Add an Embroidered Label to Your Quilt

How to Make a Quilt Label - tutorial from Shiny Happy World

It’s easy to add a label to your quilt – and it’s fun to make it coordinate with the designs on the front of the quilt.

I like my labels to be about 4 inches wide. To resize any block design to fit in that size you print it at 40% of the original size. Easy peasy!

Cut a piece of fabric big enough for the full four inch square to fit flat in a hoop. A seven inch square of fabric should work just fine.

Stitch the design. I used 4 strands of thread and two simple stitches – backstitch for all the lines, and satin stitch for the solid eyes and nose.

If you want to add a date – or maybe a name – there’s a free alphabet embroidery pattern here – with letters that are relatively simple to stitch, with no serifs, curlicues, or extra-tight curves. 🙂

When you finish stitching, trim the fabric so there’s about an extra inch all the way around the part you want to show as the label. Fold about 1/2 inch under on each side and press.

Position the label where you want it (I always put mine in the lower right corner) and pin or glue it in place to hold it secure while you stitch it.

Stitch the label to the quilt back all the way around the edge, being sure to only stitch through the quilt backing. Don’t let your stitches go through to the front of the quilt. I like to use ladder stitch.

That’s it!

It doesn’t take long and it’s a really nice finishing touch. 🙂

Happy stitching!

Best,
Wendi

A BIG Embroidery Project – Cat Among the Flowers

A BIG new embroidery project! This cat surrounded by embroidered flowers is in an 18 inch hoop!

Now that Quilt Market is over I can finally share details about some of those BIG embroidery projects I was working on back in April. 🙂

This post is all about how I made this cat surrounded by lots and lots of embroidered flowers. It’s in an 18-inch hoop!

I started out by enlarging my favorite cat (Maurice) from my Cats Quilt pattern and appliquéing it on a big square of fabric. I enlarged him just a bit (printed the pattern page as big as I could and still get it to fit on a single page) and used my normal fusible adhesive method.

First I appliqued the cat to the background fabric and stitched down the edges.

I stitched down all the edges, but I did NOT stitch the whiskers yet. They’re just drawn in for now with a fine-tip Sharpie.

Then it was time to add the flowers. It doesn’t matter that the full piece is bigger than a single sheet of paper because the Continuous Stitching pattern is a seamless repeating pattern. See how you can overlap the edges for a continuous pattern?

Continuous Stitches is a seamless repeating pattern, so you can cover as much area with pretty stitched flowers as you want!

It took me several sheets of Sulky Stick & Stitch (the new – and much better – name for Sulky Sticky Fabri-solvy) to cover the whole hooped area.

It took 5 sheets of Sulky Stick & Stitch to cover my hooped area. So many flowers!

I just stuck the sheets right over the cat. So many flowers!

I don’t normally have problems with the Sulky Stick & Stitch pulling loose, but I don’t usually stitch this large, so I started stitching in all the overlapping areas first, just to keep things secure.

I don't normally stitch projects this big, so I started with all the overlapping pattern areas.

I used one or two strands of Sulky Petites 12 wt. thread for all the stitching.

So many pretty threads!

So many pretty colors!

Here are some details of the different kids of flowers. . .

Lots and lots of pretty embroidered flowers!

One of the things I love about working with Sulky Stick & Stitch is that I can change my mind about things partway through stitching. All the markings will wash away, so I don’t really have to stick with my original drawing. Take these tulips. . .

Pretty embroidered tulips.

Those little purple dashes were supposed to be dots, but when I got to them I changed them to dashes. No big deal.

All the stitching is finally finished! I just skipped right over that applique cat – it was easy to see him through the stabilizer.

Finished stitching! That's a lot of flowers. :-)

Here it is having its soak.

Soaking off the Sulky. Almost finished!

Yep – that’s the messy back. Here are some more shots of the back of the piece.

The messy back of my embroidery. :-)

I do NOT believe that that back of your work should be as pretty as the front. 🙂 I’m a thread-carrier and it would drive me batty to tie off my thread after each individual flower!

