Begin – a free felt applique and embroidery pattern

I started this project AGES ago and finally finished it. I haven’t been working on it anything like steadily. I didn’t plan on releasing a pattern, so I just picked it up and worked on it at odd moments, and didn’t worry about documenting the process much.

Of course, now people want a pattern! I’m happy to share. It was a lovely project and one that was really relaxing and low-pressure to stitch. I’m just letting you know upfront that it’s a pretty loose pattern. πŸ™‚

So here’s how to make it!

My project finished at 11 inches square. That gives me a little bit of breathing room all the way around, because I’m going to put it in a 12-inch frame. You can size yours up or down as you like, but here are the materials you’ll need for this size.

  • One 20-inch square of background fabric. I used a nice dark slate grey.
  • Assorted wool felt pieces. I used all the colors in the Frosty Pastels felt bundle except the white.
  • Thread to match the felt. I used Invisifil 100 wt. thread. (Yes – you read that right. 100 weight. It’s the thinnest thread I’ve ever used – like sewing with spider silk.) I matched the colors to the felt but, honestly, that thread is so fine that you could probably just use a medium grey for everything. If you want to use embroidery floss, there’s a bundle that matches the felt in the Frosty Pastels collection.
  • Slightly darker, thicker thread to contrast with the felt. I used Razzle 8 wt. rayon thread. I love the way the shiny rayon thread contrasts with the wooly felt.
  • Needles appropriate for your thread size.
  • Fabric glue stick.
  • Freezer paper (optional)
  • Frame or hoop (I used a 14-inch PVC frame)

Download the pattern here.

Print it at 100% size – or scale as desired. You can print directly onto the freezer paper, or you can print it onto regular paper and then trace it onto freezer paper.

Using freezer paper to cut small pieces like these makes it sooooo much easier to be accurate. You’ll find more info here.

The pattern page has the letters and eight blocks of blocks.

Cut the letters out of light grey felt.

Cut four blocks of blocks out of each of your other six felt colors. That way you’ll end up with four of each shape/size in each color. That’s more than you’ll actually need – but it will give you some extras to play with as you arrange.

Ok. Here’s where things are a little loose. Sorry – I didn’t take any photos of this process and I was really just winging it. That’s ok – it means you can wing it too!

Lay your background square on a flat surface.

Map out a 12-inch square in the center. I used a few rulers to block it out – use what you have handy. You just need to be able to “see” the borders of your square of workable space.

Start by laying out the letters, centering them in the space.

Here’s the finished layout again so you can refer to it for the next bit.

Start building your way out from your letters, filling the square space you have mapped out. I followed a few “rules” as I built.

  • I kept all my blocks running horizontally or vertically. None of them are tipped at an angle.
  • I tried to keep the spacing between the blocks pretty consistent. Think of it like grout between tiles.
  • I tried to never have two tiles of the same color right next to each other.
  • I sometimes had two of the same shape next to each other, but I kept it a pretty rare thing.

You can follow my finished project as a map if you like, but please don’t feel like you need to follow it exactly.

Once you’re happy with how everything looks, use a swipe of fabric glue stick to stick all the pieces in place. If you don’t have a glue stick, you can use liquid glue like Elmers, but I recommend brushing it on. If you squeeze it right out of the bottle you may get too much glue on there and it will seep through to the top of your felt and remain visible even after it dries. Don’t use a restickable glue (like a post-it glue stick). As soon as you put your hoop in the frame and pull it tight, those pieces will pop right off. Ask me how I know. πŸ˜›

Let it dry and hoop it up. You’re ready to start stitching!

Now I started taking some pictures. πŸ™‚

The first thing I did was whipstitch around each piece using matching thread. This tutorial shows how I whipstitch applique felt.

whipstitch applique felt - free Begin felt applique project from Shiny Happy World

Once everything’s whipstitched down I can stop worrying about accidentally pulling any of the pieces up, or catching my thread on them. Time to relax and settle into the fancy stitching.

I chain stitched in dark grey right down the center of each letter.

There’s a tutorial here showing how to chain stitch.

I stitched a lazy daisy in the center of the dot over the. Here’s the video showing how to stitch a lazy daisy.

Finally, I wanted to embellish each block. The stitching is all tone-on-tone, using a thread color a little more vibrant than the felt color. I really agonized over what kind of stitching. I debated it for what felt like weeks and finally settled on simple stacks of straight stitches. I just love the texture of that!

I started with the long skinny pieces since there was only one way I wanted to stitch those. Just stitch a stack that almost fills the block.

Next I stitched the larger rectangles. They’re twice as wide as the skinny rectangles, so they get two stacks of stitches, side by side, but not touching.

