this series.

  9. I am a little hesitant when it comes to embroidery. This was a good tutorial for me. It makes me feel like I could do my own designs. Thanks.

  10. Fantastic tute, Nova!! I have never had any luck with that red transfer pencil. I will press harder and give it another try now! Gotta love Picnik

  11. Thanks so much for the brilliant tutorial. I'm definitely going to try this. The joggers are FANTASTIC!!!

  12. This? Is awesome! Thanks so much, Nova!

  13. Wow! I love this tutorial. I will definitely be using this! Thanks for sharing!

  14. Great Tutorial, thanks for that. I'm definitely checking out Picnik!

  15. What a great post, Rebecca; thanks!

  16. What a great idea! Thanks for sharing! Hugs!

  17. A wonderful tutorial! Thanks for using picnik, accessible by everyone.

  18. Wow. That is SO cool. Thank you so much for showing us this way of doing this. I love it.

  19. Thank you so much Bec and Nova for the awesome tutorial. I'm so excited about your new series and am also backtracking to make sure I am familiar with the first. Thanks so much!!

  20. great tutorial! thank you so much for sharing how you create your own unique images!

  21. Thanks for sharing this fantastic idea. I have Paint shop Pro and use it for pictures. But I never thought about using it this way, great!

  22. Oh yes, this is brilliant! Thanks so much for sharing. Wonder if I could do this to make embroideries of my bunnies...

  23. Just found your wonderful blog while searching for embroidery tutorials! Thanks for sharing this- will definitely give it a try.

  24. Now that Picnik has closed, how do you continue to use this technique? I'm dying to try it out!


Thank you so much for leaving a comment!! xx I LOVE hearing from you xx


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...