But – recognizing that I’m a thread carrier means I do something a little different with pieces like this. See how dark green that fabric is? That’s not the same lime green you see on the front of the piece! That’s because I backed the piece with a second layer of darker fabric behind the main fabric. It keeps my thread carries from showing through to the front! Tricky. 🙂

I soaked the piece for about an hour in cold water, sprayed off the bits of mushy stabilizer, gave it another quick swish in clean water, then ironed it dry. One more step before finishing. . .

Ready to stitch the whiskers. . .

Remember how I didn’t stitch those whiskers when I appliquéd the cat? Time to do it now. I waited because I wanted the black whisker lines to go over the embroidered flowers. This part was totally nerve-wracking, but it did just fine. 🙂

Finished kitty whiskers!

I hooped the finished piece in a quilting hoop using this method. No way was I letting glue anywhere near a piece that took this long to stitch!

A BIG new embroidery project! This cat surrounded by embroidered flowers is in an 18 inch hoop!

Finished! I’m super happy with this piece! Sulky had it hanging in their booth for Quilt Market and they’ll be exhibiting it at a few more shows, but Jo has already claimed it for her room when it comes home. 🙂

Here are the other BIG pieces I stitched for the same project.

Primavera – an Embroidered Springtime Girl

Embroidered Mandala Sun

April Showers

Happy stitching!

Best,
Wendi
Wendi Gratz from Shiny Happy World

How to Frame Embroidery – a video tutorial

How to Frame Embroidery - a video tutorial from Shiny Happy World

Want to learn the basics of hand embroidery with an easy online workshop – totally free?

Sign up for Embroidery 101 here. You’ll learn how to get started, the tools and supplies you’ll need, the four most basic stitches, how to transfer your pattern and how to display your work.

If you already know the basics – sign up for Embroidery 201. It’s also free! You’ll learn how to stitch on specialty fabrics like felt and stretchy T-shirts. Plus you’ll learn lots and lots and LOTS more stitches – all my favorites!

How do you frame embroidery?

I get this question a lot.

Actually – I get a lot of questions about what do do with an embroidered piece. They’re super fun to stitch, but then what do you do with them?

If you want to see some great projects made with finished embroidery pieces, take a look at these posts.

But you asked about how to frame embroidery. 🙂

This video shows how to frame embroidery in a hoop – without using any glue.

This post shows an easy way to cover the “ugly” back side of your stitching when you hoop frame.

And now I have a video showing how to prepare your embroidery for framing in any standard frame.

If you use this method you don’t need to cut into the fabric at all, and you don’t need to use potentially damaging glue or tape. It’s a great way to display – while still preserving – any fabric art you like.

Whether you frame embroidery in a hoop or in a traditional frame, you’ll need to give it a good pressing first. Here’s the video I mentioned showing how to press your finished embroidery without smooshing the stitches.

So dig out some of your favorite embroidered pieces (or applique – this technique works for all fabric art) and display them proudly in a frame. Hang them somewhere you’ll see them every day so they can make you happy. 🙂

Best,
Wendi
That's me!

How to Machine Stitch Eyes

How to Machine Stitch Eyes

Want to learn the basics of hand embroidery with an easy online workshop – totally free?

Sign up for Embroidery 101 here. You’ll learn how to get started, the tools and supplies you’ll need, the four most basic stitches, how to transfer your pattern and how to display your work.

If you already know the basics – sign up for Embroidery 201. It’s also free! You’ll learn how to stitch on specialty fabrics like felt and stretchy T-shirts. Plus you’ll learn lots and lots and LOTS more stitches – all my favorites!

The eyes are often the most difficult part of any of my appliqué patterns.

It can be tricky stitching around those small pieces!

(Tips – shorten your stitch length, go sloooooooooow, raise your presser foot often to spin the piece in tighter turns.)

But with the new Paper Doll Quilt I have reached new lows in tiny eyes.

These eyes are too small to appliqué. Don’t even try it.

So what to do?

You have a few options for the Paper Dolls quilt.