Finally, I stitched the squares. The small squares got one stack, the medium got two, and the large got three. But which direction? Horizontal or vertical? I made the call for each square based on what kind of stitching was going on around them, trying to keep the direction as varied as possible.

Done!

When I can leave the house again, I’ll get a 12-inch frame to finish it. Here’s a tutorial showing how to frame textiles without damaging them.

Happy stitching!

Best,
Wendi

How to Embroider Almost Everything

My book is out now!

Woo hoo!

I can’t wait to see what you make with all these motifs. There are over 500!

The title is How to Embroider Almost Everything and I took that really seriously. I tried to draw ALL KINDS of different things. Yes – there are your normal embroidery subjects – flowers and trees and cute animals. But there are also pages and pages of other things – like laundry hanging on a line, household tools, colorful cocktails, and more. It was so much fun!

Want to see a peek inside the book? I recorded a video of me looking through my author copy for the first time! You can watch it here.

Want to order it? Here are a bunch of links for places to buy.

If you already bought a copy – thank you so much! I hope you love it!

If you do, please leave a review. You can do that by clicking on any of those purchasing links. Online reviews help so much – especially on Amazon. Like Facebook, they keep the details of their algorithm secret – but they do tell authors that more reviews lead to higher rank in search results. Posting an Amazon review (even a super short one) is a really, really nice thing to do for books you like. πŸ™‚

Happy stitching! I can’t wait to see what you make! We’ll have a special category in our photo contest next month – so be sure to snap a photo and be ready to share!

Best,
Wendi

October at Shiny Happy World

Happy October!

I shared the new calendar yesterday – here’s all the news for the month.

And here are all the links to the things I mentioned. . .

And I forgot to mention the sale on awesome colorful tea towels in the video! There are perfect for stitching and giving as inexpensive handmade gifts and they’re all 20% off this week. More details here.

Have a fabulous month!

Best,
Wendi

How to Embroider Almost Everything – My First Look!

It’s almost here!

I’m counting down the seconds – literally – until my new book is available! πŸ™‚

How to Embroider Almost Everything!

Want to see me open my author copy? We can flip through it together!

Don’t forget – if you pre-order your copy now, you’ll get those bonus motifs so you can start stitching while you wait for the book to arrive. πŸ™‚

Email your proof of purchase to howtoembroider@quarto.com.

And follow me on Instagram to see some more detailed peeks at my favorite motifs.

Happy stitching!

Best,
Wendi

Bears in the Hills – the Finished Project

Last week in the comments on one of the Bears in the Hills work-in-progress posts, someone asked if they could see it finished.

How did I never post a photo of the finished piece? That’s crazy!

But it’s true. πŸ˜› I shared it in the newsletter, but I never posted a photo here.

So I’m fixing that now. πŸ™‚

Ta da! The Bears in the Hills are finished! Here they are. . .

Aren’t they cute?

I’m so happy with this project! I loved every bit of the stitching (so many lovely stitching hours on the sofa!) and now it’s framed and hanging in my studio where I see it every day.

Want to make your own? Sign up for the Bears in the Hills class here.

Happy stitching!

Best,
Wendi

Bears in the Hills

The Bears in the Hills are here!

I’ve been working on this for a while now and it’s finally to a place where you all can join in!

Sign up for the workshop here.

It’s the same price as a pattern, but it’s set up as a video workshop on Teachable, where I host all my free introductory workshops.

There’s a video lesson for each embroidery fill design, showing you exactly how I do all the designs without marking anything.

Sign up for the workshop here.

I can’t wait to see all your bears!

Happy stitching!

Best,
Wendi

Mandalas to Embroider – book review

Mandalas to Embroider by Carina Envoldsen-Harris is a beautiful collection of easy-to-embroider mandala patterns.

I love stitching mandalas so much! (You can find instructions for stitching freestyle mandalas here. And here’s a mandala sun I made using this round graph paper.)

The book is great for beginners, with a short spread about materials and a few pages showing how to do some basic embroidery stitches – all you need for these pretty designs.

There are patterns for 12 large mandalas and 12 small mandalas – and they’re all iron-on transfers.

And – I love this thoughtful detail – the book has a pocket in the back cover to hold those transfer pages after you cut them out.

I love it when the publisher of a book really thinks about how it will be used.

I was going to stitch one of the tiny designs and maybe wear it as a necklace. I love this group – all named after artists. πŸ™‚

But in the end, the paisleys sucked me in. πŸ™‚ I decided on Paisley Constellation.

There’s a two-page spread for each design, showing the pattern, a color chart, stitch guide and the finished design all in one place. I love that!

Here’s a closer look at the information page.

See how clearly everything is laid out?