1. You can draw on the eyes with a marker. This is totally ok to do! But please test your marker first – and test it on every fabric you’ll be using because the results can vary. For bigger eyes (like all my animal quilts) I like my Marvy fabric markers. For smaller eyes like these paper dolls I get the best results with a small Sharpie. The worst bleeding I’ve ever had was with official “laundry” markers – go figure.

2. You can embroider the eyes by hand. I really like this stitch for eyes. If you’re using Quilt As You Go you won’t even need to worry about a visible thread carry between the eyes because the batting should completely block it – even with a light color background block and skin color.

3. You can embroider the eyes by machine. By machine! And you don’t need an embroidery machine, though it will need to have some fancy stitch options.

See all my applique eye options here.

I’ve heard from a lot of you who have arthritis and appreciate as many machine options as possible – so I think a lot of you are really going to like this method. I loved it!

Here’s how I did mine. . .

Scroll through your decorative stitches and find one that is a series of round or oval satin stitches.

How to Machine Stitch Eyes

On my Bernina it’s stitch #407. My much-less-fancy Pfaff has an identical stitch #26. Most machines with decorative stitches will have something like this.

Now comes the slightly tedious part. Start playing around with the length and width of the stitch until you find one that’s right for your project. Once you find the settings you like – write them down! I actually make a little sample of the stitch on white fabric and write the settings directly on the fabric.

How to Machine Stitch Eyes

I stitched up one eye and made a note of the stitch number, the length and the width. See how this matches the settings on the screen above? Now I can make eyes all the same size whenever I want – and skip the playing around with settings step. 🙂

I have a whole stack of these swatches for any decorative stitch I think I might possibly use again.

When you’re ready to stitch the eyes, you’re all set!

  1. Check to make sure your bobbin is full. You don’t want to run out in the middle of an eye.
  2. Put your block in the sewing machine and carefully lower the needle right into the top of the eye.
  3. Lower the presser foot.
  4. Stitch one oval. Watch carefully and stop stitching when it gets to the bottom of the oval. Backstitch just a stitch or two and remove it.
  5. One eye done! Pause to admire the neat (easy!) stitching and be excited that we live in a time when such wonders are possible. 🙂
  6. Repeat for the second eye.

How to Machine Stitch Eyes

 

Troubleshooting tips. . .

The combination of fusible adhesive and batting behind the block makes a great stabilizer. If you’re not using those (of if you find the fabric is bunching up under your eyes) use a stabilizer behind your stitching. It can be as simple as layering a piece of tissue paper behind the block. You might also need to adjust your tension.

Don’t push or pull or hold back the fabric going through the machine. You really need to just let it go through on its own or you might find that you are making the eyes longer or shorter than what the stitch really should be – and it will be nearly impossible to match every time. Just let those feed dogs do their thing. 🙂

That’s it!

Happy stitching!

Best,
Wendi
That's me!

Embroidery Tutorial – Backstitched Chain Stitch – video

Want to learn the basics of hand embroidery with an easy online workshop – totally free?

Sign up for Embroidery 101 here. You’ll learn how to get started, the tools and supplies you’ll need, the four most basic stitches, how to transfer your pattern and how to display your work.

If you already know the basics – sign up for Embroidery 201. It’s also free! You’ll learn how to stitch on specialty fabrics like felt and stretchy T-shirts. Plus you’ll learn lots and lots and LOTS more stitches – all my favorites!

Oooh! Two colors!

You know I occasionally love to throw in a fancy-looking stitch that uses two thread colors. See whipped backstitch and running stitch here, and threaded backstitch and running stitch here.

Those have a twisty look – this one is straighter lines and has a bumpier texture.

It’s called Backstitched Chain Stitch and I love it!

I used it to outline the lattice work on some of the rings in this fancy-schmancy embroidered felt garland.

 

You can see that detail up close in the video.

Here’s the video showing how to do this fancy-looking-but-easy-to-stitch line.

See how easy?

It’s just two of the most basic stitches, stacked right on top of each other. 🙂 Backstitched chain stitch – exactly what it’s called.

Happy stitching!

Best,
Wendi
That's me!

 

Video – How to Do Turkey Work Embroidery

How to Do Turkey Work Embroidery - a video tutorial from Shiny Happy World

Want to learn the basics of hand embroidery with an easy online workshop – totally free?

Sign up for Embroidery 101 here. You’ll learn how to get started, the tools and supplies you’ll need, the four most basic stitches, how to transfer your pattern and how to display your work.

If you already know the basics – sign up for Embroidery 201. It’s also free! You’ll learn how to stitch on specialty fabrics like felt and stretchy T-shirts. Plus you’ll learn lots and lots and LOTS more stitches – all my favorites!

Turkey work is an unusual embroidery stitch that gives you a special effect. If you make long loops you can get a hairy or fringy look. Shorter loopes can be trimmed to look like the pile of a rug or shorter hair.

Neat!

The stitch isn’t difficult, but it does require a bit of focus so you don’t lose track of what you’re doing. I tend to mumble to myself while I do it. . . flat stitch, loopy stitch, flat stitch, loopy stitch. . .

Here’s what I’m talking about.

See what I mean?

You can work this stitch on flat embroidery, but I use it most often on little felt softies. It opens up a whole range of possibilities for hair, manes, tails, bushy eyebrows and more. 🙂

That’s a lion that you see (from the back) in the title image. You can get the pattern here.

Have fun with this one!

Happy stitching!

Best,
Wendi
Applique Wendi (with fabulous hat)

How to Hide the Messy Back of Your Hooped Embroidery

How to Hide the Messy Back of a Hooped Embroidery Piece - a tutorial from Shiny Happy World

Want to learn the basics of hand embroidery with an easy online workshop – totally free?

Sign up for Embroidery 101 here. You’ll learn how to get started, the tools and supplies you’ll need, the four most basic stitches, how to transfer your pattern and how to display your work.

If you already know the basics – sign up for Embroidery 201. It’s also free! You’ll learn how to stitch on specialty fabrics like felt and stretchy T-shirts. Plus you’ll learn lots and lots and LOTS more stitches – all my favorites!

I’ve never worried too much about hiding the back of my embroidery when I frame it in a hoop. There’s a part of me that kind of likes leaving all the “ugly” visible to anyone who’s curious enough to flip it over and take a look. 🙂

But I understand wanting to cover up the mess – and I get a LOT of questions about how to do it.

This technique is really just a simple adaptation of my How to Frame Embroidery in a Hoop (Without Glue!) video. You can watch that here.

And when I say simple adaptation – I mean simple. As in – simply add an extra piece of fabric to cover the back.

Here it is in just a few easy steps. . .

How to Hide the Messy Back of Your Hooped Embroidery - a tutorial from Shiny Happy WorldThat’s all one stacked image – feel free to pin it for handy-dandy reference. 🙂

Want that sweet snail embroidery pattern? It’s free!

Happy stitching!

Best,
Wendi
That's me!

 

Choosing Colors for Seed Stitch

Three Is the Magic Number - choosing colors for seed stitch

Want to learn the basics of hand embroidery with an easy online workshop – totally free?

Sign up for Embroidery 101 here. You’ll learn how to get started, the tools and supplies you’ll need, the four most basic stitches, how to transfer your pattern and how to display your work.

If you already know the basics – sign up for Embroidery 201. It’s also free! You’ll learn how to stitch on specialty fabrics like felt and stretchy T-shirts. Plus you’ll learn lots and lots and LOTS more stitches – all my favorites!

I love using seed stitch for fill stitching.

It just has so much texture!

But there’s a trick to getting all the texture – and that trick is in choosing the right colors – and choosing enough of them.

Everyone who’s ever read a fairy tale – or listened to Schoolhouse Rock – already knows the secret. . .

Three is a magic number.

It’s that simple!

You can watch the video showing the basics of how to do the seed stitch here. In this post I’m going to show you some seed stitch-in-progress so you can see what adding the additional colors does. (You can click on any of these photos to see them bigger.)

Seed Stitch step 1 - the darkest colorI always start with the darkest shade and lay down a nice, dense bunch of stitching. The background fabric isn’t completely covered – but it’s pretty close.

It’s not bad. Kind of shaggy and pebbly looking – fun.