Of course, I ignored it completely. πŸ™‚

As soon as I got my design transferred (just a super easy iron-on) and hooped in the purple hoop I decided on a bunch of cool colors for a watery-ish look.

I always start stitching the biggest outlines first.

After I was almost done I decided that it need a little pop of warm color, so I made the flowers dark pink, and decided on a light pink for all the little stars.

Here’s my finished hoop!

I’m so happy with how it turned out!

The one thing the book doesn’t have is instructions for finishing your hoop art. But I’ve got you covered. πŸ™‚

There’s a video here showing how to frame art in a hoop – without using any glue.

And there’s a post here showing how to cover up your messy back when you frame it in a hoop. This is especially nice for a project like Christmas tree ornaments, where the back can actually be seen. And all the small designs in the book would make FABULOUS Christmas tree ornaments.

My mandala was so much fun to stitch – I’d love to do another in a completely different colorway. You can transfer each design about 10 times before the ink runs out. That’s a lot of stitching fun!

Get Mandalas to Embroider here. And have fun with it!

Happy stitching!

Best,
Wendi

This post contains affiliate links. That means I make a little commission if you buy something after clicking through.

Free Beaver Pencil Case Pattern

I’m participating in the Back to School Sewing Series with Sulky. You can make this fun pencil case!

That beaver can’t wait to chomp on all those colored pencils. πŸ™‚

See a little sneak peek of that beaver design here – including a look at all the beaver designs I didn’t use. πŸ™‚

Materials

Step 1

Download the embroidery pattern here.

Step 2

Print or trace the pattern out onto a sheet of Sulky Sticky Fabri-solvy at 100% size. The rectangle should be 4 x 9 inches.

Step 3

Peel off the paper backing and stick the pattern onto the fabric. Make sure you position it so that the whole image will fit in the hoop, with fabric all the way around.

Step 4

Choose your threads!

So many pretty colors. πŸ™‚

Step 5

Embroider the design using two strands of Sulky 12 wt. thread. Stitch right through the stabilizer and the fabric.

I used backstitch for all the lines. Learn how to backstitch here.

I used satin stitch for the pencil leads. This video shows how I satin stitch pointy shapes.

Look closer!

I decided partway through stitching that I wanted a little more color on the barrels of the pencils – so I added some stripes running down them.

Your pattern has the added stripes. πŸ™‚

That nose!

I wanted the nose to be solid, but instead of satin stitching I decided to applique it with a tiny scrap of black felt for a velvety soft texture.

At this point I just left it unstitched.

Step 6

Trim the fabric down to 1/2 inch outside the rectangle.

Make sure you do that now – once you soak away the stabilizer that handy line will disappear. πŸ™‚

Step 7

Soak the piece in cold water for an hour or longer. I often leave mine to soak overnight with no problem. Rinse it in clean water, gently squeeze out the extra water, and iron it dry face down on a fluffy towel. This video shows how I iron my embroidery dry without smooshing the stitches.

Step 8

Whipstitch the nose in place using matching thread.

For a small piece like this I like to use a glue stick to hold the piece in place while I stitch it down.

Step 9

Stitching done!

The front piece for your pencil case is all fancied up. Now it’s time to sew it up into a pouch.

Cut a back piece from the main fabric 10 x 5 inches.

Cut two lining pieces, also 10 x 5 inches.

Step 10

Follow the instructions in this post to sew up your fancy lined zipper pouch. πŸ™‚

Finished!

Now – go check out the rest of the series! It’s a fun group of free projects!

Happy stitching!

Best,
Wendi

Try my new embroidery book! Over 500 fun motifs – all embroidered using the easiest, most basic stitches. Get the book here.

Under the Sea Embroidery Pattern

The Under the Sea embroidery pattern is finished!

These are all sea creatures that my husband drew while he was on various planes last year, traveling to schools to talk to kids about his books.

Aren’t they fun? I enjoyed stitching them so much!

They’d be great stitched onto some tea towels, or a tote bag, or a swimsuit cover-up, or a T-shirt. Add a little ocean critter to anything you like!

These are super easy to embroider. I used backstitch for almost all the stitching on my sample – the easiest stitch there is. πŸ™‚

Get more details (and the pattern) here.

Happy stitching!

Best,
Wendi

 

Happy Birthday Embroidery Pattern!

Happy Birthday embroidery pattern from Shiny Happy World

There’s a new embroidery pattern in the shop!

Stitch up some birthday motifs on anything you like! Embroider little partygoers on handmade goody bags. Stitch a towering birthday cake onto a tea towel. Add a bunch of balloons and a birthday greeting to a T-shirt.

Have a party!

You can get the new pattern here.

Happy stitching!

Best,
Wendi