But look what happens when I layer a lighter shade over the dark one.

Seed Stitch step 2 - the medium shadeOooh! Depth!

Note that the stitching with the second layer of color isn’t nearly as dense. Lots of the dark is showing through, and the background fabric is now almost completely covered.

I’m always kind of tempted to stop with the second color – because at this point I’m always really happy with how it’s looking. But I know from experience that THREE is the magic number. Not two.

Seed Stitch step 3 - the lightest shadeWow! Look at those highlights!

I shot this photo after HURRIER had gotten its third color, but before BEHINDER got it so you could really see the difference in them.

If you look closely you can see that there are actually very few of the lightest stitches, but they make the whole thing look so much fuller and more textured.

You can see more seed stitching in grass in the corner of the free Feast embroidery pattern.

Enough Is as Good As a Feast - free embroidery pattern from Shiny Happy World

And here’s a handy dandy link list. . .

Happy stitching!

Best,
Wendi
That's me!

How to Embroider a Mouth on an Already-Stuffed Softie – video

How to Stitch a Smile on a Finished Softie - video

Want to learn the basics of hand embroidery with an easy online workshop – totally free?

Sign up for Embroidery 101 here. You’ll learn how to get started, the tools and supplies you’ll need, the four most basic stitches, how to transfer your pattern and how to display your work.

If you already know the basics – sign up for Embroidery 201. It’s also free! You’ll learn how to stitch on specialty fabrics like felt and stretchy T-shirts. Plus you’ll learn lots and lots and LOTS more stitches – all my favorites!

Usually my patterns include instructions for embroidering the face before you sew your softie together. That makes it easy to transfer the pattern and position it correctly, and easy to hoop it for stitching.

But sometimes it just works better to stitch some features on after it’s all sewn up. This mouse doll is one of those times. And it’s really not hard at all! But you do need a couple of special tools. Nothing expensive or hard to find – just a doll needle and a water-erasable marker.

I show you the tools – and how to use them – in this video. Watch Miss Squeak get her smile!

See? That wasn’t hard at all!

Want a refresher on the stitch I’m using? Watch the backstitch video here.

You can find the Squeak the Mouse pattern here!

Happy stitching!

Best,
Wendi
Wendi_Gratz_Shiny_Happy_World

 

Sewing Patterns that Are Great for Using with Embroidery

Finished Stitches Embroidery ChallengeSo you’ve gotten your sample in the Finished Stitches Embroidery Challenge.

Or maybe you have some scraps of fabric that your Grandma embroidered but never made into anything.

Or you bought some beautiful almost-finished pieces at a rummage sale.

What are you going to do with them? Leave them in a drawer somewhere? Or make something out of them that you can use and enjoy every day?

I vote for making something out of them. 🙂

First you’ll need to iron them. Remember this video?

Now you’ll need to decide what to do with them! Here are some of my favorite patterns (most of them FREE!) that work well with embroidered bits.

  1. The Easy Apron.
  2. Mini Tote Bag
  3. The Simple Skirt
  4. Goody Bags
  5. Needle Cushion
  6. Receiving Blanket
  7. Zippered Bag

For some of the larger pieces (like the receiving blanket) you can either piece the embroidered bit together with other fabric, or you can applique it on somewhere.

For some of them the embroidered piece would make a great pocket – like the Easy Apron.

I even used embroidery in the samples of some of them!

Here are a few more ideas!

  • Make a doll-sized quilt. (I have doll quilts on the brain. I’m making one right now for this month’s free pattern.)
  • Make a set of beanbags.
  • Make a sachet.
  • Make a mug rug or a coaster.

You can also use this tutorial to add framing around the embroidery to make it big enough for a pillow cover like this one.

Monster Pillow from Shiny Happy WorldThe tutorial is for a quilt block – but the technique works just as well for embroidery.

Want to see what others are doing? Some people have already shared their finished projects! See them here.

And if you’ve finished your project be sure to email me a photo. My email is blockhead@wendigratz.com. I can’t wait to see what you’ve made!

Read all the Finished Stitches posts here.

Happy sewing!

Best,
Wendi
That's me!